Haunted House

Someone I’ve Never Met Before (Short Fiction: Under 200 Words)

My agent’s face was sweating, trying to sell that house to me, even as my breath turned to vapor in the cold. The seclusion, the fact that you couldn’t see anything beyond the trees that grew around it, that’s why I wanted it.

Old house, haunted house. My agent hired a truck for me, but made many excuses to leave as soon as she could. I was the only one there, yet I was not alone.

That first night I remember trying to get warm under sheets that never seemed thick enough, with my breath coalescing in the frigid air, hanging over me like a specter.

In the moment just before sleep buried me with unconscious, I felt the sheets lift, ever so gently, and her cold, ethereal form slip next to me.

I heard a voice, like ice sliding over ice, “I’ve missed you.”

I’ve written plenty of ‘weird’ fiction, but never anything that came close to horror. 

So? Did you feel anything? What, if anything in this short piece, made you think? Leave your thoughts below in the comments, and don’t forget to like and follow the blog.

Image courtesy of Martyn Smith via Flickr Creative Commons. 

12 thoughts on “Someone I’ve Never Met Before (Short Fiction: Under 200 Words)

  1. I agree with wildbilbo about dropping the first sentence. I didn’t feel even a hint at horror, but the beginning of suspense and goosebumps.And make no mistake about it, fear can be the essence of horror. Have you ever known real, breath stopping, quaking fear?

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  2. Drop the first sentence – It adds little and kinda detracts from what is otherwise a very well written “subtle horror” story. ‘Coalescing’, ‘sliding ice’ the fear of the agent – all slowly build to that ‘I missed you’ moment… Great.

    I’ve tried a few times to a more subtle horror flash fiction story- with mixed results I guess:)

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    1. Brilliant. Launches right into the action, instead of wasting time with the setting.

      I was worried I was a little heavy-handed with all the shadowing, but I’m glad this worked as it did.

      Not sure if it’s horror YET. I had plans to extend this, probably in the future – this piece had too much of a life on it’s own, it was really hard to not get distracted and spend a few hours on this.

      KT, I’m always so happy to see you here, please don’t stop giving your opinions!

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      1. Oh, I’m not going anywhere…
        (wait, was that super creepy or what?)

        One thing the supershort fiction exercise I’ve been doing is good for is trimming words. You look at your story and think about ‘is this required’. That first sentence bothered me for two reasons:
        a) it was kinda ‘telling’ when the rest of the story was very ‘showing’; but
        b) everything in it was revealed by other words – such as:
        – I moved in (you mention the agent, the moving truck, your first night etc)
        – something about the house being previously cared for but now abandoned… I think your Old House, Haunted House says it all. Our established preconceptions draw it for us 🙂

        The fore-shadowing works. Spending the time on the agent is effective. It shows the genuine fear held by another and gets the reader to ask why (and why is this person buying it regardless?)

        Sometimes the short ones have a life (unlife?) of their own 🙂

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  3. I didn’t really get a horror vibe out of this but more intrigued. I think it’s because you didn’t really describe the protagonist feeling fear. Nevertheless, I think I would still be interested to read on from this snippet, just not as a conventional horror story.

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    1. Re-reading this, I think it’s just a shove and a drop away from horror. There’s no threat of danger, other than a tinge of fear from the Agent, so I understand exactly what you mean.

      I think, if I do ever expand on this, it will become more apparent . . . although, I’m a little scared of my imagination at this point.

      Thank you for the criticism, Moonlake! I appreciate you.

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    1. So it turns out that I’m very much a tactile writer. Colors? Nah. Smells? Maybe. But touch is something I’m in love with, and I think it always creeps into my writing.

      You know, from the narrator’s perspective, I don’t think it was erotic, but from the other characters… who knows?

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