All tagged spooky

Strangers No More

I was riding home on the train when a stranger sat down across from me. He looked at me for a long time before speaking.

“I have a proposition for you,” he said, finally. I didn’t respond, but the man mistook my silence as interest.

“You kill my wife and I kill yours.”

“What the fuck,” I said.


Since June, I’ve been working a sawmill job forty miles south of the place I’m living. There’s nothing to rent out there, even the single-wides eaten up by folks who’ve been in the mountains twenty years or more. But the mill pays better than waitressing, or bagging groceries at the A&B. It’s a temporary thing, the way I see it. A means of getting out.

The Cuts

The day after she died, my wife comes back to cut up my clothes: little waning moons at the hems of my dresses, the necks of my sweaters, the sleeves of a heavy flannel shirt she had once given me for Christmas. The floor of our closet—which still smells like her, powdery and clean—is littered with scraps.


My husband—he’s a butcher—and he brings home the best meats. Livers, he likes those best. And he watches me slice them into long strips. I cook them up for him and I skin potatoes and other vegetables, put them in a pot and let the juices run together. He doesn’t lick his lips because he’s not an animal, he says. Says animals belong in a pot. He’s a man, he says. Just a man. A man who has an affinity for bloody meats and buckshot.

The Husband Doll

Arnie totally freaks. “It’s insane what women have to deal with these days,” he says, and rushes into our basement with a plan to fix it. He’s down there for two days straight. I know he’s busy because I can hear ’90s rock through the heater vent. His getting-shit-done music.

A Death Threat from the Hair Club for Men

Of course the after photos show us smiling in terror. We all know someone who tried to take the hair and run. Someone weak. Someone with a family they left behind when they turned up parsed in garbage bags in the trunk of their car, or someone who didn’t turn up at all.

A Floater

A couple of guys at the home said she lured them to the cornfields at the edge of town spitting sugary promises between her few good teeth and sneaking peeks at their pleated bulges. Those same fogies would come back panting in the night, leaning hard on their walkers and crying wolf something about that witch bringing a rusty Fiestaware blade to their shriveled okra. I ain’t scared.

The Water Goblin

The girl's hair is getting long. Braid it like a pretzel, tight so it doesn’t break apart during the day. Name her Abigail, a hardworking name for girls who like hedgehogs and pretending not to understand Czech. 

Roadside Attraction

The moment you step out of the car, you’ve lost your keys. They are not in the car. They are not in your purse. You decide to put off locating them until after you’ve seen the exhibit; it’s been a long day. You walk in, pay your thirteen dollars. Inside smells like harsh lemonade, a sort of weird lemon mirage in the middle of this desert you’ve been driving through. The first glass case contains approximately ten objects, several of which you recognize.

Constant Worth

When the Worths got picked to go on Family Double Dare, they asked me and Becky if we'd do their dogs' insulin shots. Mrs. Worth had asked around and heard we were responsible kids. The invitation to Nickelodeon Studios came in a bright green padded envelope. Rhea Worth traced Marc Summers's signature on her jeans.


Marjorie woke that day with a distinct pain in her right ear—it was someone talking about her—isn’t that what they said? Your ears ring when someone is talking about you? But this wasn’t a ringing—it was a pain, deep. It seemed to radiate from her inner ear to the back of her throat and into the small glands of her neck.

Meeting Sebastian

"Now run," whispered Stacey before she darted into her home. What I thought was a goodnight, maybe a third-date kiss, became a wholly unromantic sprint. I stumbled through rooms with no lights on, with her screaming at the top of her lungs about how I had to run faster and faster. Before I knew it we were panting and laughing, sitting against the locked bedroom door.

Out There

The FBI headquarters burned down while we were passing notes in math class. Meteor shower tonight, you wrote.Or so They say, I wrote back. Perfect cover for the landing. The principal came and got you and when I saw you after gym. Your eyes were red.

Monsters or Some Bullshit

First the satellites disappeared, and without working phones no one could call to complain about the buzzing, dancing static that’s drowned our lives. In the paper we saw pictures of flag-draped coffins, but those boxes were empty. No astronauts came back the last time—none of the monkeys either. Everything in space has died, which is weird because we did not know it ever lived.

The Next Time I Die

Oh, yes, before even stepping inside, I knew this would be perfect. With some places, with some people, you can just tell. It’s like they’re sending out a message just to you, speaking right to a sparkling little girl inside your soul. 

The Goblin Palisade

I like the goblins. I want to be their friend. Goblins like flowers. Mom told me. I go see them a lot. They live behind the house next door in that yucky hole. I’ve been like a bazillion times. Sometimes I don’t wear my underoos when I go.

Lower Midnight

Some believed the whole island was haunted, stem to stern, from the top of Lighthouse Hill to the bottom of Shubrick Point. One little lighthouse keeper’s house was nothing compared to the constant ripping of flesh from bone just off the shore. It was a violent place. There was that female skeleton found inside Great Murre Cave, resting as though she’d stopped for a nap a hundred or a thousand years ago. The naturalists tell me this on my third day, matter-of-factly, while we’re anchored fifty feet off the cave, waiting for a white shark to come back to finish its freshly-killed sea lion.