F. M. S c o t t
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The Horror Tree's Trembling with Fear: Year 3 anthology is here! A flash story and a pair of drabbles from me are included in this handy little pack of terrors! Order now!
Allan noticed the figure standing at the back of the room, a human outline in pale gas flame blue, beyond the sea of heads bobbing in conversation. As quickly as it appeared, the figure vanished. Probably some lighting effect, tossed off by the staff of an eccentric coffee joint. Allan saved his work, closed his laptop, and paid up. A stacked agenda of multiple priorities awaited him at the office.
He got into his car and headed down Sixth.
Sharply, from the backseat: “In a hurry this time?”
Allan jerked the wheel and nearly sideswiped a parked car. The face in the rearview mirror smirked—a thirtyish male face, on a head of dark brown hair, attached to an average-sized body clad in black khakis, top and bottom.
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“So, what is it?” Precht asked. “What’s it do?”
Ed reared his head back, sprouting the grin of a proud man. “That, my friend, is something to which words, especially those born with such humble traits as mine, cannot do even the smallest justice.” His voice became slower, mechanical, lingering. “You see, Charley, there are things whose amazing secrets only reveal themselves in the absence of words, at the moment a man sees that it’s time to shut up and let his work do the talking. And I’ll restate what you already know—that we, all of us on this crazy planet of ours, are only as good as others see us.”
Precht cocked his head. “Uh…okay.”
Ed’s voice sped up a bit. “Oh, I know it sounds a bit hokey and all, but the purest truths have a way of hiding themselves in plain sight—yes, they do, by cracky! And with that, I’m going to say that my money’s where my mouth is.”
He turned the handle; it gave a loud snap. With a pull, the heavy hatch swung open. “Go on, have a look inside her.”
The Year 2 anthology of stories from The Horror Tree's Trembling with Fear, including three drabbles by me! Available in print and on Kindle.
A little voice, wet with trauma and rot: “Get on.”
I wheel around. No one.
I turn back to what made me stop my dawn jog: five unoccupied swings in the schoolyard—four of them in mad, asynchronous flight. The one on the end is dead still.