Here we go friends! As we get closer and closer to the February 28th, 2019 release date for The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, I’ve promised to continue to give you some sneak peaks and other goodies!
The Girl Who Hid in the Trees has been receiving some fantastic buzz already over on Goodreads! I’m so happy with the kind words. Truly blown away. Next week, on January 25th, I’ll officially be launching the pre-order links! If you look closely though, you just may find that they already exist…. 🙂
As I promised a few weeks back, after initially sharing the Prologue, I am sharing the first of three short stories included with the release.
Up first we have what could be described as cosmic-flash fiction.
This quick story is maybe the first time I’ve written anything that could be considered cosmic horror. Maybe not? I’m honestly not too sure, as some of my releases walk a very fine line and could be perceived as cosmic horror. Either way, this one is a straight forward cosmic horror tale.
I came up with this during the Christmas break. One night I was lying in bed, not able to sleep. I currently co-sleep with my son, so I had my phone within reach and while he snoozed, cuddled up to me using my right arm as a pillow, I emailed myself draft #1. The idea came from the sky above. I couldn’t tell you why it popped into my head. It just did haha! I had this picture of an old man staring at a corn field, while above him the clouds churned. So fifteen minutes later, draft #1 was done and emailed to myself. Few small tweaks and voila, here you go.
So please enjoy ‘Abraham, Look to the Sky.’
Abraham, Look to the Sky
“How long you says he’s been sitting there?”
Zack took a second, spit out a wad of chew through the open pick-up window and looked out at the fields beyond.
“Mah says’sm going on twenty years least. Say’sm he’s convinced the sky gonna go dark, that heaven’s gonna turn tah hell, and then we’s done for,” he replied, listening to the trucks engine clatter. The RPM gauge worked decently well, so when Zack saw the needle popping up and down between five hundred RPM’s to three thousand and back, he knew it was past time to get some work done on it.
He knew he also wanted to feel Hazel’s massive set of jugs again, so when she asked to drive out to see the old man sitting at the t-intersection in exchange for whatever he wanted, he readily agreed.
Now here they sat. To their right; cornfield. Fifty acres of Jeremiah’s finest. Still months from harvesting, but it was all Zack could do to not jump out, rip a cob off and just eat it raw. Jeremiah often bragged about his farming prowess, and for once Zack wasn’t going to call the man out for making up some bullshit.
Straight ahead; the dirt road. It stretched out for another twelve miles before it crossed over into the states jurisdiction and became paved.
To their left; the other section of dirt road. It travelled away, surrounded by wheat fields and cows.
And sitting there facing the corn field was old man Abraham.
He had hauled a wooden chair out to the intersection years before the red stop sign had even been installed.
Now he sat, day in and day out, long piece of wheat sticking out of his cracked lips. His cowboy hat was three sizes too big and his jean overalls hung loosely around his leather-bound frame.
Having never worn a shirt a day in his life, the sun had done a number on his skin.
But there he sat. Whether kids raced by him, spraying him with dust or rocks, whether the ladies from the church brought him lemonade and begged him to repent his sinful thoughts, he sat. Abraham wasn’t moving for no one.
As he daydreamed about the crazy old man, Zack heard the passenger door close and he realized Hazel had exited the truck. She was now walking towards the senior.
“Ah, fuck a duck,” he exclaimed as he climbed out, not even taking the time to turn the truck off.
As he jogged to catch up, he heard Hazel start to talk to the old man.
“Hey mister, whatcha doing?”
Abraham turned and studied her for a minute. Zack thought she’d make quite a study. Forty years old, straggly bleach blonde hair, eight kids from eight daddies, her stomach hanging out from the bottom of her tank top, looking like it might devour her short jean skirt. Hazel had already removed her dentures in the truck, prepping for some fun with Zack, so now her words were terse when spoken.
“Hey mister, don’t mean ya no harm. Just curious about you sitting here in the sun’s all.”
At this Zack saw the man’s body relax and he turned to look at the duo.
“Doing my wife’s bidding, if you two must know. See’s that there?” He pointed to the clear, cloudless blue sky above. They both nodded.
“Just before she died and cancer claimed another one of its victims she said, ‘Abraham, look to the sky. For when the world ends the beasts will come from above.’ So now’s I wait. They’re a comin’, I’m sure of that.”
Then ole Abraham turned back to the corn, leaving Hazel and Zack with their mouths hanging open.
When they got back in the truck, Zack finally spoke.
“Well, there it is. He’s crazy. I didn’t the stories were true but…”
Hazel began to rapidly shake Zack’s arm, getting his attention.
“What the fuck woman?” He asked but then saw what she was pointing at.
Old man Abraham was now kneeling on the dirt road, arms extended above, as though waiting on an angelic hug.
“The sky…” Hazel whispered, still shaking his arm, “It’s turning black.”
Zack craned his neck over to see what she was yammering on about and sure enough, the once pristine sky was now completely covered in the darkest, thickest clouds Zack had ever seen.
“We need to leave,” he said, but didn’t move. They sat there as the sky opened up and the first rain in two months fell upon them. They didn’t move when Abraham stripped naked and began to ‘bathe’ himself with gravel, making his thin skin slice open and bleed. And they didn’t leave when the lightning began to pierce the clouds and then stab the land all around them.
Zack thought Mother Nature was putting on quite the show. Then Hazel began to scream. She screamed so loudly the rear-view mirror cracked and Zack was convinced his ear nearest her had burst. Hazel screamed to such an extent that her voice box shredded and blood poured forth from her mouth, drenching her shirt and cleavage.
Zack didn’t care. For he was fixated on what Hazel was screaming at.
The clouds above Abraham, the nude, bleeding nut-job had parted. From that opening a dozen massive tentacles had descended, the enormous, round suckers flexing and opening, searching for contact.
When they finally arrived at Abraham, he embraced their communion, even as the thick hook within punctured his body.
As the man was hoisted skyward Zack simply sat, staring in disbelief, Abraham’s screams growing quiet as he ascended.
The man’s wife had been right. And as the skies opened and more and more tentacles came to end the world, Zack looked to the sky as well. Zack looked for his saviour to come and pluck him from obscurity.
Copyright Steve Stred 2019