UnCommon Evil brings you 20 of the most horrifying stories our deviant authors' minds can conceive. From the monster under your bed, to the very real reason for that oily sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, our UnCommon Authors bring you a whole new way of looking at the true nature of evil.
My short story contribution to Uncommon Evil: An Old Family Recipe. A year ago, I was asked for 300 words of a short story for a lunatic asylum. I wrote part of the beginning of An Old Family Recipe, then titled Harvest Home. It didn't end up fitting with the lunatic asylum so I wrote something else but kept that bit of the beginning. When I saw that UnCommon Evil was looking for horror, I knew it would be a stretch for me. I don't write horror. I write dark/epic/urban fantasy, where no matter how bad it gets, no matter the peril, the Main character always finds the resources/magic/inner courage to fix the mess. Horror doesn't let me do that. So this was things go bad. And then worse, and then much worse. I was substitute teaching three different classes at a local middle school when I started on this project. And the story just flowed from there. A friend I talked to at a grocery store stopped me that night and cried about her fiancee's death caused by a DUI. The other driver had just gotten acquitted. All of this meshed together into a powerful story of a mother's love and a family that has fallen off of the end of the rope..... Hope you enjoy it.
The Stilton's Never Lie Down.
This was the beginning of An Old Family Recipe, when I first imagined it. Obviously not the same as the current version... but still.. Thought I would share. Where do you think it goes?
Harvest Home Caroline A. Gill
She's afraid. She should be. I warned her. A thousand times. And now... They must be punished. *** I remember that day they returned, clearer than any that proceeded it. Baking pies for my boys. My kitchen knife sliced each yellow and red skinned apple into finger-thick portions. Fruit juice ran down my board, across the counter. The smell of apples and cinnamon filled the house. It was a warmth I had missed all through the summer. The scarecrow guarded the fields, promised full crops, and a rich harvest. With his crude sackcloth head, the straw man scattered the crows and drove the mice from our food. We were grateful. That wasn't enough. It was time. The payment had come due. Our lease on the land, on this life was tenuous, a spiderweb trembling with the slightest breeze. "Francis. Johnny. Timmy. Edward." I pitched my voice high, as I called out the window, out into the fields. My boys. "Dinner!" Sheaves of wheat, rows of corn rustled in the center, nearest the scarecrow. Like moles burrowing through the fertile dirt, my boys came back to me, Edward first. His skin was mostly gone, as were his eyes. Didn’t matter. Not to a mother. "I know that smile anywhere," I cooed. “Edward.” Rushing to hug him, needing to hold him tight, he stood there, bashful as we celebrated his return. "I missed you so. And can you smell? I made you pie. Your favorite." Slobber drooled down his broken neck, pooling on the frayed shirt he still wore. Tousling his hair gently, I encouraged him, "Hurry now. To the house. Before your brothers eat it all." Lumbering away, my Edward headed for our home just as Francis emerged from the cornfield, ragged, hungry. I ran to him, excitement filling me. "Isn't this the best day? The best." I touched my boy again. Another son slouched out of the rows of green and gold, bashful as ever. The knife wound in his chest had turned a dark brittle brown. "Come. Come, all of you. Pies. And a side of turkey. Slaw and rolls. Everything for you. "Welcome home!" *** Gathered around the table, my family ate our yearly meal, together. Archie gulped down the orange juice, rosy cheeks flush with happiness. "Your brothers. All together." I beamed a smile at him, so tiny at the end of the massive table. "Archie, have some turkey. They need as much fresh meat as they can eat. Keeps them strong. Keeps them from fading too soon." For a moment, I just bowed my head in thanks. Together. That was all I could ask anymore. I watched the boys, my sons eat the family feast. Their teeth tore into the pies, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes. With each gulp, I could see their forms rebuilding, pulling the scales of death from their eyes, gifting me back my darling sons.