I was fortunate enough to have a short horror piece published by Flash Fiction Magazine last week. I wrote “You First” in August.
I grew up in a somewhat isolated farmhouse, where (much to my family’s chagrin) the power and telephone frequently went out for long periods. I remember that the mildest thunderstorm often was enough to knock out our utilities. The power and telephone companies rarely had an explanation and certainly took their time restoring service to us. I had been reflecting on those childhood experiences before I started to write this story. The setting for “You First” is essentially my parents’ house, with some elements of my grandparents’ house (which was an even larger, older farmhouse that had a seriously creepy vibe on certain nights). The setting could easily be located in rural Pennsylvania or West Virginia.
“You First” takes place on the remote Hetherington farm, where two local farmhands, James and Pat, are making a routine delivery of hay bales. Their early morning work is interrupted by bizarre sounds from the farmhouse. Concerned for the safety of the elderly Lawrence and Martha Hetherington, James and Pat investigate. The pair encounter a frazzled Martha, who shares that her family has been murdered by a devious entity that she has managed to trap in the basement. James suspects that the old woman has gone mad and murdered her loved ones, but Martha invites the two men to have a look in the basement for themselves.
“You First” is just under 1,000 words. The first draft ran close to 1,500 words. Editing out a third of the content was tricky, but I am satisfied with the result.
Clicking the picture below will take you to “You First” (the picture, by the way, is the actual basement door from my parents’ house). Let me know what you think!