The first time the beast came to the village was by accident. He had simply lost his way.
However, once he learned the townspeople were willing to feed him one of their own each year, gradually incorporating more festivities and rituals into his visits, the beast vowed to keep returning.
Ran Walker is the award-winning author of seventeen books. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University in Virginia.
As the clock struck midnight, ushering in my fiftieth birthday, the friends I’d been playing D&D with since middle school learned I was no longer the same person.
To be fair, one of them wasn’t surprised. I absorbed him first, while the others thought we were still playing a game.
“When I was little, I dreamed of being a mermaid,” Emily said, “with shiny scales and silky, long, blonde hair. Such a silly fantasy.”
She smiled, revealing fangs, then she lurched away with a flick of her tail, passing beneath the “Beware: Bunyips” sign and slithering back into the billabong.
G.B. Burgess resides in bunyip-infested swampland where she runs a drop bear sanctuary with her pet Thylacine.
“Am I a monster, Mum?”
“Of course not, Franklin. Don’t be silly. Now comb your fur and brush your fangs. Remember to keep sniffing to a minimum and always retract your claws before shaking hands. You don’t want to make a bad impression on your first day at Obedience School.”
John H. Dromey has noticed some fifty-word stories are short and sweet while some are not.
Gus believes the strangest tales, including one that terrifies him—indeed, it’s his motive for never reading—about a pale, shroud-like thing that creeps behind you as you’re distracted, nose in a book, and which, being a courteous psychopath, waits for you to finish your sentence before it kills you.
Graham Robert Scott teaches writing at a university in north Texas. His stories have appeared in Barrelhouse Online, Nature, and 50-Word Stories. See more at hemicyon.wordpress.com.
Two unexpected things happened after Timmy killed the monster under his bed: (1) he ate it (and rather enjoyed it), and (2) he took to hunting the monsters under the beds of other neighborhood kids. After all, someone had to do it—and he’d already developed a rather insatiable appetite.
Ran Walker is the author of sixteen books. He serves on the creative writing faculty of Hampton University in Virginia.
The press pool asks Senator Minotaur why he won’t campaign outside of Florida anymore.
His campaign manager remembers the reporter in Montana who wandered off of a cliff, the reporter in Iowa whose stolen car doubled as his coffin, the reporter in Texas with a smile no stomach should make.
Jesse Bradley wrote this story.
The monster under my bed whispers to me in the dark. Says I’m small, scared, so easy to pull down and rip apart and chew up until I’m nothing but two knuckle bones hanging from a string.
I listen, frozen, until I scream, run.
Mom sighs, says: “Ignore your brother.”
Catherine Ann Fox lives in Indiana with her husband, and enjoys writing all sorts of weird things. Logically, she knows there’s nothing under her bed but boxes, but one can never be too careful, can they?
She waits, in ambush…
Her DNA matches an amber-enveloped relative, one who drew blood from the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
She is of the Clan Culicidae, razor proboscis, a highlander’s blade.
Sweating, hiding undercover, I fall asleep, exposing an ankle. She launches, a creature from a Bram Stoker novel.
Bloodlust… Ectoparasite prevails.
Paul Hock is an author, illustrator, and storyteller. See more of his writing at paulhock.com.
Clouds bulge grey and spit fat drops into my river, slate-grey in reflection. I relish their wanton lack of care, their wild abandon, their unthinking fall and splash.
Then come the bereft, sad, homeless seeking shelter under my bridge.
I welcome them, my teeth razors, my mouth waiting underwater.
Aisling Green wrote this story.