13 Stories to Scare You to Death, p.1James Comins
13 STORIES TO SCARE YOU TO DEATH
by James Comins
by James Comins
13 Stories to Scare You to Death
Copyright 2013 James Comins
Cover image by George Hodan. Public domain.
Thank you for downloading this eBook. This book is the sole property of the author. It may be excerpted or reproduced for non-commercial purposes. Your support and respect for the property of this author is appreciated.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, places, events or locales is purely coincidental.
Table of Contents
Acknowlogies and Apoledgements
About the Author
Have you ever been so scared you couldn’t move?
Has there ever been something there in the dark, waiting for you?
Has your shadow ever turned to look at you?
Has the wind ever sighed through the treetops like a forgotten soul?
Has your face in the mirror ever seemed particularly dead?
Has there ever been someone right outside the door, holding an ax?
Have you ever been more alone?
Bravery is the willingness to walk straight into your fear. It requires nothing but a pair of legs and a heart. Remember that if fear gets in your way.
Peter had just moved into the new house. It was a small house, and there wasn’t a second bedroom downstairs, so he helped his parents push his mattresses--why were there two mattresses for every bed?--up the wooden stairs to the attic. It was going to be his new bedroom. The door seemed very stiff when he first opened it, and the floor was covered in dust.
"We’ll clean it up tomorrow, or maybe the day after," his mother said, straightening the mattresses on the metal bedframe. "In the meantime, you’ll have to make do. You’ll be okay sleeping here for one night, right?"
The ceiling was a mess of cobwebs. They were as thick as woollen blankets and hung like bunting from the wooden beams that criscrossed the space. There was, Peter thought, a faint scuttling sound coming from them. The pointed roof was very low, and the beams were only a few feet above his head when he sat on the bed.
"You can put posters up all over the place," his mother told him, lifting a cobweb with two fingers like it was a curtain. "There’s plenty of room for toys."
It was warm up here, Peter thought, and there was that scuttling again.
For the rest of the day, Peter helped carry boxes with cardboard handles--"Lift with your knees, not with your back," his father said--into the downstairs and wondered whether Ryan or Sam would be able to come visit soon.
"Bedtime," his mother said at the end of the day, after he brushed his teeth and put the dishes in the dishwasher.
Each stair had its own sound. One went creeeek, one went rock, one went brrrr. The plain wood door to the attic was stuck again, and when he finally got it open, pulling really hard on the sticky hinges, he noticed deep scratches on the back of the door, the side facing his bed.
His mother kissed him goodnight, but Peter asked if his dad could come up and hug him goodnight, too.
"Daddy’s at the hardware store, buying paint, but he’ll come up when he gets home," his mother told him.
She switched off the light and left, shutting the door. The attic was plunged into darkness.
Peter lay back on his bed, patting the familiar car-and-truck sheets, pulling his arms inside his pajama sleeves. He stared up into the darkness.
Cobwebs swung from the ceiling, although there wasn’t any wind at all in here. What was making them swing? He hopped out of bed, wishing he had slippers. There were nails and splinters in the dusty bare wood floor, and he had to take each step very carefully. He made his way to the windows, but they didn’t open. The windows were three-paned, but the outside pane was so cloudy that he could only see through to the second pane.
The window was full of spiders.
They were all alive. They were tiny, black, crawling over each other. On each one’s belly was a red hourglass.
Peter scrambled backward to his bed. A dozen splinters squeezed into his bare feet. Why didn’t he think to wear socks to bed?
His bed was safe. Jumping, he landed on it, bounced, and curled up, pulling the covers over his head. A tent. Here he was safe. Wishing he had a flashlight, he pulled his foot around, sole up, and located slivers one by one, trying to figure out which side of the sliver to tug on with his fingernails. Why did his mom make him clip his nails so often? He couldn’t get a good grip on the splinters.
The first eight-legged shape dropped onto the sheets. He could hear it go tap as it landed. It was a wiry shadow on the other side of his car-blanket tent. It was larger than the ones in the window.
He stayed very still. The splinters in his feet felt like white-hot spikes when he couldn’t move to get at them. But maybe the spider didn’t know he was there.
The second spider landed on his other side. He didn’t move. He couldn’t. If he moved, they’d know he was there.
Chancing a quick look past the covers, Peter saw, coming down off the rafters, a blizzard of descending black shapes and red hourglasses.
* * *
Peter’s father set down the cans of paint in a neat row along the garage wall, opened the door to the house and clomped up the stairs in his work boots. He ought to hug Peter goodnight.
The door was stuck. Hmm. Must be something gumming up the hinges, he figured.
Twisting on the doorhandle and pulling as hard as he could, Peter’s father finally popped the door open.
The only thing inside was a big white sticky cocoon, some fresh scratches in the door, and a bed with car-and-truck sheets.
"Daddy, would you buy me a pony for my birthday?"
Ryan rolled his eyes as his sister begged for a pony for the third birthday in a row--plus Christmases. Duh, nobody actually gets a pony for their birthday. Jenny was such a little girl. She didn’t know anything.
So when Jenny’s birthday rolled around, and their dad told her to come outside to the big backyard, Ryan figured she’d got a new plastic playset or swings, and maybe he’d get to swing on them when she wasn’t looking.
Instead, what he found when he slipped past the crowd of little girls carrying paper plates piled with cake and ice cream, was a pony.
A pony. It was chestnut brown, with a long mane and a flowing tail and eyes that seemed to follow Ryan, like it was thinking something.
His sister ran up to the animal and wrapped herself around its leg. She squealed with delight. She acted like a total girl.
"Baby pony, you’re my favorite! I love you forever, baby pony."
Ryan went back inside and took a piece of cake. It was a corner piece, with a B for birthday written in frosting.
For the next week, his sister acted so unbearable. She pranced all around the house shouting, "I’ve got a pony, I’ve got a pony." A curry comb got waved in Ryan’s face all the time. Jenny spent most of every day in the backyard, brushing the pony, braiding and re-braiding its mane and talking to it.
Ryan decided she’d crossed the line when she convinced their dad to make disposable diapers for the horse, so that it could come inside and stand on the living room carpet. She opened the sliding glass door, and the pony came inside. It stood on the living room carpet in the way of
Its eyes were black and seemed to stare through him, as if filled with horrible thoughts.
"Get your stupid pony away from the TV set!" Ryan called to his sister up the stairs.
"He’s got as much right to be there as you do!" she shouted back.
"No he doesn’t!"
Ryan slid the TV off its stand and huddled on the floor with it in the far corner of the living room, watching shows.
It was when bedtime came around that the real problems started, however.
Ryan’s house was old, and the doors never quite shut all the way. A good bump would make his bedroom door open unexpectedly with a terrifying creeeeaaak. Jenny loved to wake him up by stepping on the floorboards the right way. He’d had to get Dad to make her promise to let him sleep.
The pony didn’t know the rules.
Aside from the clomping of its hooves, it always wanted to be near to Jenny, it seemed. So all night long, it walked back and forth in front of her bedroom, opening his door over and over. Ryan woke up, like, six times, only to see one huge eye peering in at him through the open bedroom door.
"Daaaddd," he finally shouted. "Make Jenny put her horse away."
"Mff," their dad said. "Honey? Could you tell the fella to leave your brother alone?"
"Just get a doorstop from downstairs!" Jenny yelled irritably from her bed.
Ryan got the dog-shaped doorstop and stuck it against the inside of his bedroom door. Finally he got some sleep.
All the next day, Jenny hugged the nose of the pony and whispered things in its ear.
"What are you telling your horse?" Ryan asked.
"It’s not a horse, it’s a pony," Jenny replied.
"What are you telling him?"
"I’m telling him all about what an awful brother I’ve got," she said.
Ryan glared at the horse, then went out to see whether there was anyone at the park to play baseball with.
That night, when it was bedtime, he put the dog doorstop against the inside of his door and played a last round of video game basketball and got in bed.
Clomp. Clomp. Clack, his door popped open.
Creeeeek, the old door swung inward. The dog doorstop slid on the carpet. Pushed.
Two huge eyes and a chestnut nose looked in at him.
"Jenny get your horse out of my room!" he shouted at the wall between their bedrooms.
"He’s fine!" she shouted back sleepily.
"He’s in my room!"
Clomp. Clomp. In the thin rays of light from the streetlight outside, the black eyes seemed to glow with a terrible intelligence.
The pony stood over him, a huge chestnut nose and a brown face like the bullet to a giant’s gun.
It just stared at him.
"Jenny!" he shouted.
"Do it yourself!" she shouted back.
The horse opened its huge mouth in what looked like the biggest yawn in the world. Teeth like steel shards glinted in the shafts of light through the blinds.
The mouth opened wide, wider, widest, and dropped onto him and bit.
"JENNY IT’S BITING ME! DAD, HELP!" he screamed.
His dad muttered to himself and came shuffling in. Jenny was right behind him.
With both hands Ryan tried to push the horse away, but its lips grabbed his arm and bit through the skin.
"DAD! IT’S KILLING ME!" he shouted.
Their dad grabbed the horse from behind, but two hind legs caught him right in the forehead.
"Baby pony, I told you to kill my brother, not my dad," Jenny scolded.
The pony looked remorseful as it resumed chewing Ryan’s arm. Blood began to pour from his blood vessels, and the animal changed its attention to his neck. It was too strong for him to resist, no matter how Ryan punched and kicked and struggled.
Hot grass breath was the last thing he ever smelled, and his sister’s satisfied grin was the last thing he ever saw.
It had been a year since Hannah lost her last baby tooth.
She’d counted them. Thirty-two teeth had fallen out of her head. And she’d used every trick to get them out, too. Tying a string around them, biting into every apple she could find, even just grabbing with three fingers, taking a deep breath, and tugging. She knew every inch of the dangling bits of bright red skin that hung from her jaws. She knew the distance you could twist a loose tooth, exactly, before it came off. She knew that if you spent a day or two wobbling a tooth back and forth like a swing on a swingset, it would come off easier later.
And every time she started to feel those three bumps that meant an adult tooth was coming in, Hannah felt more and more disappointed. That was one less tooth she’d ever get to tug out.
Finally all her baby teeth were gone and all her adult teeth but one had showed up. The last was still just three bumps inside the indented trough of her gums.
Hannah needed more teeth to pull out.
In front of the full-length mirror on the inside of the bathroom door, Hannah examined her teeth. They were bright white, with one gap with a glimmer of white and another just about finished coming in. In her hand were thirty-two little white teeth. Hannah steadfastly refused to give the tooth fairy anything. These belonged to her.
More teeth to pull out.
With two fingers she started working one of her brand-new adult teeth back and forth.
She knew all the tricks.
Just start by rocking it back and forth. Just get it loose. It hurt, but Hannah had a trick for that, too.
Her mom had a tube of liquid benzocaine, and if you rubbed it all over your teeth, you could pull them out without any pain.
She went and got the tube.
There was a cold, nasty, electric feeling. Then nothing.
Over the next hour and a half, Hannah worked her front upper-left tooth until it came loose.
At last it was ready for tugging.
She tied a string around it.
She tied the string to the spiral twangy doorstopper.
Her first adult tooth to add to her collection. It was much bigger than the baby teeth, and there was much more blood, but she was used to having blood in her mouth. That was normal.
Over the next two weeks, she got them out one by one when her parents weren’t around. They were never around. When her parents were around, she smiled with her mouth closed.
Tug. Her collection kept getting bigger.
Checking her mom’s scheduler, she found her next dentist’s appointment. It was four months away.
Good. They wouldn’t find out.
A month later her mouth was empty. The last tooth lay bleeding in her hand. She hid her mom’s numbing gel back where she found it. There was a dull throb in the back of her mouth. Blotting the blood with a paper towel, she set her adult back left molar in her cloth bag and looked at her pink scabby gums.
Nothing to do until her wisdom teeth came in. Hannah went back to her room, her bag of teeth jingling.
The next morning she gummed her way through breakfast very quietly, then ran up to the bathroom to look in the mirror again.
Her tongue ran over her gums. What was . . . ?
There were ridges in her gums. Almost as if . . .
But you only got to change your teeth once. Didn’t you?
There was no way to make her new teeth hurry up, Hannah finally decided, so she went about her day, anxious to see what was going to come in.
The next day felt like Christmas morning. She ran to the mirror and found new teeth starting to come in. They were sharp along the edge. The day after, she could see a jagged line of white.
Peering at herself in horror, she touched the strange new teeth with a fingertip. All of them were sharp and flat like front teeth, but their edges weren’t just
After a few days they had really started to show up. Every morning she woke up with serrated knife marks on the sides of her tongue which really hurt. The inside of her cheeks seemed to be getting chewed in the night. On the fourth day, her cheek was actually bleeding when she woke.
These new teeth were no good. Time to get out the numbing gel and the string.
These spike teeth were pretty easy to wobble back and forth. You could twist them, too, since they were all flat. But their roots seemed to be thicker than regular adult teeth. They were stubborn.
Hannah got them out, though. It was what she was good at. Thirty-two triple-spiked teeth.
It was a week before the next set showed up.
It began with a change in the way her gums felt.
Crusty hard spots began to show up on her gums like barnacles. Gradually the barnacles multiplied until they stretched from one side of her gums to the other. To a fingertip they felt the way a rocky seashore feels just below the waterline: smooth, but hard and slimy, too.
The troughs in the middle of her gums gradually connected.
After a few days, two teeth began to show up.
One on top, one on bottom. Each tooth was a semicircle of white enamel stretching from one side of her mouth to the other. For hours she stood staring at her mouth, which looked like a shining donkey’s smile.
She got to work.
At this point her dentist’s appointment was about two weeks away.
Now that her gums had hardened solid, most of her tricks weren’t of much use. The benzocaine gel didn’t seem to penetrate, so it hurt to wiggle the two huge teeth. It was like her own body was trying to stop her from getting her teeth out.
Instead she took it slower, ignoring the stinging as she worked the one big tooth on top back and forth. It was no good, though. It was cemented by too many roots to work it out, at least not all at once.
Over the next few days, she kept at it, but something else happened, too. The two teeth kept growing. They wouldn’t stop. Bumping up against one another, they made her open her mouth wider than usual to eat.
One week until her dentist appointment. Her parents still noticed nothing; she had tricks for dealing with them, too. Tricks like not talking to them and staying in her room all day.
13 Stories to Scare You to Death by James Comins / Horror have rating 3 out of 5 / Based on18 votes