NightHarvest

Night Harvest: Professions by Ashly Nagrant

Posted by on Oct 25, 2015 in Night Harvest, NightHarvest | 0 comments

Night Harvest: Professions by Ashly Nagrant

Welcome to the Night Harvest. For the entire month of October, we’ll be featuring scary stories and illustrations from talented authors and artists around the globe. I hope you stay awhile. After all, the Night Harvest is quite a scream. You can see the live list of participants and their posts dates on this link.   Follow the buzz on twitter using the official hashtag #NightHarvest. Oh, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!     Professions by Ashly Nagrant   Kate May Callihan could not believe how bad the parking was year after year. You would think, she told herself silently, that they had been doing this long enough that they’d know how to route traffic and supply ample places for the people attending over the October weekend.  But with limited lots and street parking, plus road closings, coming here on Saturday evening was difficult. But Saturday night was always the best night to be at the annual Harvest Street Fair. Even if she’d been forced to come alone this year.  Her husband had refused to join her and look at “all that crap people drag out and charge you too much for” and with her daughter away she was by herself.  If she’d have known this was going to be an issue, she might have extended an invitation to some of her coworkers to join her.  They worked together in a tightly knit office at the local college, nothing academic, she was always quick to assure people.  Just managing paperwork and taking calls.  The sort of easy work most people could appreciate.  And of course, since her daughter was attending another branch of the same college, it meant her tuition was paid in full.  Really, what more could she ask for? It took her roughly five minutes to walk from her car to the well-lit parklet that served as the center of the festival.  A great white bandstand dominated the area, and a group of young women could already be seen setting up instruments and speakers.  But mostly Kate May was paying attention to the people around her, what they were selling, what they were eating and what they were wearing.  The scent of grease and dough and kettle corn filled the air and drew her around to the little stalls set up and filled with all kinds of handmade goods. She was busy looking over a booth full of quilts with Bible quotes embroidered on them when a familiar, thin voice called out her name.  “Miss Katie May!” Her head jerked up and she saw a short man in jeans and a t-shirt with the slogan “Gun Control Means Holding It With Both Hands” walking her way, accompanied by a taller woman in a purple sweatshirt covered in embroidered butterflies.  Kate May responded with a slightly forced smile.  “Kenny!  Annie!” “Fancy meeting you here!” Annie said, something about her voice always sounding slow and paused.  “Whatcha doing?” “Oh, just looking around, enjoying myself,” Kate May said. “Looking at some arts and crafts?” Kenny asked, the lilt to his voice slightly mocking as always, as if he couldn’t help but make it clear he thought he was speaking down to anyone around him. Kate May looked back to the booth as if she’d forgotten what was there.  “Distracting myself,” she said.  “Trying not to cheat on my diet.” “Oh but you gotta cheat,” Annie encouraged.  “C’mon, they have all kindsa good stuff.  Did you know they deep fry Oreos now?  Who thought of that?  That’s crazy.” Before Kate May could say something, anything else, another voice entered...

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Night Harvest: Blood Moon by Jamie Adams

Posted by on Oct 24, 2015 in Night Harvest, NightHarvest | 0 comments

Night Harvest: Blood Moon by Jamie Adams

Welcome to the Night Harvest. For the entire month of October, we’ll be featuring scary stories and illustrations from talented authors and artists around the globe. I hope you stay awhile. After all, the Night Harvest is quite a scream. You can see the live list of participants and their posts dates on this link.   Follow the buzz on twitter using the official hashtag #NightHarvest. Oh, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!     Blood Moon by Jamie Adams October 31 There’s a legend in Wellsey that if you stand outside under a full blood moon at midnight on the third and final night of Hadris, the harvest festival, you’ll become immortal. Nobody has ever disproved it – who would want to risk accidental immortality on the off chance the legend is correct? Besides my family, I mean. Grandma did it first, seventy years ago. She’s 84 now and wrinkled as a deflated balloon, but as cranky and sharp-tongued as ever so – experiment inconclusive. My two aunts did it on their fifteenth birthdays, so like a ninny, my mom did it when her turn came too. And then again, when she was 20 and wanted to make sure my Dad would be as immortal as she is, if that comes to pass. Next was my brother, then my sister. Now me. Tonight it’s my turn to test the legend for myself. Not that I’m alarmed. We’re still waiting to see if someone in our family will get around to dying, and if they do die we’ll still have to wait to see if they come back, so the whole thing appears pretty unremarkable. But no one has ever come through unscathed. Grandma has a scar from her left temple to her chin. Mom took up smoking after that first time, and her hands always shake. Dad roams endlessly. He’s only been home a total of six months, give or take, in my life. Maybe I wouldn’t worry so much about them, since these changes happened before I was born and all I have for evidence is stories. But I saw my brother go overnight from a boy who wanted nothing but a farm to an embezzler and thief. My sister started a business in the garage, and ever since there’s been a steady parade of black SUVs and men wearing suits and earpieces all around town. They never make a move towards her, though. So any other idiot would look at these bits and pieces, these people with messed up lives and a clear trail back to a night under the moon and figure out maybe they should give Hadris and the blood moon both a wide berth. Unfortunately, I’m the kind of idiot who can see the answer in front of me and still NEED to know it for myself. This is the record. For later – just in case. Caddie Matthews Fort Walsh, Idaho       I fold the envelope and stuff it under my mattress. The last thing I need is someone finding it before tonight – or ever, really, because the odds are I’m just being dramatic. I’ve had every female lead Fort Walsh High has ever had, so I’m decent at being dramatic when the moment is right. But I’m also very good at being prepared. I sling my backpack over my shoulder and tip down the steep, narrow stairs from my attic bedroom to the kitchen. Silas is already there, warming his hands by the refurbished pot belly stove in the corner. The red checkered curtains at the windows...

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Night Harvest: The Soul Maze by Jamie Corrigan

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Night Harvest, NightHarvest, Writing | 0 comments

Night Harvest: The Soul Maze by Jamie Corrigan

Welcome to the Night Harvest. For the entire month of October, we’ll be featuring scary stories and illustrations from talented authors and artists around the globe. I hope you stay awhile. After all, the Night Harvest is quite a scream. You can see the live list of participants and their posts dates on this link.   Follow the buzz on twitter using the official hashtag #NightHarvest. Oh, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!     The Soul Maze by Jamie Corrigan   I must have listened to the voice mail a hundred times already since Saturday. My phone hadn’t rang, but right after the first truck rolled into town I heard the familiar chirp. The one that usually indicates Aisha or my parents have called and I’ve somehow missed it. But the growly voice barking out the invitation wasn’t what I expected—and yet it was. My thumb slides over the replay button. “This is it. No more,” I vow again. After this, I’ll wait until nine and walk through the maze, my girlfriend Aisha beside me for protection just in case people are wrong about the legends. “Pumpkin Festival. Center of the Maze. Nine-thirty PM. Don’t be late.” Boop! This time I stick to it and put my cell away. “Lissa, are you still doing it?” Aisha glares at me from the doorway. Her almond eyes are sunken in from days of no sleep. She’s tried to conceal them under layers of makeup, but it’s useless. Not even the added purple to her raven braids can pull attention away from the panda look she’s been sporting lately. “You okay, Babe?” “Lissa, stop dodging.” My hand slides to the spot beside me, “You look tired.” Aisha picks at her nails, a clear sign I’m pushing it. “Lissa, answer me.” “I don’t know. Maybe.” “Sweetie, it isn’t going to say something else magically the next time you listen to it.” “It might. You don’t know how magic works.” Aisha shakes her head and walks over to me. She gently kisses my lips as she sits down on my bed beside me . “Magic,” she says, pulling out her phone, “isn’t why we got the message.” The moment I’d told her about mine I found out she got the same one. While I’m convinced it’s the real deal, Aisha’s not exactly on board. “This has setup written all over.” She pulls one of her tiny braids through her teeth and nips it. After a few seconds of awkward silence, she releases it, saying, “We talked about this, Lissa. You know I’m right.” I don’t blame her after how our old friends reacted when we started dating. The names and shoving were horrible. School’s not exactly our favorite place anymore, but I still can’t imagine them going this far to prank us. It just doesn’t make sense to me no matter how many times she says it’s true. Finally I grasp onto why it’s bugging me. “They don’t know about what we think about the legends, Aisha.” “Idiots don’t have to know you’re into something to use it against you. Lissa, haven’t you watched the news? People are crazy and think their way is the ONLY way.” “But—” “But nothing. We’re not going to this thing.” Aisha stands, keeping her back to me as she adds, “And if you even think you’re going…” I reach for her hand, hoping I can talk her into it one last time. “Babe, seventy-five years. It’s been forever since someone from our county has been asked to be part of the Skeleton Club.” “Lissa, stop.” “And...

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Night Harvest: The Smell of a Pumpkin’s Insides by Ryan Bartlett

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in Night Harvest, NightHarvest, Writing | 2 comments

Night Harvest: The Smell of a Pumpkin’s Insides by Ryan Bartlett

Welcome to the Night Harvest. For the entire month of October, we’ll be featuring scary stories and illustrations from talented authors and artists around the globe. I hope you stay awhile. After all, the Night Harvest is quite a scream. You can see the live list of participants and their posts dates on this link.   Follow the buzz on twitter using the official hashtag #NightHarvest. Oh, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!     The Smell of a Pumpkin’s Insides by Ryan Bartlett   Title: The Smell of a Pumpkin’s Insides   Media: charcoal/pastel   Ryan Bartlett is an artist based out of Orange, California who specializes in detailed works done in charcoal and mixed media. Ryan has participated in previous Pen & Muse showcases and you may find them here (The Dark Carnival), here (12 Days of Christmas), and the Pen & Muse Haunt. He’s also been a featured artist at HorrorCon International. For shows, commissions, or other inquiries, private message or email ryanbartlettart at yahoo dot com. Facebook Instagram   Giveaway Anyone may enter the giveaway. This includes the artist and writers contributing to the Night Harvest, as well as the readers of the stories. Enjoy! a Rafflecopter...

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Night Harvest: You Reap What You Sow by Faith McKay

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Night Harvest, NightHarvest, Writing | 3 comments

Night Harvest: You Reap What You Sow by Faith McKay

Welcome to the Night Harvest. For the entire month of October, we’ll be featuring scary stories and illustrations from talented authors and artists around the globe. I hope you stay awhile. After all, the Night Harvest is quite a scream. You can see the live list of participants and their posts dates on this link.   Follow the buzz on twitter using the official hashtag #NightHarvest. Oh, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!     You Reap What You Sow by Faith McKay   Life’s different after you die. Tougher in some ways, easier in others. The realities were tougher, but she was better able to understand the bigger picture, which made it easier. That kind of viewpoint made her lonelier, that’s for sure. She was growing used to it, she thought. As used to it as she was likely to get, anyway. There was something about October that had her feeling more right than she had since coming back from the dead. The harsh heat and summer excitement had felt so separate from herself. A cold October night felt like her world. This was the life she was made for now. Julie was an October girl. Nicki, however, was all summer. This was not her place. Goosebumps erupted over her skin, like summer boiling up under the tan surface. Her sundress had actual sunflowers on it. Her ponytail was sleek and shiny, even in the dark. She wore boots, though; her only concession to the cold. Julie shrugged her shoulders, falling deeper into the fabric she was cocooned in. A messy bun, an oversized coat, and an enormous scarf snuggling around the bottom half of her face: this was what autumn was good for. “You look like a homeless person.” Of course, there were other schools of thought. “I thought you were my best friend, not my mother.” “If you had a mother who told you these things, I wouldn’t have to.” Nicki was right: Julie’s mother never would have said that to her. Julie’s mother was nice. “And those scorpions you drew on yourself!” Julie pulled her hands from her pockets to show them off. “You’re just jealous because I could do the backs of both of my hands.” If you couldn’t make your friends jealous, what was the point of being ambidextrous? “Yes, and I’ll be very jealous when you’re poisoned from the ink in your skin.” “That’s an urban myth.” “Are you sure? Because I wouldn’t be willing to bet my life on that.” “Google it.” “Yes, and I’ll bet my life on what the internet says. Grow a brain, Julie. Seriously.” Nicki stopped and turned around. “And what are you doing now?” She was poking one of the pumpkins lining the path with the toe of her boot. “They’re uncarved,” she said. It was so sad. “Who throws a harvest festival and doesn’t even carve the pumpkins?” “We can go,” Nicki offered. “Please don’t start with that.” “I’m just saying, we don’t have to do this. We drove two hours to get to this harvest festival, and you’re already sad.” She threw her arms up in exasperation. She knew she was wrong: Julie did have to do this. Nicki was never going to say that, though. She’d believe everything else, but never that Julie didn’t have a choice. Nicki thought she could argue her way out of anything. “What’s even the point of all this if it’s going to make you sad?” Nicki was trying. She’d gotten meaner lately. Not that she was ever nice. The effort of trying so hard to...

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Night Harvest: The Scarecrow Murders by Tori Centanni

Posted by on Oct 16, 2015 in Night Harvest, NightHarvest, Writing | 2 comments

Night Harvest: The Scarecrow Murders by Tori Centanni

Welcome to the Night Harvest. For the entire month of October, we’ll be featuring scary stories and illustrations from talented authors and artists around the globe. I hope you stay awhile. After all, the Night Harvest is quite a scream. You can see the live list of participants and their posts dates on this link.   Follow the buzz on twitter using the official hashtag #NightHarvest. Oh, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!     The Scarecrow Murders by Tori Centanni The town of Pinewood almost decided to cancel the Annual Harvest Festival after the second body was found. Paige was glad they hadn’t, although she was relieved to see that the familiar scarecrow that usually greeted revelers was absent from the festival entrance this year. Keeping it would have been tacky, in light of things. “This feels skeevy,” Lainey whispered, as they made their way through the parking lot. The festival was held in the same fairground as always, with haystack rides on one end and apple-bobbing and pumpkin carving on the other. In between, booths selling things like homemade pickles and hand-knit potholders filled the space. At the back would be the usual row of carnival games and food vendors selling fried dough and pumpkin spice kettle corn. The field was lit up with stadium lights even though the sun hadn’t set yet. Pinewood’s Harvest Festival was a  tradition and Paige was happy that they weren’t letting some murderer ruin it. Lainey, though, was having doubts. “It’s like we’re celebrating her death.” “It’s not like that at all,” Paige argued. She’d worked on Lainey all day at school to convince her to come and now that they were here, she didn’t want their date to fall apart. “It’s all about money,” said a familiar voice. She turned and saw Noah behind them. He wore a “Future Corporate Slave” t-shirt. He had a sweatshirt slung over his arm, no doubt to wear when his uncle, who ran the hay rides, told him the shirt was inappropriate. “You know how much Pinewood makes from this thing? People come from all of the neighboring towns. A few murders isn’t going to keep them from cashing in. Hell, the publicity is probably helping. Wouldn’t be surprised if it was the Mayor himself stringing people up—“ “God, Noah, stop. Emma is dead,” Lainey said, giving him a hard look. Noah shrugged. “And yet life goes on.” He gestured to the giant orange-lettered “Annual Pinewood Harvest Festival” banner that hung over the entrance. Mrs. Nelson, the former school librarian who’d retired at the end of last year, was taking cash from the people in line. A discarded knitting project sat on the table near the cashbox. The line was impressive, about twenty people deep. Noah shook his head, pushed past them, and waved to Mrs. Nelson as he went in. Since he was working the hay rides, he didn’t have to pay the ten dollar admission fee. “He’s such a cynical prick,” Paige said. “He’s not wrong,” Lainey said. She shifted uncomfortably and glanced back toward her car. She wore jeans, a green Pinewood High Lacrosse hoodie, and had pulled her strawberry blonde hair into a messy ponytail. She’d forgone makeup because of all the crying she’d been doing. Emma hadn’t been their best friend or anything but all three of them had had classes together. Paige’s grief had manifested as a brick in her gut that weighed her down. Lainey, like many others at school, cried a lot. “Let’s just take one lap around, get some funnel cake, and then if you’re...

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