Happy 2023! It’s almost release day for a series of horror short stories revolving around Friday the 13th. I will be sharing each story on my post, one per day. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Brenda Clark Thomas with her story, The Surrogate…
I got the idea for my story after I did research on abandoned asylums. I learned that some of those places had back exits where they rolled coffins down a tunnel and into waiting hearses in order for the patients not to see how many people were dying.
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When Heather’s sister goes missing, she enters a photo contest to pay for a detective, but gets trapped in the abandoned sanatorium she’s photographing. An apparition with information appears but refuses to share until Heather agrees to do something she’s never dared to do.
Ashley ran through the front doors, picked her way down the cleared stairs, and into the morgue. The flashlight’s beam hit the wall, and then the plaster littered floor. It moved in an arc and lit the bag and tripod. She swept the beam across the room. The camera lay on its side by the medicine cabinet. She walked over and picked it up.
The morgue door slammed shut.
Screaming, she ran to it, yanked the metal handle, and pounded. “Help! Help! I can’t get out!”
She raced to the window and climbed up on the chair. The police car, fire truck, and ambulance bounced down the road and out of sight.
How could they leave her like this? But then Ronnie Carpenter wasn’t the brightest. He was probably too busy trying to get in front of that firetruck with his lights and siren to think of anything else.
She sat beside the rucksack and started to cry. Her parents thought she was spending the night with Heather. No one would realize she was missing until tomorrow. For now, she was stuck in the basement.
Wait, the bum had escaped through the coffin chute, so maybe she could get out that way too. But what if he were hiding in there? Or there were snakes?
She swept the flashlight across the room and shuddered at the blood-smeared cement. Three black feathers lay in a pile. Someone performed voodoo in this room.
The camera came on all by itself. She picked it up, then stared in disbelief. The preview screen showed a transparent hand and fingers touching the basement wall.
The camera flipped to the next shot of a ghostly child barely discernable in the gloom.
The picture changed again. This time the face of the snarling bum with wicked eyes glared at her.
“Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God.”
She switched the camera off and sat listening to the wind rattling the leaves outside the hole in the window. Clenching her teeth to keep them from chattering, she wrapped her arms around herself. She’d have to go through the tunnel, even if he were out there somewhere. It was better than staying here.
Far down the coffin chute, the rusty spring creaked as the door opened. Footsteps limped down the shaft.
Step. Slide. Step. Slide.
The bum jumped down into the room.
She swung the flashlight’s beam onto the man. A dirty, blood-soaked rag covered one eye.
He slapped his palm with a pipe. “Brandon said you was purty. Yessir, He was right. My little blondie.”
Brenda Clark Thomas is the 2020 fiction runner-up of the prestigious Poets and Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. She writes speculative fiction with a literary bent. Most recently, she’s concentrated on writing horror. Her flash fiction, “The Fire Man,” is slated to appear in a Crystal Lake Publishing anthology soon.
Find all 13 stories at this link: A Friday the 13th Story #3