The Madness of March

Yes, there is madness brewing this month of March.

First off – submissions for Chris Allinote’s March Madness ends this Friday, March 4th. Here are the details for that:

“…the rules – any length is great, up to a 2,000 word cap. Submit to chrisallinotte (at) gmail (dot) com with “Madness in March Submission” in the subject line, and your story in the body of the e-mail.”

Secondly – Amazon is deleting reviews! That’s right. They are changing their posting rules. Here’s what Irene Watson from Reader Views had to say:

“I did find out that Amazon is revamping their review posting rules which will eliminate all posts other than those whereby the reviewer can prove that he or she either purchased the book or was given it as a gift. That is…if they comply by the FTC 16 CFR Part 255 that came into effect December 1, 2009.”

You can read the full article here: Amazon Changes Rules on the Go: Affiliates and Reviewers Are Being Dropped

Thirdly – I believe the world is going mad too. Don’t let it get you.

Frosted Glass – Chris Allinotte

The 13 Days of Horror is soon coming to an end, but not without three more fantastically creepy writes, and of course, Chris Allinotte is one of them! He is one of my favorite horror writers, gifted at penning macabre suspense and reeling his readers into the darkness of his haunting conclusions. He has been published in several anthologies and ezines, and will one day walk the halls of esteemed horror novelists.

It is an honor to welcome you the next guest in the 13 Days of Horror, good friend, Chris Allinotte and his terrifying tale, Frosted Glass.

Frosted Glass
By Chris Allinotte

Caroline held the glass ball up to the light again, as if this time it would reveal its secrets. Light penetrated and made it glow, but she just couldn’t make out the thing inside.

On the lower half, there was a crescent-shaped spot that looked like brown fluff, but it was like trying to see through a steamed-up shower door. With a sigh, Caroline lowered the sphere.

When she had purchased the glass globe earlier in the day, Caroline had been looking for a real crystal ball to bring to the next “girl’s night out.” Emmie, Jamie and Trina had all agreed that holding a séance sounded like a lot of fun, and a crystal ball had seemed so much more original than showing up with a Wal-Mart Ouija board. This one had been high up on a shelf in the occult shop, and the rough-looking old woman at the till seemed loathe to part with it, relenting only when Caroline offered to pay double.

Deciding to take a more methodical approach, she removed her sweater and folded it flat on the dining room table, then placed the ball on top. The swatch of brown was still pressed close against the glass. Caroline rotated the ball, and the brown rotated with it. She leaned in close to the surface, and realized that it was definitely fur of some kind.

“What are you?” she asked it, and ran her fingers over the surface of the ball.

At the touch of her hand, the ball began to shimmer in the reflected light from the chandelier. Its surface became less hazy, and the fog seemed to retreat, forming a thick, swirling cloud within. The patch of fur resolved into something that looked a little like an ape, except that it stood erect, and had human proportions. It wasn’t a man or a monkey, but something in between.

There was a tiny thump. The thing had put its hands against the glass. I woke it up, thought Caroline. As she leaned in to take a closer look, it pressed its own face to the wall of its prison. Caroline got the impression of pale skin, hollow eyes, and a leering grin – it saw her. The hands disappeared from the glass, and the figure began to dance a bizarre, manic little jig.

Understanding only that she needed to see more clearly, Caroline picked up the ball. The thing reacted to her touch by increasing its pace, hopping and spinning like a top until it ended in a Vaudevillian “Ta-da!” flourish. Caroline smiled – wait until the girls saw this.

Without waiting for a response from her, the creature vanished into the murk inside the glass. When it returned, Caroline was startled to see another figure had joined it. This one was quite different. It was paler, hairless, and seemed, from the riot of different coloured blobs on its body, that it was meant to be a clown.

From its movements though, it wasn’t possessed of the same good humour as its furry companion. Sitting at the dining room table, watching, Caroline could see the first little monster prodding the second, poking at it, trying to get it to move. Finally, the ape-thing disappeared again and the second little man, or whatever it was, began to dance. It was a pathetic imitation of the former performance. The thing’s movements were slow and jerky as if this was the last thing it wanted to do.

Caroline blinked, and felt tears at the corners of her eyes. She brought the ball up closer, cradling it in her arms, trying to see more of the little dancer. The clown staggered slightly as the ball moved, but quickly regained its balance and stood still, watching her. It raised both its arms in a gesture of supplication, silently pleading, its shoulders hitching up and down. Crying, thought Caroline. Why is it crying?

The first creature suddenly re-emerged from the murk behind the clown. It was just an indistinct brown blob in the mist, but Caroline thought she could see something in its hands. It was a fuzzy thin line like a stick or …

With a sickening thud, the clown’s head was thrown forward and smacked hard into the glass. It staggered to the side, holding its face and leaving a red stain on the inside of the globe. The furry thing went berserk. It swung the club again and again. Blood spattered the inside of the glass with each hit. The sounds were too loud. They seemed to be echoing inside Caroline’s head. After what seemed like ages, the brown shape finally stopped. It kicked the ruined clown once, twice, then stepped up on top of it. It gave another flourishing bow. Ta-da!

An instant later the entire surface of the glass was filled up with the demonic black eye of the beast. It was staring directly at Caroline. Seeing her. Studying her. Hating her. She screamed and dropped the ball to the floor, where it broke with a dull crack.

The ball was becoming completely clear as its contents flooded out. The room began to fill with the white miasma previously trapped in the globe, and it became harder and harder to breathe. Caroline thought desperately of the creature, and tried to see where it had gone, but before she could be sure, the world swam out of focus, and everything went dark.

***

When Caroline awoke, the world was entirely white. She was alone, resting on a cold, hard surface, and surrounded by the same choking mist that had knocked her out.

As she tried to get up, she stumbled, and fell face-first back to the ground. Caroline rolled over, and sat up, just now noticing the blood red clown shoes on her feet.

Somewhere behind her, she heard movement, accompanied by breathy, chattering monkey sounds, and knew it was coming closer … coming to say hello.

Hugging her knees to her chest, Caroline began to scream.

2010 © Chris Allinotte

Bio: Chris Allinotte lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife and children. His work has appeared most recently in the anthology “Novus Creatura” by Aurora Wolf Press, and the upcoming “Daily Bites of Flash” Anthology by Pill Hill Press. For more about Chris’ writing, and links to his other stories, please visit http://chrisallinotte.blogspot.com

“Frosted Glass” came about from spending just a little bit too long staring at a shower door.

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