Friday 31 October 2014

Halloween Night Scary Story The Baum Rabbit

Halloween Night
Scary Story
The Baum Rabbit
Daniel Lamb
A flagon of pumpkin juice sipped by candlelight

I have had two encounters with the Baum Rabbit in my life. The first took place during the winter months of 1964 when I was still a young man. I have always lived in Rochdale, and as long as I have lived here I have been aware of the local legend.
      ‘There’s this rabbit,’ they used to say when I was a kid, ‘not a rabbit in the traditional sense, but something demonic that takes the form of a rabbit, and if you pass by St. Mary’s Church at night, the Baum Rabbit’ll get you, and it’ll get your soul.’ I can’t remember specifically who ‘they’ were, but they used to say things like that when I was a kid and it stuck with me, as these things do. My friend, Jack Carrow, and I would sometimes run through the old churchyard on our way back from school, hoping desperately to catch a glimpse of the fabled Rabbit, but we never did. It wouldn’t be until over a decade later when I would have that unfortunate privilege, and on that night I was painfully alone.
It was past midnight, the moon was out and there was a thin ground fog shrouding the cobbles of Toad Lane. Also, I was blind drunk. I thought about conveniently leaving that particular detail out, but I feel it is perhaps best to recount this story as accurately as possible. I don’t wish to cheat anybody, least of all myself. Like most nights back then, I had spent it frequenting the local pub. Nowadays I very rarely leave the house, but I was a young man that night and the world was still mine to roam as fully and as naively as young men will, although as I recall after my visit to the pub I was doing considerably more swaying than roaming.
      As I staggered and stumbled onto Park Lane, I came upon St. Mary’s Church, a looming, spectral structure. The streets, and indeed the churchyard, were empty and silent and all of a sudden I felt a chill prickle my nape and descend down my spine. I thought back to the old stories I’d heard as a child. The Baum Rabbit. A ghost rabbit that terrorised the surrounding area. It sounded so silly to me then, a tale so obviously made up that I wondered how I had ever entertained the notion that it might be true. There were no ghosts. There were no Gods. There was just getting sozzled and getting your end away, and in my early twenties it was to my eternal shame that I had far more experience in the former of those two certainties.
      But of course, that was when I saw it. It emerged from the shadows, seemed to simply materialise from the ether (alright, yes, I was drunk, but I remember it so clearly), and then it stopped, spotlighted by the moon – a rabbit, ghost white with red malevolent eyes that really did seem to look deep into my soul and threaten to take it hostage. I remember my heart thudding against my ribcage. I remember wanting to run and remaining still. I remember sharp breaths. But it was those eyes I remember most. Those cruel, crimson eyes.
      Then it disappeared. I don’t mean that it darted off somewhere, I mean it simply vanished. (Again, I realise how this sounds.) For a moment, I simply stood where I was, staring at the patch of grass inside the grounds of St. Mary’s Church where I had seen the Baum Rabbit. Just stood and stared. Then I went home and slept a thin and uneasy sleep.
The next day I did what any sane man would do and reasoned away what I had seen. It had been an illusion brought on by the combination of drink and an anxious mind. Nothing more. It couldn’t have been real. I knew that. And so I didn’t breathe a word of what I’d seen to anybody. I put it to the back of my mind and tried to forget about the whole thing.
      A couple of nights later I was out patrolling. I waited until the midnight hour and ventured out with a torch, a flask of coffee, and a camera strapped around my neck. There was no fog this time and the night was still. Perhaps the silence was broken only by the hoot of a distant owl, I don’t know, I can’t remember, but it would certainly have seemed fitting. I made my way back to St. Mary’s Church, not really sure if I might not be in the process of going crazy. I waited there for maybe half an hour feeling faintly ridiculous, and then I trudged back home.
      And that was it. For years, that was it.
      As I say, I don’t get out much these days, but last night I decided to go for a stroll. It was a warm night, but there was enough of a breeze in the air to make it pleasant. I had no real destination in mind and yet somehow I found myself staring up at St. Mary’s Church like I had done all those years ago. And as I did, I thought back over everything I have recounted here so far. Back to the night I saw the Baum Rabbit. And I found myself wishing that I had sought out the Baum Rabbit one more time, just to know. Just to be absolutely certain of what I had seen that night. Because I have had my doubts over the years. Oh, yes, I’ve had my doubts. How could I not?
      I no longer have those doubts.
      Last night I saw the Baum Rabbit again. In the same spot. It had the same ghostly white aura, the same red eyes, glinting ever so slightly like two rubies at the bottom of a well. I am much older now, but it was the same. And now I have no doubts. I know what awaits me. I know that one night as I lie in my bed staring up at the ceiling, on the very edge of slumber, I will see the pale figure of a rabbit leering down at me. I will see those eyes. And I will know that my time has come.
      ‘The Baum Rabbit’ll get you,’ they used to say when I was a kid, ‘it’ll get you, and it’ll get your soul.’

About the Author

Daniel Lamb is a biped humanoid with a good memory and a vivid imagination. He lives in a small village in the North West of England where nothing much ever happens and he has to make things up instead. He is still coming to terms with living in the real world. He has been featured in the Best of CafeLit 2013 anthology and is currently writing a novel.  

Scary Story 100 Worder Books Don't Lie

Scary Story
100 Worder Books Don't Lie
Janet Bunce
Satan’s Whiskers cocktail

‘Long ago in a time when humans were hunted,’ reads Janice to nephew Tom.
She glances at Tom already asleep after one sentence.
Silly book thinks Janice laughing at the grotesque cover.
She creeps downstairs, pours a glass of wine and settles to watch TV.
She flicks channels. Nothing appeals on this Halloween night.
Eyes close. Unread pages of the book reverberate in her mind. ‘Must be the wine’.
An evil cackle rocks the room.
Dreaming she thinks.
            Opening an eye she gasps. The TV displays a painting (a Goya she recalls) but clearly the person being eaten is her!

About the Author

Janet works in financial services but enjoys writing short stories especially those with a sci-fi or horror theme. She plans to write more in 2015.

Scary Story 100 Worder A Charming Visit

Scary Story
100 Worder A Charming Visit
Helen Laycock

Old Mother Tattersley’s dappled hand gripped the willow twig. As she stirred, she hummed steadily. Not a tune, more the score of a bumble bee.
The acrid steam spiralled; its droplets pocking the gnarled beam; simultaneously, the left shoelace of Reginald Tait unwound, serpent-like. Mother Tattersley’s drone strengthened. Miniature wings flashed in the steam, disappearing like falling glitter.
Inkblot wound around her, purring. Leaning over the pan, she drew in a lungful of magic and blew.
Outside, Reginald Tait stooped towards his shoelace. The icicle hanging in the eaves plummeted down.
No road would be built through Mother Tattersley’s house.

About the Author
Helen Laycock has written eight children’s mystery/adventure books, a couple of poetry books and three collections of short stories for adults, one of which includes flash fiction. She has had around thirty wins/shortlistings for poetry and short stories, successes including Words With Jam, The Ryedale Book Festival, Writing Magazine, Writers’ News, Writers’ Forum, Flash500, Thynks Publications, Erewash Writers and various online contests. She has a story published in An Earthless Melting Pot (Quinn Pub.), four pieces in the One Word Anthology by Talkback Writers (Alfie Dog Pub.), several entries in The Aspiring Writers 2013 Winners Anthology (Blue Dragon Press) and a poem in Songs of Angels (Thynks Pub.). She is a regular contributor to 100-worders on the CafeLit website and is to be featured in The Best of CafeLit 2013.

Amazon Author Page: LINK
Facebook: LINK
Blog: LINK
Twitter: LINK

Thursday 30 October 2014

Scary Story 100 Worder The Last Tango

Scary Story
The Last Tango
Dawn Knox
Absinthe – a treacherous drink
He seized her hand and led her to the dance floor. Tightly embracing, their bodies matched the rhythmic beat, in a deadly dance that he must win.
Her youth and vitality would be his once he'd overcome her, giving him strength to search out a fresh life to claim. So far, he'd survived and thrived, devouring the life from countless dancers. Fools who'd pitted their strength against his, and lost.
But this partner would not relinquish life so easily. He realised with alarm that she was formidable indeed. Closing his eyes, he absorbed the music and danced for his life.

About the Author
Dawn Knox is married with one son and has been writing for several years. She has just had a YA eBook published, entitled Daffodil and the Thin Place and has written a script for a play to commemorate World War One, which will be performed in her town this year. Dawn enjoys a writing challenge and has had stories published in various anthologies, including horror and speculative fiction, as well as romances in several women's magazines. One of her 100 Worders is to be included in The Best of CafeLit 2013.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Scary Story 100 Worder The Hobo

Scary Story
100 Worder The Hobo
James Leeder
Ant Juice – chilled
Whack! Whack!
The shoe heel missed as his target sped away from the picture frame.
‘Got it,’ he said.
            ‘Oh, there’s a horrible mark now!’ she said, peering in from the doorway.
He pulled out a tissue and wiped at the crushed remains. ‘I’ll get rid of it in the morning,’ he sighed. ‘Come on, we need to hurry now. No more huge spider.’
‘It looked much bigger on the floor.’ She said, defensively.
The Hobo spider had clung on desperately, now something was pushing into her cosy, dark shoe. She raised her poison fangs and struck.

 About the Author
James Leeder grew up in the north east of England but now lives in London. After many years of work he is now spending more time on writing fiction, and trying to learn the piano.

Thursday 23 October 2014

100 Worder Spectre-cle

100 Worder Spectre-cle

Helen Laycock

A shot of clear spirit

Pippin. Her favourite carousel horse. Tendrils of his pewter mane curl like piped icing all on one side of his proud neck, but his head is dipped in deference. The rows of little greying teeth are parted in what she believes to be a secret smile.
Astrid’s arms envelop the little boy who clings tightly to the pole, a giant birthday candle. She breathes in his skin, his hair, his very essence and smiles at his laughter, as free as floating bubbles.
And, as the seasons pass, Astrid rides. Each little child that passes through passes through… and replenishes her.

About the Author

Helen Laycock has written eight children’s mystery/adventure books, two contrasting collections of short stories for adults and collections of humorous poetry. She has had around thirty wins/shortlistings for poetry and short stories, successes including Words With Jam, The Ryedale Book Festival, Writing Magazine, Writers’ News, Writers’ Forum, Flash500, Thynks Publications, Erewash Writers and various online contests. She has a story published in An Earthless Melting Pot (Quinn Pub.), four pieces in the One Word Anthology by Talkback Writers (Alfie Dog Pub.) and has recently had several more entries included in The Aspiring Writers 2013 Winners Anthology (Blue Dragon Press). She is a regular contributor to 100-worders on the CafeLit website.

Amazon Author Page: LINK
Facebook: LINK
Blog: LINK
Twitter: LINK

Monday 20 October 2014

Robben Island

Robben Island
Susan Eames
Rooibos Tea

The island loomed stark and chill. As the boat neared the jetty, she noted the glutinous kelp which bunched so densely, the sludge-green waves struggled to lap the beach. There were no seabirds on this godforsaken shore.
She walked past razor wire fencing.
A man approached. ‘I am Ntoza.’
He led her into a grey building. ‘I was an inmate here for many years.’
‘Did you know him?’ she asked.
‘Yes. I did hard labour with him at the lime quarry.’
‘What was he like?’
‘Always positive. Always dignified.’
Ntoza showed her a tiny cell. A small table, a red slops bucket with a lid. No bed; just blankets on the concrete floor.
‘His cell?’
Ntoza nodded.                                           
‘Doesn’t it feel terrible to show people this place, Ntoza? To always be reminded of what you endured?’
‘We held a reunion here in 1995. We agreed that we should be its custodians.’ Ntoza spoke softly. ‘This was our university. This was where we fought for democracy. It is a good way to preserve the dignity of that fight.’
‘He came to your reunion?’
‘Of course.’ Ntoza smiled at her. ‘Madiba was our mentor. He led by example. On the hardest days his courage, his humility, his belief in the dignity of all men shone like a silver beacon.’
‘You’ll never forget,’ she said.
‘I never want to forget,’ said Ntoza.

About the Author
Susan Eames left England over twenty years ago to explore the world and dive its oceans. She has had travel articles and short fiction published on three continents.

Friday 10 October 2014

100 Worder Too Old

100 Worder Too Old
Lucy Hill
Cold tea

The door bell echoed through the dusty house. No one moved as it rang again. No one could what with the shots that sprayed their brains across the wall.
     Outside the daughter, with the gun ringing in her ears, was worried. She started to look through the rain-stained windows, which was quickly followed by a high-pitched scream. Neighbours came running to help her as she fell to the ground. She knew that this would happen one day, but why today?
     As the police sirens began to get closer all she could say was they got too old, just too old.

About the Author

Lucy started creative writing at secondary school and rediscovered the joy of writing again in her thirties. She mainly writes fantasy short stories and flash fiction but is dabbling with other genres.

Thursday 9 October 2014

100 Worder A Fishy tale

100 Worder A Fishy tale

Janet Bunce

Fishy Green Ale (with acknowledgement to Harry Potter)

I know I haven’t always been a fish but it seems daft that I should reason that.
            Every day I swim in shoals trying to catch minnows or trying to hide from predators.
            My companions seem oblivious to the perils but not me.
            How many times have I seen them chasing false bait or eaten in one large mouth?
            When I see lines it creates a memory for me.
            I remember waders, casting in, lager in hand watching for a bite.
            Oh how the tide turns.
            If only they (unlike me) believed in karma.
            What comes around, goes around (sometimes!)

About the Author
Janet Bunce is enjoying writing short pieces. When not writing she works in financial services, runs in the forest and travels as much as possible with her husband.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

100 Worder The Betrayal

100 Worder The Betrayal
Dawn Knox
Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Last night she'd wondered what the other side of fear would look like.
Now she knew.
There was simply resignation and pain. Her wrists and ankles had been rubbed raw by tightly-bound ropes but the agony of her father’s betrayal, was more acute by far.
It was time.
From the cliff top above her, the king called "You promised to spare my kingdom in return for a virgin, O Dragon. Behold my daughter, Eleanor..."
The dreadful creature appeared silhouetted against the grey, dawn light.
In desperation she cried out, “Wait, Dragon, does the bargain hold if I’m not a virgin?”

About the Author

Dawn Knox is married with one son and has been writing for several years. She has just had a YA ebook published, entitled Daffodil and the Thin Place and has written a script for a play to commemorate World War One, which will be performed in her town this year. Dawn enjoys a writing challenge and has had stories published in various anthologies, including horror and speculative fiction, as well as romances in several women's magazines. One of her 100 Worders is to be included in The Best of CafeLit 2013.

Tuesday 7 October 2014



David Hook

Green Chartreuse

Alex lay on his bed and stared at the bright rays of summer sunlight piercing the slats of his venetian blinds, his Spider-Man t-shirt rumpled and sweaty. Half dozing he watched a myriad of dust motes trapped in an unfelt draft swirl in unison as if they were dancers performing a slow, graceful ballet. It was calming and Alex felt completely relaxed for the first time in days. The exams had been exhausting. Outside an ice cream van passed by with a grating burst of the Popeye theme-tune.
 His cat, Schrodinger, languidly yawned and stretched. Alex reciprocated with a yawn and a stretch of his own and then turned his attention back to the motes and their silent ballet. As they continued to gently float in harmony something caught his eye, a somewhat larger mote was moving against the flow. Whilst the draft sent all other specks to the right of the window, this lone, somewhat larger individual, travelled left and away from the rest.
  How could that be Alex wondered? Maybe the draft affected this one differently because it was bigger than the rest? He laid perfectly still, shallow breathing in an attempt not to disturb the air currents and continued to study the rebellious mote.
He watched as it drifted across the room, apparently defying the draft that dominated all the others and landed gracefully atop his bedside cabinet. Was it his imagination or was the speck glinting in the sunlight? There it was again, a flickering of reflected light. How odd. Alex felt a need to see this up close, he remembered his grandfather's small but powerful jewellers loupe, perfect.
Very slowly and with great care Alex rolled away from the cabinet to the opposite side of the bed gently shoving Schrodinger out of his path as he went. Schrodinger with an air of contempt promptly licked the spot where Alex had dared to touch his fur. Alex left the room and went into his small study where he rifled through a few drawers until he found the old loupe.
He returned to the bedroom and at a snail's pace knelt next to the cabinet. There it was again a couple of glints of reflected light. Holding the eyepiece in place with a squint, Alex drew in a deep breath as he slowly leant forward so as not to disturb the speck.
The shock as the mote came into focus caused Alex to fall backwards, 'What the ….no way' he mumbled as he landed on his rump.
Composing himself he again knelt next to the cabinet and replaced the eyepiece. Leaning forward once more to focus Alex let out a whispered expletive.
There on the cabinet was a tiny coalescing swirl of multi-coloured light, blending and morphing like a gaseous fire opal. The light would wrap and fold in upon itself, then bloom again with a fluid, almost sensual, flow.
As Alex watched, the minute swirling cloud slowly began to lose its colouration, fading to watery smudges. The swirling movement slowed and then stopped completely. Alex leaned back and adjusted the position of the loupe with a firmer squint.
From a Star Wars poster above the bed Yoda looked on with disinterest.
Holding another deep breath he leant forward again. The cloud had taken on a spherical shape and was now completely white and opaque.
Alex sat upright on his haunches and removed the eyepiece and used his already perspiration dampened t-shirt to wipe away the sweat that had accumulated around his eyes. It was at this point that Alex noticed Schrodinger had rolled onto his stomach and was intently staring in the direction of the cloud sphere, his ears drawn back and twitching. Taking the cat's lead Alex slowed his breathing and listened carefully. Barely audible and coming from the direction of the sphere Alex could just make out a very high pitched whine, similar to that of a mosquito but more subtle.

Wiping his face again Alex returned the eyepiece. He was about to lean in when Schrodinger stood up with his tail fluffed to its fullest, hissed at the sphere, leapt from the bed and darted out of the room. At that same moment several neighbourhood dogs began to bark and yap.
With a mixture of puzzlement, trepidation and excitement Alex again focused on the sphere. For several seconds nothing happened. Then the high pitched whine, which could be heard only between the continued barks and yaps, ceased and a thin neon blue line appeared, lengthened and bisected the sphere. Slowly the sphere began to part and from within a fog-like vapour began to spread out and engulf the two halves and the immediate area around it.
Alex watched with rapt attention as the fog-like gas grew denser. Should he gently blow to disperse the fog so he could see inside the sphere? He thought better of it and decided to be patient and wait it out.
His neck was beginning to ache with the strain of leaning over and he decided to move back and away in order to stretch out and relieve the knots that had formed.
He lay back onto the stained carpet and stared at the ceiling with its plastic glow-in-the-dark stars and moons. It was difficult to focus his thoughts and he was finding it somewhat hard to breath normally. Was he hallucinating? Was the marijuana he smoked last night laced with something? The pulse in his neck had quickened and he felt as though he was on the brink of a panic attack similar to the one he had in the middle of his physics exam last Tuesday.
He remembered the three remaining Valium in his coat pocket that his friend Micky had given him that Tuesday evening after they had sent him home from the exam. No that was no good, they had turned him into a zombie for hours. He looked towards his dressing table and the bong that sat atop it, no that was as bad as the Valium and if he had a bad high he would get paranoid and be even more stressed out. No, he had to chill out and think things through calmly and rationally.
A movement caught his eye, Schrodinger peeping over the top of the stairs at him, the cat nonchalantly looked away. Alex imagined what was going through Schrodinger's mind, if that cat could tut he would have done.
 'Yeah, well you weren't so brave ya self Schrodinger, so don't you look at me like that'. The cat ignored him and proceeded to lick a paw. Right! I'll show you.' Alex sat up and found the eyepiece again.
As before he slowly approached the cabinet and leant forward to focus. As his eye adjusted Alex let out a whimper and gripped the sides of the cabinet.
The vapour had thinned out, the two halves of the sphere had vanished and in their place standing on three metallic filigreed legs stood a tiny silver orb. Alex's pulse had increased again; he couldn't hold his breath any longer and turned his head to one side. The air escaped his nostrils promptly followed by a snot bubble. He drew in another gulp of air and gripping the cabinet for support returned his gaze to the orb. The vapour was now completely gone and the orb, despite its size, was now more visible.
Alex strained to see yet more detail. What was that? No it can't be, surely this can't be happening? Descending from the silver orb Alex could see a fine filligreed step ladder. And what was that next to it? He leant even closer. There, just a millimetre or two from the ornate ladder someone or more to the point something had erected a barely visible, minuscule flag!
The last thing that went through Alex's mind as he fled the room, tripped over Schrodinger at the top of the stairs and took flight was 'What the Hell did I smoke last night?'

About the Author:
David lives on the edge of Epping Forest having been raised on a council estate in London. Recently resigned from a stressful job after twenty years he finds that his mind is decluttering and is now able to concentrate on hobbies and interests. He hopes, despite a crippling fear of grammar and punctuation, that writing will become one of them. Married to Jane who is also his best friend.

Monday 6 October 2014

100 Worder: The Burn

100 Worder: The Burn

Janet Bunce

Water (Adams ale)

They carried water on their backs.
Each of them conscious of the sweat trickling down their faces.
The sun previously their saviour no longer providing any light but excreting unbearable heat.
They prayed for an end.
Each carried a memory of a loved one now departed. Family or friend who had been unable to survive the ever increasing temperatures.
Each knew their time on the planet was limited.
Thoughts turned to nature; to mankind — the world’s biggest provider but also its most excessive user.
No-one spoke but a whisper could sometimes be heard: ‘It was your world to cherish.’

About the Author

Janet Bunce lives in Essex with her husband. When she is not working in financial services she likes to be active either writing or participating in sports. She is proud that one of her 100 worders has been selected for Best of CafeLit 2013.

Friday 3 October 2014



Linda Casper

A Green Eye: dark-roast coffee with a triple shot of espresso

It could have been the wine but, before I knew it, I had proposed that we should all meet up again in the same place a year from now.
What was I thinking? The pressure I was putting on myself was immense. For a start I would have to maintain my fitness level and body weight, take an exotic holiday which I could discuss with them at length and continue that blatant lie. I felt myself blushing at the mere thought of that lie; claiming the photo I presented as my other half was in fact a picture copied from a Facebook profile of an unsuspecting male.
“What am I saying?” I attempted to make my voice heard over the chorus of agreements. “Actually I will be out of the country next May!” I prayed that my performance came across as genuine.
“We’ll make it June then and why don’t we bring our significant others?” piped up Jenny, who had been the bossiest form prefect ever. Her hair was short and wavy in the same style she wore it twenty-five years ago and her clothes and shoes were what my mother would call smart. Just like then, my former classmates agreed wholeheartedly with her.
Now I really was panicking. I couldn’t produce a significant other, or at least not the one in the photograph I had shown them all on my phone. While feigning interest in the conversation of the friend on my left, my mind was working overtime. I was debating whether I could appear next year with another man with the explanation that my former relationship had finished or maybe stalk the guy whose profile picture I had used from Facebook and throw myself on his mercy. I felt hot and clammy and swiftly drank down the rest of my wine. The alcohol plus the noise of the crowded pub made me feel nauseous. I excused myself and made my way through the bar towards the ladies toilets, my shoes sticking to the patterned carpet. 
As I reapplied my lipstick in the mirror, I reflected that people don’t really change. Jenny expected to be obeyed, Ruth, the ex-games captain was still competitive and here was I hiding away in the toilets. I felt ashamed when I recalled how I used to make up stories all those years ago to impress the others. I hadn’t changed; still wanting to get noticed whichever way I could. These days no-one cares if you were brought up on a council estate or if your father had left home for another woman. I ran a comb through my hair and had to admit I was pleased with what I saw in the mirror. “Come on. You can do it,” I told myself as I strode boldly back to the table.
When I had their attention, I came out with it. “I lied to you all earlier. I’m not in a relationship at the moment. I don’t know why I said it.”
A few made sympathetic noises and others didn’t appear all that surprised by confession. After all, they know me of old. A few told me they were divorced, including Jenny and I couldn’t help thinking my nickname for her “she who must be obeyed” perhaps wasn’t exactly true.

About the Author

Linda Casper hails from Yorkshire and, after a long career as a high school teacher, she has recently begun to write and has had many short stories, poems and travel articles published. Linda has a keen interest in gardening and is a judge for Yorkshire in Bloom.