Sally Bosco

Author of Dark Fiction

Category Archives: Short Fiction

Short Story: Immersion

ghost girlThis is a short story I wrote that I think could be the beginning of a novel. I have a plot in mind. I think this one is going to have to simmer before I write it. Here it is:

Immersion

The girl jolts like she’s been dropped into this body from thirty thousand feet. Her eyes flutter and her heart hammers on an arrhythmic beat. The breath catches then rushes in too fast causing a choking fit. Where is she? What’s she doing here? Who is she?

Lying prone she’s almost afraid to open her eyes. She curls one hand flexing its fingers. The skin feels dry and cold. Alien. She digs her fingernails into the palm and feels a sharp pressure.

The rushing pulse of this body feels dangerous. Dangerous like it might explode.

Deep breaths. Get the systems under control.

Her eyelids drift open and she sees a light fixture, nothing more than a bare bulb overhead.

She’s aware of a scratchy blanket beneath her.

Looking down she sees that the body is wearing a thin tee shirt and shorts.

When she explores the body with her hands, she feels railroad track ribs poking through paper skin. When she sits up in bed dizziness overtakes her, and she lies back down panting.

She rests.

One more try, and her feet are on the floor, and her hands are clutching the edges of the thin mattress.

She stands, nearly falls over and catches the nightstand.

She makes her way to the bathroom afraid of what she might see in the mirror.

To soften the blow she explores her face with her hand, feels taught skin, slightly oily.

The bathroom is dark. All the better to allow her to see her form gradually.

The mirror shows her the outline of a small thin girl with long hair.

She closes her eyes and flips on the light switch.

Her heartbeat again feeling dangerously fast she opens her eyes a crack. The light is blinding so she closes them again. Screws up her courage and opens them again. Just a crack at first, then wider.

Her heart is beating uncontrollably now and she can hardly catch her breath.

When she opens her eyes fully, she doesn’t recognize the face, not an inkling, not an ounce. It’s long thin nose and solemn lips are unrecognizable to her.

She gets up the nerve to look in the eyes. They are brown and unremarkable.

But when she looks into them something catches. Something snaps into place.

And she remembers why she’s there.

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Flash Fiction: Moon Boy

This is an exploratory short story that I might turn into a novel. What do you think?

Moon Boy

I made my way back to my room. Barely. My head pounded and my blood felt like it was about to spurt from my veins. Though I was able to take the stairs two at a time up to my dorm room, my body felt like it had been hijacked by aliens.

Just as I hit the mattress in hopes of having a good rest and letting my blood pressure settle, Mason slammed into the room. Bull in a china shop was an understatement when it came to him.

“Gawd, Mason! Can you hold it down? I have a headache.”

True to his tyrannical form, he got right into my face and yelled, “What did you say?”

“I said, could you please shut the fuck up and stop slamming things around?”

“Well, sure. If you put it that way.”

One thing you could say about Mason. Even though he was a loud, obnoxious big bruiser, he knew when to back down.

“Thank you.” I pulled a sleep mask from my nightstand and put it over my eyes. I wished I had one of those cool ones you stick in the refrigerator.

“Hey, Julian,” Mason said in a volume that nearly shook me off the bed.

I pulled up my sleep mask. “For God’s sake, what?”

“You’re not going to die or nothing, are you?”

“No. Just leave me alone, please?”

“I’m going out. Bye.” He slammed the door behind him.

I got some ice out of the ancient refrigerator in the hallway, and put it in a washcloth to place on my head. This building was air-conditioned. Why did I feel so hot?

I must have drifted off to sleep. When I woke, moonlight was streaming in through my window. It had a calming yet exciting effect on me. I needed to go out into the night and feel the cool breeze.

I hurried down the stairs and walked out toward the student green. Rumsey Hall was a well-cared for school. Golf-course-like grass was edged with neat rows of impatiens, and marigolds and roses. The extensive rose garden called to me. With its rows and rows of fragrant flowers, it was one of my favorite places on campus.

There walking toward me was Zoe. Tall, with straight black hair just below chin-length, she had an indie vibe. She wore strange clothes from the Himalayas and was always working for activist causes. Zoe was the coolest girl I knew.

When it seemed like she would walk right past me, I said, “Zoe.”

She stopped and thought for a minute. “Julian. How’s your paper on the social conditions in Batswana coming?”

I’d used that paper as an excuse to talk with her, because I knew she was an expert. “Wonderful. I got an A, thanks to your help.”

“Awesome. Were you just walking back to the Onion?”

That was our student restaurant. “Yeah, as a matter of fact.”

“Want to walk together?”

“Sure.” As I said that, I felt massive changes going on inside of me, like there were bubbles in my blood. I thought of a scuba diver getting the bends. Now, impressing Zoe was less of a concern for me than dying. I stopped to get my bearings.

“Are you okay?” She turned to me and put a cool hand on my forearm.

“No. I think I need to get to the infirmary.”

“Let me go with you.”

Even though it was my dream for her to go with me anywhere, I had to say no. “No. I think I’ll be all right. Let me go back to my room.”

“Julian, no. You look really weird, like maybe you’re having a stroke or something.”

I tried to fain normalcy, even when I felt like my body was going to blow apart at any moment. “You know what? I’m feeling better. I’m going to go up to my room.”

“You’re sure.”

“Yea.”

“Okay, but do me a favor and text me later to let me know you’re all right.” She scribbled her number on a piece of paper and handed it to me.

“Thanks, Zoe. I will.” I headed off.

“Isn’t your dorm in that direction?” She pointed the other way.

“Yeah. I’m just…going to get some water.”

She shrugged. “Okay.”

Now it really felt like my brain was going to blow apart. I rushed past the rose garden into a wooded area and dropped down to my knees. I pressed my hands against my head to keep it from popping off. All of my sinews moved and rumbled. I felt myself compressing, like I was growing smaller. How could that be?

Obviously I was losing my mind while, hallucinating as my body died. I’d never felt such pain in my life. I curled up into a fetal position and would have welcomed death, rather than the horrible agony that split my body.

Then just like that, it was over. The full moon shone through the trees. I looked at my hand. It was smaller and smoother than I was used to. My waist felt smaller. I had an odd swelling in my chest area. I looked down at my body.

Oh my God!

I was a girl!

Day 9 of the Flash Fiction 10 for 10 Challenge: Cemetery Dance

Cemetery Dance:

Since Jack dumped her, Lilly had found solace in an odd pursuit—attending funerals. Cemeteries were such peaceful places. She has several local favorites, Rosewood with its large lacey trees and Pleasant Hill with its finely manicured lawns.

Today she decided to visit Tatum Ridge, which had tombstones dating back to the 1800’s, with a more recent section that accepted new arrivals. Here she marveled at the beautiful headstones carved into angels and stone benches set out for rest and reflection.

Lilly started noticing a young man at the funerals. He was pale with dark hair and always wore a tasteful black jacket and dark jeans, just the outfit for blending in. She noticed him noticing her, so she got up the nerve to talk with him. “I see you at a lot of these things.”

He brightened up. “I find them peaceful and reassuring, and it’s kind of my job to go to them.”

“Your job?”

“I work for the funeral home—making sure everything goes off without a hitch.” He held out his hand. “I’m Sariel.”

She took it. “Lilly. Pleased to meet you.” These burials were from all different funeral homes, but his eyes burned into hers, drawing her in, so she didn’t question him.

Soon they were meeting for coffee, and their favorite pursuit was haunting the vintage cemeteries at night. They’d sit on the stone benches and talk, sometimes pretending they saw a ghost so they’d get scared enough to hold hands.

One night he suggested entering a crypt.

“I don’t know. That’s vandalizing, isn’t it?”

“It isn’t vandalizing when you have a key.” He held up an ornate skeleton key and gave a mischievous laugh.

“How did you get that?”

“I told you. It’s part of my job.”

Lilly went along with it, just because he was so delightful. Since she’d met Sariel she hadn’t given a thought to Jack.

He put the lock in the key and turned it. She was afraid there would be dead bodies lying around, but instead there were the carved figures of a man and woman resting on their backs in eternal peace. It reminded her of the tombs of Abelard and Heloise she’d seen in Paris. So romantic.

“Look at the workmanship on these.” He took her hand and guided it over the delicate face of the woman. So intense were her feelings that she turned around and kissed him. It was the most exquisite kiss she’d ever known in her life.

“You don’t really work for a funeral home, do you?”

“No, I’m an independent contractor you might say. I like to check up on my work.”

Suddenly she knew exactly what he was. “You help people over to the other side, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

She grew more and more excited at hearing this. They sunk down onto the cold stone floor and made intense, passionate love.

Lilly was happy at last. What could be cooler than having a boyfriend who’s the Angel of Death?

Day 7 of the Flash Fiction 10 for 10 Challenge: Girlfriend

Girlfriend:

His girlfriend hung over the shower door like a deflated weather balloon. Now he wished he’d gotten the extended warrantee.

 

 

 

Many of the participants of this challenge are affiliated with the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

You can view the rest of the entries here.

 

 

Day 6 of the Flash Fiction 10 for 10 Challenge: Intruders

I’ve found this challenge to be very inspiring. Not only that my fellow 10 for 10 challengers are turning out some kick-ass flash fic, but I seem to have gotten over my short story mental block. I felt like I absolutely couldn’t write a short story. The idea of deadlines and constraints did spur me on to come up with some stories that surprised me.

Here’s today’s story.

Intruders:

The boy slid down the banister of his majestic home, just as he had for so many years. He loved the scent of the wood and all of the wide-open rooms that allowed him free space for playing—tossing a football, running races; the place was so big he could even ride his bicycle around. Sure, he was lonely since his family had left him, but he could live with it. He thought of them a lot, though.

He remembered when the house sparkled with fresh paint and smelled of that lemon oil they used to polish the wood floors. But now, the grimy walls stood all alone and the furniture had transformed into linen-covered ghosts.

Lately, disturbing occurrences jangled his peace of mind. People came in at odd hours, banging around and piercing the dark with their torches. When that happened, he hid in a small room on the third floor. He did not want them to find him and take him off to some foster home. This was his home.

One night he was in the living room and before he could run away, he saw a flash of light in the driveway. A shiver of fear passed through him as he heard someone insert the key into the lock and rattle the doorknob. Since he didn’t have time to run, he cowered in a corner of the massive living room. He’d be fine, he told himself. People had tried to get him from time to time, but he’d been shrewd in avoiding them, like a feral cat that loved its freedom.

The invaders poured in through his front door. Terror overtook him as he watched them gather into a circle. He feared it was some kind of satanic cult, come to pollute his home. He smelled incense and heard chanting. “Exorcizámos te, ómnis immúnde spíritus.” But he cowered behind the old couch, afraid to raise his head.

Then he felt something very strange, a sensation of pressure that pulled on his skin and caused a loud noise in his ears. He started kicking and yelling, trying to fight the demonic force, but gradually the pull started to feel soothing and the din changed into the sound of the ocean.

A force sucked him down a long, dark tunnel, illuminated at the far end by a blazing light. A feeling of love so big he’d never known such a thing existed filled his body and mind. He let himself be pulled along now, until he ended up in an open expanse of perfectly manicured lawn that had flowers and pools and fountains.

Then he saw them, his parents. They looked young and healthy. And his little sister. His mom was the first to hug him. “You’ve gotten here at last. We’ve missed you so much.” An elation so strong he thought it would make him float, filled his being. When the others joined in, a whirling, illuminated vortex sucked them up into the pure light.

Many of the participants of this challenge are affiliated with the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

You can view the rest of the entries here.

 

flash fiction, Seton Hill University, Writing Popular Fiction, Sally Bosco, 10 for 10 flash fiction, #FlashFic10for10

 

 

Day 5 of the 10 for 10 Flash Fiction Challenge: Amish Goth

Here’s today’s story.

Amish Goth:

‘So, this Amish girl walks into a Goth bar.’ It sounded like the setup for a bad joke, she thought.

Sarah was on Rumspringa, the one time in an Amish person’s life they could go out and explore the world, do what they pleased. She’d always had a fascination with the Goth subculture, so she bought some daring clothes: a leather mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and boots. She ripped up a black tee shirt and pieced it back together again with safety pins. Perfect.

She’d left her house wearing her prim bonnet, apron and calf-length dress, but when she was far away from her parents’ house, she’d pulled the magical clothes out of their hiding place and dressed, releasing her long blonde hair from its bun and letting it fall around her shoulders. She so wished she could dye it black. A touch of the makeup she’d bought at the CVS and she was ready.

Now she could barely recognize herself in the mirror.

At first, the din of the bar made her ears throb, but she quickly got used to it. The sight of vampires, dominatrix, and assorted creatures of the night scared her initially, but she knew they were only play-acting at being Gothic, just like she was.

She sat down at the bar, trying to get her bearings and ordered a Coke. Soon a man sat down next to her. She didn’t even know how to act or what to say.

“Come here often?” the young man asked. He had a pleasant yet pale face with dark hair, cut shorter at the back and longer in the front. Wearing a hint of eyeliner and lipstick he was quite attractive, actually.

“No,” She blushed at his attention. “This is my first time here.”

“Mine, too.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. You’re going to laugh at this, but where I come from, they’d really disapprove of this whole thing. They’d say it was sinful. But I was curious. I came a long way to see this place.”

“Where did you come from?”

“Lancaster, Pennsylvania.” He extended his hand. “I’m Jacob. Pleased to meet you.”

 

Many of the participants of this challenge are affiliated with the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

You can view the rest of the entries here.

Day 4 of the 10 for 10 Flash Fiction Challenge

Here’s today’s story. It’s a really short one.

Recognition:

The curve of her neck. The tilt of her head. The enticing way she played with her martini. He instantly knew she was the woman he’d want to divorce in six years.

 

 

 

Many of the participants of this challenge are affiliated with the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

You can view the rest of the entries here

Day 3 of the 10 for 10 Flash Fiction Challenge

Here’s my entry for today:

Revenge

I woke up in darkness barely able to breathe. When I tried to move my arms and legs, I found that I could, but in a limited way. Something smooth and crinkly confined my limbs. I struggled and kicked against the barrier that enveloped me. Surely I’d suffocate in short time if someone didn’t rescue me. It must have been the work of a mad serial killer. I yelled out, “Somebody help me. Please.” My voice echoed within my confined space. I kicked and punched at the material, struggling to break free.

A man’s voice called to me. “Save your energy. I’ve been trying to bust through this thing for days and it’s no good. Nothing works. It’s indestructible.” The voice sounded middle-aged and tired.

I looked around and saw the outline of a man lying beside me in the same bound condition as myself. It was so dark in the closed room I hadn’t even known he was there. “Hey!” I called. “Who are you? What’s going on?”

Though I could barely make him out in the darkness, I watched his head turn. “I’m Ben and I have no idea,” he said in a voice muffled by the material.

“What kind of maniac would bind people up like this and put them in a dark room? It’s a small room too, like a casket.” I shivered

“I don’t know. I’m hoping for the best. Hoping that it’s not some crazed killer who’s going to torture us. Maybe it’s like aliens or something, who will do their tests and wipe out our memories and put us back where we were. What’s your name?”

“I’m Carmella.”

“Pleased to meet you, Carmella. I wish I could shake your hand.”

“Me, too. What do you do?” I rolled onto my side within the confines of my sack so I could see him better.

“I run a used bookstore, collectibles, that sort of thing. How about you?”

“I’m a housewife, basically. Nothing exciting there. I do sell a few things on ebay to make some extra money.”

“Interesting. I’m a big ebay seller myself. For a while there ebay was like a gold mine. Now, not so much. What with the bad economy and the fact that they take more of a cut.”

“I’m telling ya, it’s hard to make an honest living on there anymore.” I paused and tried to wriggle closer to him. “Ben, what do you suppose will happen to us?”

“I wish I knew. Look!” He pointed to a glowing spot at one of the top corners of the room.

“What’s happening?” The entire ceiling lifted off, and the light nearly blinded me. So much so that I could barely discern the outline of a huge person.

Ben shrieked. “No, it’s not!”

A giant hand grabbed for me. It wrapped around my midsection, crushing my ribs. I’d never survive this attack.

Holding me over a vast drop, the thing stood me upright and opened the top of my prison. It had huge round eyes and a furry nose.

It was only when it lifted its arm that I saw the paper heart hanging down.

Ty, the tag said. Beanie Baby.

 

Many of the participants of this challenge are affiliated with the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

You can view the rest of the entries here.

Day 2 of the 10 for 10 Flash Fiction Challenge

Here’s my entry for today:

The Good Teacher

I slip the cover off the body, make my initial cut beneath the right ear and wait for the first student to faint. Not to disappoint me, a strapping, six-foot-tall guy staggers then face-plants onto the cement floor. I’ve been teaching this “Forensics for Writers” class at NYU for five years now, and I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of wusses.

“I showed you this cut during the last class, but we’re going to go over it again, because mostly everyone keeled over the last time.”

The women usually fare better than the men. That’s why I’m not surprised when a thirty-something soccer mom comes right up to the front of the table and looks on, spellbound. “I had an experience with a cut up body.” The way she examines my face gives me the creeps.

“We only have time for questions, not personal stories.”

“See, there’s this lady who lives…lived…next door to me and I heard a funny noise coming from the cellar. Like somebody screaming, but muffled. After I heard the noise, I went over to the half-window of their basement and looked in.

I put down the scalpel and hold onto the table to steady myself. “You saw…”

“You know what I saw? Her throat was slit ear-to-ear with the exact same cut you’re making right now–the Superficial Fascia from one side of the Platysma to the other.”

The sweat pours down my neck now into the collar of my shirt. I’m remotely aware that the rest of the class is watching, frozen, bug-eyed with mouths gaping.

“The killer made the cut exactly the same way you do.”

All of my blood drains down into my shoes. This is the exact description of the case of the Aquarius Killer.  It’s a detail that hasn’t been let out to the general public, which worries me. “You saw this?”

Her eyes widen. “I saw you, holding that same scalpel right over the victim’s body just like you’re doing now. Left-handed.”

I am left-handed.  “No.  You didn’t see me.”

“I can describe the shirt you were wearing—a black button-down with long sleeves.” Her eyes narrow into a squint.  “With a green surgical mask and latex gloves.  And those same cufflinks you’re wearing now—silver dragons.” I notice that she’s talking into her blouse.

“No, it wasn’t me. I…”

The door to the lab explodes open and a team of guys in suits pour in.  One of them flips open his wallet and I see the shiny indistinct blur of a badge.  “NYPD.  You have the right to remain silent…”

“What’s this all about? I’m on the forensic team for the Aquarius Murders. I have no reason to want to kill anyone.”

The woman leans in to whisper to me so no one else can hear. “But I do, and I learned how to make that cut from you.”

“Wait!” I yell as they cart me away.

Many of the participants of this challenge are affiliated with the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

You can view the rest of the entries here.

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