Archive for the Horror Fiction Category

Guard Dogs of the Graveyard

Posted in Horror Fiction with tags , , , , on May 14, 2014 by stantonmccaffery



Around Newark, New Jersey there is an enormous cemetery that is actually divided in half by the Garden State Parkway. It’s about two miles down the road from Seton Hall University, where I went to graduate school. I heard a DJ saying on the college radio station once that he had heard multiple reports from callers about a wild pack of dogs roaming the cemetery. This morning on my train ride into NYC I noticed that you could see the same cemetery right before you pulled into Newark Penn Station. I’ve been reading Zombie short stories, so the below is the result.


Danny hung up the phone and walked down the hall to Rafael who was hosing down one of the empty cages. “A lady just called about the dog’s in the St. Luke’s Cemetery, Esposito. She said she was there putting flowers on her grandmother’s grave and a pack of six big dogs was running around.”

Rafael Esposito shook his head and turned off the hose. “I told you man, we can’t do nothing about those dogs.”

“This is like the third person this week that’s called,” said Danny. He tapped his fingers on his animal control officer badge that he had hooked to his belt.

“Ralph, or Mr. Sciorno, the man that used to have my job before he retired?”

Daniel nodded.

“He told me,” said Rafael, “don’t never mess with the dogs in the St. Luke’s Cemetery. Ralph said they’ve been there for years, been there longer than even he could remember and he said they were there for a reason.”

Danny tried hard not to roll his eyes. “What reason?”

“I never asked man,” said Rafael. “If Ralph told me something, I listened. Maybe you should try that some time.”

Danny walked back to his desk and thought about how much better it would be to work at the police department. But Danny was crazy and even in Newark that was so hard up for officers no one in their right mind would ever hire Danny as a cop. At the end of the day, after he vented to himself in the bathroom mirror about that dumbass Esposito, he figured that was alright. Fighting criminal’s dogs was close enough to fighting actual criminals.

When Danny got off of work he went home and ate meatloaf his mom left out for him. Then he went to his room in the basement and got his double-barreled shot gun. He stuffed a hunting knife into the side of his boot. When the sun fell he drove his truck to the St. Luke’s Cemetery and started walking along the headstones looking for the dogs. The street lights from all the nearby highways gave him enough light to see the pack running off in the distance.

In quick succession he fired two shots and fell two dogs. “Fuck Esposito and that dumb old fart.” The remaining four dogs came closer. They were like no other breed he’d ever seen. “Damn chupacabra,” he said. He shot two more. Then another. The last dog leaped.

Danny dropped the shotgun when the dog sunk its teeth into his arm. He could feel the teeth cut his jacket and then dig into his muscle. He swung his arm and carried the whole dog’s body with it. He bent down and pulled the hunting knife from his boot. “Stupid fucking dog,” he yelled. Then he stuck the long knife hard into the dog’s ear.

The next morning he wore a long sleeve shirt to work so no one would see the bandage. He turned on the TV in the office when Rafael went to gas up one of the trucks. It was tuned to a local news channel and there was a news lady standing in front of the St. Lukes Cemetery. He got real nervous until he realized they weren’t talking about the dead dogs. When he realized what they were talking about he damn near shit himself.

“Empty graves,” said the news lady. “That’s all there is left in the St. Lukes Cemetery. As you can see, in front of every headstone is a gaping hole.”

The camera did a pan of the graveyard to show dirt strewn about and countless gaping wounds in the green earth. Danny’s hands got sweaty holding the remote.

The news lady kept talking. “Local residents say that last night the dead came from their graves to walk the streets.”

Danny thought he was going to pass out. He thought maybe he was getting sick from his mother’s meatloaf but then he thought no, it wasn’t the meatloaf.

“The question remains,” said the news lady. “Why now? What kept the dead in their graves for so long?”

Danny rubbed the wound on his arm. He knew the answer. He ran down the hallway to the bathroom and then threw up in the toilet.


Everyone has it

Posted in Horror Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2014 by stantonmccaffery

I had the idea for this short piece while sitting in a doctor’s office for yet another case of poison ivy.

(Short Story)

He walked into the doctor’s office concealing his wounds with a sweatshirt despite the heat of the day. The waiting room was filled with other patients, all entranced by a T.V. positioned in the corner. When called forward by the receptionist he walked silently from the room without attracting any attention to himself.

His wounds were bubbling under his clothes. Only thin fabric hid his condition, which grew each second in size and pain. The pain of a public eye on his shame, he believed, would be even worse.

A nurse asked what brought him in and he responded by rolling up a small portion of his sleeve, showing her only the least offensive sign of his illness. The nurse reacted with pity and said the doctor would be in to see him shortly. She left and went to the bathroom to tend to her own wounds, also hidden from other’s eyes.

In a mirror in the room he inspected his face while he waited for the doctor, who was late because he was inspecting his own face in a mirror. The man held tightly the sides of the mirror and gritted his teeth instead of screaming just as the doctor did the same. When the doctor entered the room he too reacted with pity.

His injuries bubbled into one another as he waited for the doctor to return with a prescription. In seconds he became only one mass of sickness, no longer displaying any signs of life other than suffering. Soon, he evaporated. The doctor returned to an empty room.

The next patient called up by the receptionist concealed her unsightliness with a purple scarf on her neck and an extra layer of foundation on her face. She pulled back only an inch of her scarf to show the nurse why she made an appointment. As she waited for the doctor she too evaporated into only a fleeting memory.

We’re All Going to Burn

Posted in Horror Fiction, Sad with tags , , , , , , on April 1, 2014 by stantonmccaffery

The woman and the girl ran to keep from burning. They saw a small wooden shed in the distance. For the moment, it wasn’t on fire.

They went in and huddled into a corner. It was dark inside aside from the embers that showed through the cracked wooden walls. They covered themselves with a wool blanket the woman carried with her. Once they were under the blanket the woman held the girl close. The girl reached to hold her hand.

“Thank you for being with me,” said the girl.

The woman saw a giant flame fall to the ground nearby. She could hear people screaming. “Well, thank you for being with me. You close your eyes now.”

Though dotted with racing flames, the sky was darker than it had ever been before.

“It’s okay,” said the girl.

“Yep, it is.”

She looked up. “I don’t mean it the way you mean it.”

Fire fell closer this time. They could hear it crackle. “What are you talking about?”

“When you say its okay you mean that we aren’t going to burn. When I say its okay, I know we are going to burn. But that’s okay.”

The woman sighed. Ever since she found the girl filthy and living off garbage the girl could always tell when she was lying.

“I’m happy I have your hand and I can hold it”

“I wish I could make it different for you. I’m sorry things are like this. I’m sorry we have to go this way.”

The girl rubbed the woman’s hand with her thumb while she held it in her fingers. It wasn’t clear anymore who comforted whom. “Even if the sun didn’t break, we were still going to die.”

The roof caught on fire. Smoke filled their lungs. They held each other as they burned.

Attendants of the man-eater

Posted in Horror Fiction with tags , , , , on March 18, 2014 by stantonmccaffery

The plane was a beast. The flight attendants its servants. The airport its lair, a façade used to lure prey.

Passengers are welcomed aboard daily and shown to their seats. Overhead compartments are filled and closed. An attendant displays the safety protocol and another smiles and greets the flight’s youngest passengers, asking the names of their stuffed animals.

A sound is heard; a deep rumble. The plane has finished digesting its last meal. The passengers believe it only to be the engine starting.

When the planes takes off a man pricks his finger on his seat and it starts to bleed. An attendant brings the man a band aid and says she has no idea what could have cut him. She lied. It was a tooth, the plane’s tooth.

Up high in the air, before the seatbelt lights come off, all the seats grow teeth. With its many mouths, the plane eats all the passengers. At 30,000 feet, only the attendants hear them scream.

Daniel and the Rats

Posted in Horror Fiction with tags , , , on January 20, 2014 by stantonmccaffery

(Very Short Story)

Daniel had never seen so many rats before. Usually, he only saw one at a time, skulking along the subway tracks. Far away, standing on a platform, he never saw how greasy they were, how grotesque they were. He saw them differently now. Locked inside the small room with him with only a dim overhead light that hung still on a thin cord, he watched as they climbed over one another and through each other’s filth. Hundreds of them.

He was sitting on a concrete floor against a cracked wooden wall with his legs spread in front of him. He didn’t know how long he’d been there with the rats. He had no clue how he’d gotten there.

His pants were soiled and they smelled like piss, but he couldn’t tell if the piss was his or if it belonged to the rats. His lower calves burned hot like a match was rubbed against his skin. He lifted his jeans and saw bite marks, red and bloody, raw with pain.

He screamed. He tried to stand. He flung his arms against the wall. A chain was wrapped against his waist and bolted to the floor. He kicked his feet and screamed more, more than he thought he ever could.

The grimy wall across from him started to crack and swing open surprisingly. A man stood in the entryway, burly and familiar, but Daniel couldn’t place him exactly.

“You’re name reminds me of the Bible,” said the man, as he threw Daniel’s driver’s license down with the rats. Then he walked away and left the door ajar. Some of the rats scurried out, but most stayed put because they knew dinner was coming.

Daniel remembered when he saw him. It was at night on the road, on the way home after a late night at work. He cut the man off and, vividly at last, remembered the man pulling to the side of him crashing his truck into him, forcing Daniel off the road into a ditch.

The man returned holding an axe on his shoulder, gripping the bottom of the handle with both hands. “Difference is,” said the man, “God’s not gonna protect you.” He lifted the blade over his head and stepped through the piles of rats at his feet over towards Daniel. “Oh, and you’re not surrounded by lions. You’re surrounded by rats and they’re gonna eat the meat off your bones when you’re dead.” The he came down with the axe on the top of Daniel’s head.

Machinations of the God-Like

Posted in Horror Fiction, Works Published Elsewhere with tags , , , , , on November 25, 2013 by stantonmccaffery

Excerpts. The full story was published on Schlock Webzine and can be found here:

“I’m writing from the city of Frankfurt, Kentucky, alone, far from any large body of water and far from the meddling influence of whales. I did not always despise whales. Indeed, for most of my life I wasn’t even aware of how they manipulate our free will. I considered them benign, majestic creatures. I believed the whaling traditions of 19th century New England to be excessive and barbaric. I now consider it a travesty that such whaling did not continue until every one of them was wiped from the planet.”


“Elena Peldritch, also hearing the shot, ran from her front door. When she entered the Peterson’s I heard an indescribable scream. It was a sound that belied what the poor woman saw. In that second I knew she had found the body of her dead son. I saw in my head his blood splattered on the white wall, spotted with white brain matter. A gun had accidentally gone off in his hands and sent a bullet through him.”


“Gradually, Abraham’s ideas and thoughts about the Cetaceans – as whales are called by experts – became more fantastic and bizarre. He said they were God-like. He’d read blogs claiming whales came from outer-space to inhabit the earth. God abandoned the earth, leaving it to them, not to mankind. There was a precedent for God trusting man to whales: the story of Jonah and the Whale in the Old Testament of the Bible.”


“When we came to Queequeg’s address, we found the door ajar. Abraham shouted hello, but since no answer was given, we entered uninvited. Inside, we found a dead man lying on the kitchen floor. His face was covered in fake tattoos that had been drawn on with black permanent marker. An old- fashioned harpoon was plunged through his chest. On the counter was a severed and shrunken human head.”


Into Hell

Posted in Horror Fiction with tags , , , , , on October 3, 2013 by stantonmccaffery

“I told you, I ain’t sellin’ and I ain’t movin’,” said Joe-John Watley, as he chewed on a scraggily piece of his unkempt grey beard. He sat on a rickety chair at his rickety kitchen table in his rickety shot-gun house. Across from him was the uneasy and uncomfortable Eugene Zansky, a mid-level representative from Walton Natural Gas.

“I ain’t gone sue ya neither, I ain’t like that,” Joe-John went on. “Way I see it is Lucifer got hisself thrown outta Heaven and inta Hell and now it’s you businessmen and lawyers that let him out to dwell on earth with us, and I ain’t dealing with neither of you no matter how much money you wave in frona me. You understand?”

As they spoke another tree not far from them was sucked into the earth. The dirt underneath fell away as well, into the abyss. Into Hell.

“Mr. Watley,” said Eugene, trying to sound polite, with one eye on his watch. “We will compensate you handsomely.” He paused and looked around at the four cracked walls surrounding him. “You can get yourself a new place to live.”

“Now you listen here,” said Joe-John as he slapped the table. His hand hit so hard some of the dirt crumbled out from under his finger nails. “This house has been in my family for generations and that means something to me. I worked off that river just as my father and grandfather did before you went and ruined it with your drillin’ and brought about that damn hole. I got nothing left, no livelihood, nothing but these walls and the ground underneath em’. And I ain’t leavin’. No sir Mr. Zansky. I am not.”

“Mr. Watley,” said Eugene. “I am going to leave my card with you. You think on it and give me a call.”

He pulled a business card out of his shirt pocket and put it face up across from Joe-John who picked it up without hesitation, crumpled it into a ball, and tossed it over his shoulder onto the floor.

“Nothing to think on,” he said. “Now nothin’ personal Mr. Zansky, but I’m done talkin’ with you so I believe you can show yourself out.”

“Okay,” said Eugene, with a sigh. He stood and walked a few feet to the front door. He didn’t even know why the hell the company had sent him here in the first place. The land would come out from underneath the old bastard anyway. They’d just drill into the remaining land from an angle , like the Iraqis did in Kuwait, back in ’91.

When he walked outside and closed the door behind him he teetered on the edge of the earth. The sinkhole must have grown another few miles wide while he was inside. He quickly took a step back. He’d have to walk around the little shack of a house to make his way back to his office.

When he turned around, with his foot in mid-step, a grey hand reached out from under the earth. It was dry and cracked and had dirty bone-looking finger nails. The hand grabbed the bottom of his pant leg and pulled so quickly Eugene didn’t even have time to scream. Once he was below ground, the demons, the ones unleashed by the gas drilling and the sinkhole that resulted, began to devour him alive, starting with his face.

© Stanton McCaffery, October 2013