Kept Secrets

Darkness devoured every ounce of light.

Opening her eyes, Beth’s mind spun, groping for traction as to where she was and how she’d gotten there. The air, musty and thick, made breathing difficult and she wheezed with each panting breath. Her hands and feet were bound, her sense of balance distorted.

She screamed, but the words caught in her throat, trapped behind a wad of fabric shoved into her mouth. Beth scanned the void for a hint of anything that might bring details to her surroundings.

Somewhere in the distance, a door creaked open, ushering in a sliver of light, only to slam shut seconds later. Her chest heaved and rivulets of tears streamed down her cheeks when a familiar sound came to her. The clacking of boot heels on wooden floors echoed like cannons as they made their way closer.

Beth’s pulse echoed in her ears. An orange light flickered in the inky blackness and a figure approached from the other end of the space. Shadows morphed on the walls and ceiling as the naked flame danced its way closer.

She tried to push herself backwards but couldn’t; her body was useless. An ominous silhouette strode closer and the girl recognized Gloria’s sharp features – her stepmother’s features. Her mind’s eye flashed a scene of Gloria bringing her a glass of wine at the dinner party; her last memory before waking up in the void.

Beth cowered as her father’s wife leaned closer and spoke in a raspy, malevolent tone. “You’ll not speak of my secret in life nor death. Of this, I’m sure.”

Gloria rested the candle on the ground and Beth shuddered as the old witch’s bony hands came into view. In one hand, a large needle with wire tailing from the eyelet; in the other, a small vial of liquid gleaned in the glowing candlelight.

Beth strained against her bindings, but she was too weak to break free. Gloria removed the cloth from Beth’s mouth and grabbed her chin before tilting her head back, forcing the potion down her throat.

Beth’s head swum in confusion as the concoction took effect and she slipped in and out of consciousness.

Intermittent flashes of reality only offered hints as to Gloria’s purpose; the biting pain as her stepmother forced the wire through Beth’s lips made those intentions all too clear.

Darkness devoured every ounce of light.

~ Craig McGray

© Copyright 2014 Craig McGray. All Rights Reserved


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About Craig McGray

I write horror and dark fiction because the whispering voices in my head tell me to. My mild mannered persona is the perfect disguise for the strange things hiding inside of me. Many of my horrific tales play themselves out in my mind's eye during the times of self-torture while training for triathlons. Proud member of Pen of the Damned When I'm not writing or torturing myself through exercise, I spend time with my wife and beautiful daughters. They are the key to my existence.

24 responses to “Kept Secrets”

  1. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    Great short story, Craig! I particularly like the evil step-mother angle. The piece is wonderfully descriptive; a devious pleasure to read!! 😀


  2. Joseph Pinto says :

    I always enjoy short, devious little tales and your story this week was perfect, Craig! Damn those stepmothers, you can never, ever trust them! 😉 Great job with delivery and amping up the creep factor, Craig! 🙂


  3. dylanjmorgan says :

    Awesome story Craig. It had me smiling at the end. Great stuff.


  4. Tyr Kieran says :

    Short and bitter sweet! Great story as always, Craig! This one was a perfect balance of satisfying tale and one that leaves you wanting more. Bravo!


  5. blazemcrob says :

    Truly a super story that lends itself so well to the season, Craig! Step mothers are never to be trusted. I’d watch out for the wine as well. My favorite part is the darkness being so rudely interrupted by the candle and shadows dancing about. Ooh, la, la! 🙂



  6. Magenta Nero says :

    short, sharp and nasty! I like that you focused the story on the final gruesome act and let everything else unspoken. Really enjoyed it Craig, thanks! 🙂


  7. Thomas Brown says :

    Love it, Craig. And definite potential for developing into something even longer, too! A wicked taster, which is what the Damned are all about, after all.


  8. moondustwriter says :

    I’ve heard about step mothers being a little undesirable but this one is dark indeed. I agree this is a teaser needs a prequel and …


  9. Renee TennisMcKinley (@2old2tap) says :

    Well, certainly no secrets will ever pass those lips. Shivery tale!


  10. WasimSpeaks says :

    Why keep the little girl alive? And, I want to know the step-mother’s secrets.

    Nice story!


  11. jonolsonauthor says :

    I really enjoyed this one, Craig! Like others have already said, there’s a lot of potential for a longer piece! Great work as always, buddy!


  12. zkullis says :

    Craig, my Damned brother! Sorry this took me so long to comment on. There is something wickedly fantastic about the idea of a mouth sewn shut. The horror is devine! As far as the secrets, well, sometimes the untold and unknown is more terrifying than the revelation!


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