It’s that time of year again! Time to gorge on pumpkin-spiced everything and your kids’ Halloween candy, and check out this year’s Episodes from the Zero Hour! Trick ‘R Treat offerings!
We’re doing things a little differently than in past years. In the past, you’d get one story to sate your Halloween appetite, and then it was time to move on to the next house. This year, we set it up as a flash fiction challenge, and put the call out to pulp writers near and far. We can guarantee at least two fantastic stories (Jay’s and Anthony’s — hope you think they’re fantastic too!) and hopefully more to roll in throughout the day!
This year’s theme is werewolves. Why werewolves? Well, from a logistical standpoint, it made sense… We hadn’t done werewolf fiction before. But also, there’s something primal and scary about the wolf legends, losing out to your animalistic urges, unable to control yourself by the full moon, but otherwise, looking and acting like everybody else. Zombies, you can spot from a good distance away. Vampires, if you know the signs, you can spot one of those, too. But werewolves? They can be any one of us, and we might not even know it…
Last week, we laid out the ground rules for the challenge. If you’d like to enter a story, post the first three or four paragraphs below, with a link to the site where your original is posted. If you’re just here as a reader, we encourage you to reply to the story comments and interact with the writers… They love that s$&t.
Let the games begin! And Happy Halloween!
-Jay and Anthony
We’ll get things started with a story from Episodes from the Zero Hour! Managing Editor Jason Butkowski below:
Too soon. It was all happening too soon, too fast.
He forced himself forward, trying to push beyond the pain welling up inside his body, but it was simply no use. His legs buckled as the first shock wave hit him in the stomach before creeping through his extremities. He collapsed in a heap and rolled over onto his back, staring skyward, pleading for mercy. The light from the full moon broke through the canopy above, mocking him for his foolishness. As if he could have outrun the curse…
As the pain coursed through his body, he tried to remember what it was like before all this had started. It had been seven months since that night with the damn gypsy witch. They had both been so young and stupid. The next morning, he got up to leave, and that’s when she condemned him to his fate with her strange hex. He wrote it off as the ranting of a jilted, superstitious lunatic. Transformation by the light of the full moon? Utter nonsense. But then that first full moon came, and, well… he quickly became a convert.
The throbbing behind his eyes made it hard to focus. Have to stay in control. Have to keep my wits.
The Fault of the Flesh © 2013 Jason Butkowski
“The Witches” photograph © 2013 Kelly Anne Milo, KanneMilo Photography