Harvest Party

Hansen Calloway looks up from hammering the last electrical spike into the rich earth of his family’s cemetery to see the sultry, raven-haired Sarai Blackriver heft a bloody cow haunch over the stone fence. She blows him a kiss before disappearing into the nearby woods.

“What the Hell?” Hansen calls after her. He is wondering how the tiny woman is even strong enough to lift that much cow when a shriek sounds overhead. Turkey vultures circle gracefully in the crisp autumn sky above him.

Hansen’s normally open and friendly features contract into a lemon-sucking face. So that’s how she wants to play it. Tempting carrion birds to the Calloway family cemetery on Revival Day is dirty. But family feuds have no rules and the Calloway/Blackriver feud is old and bitter. Continue reading


Birdie and her family left their home after the great cooling came. Food was scarce and they hadn’t been fed in so long. The light was fading. Once bright and white, it had turned a golden color that plants couldn’t seem to tolerate. Their leaves changed to a sickly yellow color and fell. The days were getting shorter. Soon there would be no light left at all.

It wasn’t so much a decision to leave as, well, one day some of them started walking. The rest followed and they didn’t see any good reason to go back. There was no one around to stop them.

They didn’t stop until they came to a great field of corn. The stalks grew taller than Birdie’s head. She looked up at the fading light through their leaves. It was the first time she’d seen green in what felt like forever. The leaves here were already tinged with yellow, though, and turning brown at the tips. Some of the stalks had fallen to the ground under the weight of the ripe cobs. It was the first food they’d seen since leaving home and her brothers and sisters stopped to gorge themselves. Continue reading

To Leave

“Samuel! This isn’t funny!”

Cynthia searched behind every tree and bush in the backyard, but Samuel was nowhere to be found. The pair had been raking leaves when  Samuel had gotten tired of work and wanted to jump in the piles instead.

He had jumped. Cynthia had turned her head to avoid breathing in the cloud of dust. Samuel had never resurfaced.

“Call it off, Samuel! If this is some sick joke you’re trying to pull, I’m not laughing.”

She poked and prodded the pile of leaves with her rake, but only found ground. Cynthia fell to her knees and scattered the leaves around. Samuel was nowhere to be found. He had been swallowed up by the ground.

She called his name multiple times, begging him to return. The only response was the rustling of the few leaves that remained on the tree.

The sun set and turned the whole sky the reds and oranges of the leaves. Cynthia paced across the lawn, not enjoying the sound of leaves crunching under her feet for the first time in ages. What had happened? Where had Samuel gone?

He’d been an ass about practical jokes before, sure. But the thing about Samuel’s jokes was that he always knew when to knock it off. Cynthia was on the verge of tears now, terrified of what had happened to him. If this was a joke, he would have called it off by now.

With the light dying around her, Cynthia raked the leaves back into a pile. Maybe, the strange magic that had taken Samuel could be recreated.

She breathed in the smell around her – leaves, a little dampness, the smell of smoke from someone’s chimney – and focused on Samuel. The way his hands never stopped moving when he talked about something he loved. The way his hair was stick straight, except for the strands at the back of his neck that curled upward. How he always smelled of lavender because he shared a bathroom with three sisters.

Cynthia looked up at her house, knowing her family would be calling her into dinner soon. She loved them, but she would never forgive herself if she didn’t try to do this one impossible thing.

Saying a silent goodbye to her family, Cynthia took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and jumped into the pile of leaves.

Instead of hitting the ground, she fell.

And fell.

And fell.

October Stories at the Confabulator Cafe

October is a wonderfully colorful and crispy time for writers to write. There are all sorts of associations with October and fall: pumpkin spice, sweaters, pie, haunted houses, Halloween, autumn leaves, death and decay, zombies, ghost, ghouls…ok, maybe that’s just us.

This month, the Confabulators were asked to write about either fall and/or Halloween to fit with the mood of the season. Some of these stories might not be for the faint of heart.

We hope you enjoy, and leave us feeling cozy and…haunted.

New stories go live on Mondays and Thursdays this month. Here is the lineup. Don’t miss a day!

Monday, October 5: “To Leave” by Christie O. Hall
Thursday, October 8: “Birdie” by Dianne Williams
Monday, October 12: “Harvest Party” by Emily Mosher
Thursday, October 15: “Secrets of Passages” by Jason Arnett
Monday, October 19: “The Murder Cabin” by Sarah Bredeman
Thursday, October 22: “Beneath the Waves” by Eliza Jaquays
Monday, October 26: “Alexandria’s Halloween” by Anita C. Young
Thursday, October 29: “Party at Pinehurst” by Jack Campbell, Jr.

The Sleeping Strategy

“Well, the sign confirms it,” Bolero said, walking back over to where Nerek was standing. “It’s the old puzzle where one door is certain death, and one door is the treasure. One guard only lies, and one guard only tells the truth. You only get one question.”

Nerek let out a deep sigh. When he’d accepted the quest to save the fair maiden from eternal slumber, he hadn’t expected it to be so complicated. Find the highest tower, kiss her, and go home. No one mentioned how ruddy difficult it would be to find the place, however. And instead of the plant barrier he’d been promised, he’d been forced to smash open several locked doors like a common thug, slay a fierce dragon without proper equipment… and now this. “Ugh. You’re a bard. Do you remember how this one goes?”

“You hired me to record your adventures for posterity,” Bolero said, shaking his head. “I can’t get involved. Besides, I don’t remember quite how it goes. Something about asking one what the other would say?”

“Yeah, that’s all I remember, too,” Nerek admitted, placing his hand on his chin. The two guards stared intently at him, making him feel ill at ease. “You know, it was bad enough that a full-sized adult dragon was able to live here for countless years… how in the heck are these two still alive? What do they eat? When do they sleep?”

Bolero shrugged. “It’s magic.”

Continue reading