The door to the café opened and Valerie stood there. She shook off the scarf she’d covered her hair with, and shook the little Ziploc bag she had in her hand, a smile lighting up her face.

“I brought it back just like I said I would, Mrs. Chisholm.” Her words were soft, rushed as she slid into the booth on the opposite side of Kate. “Hi. I’ll take some hot tea. Thanks.” She ordered from the waitress hovering nearby.

“Yes, thank you. Call me Kate. I hope you aren’t going to too much trouble.”

“Kate, everyone knows you were in Rupert Hills today.” Kate’s face slid to the floor in shock. She thought she was being discreet. “Verna from the library? She’s the biggest gossip in town. She came over to the café after you left talking about you and your request to see the missing slide. And that slide? That’s the one that spills the entire ‘secret’, which they keep close. My mother says it’s not natural.”

“Your mother?”

“Yes. She’s a direct descendent of the Osage Indians that traveled the Trail of Tears many years ago. You see, the secret lies within the trail.” She paused to sip from her tea. “Have you been having dreams?”

“Dreams? You mean nightmares!” Kate’s eyes widened in affirmation.

“Yes. Have you seen the shadow demon with tentacles yet?”

“Several times, actually.”

Valerie’s head nodded. “This is exactly right. You are pregnant.”

The words just dropped out before Kate caught them. She swallowed her coffee hard, almost choking on it.

“Excuse me! Why on earth would you say something like that?!” She looked down, self-consciously patting her non-existent belly.

“It’s true. Take a test. You’ll see. This isn’t happening at random. They will try to convince you otherwise. They will try to destroy the life inside you, just as they will destroy your family, your friends, your life. You’ll see. The life inside you is your saving grace.”

“They? I don’t understand.”

“I’m sorry. I can’t tell you more. I’ve already said more than I should’ve. Here. Read this, and you’ll understand.” She slid the missing slide across the table, wrapped in a deer skin that also had inscriptions on it. “All you need to know is written here. Please visit my mother tomorrow when you return to Newburg.”

“Newburg?” a long sigh escaped her as the realization hit. “Shirley Silverfoot is your mother?”

“No, she is my aunt, but she will lead you to my mother. My mother is…special. Excuse me, the check please?” Valerie slid out of the booth. She handed the waitress a twenty, walked to the door, and turned back to Kate. “Your bill is covered. Please heed my words. I took a great risk bringing you the slide. You must understand the danger. If you don’t visit my mother, they will make you follow their rules. Listen to none; your unborn child will guide you. Good night, Kate. Here’s to better dreams.” She left quickly, the wind sweeping brown leaves through the café like an ominous warning as she went.

Kate sat in stunned silence, her hand bringing the cup to her lips as if she was on autopilot. So many questions were left unanswered. Who are they and why would they destroy her?


This week we were challenged to find the song that will be played during the pivotal scene in the movie based on your magnum opus. With that song playing, write that pivotal scene in 300 words or less. I went slightly over, and I apologize, but I couldn’t cut anymore and it still make sense. I can definitely see this song playing throughout the movie, especially in this scene, and throughout the ending credits. It’s a perfect fit.

What do you think? Constructive criticism is always welcome and appreciated.

This is, of course, another piece from my NaNo project. Are you enjoying what you have read so far?

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Stephanie Ayers

Executive Creative Director at Our Write Side/OWS Ink, LLC
A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.
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22 thoughts on “They”

  1. Carrie says:

    Oh, I am liking it. Dark and mysterious…what did he get involved in while he was deployed? Or is this something that is part of his heritage, something Kate doesn’t know about? Or is it HER heritage?

    1. DM says:

      We shall see!! I’m glad you are enjoying the story!

  2. Sweaty says:

    Oh gosh, you’ve got me intrigued here… I really want to know what’s next. Who are ‘they’? Why is her unborn child special?? Very interesting and riveting story!

    1. DM says:

      Thanks, Sweaty. 😉

  3. angela says:

    So interesting and definitely a pivotal scene! I like the little bits of realization, the absolute truth of nothing happening in a smallish town without people knowing about it, the mystery hanging over the baby and Kate’s future.

    1. DM says:

      This has become a lot of fun to write. No wonder Stephen King does it so often.

  4. Lance says:

    Why hello dark overtones and creepy pall forshadowing things to come. I like you.

    Great set up in the first two paragraphs. Now, I want a few more hundred were to find out who they are. Thanks.

    Good song choice. It helps build suspense.

    1. DM says:

      Thanks, Lance!! I’ll write a few hundred more with you in mind later. 😉

  5. idiosyncratic eye says:

    Very intriguing, like how you built the scene. 🙂

    1. DM says:

      The song really helped me build the scene I think, especially some of the lyrics. Thank you!

  6. Tina says:

    Welll????? What happens next?!! When does the book come out? You’ve got me all ready to turn the page and read more!

    1. DM says:

      LOL! I guess I should get back to writing it eh? LOL.

  7. Kristina says:

    This is gripping. And the music has a really stuttering, wild feel to it that totally fits the piece. I want to read more too!

    1. DM says:

      Thank you, Kristina. I never considered the stuttering aspect, but I think you might be right about that.

  8. Angelia Sims says:

    Ok, I love the video. It fit right in with mystery and intrigue. Good stuff my dear!

  9. Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel says:

    Yes, I want more too. The music is great for building the suspense. This is wonderful. We need to know what will happen when the child is born. And the mother, what is she going to tell her?

    1. DM says:

      You’ll have to wait for the book. 😉 thank you for stopping by!

  10. bridgetstraub says:

    As just one scene of many it works but for someone coming in, in the middle I could have used a little more detail. I love the song and definitly think it fits.

    1. DM says:

      I agree, but this prompt was for 300 words. In the full version, there are more words. I had to cut out a lot to use this piece in this prompt. The essence is there, and it fits the song so I was pleased over all. Thank you for stopping by!

  11. Brandon says:

    Interesting. Veeeeeery interesting. I bet you could write horror comics too! (Just sayin’… short bits, keep the suspense going for a long time, you know…)

    I get more interested with every snippet! Good job.

    1. DM says:

      Honestly, short bits are much, much easier to write.Trying to write a full fledged, rival to Stephen King horror novel is a real challenge. Even if I don’t make it to the whole 50K in time, I’m still really proud of this. Be prepared for much more in the weeks/months to come. It’s nowhere near finished, though the ending has been written.

      Thanks for stopping by, Brandon.

  12. lisa from insignificant at best says:

    Very interesting! I had never heard the song before but it fit the scene perfectly! I can’t wait to read more!

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