Greetings boils, ghouls, and other creatures of the night!
A warm welcome back to Night Terror Novels’ ongoing flash fiction series, The Theatre Phantasmagoria—where we bring you fresh dark fiction of 2,000 words or less at the end of every week. And as tonight is All Hallows’ Eve—the spookiest, scariest night of the year—we have a special double bill lined up for your perusal tonight.
With The Theatre Phantasmagoria, a new theme is announced each month, and by the end of said month, four (or more) stories are selected from our call for submissions to be featured here on the site in a Friday post. These pieces will also be published in a “wrap-up” anthology sometime in 2023, showcasing all of the original works that debut here at the Night Terror Novels website throughout the year. If you’re an author yourself and this has piqued your interest, please find details regarding the flash fiction theme for our latest submission window here.
The theme for October’s submissions was “Something Wicked”: stories about the spookiest season of them all: all things autumnal and relating to fall, from witchcraft and wizardry to seasonal slashers or biologically-mutated, murderous pumpkins. Our tenth month in the theatre’s auditorium launched with “The McMurdlow House” by Eric Del Carlo, a grim, utterly uncompromising take on the classic haunted house premise woven together by powerful narration. Next up, Scott J. Moses brought us “Of Monsters and Deep Magic”, a twisted, tragic tale of trick-or-treating in which nothing is as it first appears, delivered in the author’s electric prose. In the first of tonight’s stories, Garrett Boatman joins our lineup and introduces us to “Amanda”; his delightfully twisted take on the uncanny genre trope of creepy dolls is sure to send a chill down your spine. Then, allow Malina Douglas to relay a sad, dark correspondence of love, death, and necromancy in her epistolary tale “Eternally Yours”. You can find out more about the authors featured in today’s post down below, including links on where to find them elsewhere.
We here at Night Terror Novels hope that you enjoy today’s terrifying tale, and remember to check back in on Fridays for future showings in The Theatre Phantasmagoria …
Welcome to …
The Theatre Phantasmagoria
From: email@example.com 13 August 2024 at 15:17 Subject: Request Dear Odette, I would like to submit a revival request. Name: Friedrich Eberhardt Birthdate: 18 November 1996 Sign: Scorpio Identification marks: Burn on lower right arm, tattoo of a hedgehog behind left knee Current address: Unknown Last seen: Slamming the door to his car outside Lindenstraße 3, Regensburg, Germany, 93049. Specifics: I would like you to resurrect Fritzi exactly as he was on 12th June 2024, when he still loved me. Reason: I'm sick of hunting the ghost of him. In hope and sincerity, Cassie
From: firstname.lastname@example.org 14 August 2024 7:11 Dear Cassie, Your request has been received. Upon receipt of funds, your order will be processed. Please sign and return the attached contract. Regards, Odette “NecROMANCEr Extraordinare”
From: email@example.com 14 August 2024 11:47 Dear Odette, I've made the payment. My receipt, along with the completed contract, is attached. Regards, Cassie
From: firstname.lastname@example.org 14 August 2024 14:08 Dear Cassie, Your order is under process. Please allow up to 43 working days for processing. Yours, Odette Till death we need not part.
From: email@example.com 4 September 2024 22:02 Dear Cassie, Your request has been processed. Please find the returnee at: Orphée Restaurant Untere Bachgasse 8, 93049 Regensburg, Germany Eternally warm regards, Odette Your confidante in all matters beyond the grave.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org 18 September 2024 22:02 Dear Odette, I would like to submit an incident report. At first Fritzi appeared completely as he'd been, even minus the burn wound on his right arm that he received when I threw a frying pan at him post-breakup. I must say, I'm impressed with your work. Thanks to your accomplished resurrection, we were able to rekindle the passion that was lost. I have been subtlety guiding him to behave as he did before, when we were happy. Based on my meticulous calendar, I ensured that he ate the same mushroom quiche last Friday, that we met Hans and Karla for lunch at Drei Mohren, and that we went on our Saturday kayaking trip down the Donau. On Sunday at 12pm we were supposed to take a train to Bad Wörishofen to sample all twelve saunas, but Fritzi refused. When asked the reason, he said he didn't feel like it. When I pushed him further, he said it seemed boring to him. Why, I asked him. Because he had done this before. Goosebumps tingled along my arms. I began to suspect that Fritzi has gained the ability to perceive the actions of the life he lived before. Can you confirm if this could be true? Cassie
From: email@example.com 21 September 2024 10:42 Dear Cassie, You are correct in observing that Friedrich can sense his former existence. In the trade we call them spectral vestiges. In Latin,the condition is known as vestigthesia, a sensitivity to vestiges. Auf Deutsch, Spurenüberempfindlichkeit, or specifically for past traces, Vergangenheitspurenüberempfindlichkeit. Though studies have not been conclusive, it is true that restored individuals may exhibit a marked lack of motivation to engage in activities that they have done before. I advise that you be open to treading new paths with Friedrich and allowing them to lead where they will. If you would like to make use of our couples' counselling service, I can refer you to our accomplished in-house psychiatrist, Dr Bernadette Weichmann. Eternally yours, Odette Parting the veil one heart at a time.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org 25 September 2024 10:42 Dear Odette, Fritzi has begun to exhibit strange tendencies. The first time he brought a dead insect into the house, I was amused. Unfortunately, he has started a collection. When it expanded to mammals of increasing sizes, I drew the line. I pressed him about this development and he made a remark that I recorded, as I found it disturbing. But death is beautiful, he said as he gazed with laser intensity at a squirrel's sunbleached bones. He had collected it from the roadside, despite my protestations. When he finds the corpses of animals, he does not preserve them like any normal taxidermist, but instead leaves them to rot. He claims that watching the process of entropy helps us grasp our own mortality. I would rather not be reminded. I chucked out the apples that were starting to shrivel. Two weeks later, I found them concealed in the sock drawer in our bedroom. Fritzi pushed me towards them and made me inhale. 'Feel how it stirs the senses,' he exclaimed. 'The smell that inspired the great works of Schiller!' On 24th September at 8pm, we were supposed to be sharing a chocolate fudge sundae while watching reruns of the Twilight Zone, but instead we found ourselves arguing over the afterlife. Please advise. Cassie
From: email@example.com 27 September 2024 9:02 Dear Cassie, Please be aware that behavioural changes are a normal part of the resurrection process. That the returnee will make the same decisions as before is not guaranteed, as stipulated in the contract. I recommend that you allow the returnee to act on his own volition, even if it means a digression from your former existence. Regards, Odette Opening doors to the Other Side since 2002.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org 29 September 2024 10:42 Dear Odette, Fritzi's collection is growing. He traps moths in our bathroom and spears them onto a board, and when I ask him to stop, he won't listen. We were supposed to go to Stella Eiscafé, eat pistachio orange gelato and watch the sunset from the ledge of Steinerne Brücke. Instead, Fritzi insisted on visiting Walhalla, a vast neoclassical memorial rising from the banks of the Donau. 'Such great men are remembered there,' he said. 'But they're all dead,' I told him. 'Exactly.' When I insisted on our pre-arranged programme, he grew indignant. 'We're taking a boat to Walhalla.' I refused to go. He slammed me into the wall, strode out the door and drove away with screeching brakes. I want to remember my Fritzi forever—but not this version. I'm afraid what will happen when he comes back. Regards, Cassie
From: email@example.com 30 September 2024 9:02 Dear Cassie, I am unable to advice on matters of a personal nature. Please refer to our in-house psychiatrist, Bernadette Weichmann, firstname.lastname@example.org. Regards, Odette Your guide to the mysteries beyond.
From: email@example.com 4 October 2024 00:04 Dear Odette, Return request: Please return Fritzi to his state of eternal peace. Reason: Destructive behaviour a cause for concern Need to pay damages for shattered window, broken lamp, knife marks on sofa, replace neighbour's dog, etc. Cassie
From: firstname.lastname@example.org 5 October 2024 12:07 Dear Cassie, We are unable to complete your request. Regards, Odette While your soulmate lies in eternal sleep, do they dream of you? Find out today!
To: email@example.com 5 October 2024 12:08 Subject: Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender The email could not be delivered to the address provided. Please do not reply to this message. Recipient: Action: failed Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 #5.1.0 Address rejected.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org 29 November 2024 2:22 Dear Odette, I found your correspondence while going through the notes of Cassandra Greifenhertz. I would like to submit a resurrection request. Please return Cassie to exactly as she was on 3 June 2024, the day before we met. Birthdate: 11 July 1999 Sign: Cancer Identification marks: Piercing on left eyebrow, tattoo of sparrow carrying two cherries its beak, inside of left ankle. Skin blue-tinged, face swollen. Current address: Lindenstraße 3, Regensburg, Germany, 93049 Last seen: Floating down the Donau Reason: To live the life we failed to live before. With undying gratitude, Friedrich
About the Author
MALINA DOUGLAS explores ruins, caves and jagged rocks that could be the homes of monsters, ghosts or trolls. She was a finalist in the Blackwater Press Contest and her publications include N is for Nautical by Red Cape Publishing, Wyldblood, Sanitarium IV, Opia, The Periodical Forlorn, Parabnormal, Flash Fiction Online, The Antipodean, Metamorphose V2, Rhythm & Bone, Eye to the Telescope: The Sea, and the Land Beyond the World Magazine. Other anthologies include Sea Glass Hearts, Dragons by Black Hare Press, Because That’s Where Your Heart Is, The Monsters We Forgot Vol. II, and Gothic Blue Books Vol 6: A Krampus Carol. She can be found @iridescentwords or at iridescentwords.com.
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One reply on “The Theatre Phantasmagoria—Eternally Yours, by Malina Douglas”
[…] Douglas relayed a sad, dark correspondence of love, death, and necromancy in her epistolary tale “Eternally Yours”. We close out October with one last piece, “Mister October” by T. Fox Dunham—a powerful […]