Another Bagful Of Goodies (3 Sentence Stories)



“It’s time you learned how to swim better,” Tommy’s father said, tossing Tommy into the water. “Motivation is key.” He upended the bucket of chum into the fin-crazed sea.

He promised to cook something she loved for supper. She ate it happily, with good wine to wash it down and candlelight to set the mood. Later she brought the scraps outside to give to her beloved dog, Max, but he was nowhere to be found.

The tree’s branches scraped against the bedroom window, waking up Lisa. Groggy with sleep, she walked over and closed the blinds. The scraping became faster.

Ashley’s sexy barmaid costume was a hit at the Halloween party. “Can I have a drink?” everyone asked her. Happy to be so popular, she laughed…until she saw their long fangs.

“This punch is a little bitter,” Julie said to Maggie, the host of the New Year’s Eve party.
“Bitter drink for a bitter year,” Maggie said, looking sidelong at Julie’s husband. “Next year will be much better,” she concluded as Julie choked and fell to the floor.

“I did my book report on a very old book,” Katie said as she stood in front of her 5th grade class. “It is called the Necronomicon.” Her eyes glazed over as she spoke and opened the book, showing its secrets to her classmates.

The barrel had been buried for nearly two hundred years when the archaeologists unearthed it in the outskirts of a Caribbean pirate town. There were carvings of crosses all over the barrel’s wooden flanks. They buried it again, unopened, when they heard something moaning inside.

The hitchhiker waved from the side of the dark highway, her wide grin flashing in Jerry’s headlights. He slowed down, momentarily, then smashed the gas pedal to the floor. Shadow and light rotated in her empty eye sockets as the car screeched by.

“It is a really good makeover,” Zoe remarked. “Beth looks better than she did during the Homecoming Dance.”
“I pride myself on my work,” the mortician said.

“All whom are baptized today shall fear pain no more!” the priest announced as he walked upon the sea. He looked gray and bloated, his arms hanging laxly at his sides and his head lolling with a vacant face. Something undulated in the water beneath him, restlessly awaiting his flock.

The pilots saw the beacon through the storm and redirected the plane toward the light. They thought the turbulence came from the winds, but it didn’t. When the plane crashed no bodies were found onboard.

The medical students all gathered around the cadaver. The professor held up his scalpel and said, “We need a fresh start today, so do I have any volunteers?” Ellen stepped forward, and screamed as they held her down beneath his blade.

Cedric the Magician knew it would be his final show, so he wanted to make it memorable. Everyone cheered when he sawed his assistant in half. No one cheered when he pulled the box apart.

Her red hoodie concealed her face as she walked along Woodland Drive in the dark. The hairy man snuck up and grabbed her by the wrist, spinning her around and unbuckling his belt with his free hand. Afterward she continued on to her grandmother’s, wiping blood off of her smile with her sleeve.

Aello’s sister always said she had terrible tastes when it came to men. But when Aello saw Patrick walking down the road, she knew he was different. Spreading her wings, and her talons, she swooped down upon him and carried him away.

The necromancer sat in the graveyard all night, scowling at a black book in his lap. “I did everything the spell required,” he growled, “but nothing has risen!” Suddenly he saw the sun rise above the tree line, and he leapt for joy, exclaiming, “I am the master of Life and Death!”

Lady Chastain had lost all patience with suitors that evening and came to sit in her parlour, next to the cage where her parakeet perched. A man stepped forward from near the fireplace, a knife gleaming in his hand. When they found her body the next morning, all the parakeet said, over and over again, was, “A twist of the knife for a twist of the tongue.”

Diogenes drank all night and woke up the next day on the steps of the Parthenon. The Athenian priests threatened to beat him if he did not sleep elsewhere. “Hypnos, upon Pan’s counsel, bid me sleep here,” the philosopher said, “and so who are you to question such gods?”

A Bagful Of Goodies (Three-Sentence Horror Stories)


Maddie picked up the pail and went to feed the hogs in the backyard. Near their pen she heard someone say, “Wait until she turns her back.” The large hogs watched her eagerly, drooling.

Timmy was watching tv when the Girl Scout knocked on the door. She said nothing. Her hair floated wildly in the moonlight.

Mikey said hello to the scarecrow every day for a week until the police came. They asked if he had seen his sister. He pointed to the cornfield.

Circe’s diner was the best place to buy a BLT.   One day Matt asked Circe what kind of pig supplied the bacon. “The long kind,” she said, eyeing him up and down.

“Watch out for the monsters under your bed,” her father said. “They’ll eat your toes.” He turned off her bedroom light and hobbled slowly down the hallway.

The shaman told him something was following him. The tourist glanced behind him, seeing only his shadow. He laughed loudly, and the creature laughed loudly, too.

She shook the divorce papers in his face and said, “I am going to take half of everything.” He donned a pair of plastic gloves and took out a pair of hedge clippers. “So am I,” he said.

The mermaid sang, beckoning to Joey from the hotel pool. Mesmerized, he joined her for a midnight swim. Others floated alongside them in that dark red water, bobbing aimlessly.

Flash Fictions

“There was once a man who believed ardently in Humanism,” her father said. “He believed so utterly in Humanism that he ventured forth into the wild jungle, where it was said man-eating tigers stalked the shadows. He brought with him no protection except several books on Humanism. Once there, he preached to the jungle on the value of a human life, reading from his many books of all the merits of letting humans live and thrive. Many of the tigers passed him by, indifferently. But a few tigers began to gather around him, watching him very intently as he lectured them. He even preached to their cubs, thinking the next generation of tigers would know better than eating human beings, if only they were taught to be Humanists.
“An expedition discovered what remained of him a few weeks later, his bones surrounded by books and his skull’s sockets gaping wide, as if in abject surprise.”
“He was naive,” his daughter said. “He should have known better. Predators don’t care about that stuff when they’re hungry.”
“True,” her father said. “But you, too, should know that you are living in a jungle. That is why I want you to bring more than just books with you to ward off the tigers.”

Zen Breath
It began so simply, as many things do, and it grew unto complexity, like a sheet of paper, blankly white and smooth and flat, now folded into an origami animal. Miyazaki’s anger burgeoned from workaday irritation to blinding rage as he waited in the subway station at Shinjuku. And the irony of the situation was that as he stood waiting, steeped in his own aggravation, he attempted to take a deep, Zen-centering breath and release the rage in dissipation— he really had tried— only for the nearby commuter to breathe out a cloud of cigarette smoke which Miyazaki inadvertently breathed in, coughing uncontrollably while the other commuters stepped away from him; stepped away from him as if he had some fatal airborne illness for which he needed to be quarantined. It was then, as he coughed and cursed and chewed the grudge of that terrible year spent as a twelve-hour-a-day cubicle jockey— it was then that the yokai possessed him, at long last, and drove his fist through the smoker’s heart, tearing its vermilion core out while bystanders screamed and scrambled to flee from the horrific carnage wrought by the long-horned demon that suddenly stood amongst them, glaring with red eyes as he rushed about, in gorilla-fisted fashion, rampaging throughout silver-edged, neon-lit Shinjuku until later that afternoon, killing many people in his wake until finally finding himself at Hanazono Shrine and, by entering it, expelling the demon so Miyazaki could sit down and empty himself of his negative emotions. Indeed, he emptied himself so completely of negative emotions after that terrible indulgence that he transcended the mortal plane and passed on to a higher plane of Enlightenment. Many people, consequently, have since concluded that Enlightenment could be achieved as much through devastating debauchery, excess, and sin as much as through years of abstinence, purification, and meditation. Zen Buddhists and Shinto Priests cannot reconcile themselves either way and, it is feared, many such esteemed personages were denied Enlightenment because of this troublesome anecdote.

No Regrets

It was normal for Katy to see mice and rats in the subway as she waited for the train. They gathered here every morning, more punctually than Katy had ever been, and scrambling for scraps and throwaway trash to add to their smorgasbord breakfast. What was not normal that morning were the toads and frogs strewn out all across the subway platform.
If New York wanted to be weird, she thought, let it be weird. She was of no mind to question it. Last night had been terrible and she was in a foul mood. Breakups always ruined the next day—or week, or year, depending upon the person and the circumstances. Peter wasn’t worth more than a morning of regret, on the other hand, since he had been so petty and manipulative, and so she had decided to waste only a little of the morning finding closure and peace— not with the ending of the relationship, but the beginning of it. She never should have dated him. It was a mistake from the start. It was a waste of three months. Had he not been so handsome she wouldn’t have wasted more than three hours on him. But he was handsome, like a prince, and she leapt at the chance to date him that night when he casually asked her out to dinner. Now she was ready for some time alone. Now she was ready for some me time.
Only, these frogs and toads were annoyingly everywhere. She gingerly stepped between them as she crossed the platform to board the newly arrived train. Inside, she found them all over the floor, the seats, and the windows. Small frogs. Huge frogs. Tiny toads. Fat toads. Toads that bulged like ugly purses. Tree frogs as lean and green as plant stems while they crouched on whatever nooks they could find. More surprising than these unlikely invaders were the reactions of Katy’s fellow passengers. Or, as it were, their lack of reactions. They glanced over them seemingly without seeing them. They sat on toad and frog alike without compunction. Not one twenty-something took pictures of the creatures with his or her phone— they didn’t even feel the urge to take selfies with them.
The train stopped and Katy stepped off.  She was met by another subway platform sprawling with frogs and toads. Once again she stepped mindfully between them, and her fellow New Yorkers— which was a bit awkward in stilettos—and she came to the rise of stairs, following them up and out into daylight once again, or as much daylight that could be had between the skyscrapers. She glanced up at a digital clock on the side of a bank and realized she was almost late. Hurrying across three blocks, she came to the office building where she worked. Here, too, the frogs and toads were strewn everywhere, but much worse in their numbers than anywhere else. Walking into the lobby, she saw several coworkers at the coffee stand, and all of them had frogs and toads clinging to their shoes and pants and skirts. Instead of being bothered by their stowaways, they all seemed instead to be bothered by Katy herself. They gave her odd looks as she walked by them. Women turned and whispered to one another. Men elbowed each other and grinned. Katy feared she was having a mental breakdown. Stubbornly, she fixed her brown eyes upon the floor, taking deep breaths and heading straight to the elevator. To her surprise, and relief, no one joined her in the elevator on the way up. When the elevator stopped at the next few floors, would-be passengers stepped forward, recognized her, and then stepped out.
“I’ll catch the next one,” they said.
Katy did not understand any of it.
Feeling lonely and vulnerable, and since she had time, Katy checked her phone. She had silenced it after her alarm clock went off that morning. There were several missed calls from her friend, Ashley, and from her mother. She thought to call them back, but by now the frogs and toads were multiplying exponentially within the elevator. She could not see where they were coming from, and their slimy bodies crowded around her, an acute claustrophobia overtaking her. When the elevator doors finally slid open, at the eighth floor, she nearly fell trying to escape it.
Angela happened by as Katy stumbled toward her cubicle.
“Good girl’s not so good after all,” she said with a haughty, knowing smirk. Frogs clung to her ears and hair. A tiny frog— not even the size of a fingernail—dangled from her nostril.
Feeling off-balanced and disturbed, Katy tried to ignore her. Angela always had been a conceited, petty diva.
Furtive glances followed her from around every cubicle partition, and with them came an abundance of frogs and toads. Katy arrived at her cubicle after an obstacle course of croaking, chirping, stinking amphibians. Her cubicle was overrun, too. Some of the little beasts were trying to mate with others, forming big clusters of obscenity that rose and collapsed in columns all over her desk. Dismayed, she could do nothing but gawp at it for a moment, wondering if she had suffered an aneurysm or had accidentally ingested LSD on the way to work. Just then, her supervisor, Dave, approached her.
“Katy,” he said, “I know you didn’t mean to do it, but it is a strict company guideline that anything posted on your social media accounts can impact negatively on your continued employment…”
Katy turned to face him, confused as to what he was talking about. A large fat toad squatted atop his head, hunkering down in the bald circle of his pate.
“The terms are severe, I know,” he was saying. “Harsh, even, and I know this is your one and only infraction, so I am going to try to contain it, if I can, and see if we can work out a deal with HR for a minor suspension— without pay, of course— but then you could be relocated into another position at a different firm.” The old man blushed bright red, and would not look at her. “You know, so it won’t be so embarrassing for you or your coworkers…”
“I don’t feel so good,” she said, interrupting him. “I need to go home.”
Dave nodded fervently, as did the fat toad on his head. “Yes, yes! That would be best. But only until we figure this out! Don’t worry about it. It’ll be water under the bridge in no time.”
The toad and frogs followed Katy home to her apartment. All along the way she came across more of them, which only swelled the ranks around her. Peter was waiting for her, his mouth wide with an amphibious smirk.
“I showed everybody that was on your accounts,” he said. “Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr. Pics and video and gifs. I showed everybody everything.”
Katy just looked down at him as he squatted in front of her door. He had expelled so many frogs and toads now that he was little more than a tiny creature himself. How, she wondered, could such a small creature gloat so expansively?
“I told you it wouldn’t be happily ever after if you broke up with me,” he croaked up at her. “I told you you’d regret it”
“Maybe,” she said. “But I won’t regret this.”
She squashed the prince beneath her stiletto heel.


The red taillights of the motorcycle were a triple-pronged brand that burned her conscience with guilt and horror. Whether waking or sleeping, the red triangle haunted her, as did the mocking word on the passenger’s leather jacket, flashing white in her own headlights along the dark interstate of her memory.
She no longer drove herself anywhere, rarely leaving the house except to walk down the street to the nearest gas station. The last time she attempted to drive she bounced her new car slowly over a speed bump and promptly broke down in the middle of the grocery’s parking lot, killing the car’s engine, removing the keys and raking their teeth through her hair while some customers blew their horns in a cacophony of geese fury. Other customers— more observant, and subsequently horrified—scrambled to restrain her from scraping out more bloody strands of hair from her head.
She could not eat apples anymore, or anything that crunched when bitten; nor tomatoes or anything that smashed wetly inside her mouth. The truth was that she ate little of any food now, and wasted away in a limbo of self-loathing. She did not watch television anymore, either, with its “entertainment” of car crashes and sudden noises and pulse-quickening action giving way to tragedy. Her mind instead repeated the same reel again and again in a compulsory loop of torment: the motorcycle wobbling, the scream of the little boy, the motorcycle toppling over, the little boy’s body tumbling off the back of his drunken father’s bike, the shriek of her brakes, and the shriek of her own shrill voice, and the strangely rhythmic thumping beneath the underside of her old car as the shadows of the interstate pirouetted beneath a ghostly moon branded with those three red taillights.
Now she lived in shadow, the curtains of her home incessantly drawn and the sun shunned like the prying eye of a busybody god. She dwelt in darkness, and in that macabre memory, and sheathed her soul in an iron maiden of blame.
“I deserve this,” she said, and no one was there to contradict her.
The accident that fateful night would eventually claim three lives.