's 2018 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by The Bee Keeper


"Ugh, Rusty (Reynolds Stiffener von Wiffle, but nobody calls him that.) why we be out inna soggy field so early in the mornin'? It be chillin' me to the bone, so 'tis. I'd rather be snug with some coffee n' a drop o' whiskey to warm me." Dusty (Douglass Bramwil von Wiffle, but nobody calls him that.) continued to whinge on as they tromped with their brother.

"Because them eccentric types in the city yonder, pay us'n a wee fortune fur the beetles, butterflies, n' such crawly whatsits that be in these hills." said Rusty beneath a couple layers of musty goat hair scarf.

"A wee fortune for bugs? Why? Watcha do with a bunch o' bugs?" inquired Dusty.

"They stab 'em to frames with pins and put 'em up on walls t' be oggled, Dusty. Y'know, like our dear mater's stichen crafts."

"Huh, I think even our mater's dozen or so "'ome sweet 'ome"s be better t' greet guests than a bunch o' dead bugs."

"Well, to each their own, I spose, Dusty. It sure is lucky fur us. These hills be rife with all manner of lil' critters. So stop flapping your gob and be lookin' fur them bugs."

"Hey Rusty, look! I got meself a sleepy bumblybee! How much you think they'd pay for a jar with this init?"

"You big duffer, that be no bumblybee, that's a pixie. That be nothin' but ill fortune."

"This lil' thing?" Dusty tilted the mason jar, causing the tiny ball of black fuzz to roll over. It had little arms and legs curled up against its furry naked body like a new born. But it had the face of an old man with a ruddy potato-like nose and a frowzy black beard. "Aww, look at 'im, he's so tiny and sleepy. You really think he'd be trouble Rusty? M'be those bug collectors would pay extra for a pixie?

"You lose your marbles, Dusty! If'n I says a pixie be too much trouble than it be too much trouble! They're dangerous beasts. Nobody in their right mind would give a cent fur that creature. Go toss it in one of the ponds. Or a stream. Or some such. Let it be someone else's trouble."

"Won't that kill 'im, Rusty?"

"Do you think I care if that thing lives or not?! Get rid of it, Dusty!"

Dusty slogged through the wet grasses and snagging burrs back to the stable behind his father's cabin and unceremoniously dropped the jar into the open stone well.


Two days passed without anything going out of sorts. But on the third morning Wallace father to Rusty and Dusty (Or Ole Musty, but only his sons called him that.), was mucking out the stalls when he heard the most terrible wailing whinny. One of his horses was in terrible distress. Silver Sides his Arab cross stallion was kicking fitfully. The old stallion's bowed back and pot belly rippled and contorted. His tail lashed hard enough to crack like a whip. He brought his long quivering snout up onto the gate of his stall and looked soulfully into the eyes of his master. His pain genuinely palpable.

He stopped wailing and began to puff and snort with fear. Wallace kept his distance, but gently patted the poor animal's forehead. "My poor old man, what ails you so?" said Wallace in a comforting whisper, as those who own horses have a habit of doing. As if in answer, Silver Sides opened his jaws with lips curled back in a flem, water as dark as wine poured out. It gushed forth and kept erupting from poor Silver Sides.

Wallace was stunned. In all his years he'd never seen such a disease. He ran to phone his trusty vet Gertrude Mullbrim to come to Silver Sides aid. He wasn't going to let his stallion suffer. He may have been on in his years, but Silver Sides didn't deserve this.

*** When Gertrude and Wallace returned to the stable, the horses were missing. No signs of Silver Sides, or his colt Snow Streak, or any of the three mares. The gates were still shut. But neither the stalls nor pasture yards appeared to have any horses in them. The only clues were trails of burgundy sand or dust leading out of the stalls and into the stand of pines.

The boys couldn't have done this, well not this time, thought Wallace. No, they were off in the big city selling bugs today. And Dusty hadn't left the gates open since that time last month when Wallace gave him an earful. And upon further inspection, all the latches were indeed in place. So where was the herd?!

Wallace and Gertrude stamped off into the pines. Wallace could feel the heat rising from his forehead as his worries progressed into fury. They tramped together in frustration saying nothing until they reached a clearing in the middle of the pine stand.

Their the dark red dust floated lazily and twinkled in the pale sunlight. "Where in creation have those beasts a gotten to?! yelled Wallace. He shook simultaneously with rage and fear. "I don't know Wallace. But with Silver Sides in the condition you described it'd be a miracle that he'd get all the way out here." Gertrude looked curiously at the pile of dust surrounding a lone pine stump. It gave her a strange feeling of dread that she couldn't quite puzzle out.

"Then hallelujah!!!" hollered Wallace as he continued his tantrum.

At that exact moment the dust whirled up and up into the chilly air. It tossed about, forming shapes that swiftly unfurled and disappeared back into the amalgam. Gertrude and Wallace coughed hoarsely as sharp tiny granules forcibly invaded their nostrils, mouths, lungs and stomachs.

The thick cloud twisted on itself and form a shape of five horse heads. One bowed in pain, three thrashing as if to rip themselves apart, and one shriveled little one that barely looked like a foal. They moved in unison with their four floating limbs. Floating down with soft kicks they planted themselves on the ground and stomped wriggle among themselves to look still and solemnly at their master.

Wallace backed away gingerly, but tripped over a fallen branch. He then scooted himself backwards, his mouth gaping in fear.

The dust moved closer to him, roaring like an agitated bee hive. The old horse head looked into his eyes with its hollow sockets and nuzzled his face.

Wallace's face bled from the sanding abrasions and his lungs were torn to shreds by the sharp dust spikules that forced themselves upon him and eroded everything they came into contact with.


When Dusty and Rusty came home, they wondered if they had somehow have gotten lost. The cabins and stable were nothing but crumbling rock and sawdust. Everything was gone, even Ole Musty.