Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  The smell of sunscreen

THAT WORD FOR WHEN YOU KNOW BUT YOU CAN’T PROVE IT YET

I walked into the room.  The smell of sunscreen lingered, one of those phantom smells that get in your nose and don’t go away.  In Iowa, I spent a year smelling manure and fresh-roasted coffee, even when I was cleaning rich people’s bathrooms with chemicals so strong I wouldn’t be able to smell at all for months afterward.

“When did Jasmine get in?” I asked.  My sister, she lived in another state and we didn’t see her often.  But that was the smell of her, sunscreen and sand.

“What are you talking about? Jasmine hasn’t been here for six months.”

I said, “I must have just been thinking about her.”  Then I made some excuse to go down to the basement fridge, which is where the beer is kept.  Mom said, “I’ll get that for you, I have to get something else anyway.”

It always makes me nervous, seeing her go downstairs; she fell down those stairs once.  She came back up with a six-pack a few minutes later.  The smell grew stronger. I said, “Come on, stop pulling my leg.  Where is she?”

“Who? Jasmine? You must be hallucinating.”

I pushed past her and went down the stairs. The landing at the bottom was still a little bit wet.  “Jas?  Jas?”

Then I heard someone screaming at me.  It was my mom.  The bottle–Jas’s brand, all right–kicked into a corner, a wadded-up shirt half-covering it, dark from the grease.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.