-The best stories on the web-
Read or link to over 1000 stories listed under Stories to the left.
Submit your short stories for review as a Word document attached to an email to: Read@Short-Story.Me

Latest Stories

May 19, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jo Carroll

The Curl and Vampire

She was a pretty thing to be sure, the little girl with the curl. Her cheeks were as red as blood and her skin as smooth as porcelain. And yet there was something odd about her clear blue eyes—something empty and soulless. She sat atop her throne of building…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Nicole Robb

New Frontier

Still groggy from her hibernation chamber, Stacey checked the readings once again on the ship's control panel.She had read them right. "Tom! Something's wrong." "What is it?" Tom emerged from the back where he had been checking on the twelve hundred sleeping…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Laura Ellison

Remedy

The smell of death hung heavy and pungent in the air. Sickness touched the skin and covered it in a dewy glow that in any other situation could have been attractive. Castellan held a scented handkerchief over her nose as she walked through the village to the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Dylan Thomas Nichol

Forged in Shadows

Screaming was all that could be heard through the bone chilling halls of the dungeon. This was what the supposedly great nation of Hace really was. An ugly abomination lay underneath the stunning Admor Keep, and Caelin made the long journey through it, his…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Isabel Schwaak

Something Stronger

A thick grey stone wall separated the village of Telly Fenn from the wilderness. A narrow path led the way out of the village and melted into a crossroad, from which a crooked path strayed far into the dark forest. The inhabitants of Telly Fenn were content…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jade De-Terville

A Light Bulb Called Tink

“This is more than just a bloody mid life crisis,” Karen said clutching a tattered red book, until her knuckles started going white. She savagely threw the book onto the chequered dining cloth, and ran her hands through her untamed hair. “Oi, mind the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories April Winters

Area Twenty Four and a Half

I, Jim Roberts, got fired today. I didn’t realize Mr. Kerr, my boss, was standing behind me when I referred to him as Kerr-mitt. He failed to see the humor, and now I have no source of income. Looks like my journalistic aspirations are out the window. I…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jeremy Szal

Crimson Snow

16th Day of Regon, Year 455 of the First Dawn I could feel the cold as we climbed higher, the chill reaching into my bones. The wind whispered across the grassland, flapping my black hair over my face. I wanted to lie down. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories B.J.Neblett

Forever

“Segue the next couple of records with a jingle then go into a stop set. I’m gonna get some air.” Hy Lit flashed his agreeable smile, adjusted his trade mark tinted glasses and winked. “You’re a natural, kid.” Then he disappeared out the studio door. The…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories BJ Neblett

Pockets Full Of Wishes

“Don’t put your hands in the pockets!” Jimmy looked at his sister. It was just a winter coat, a used one. It was all his parents could afford. But it was his. He picked it out. Now he stood proudly before the store mirror admiring the blue denim coat with the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Laura Ellison

Consumed

Arlia knelt down on a silk cushion in the middle of the room. She took a deep breath and centred herself. Gramps always told her to do this, sometimes he jabbed her in the sides with his walking stick if he thought she rushed meditation. In front of her the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Paul Magnan

Scorned

I grasped the rough edges of the tombstone and pulled it from the strands of thick, yellowed grass upon which it lay. I set it in an upright position. The words “Dear Love” were carved along the top of the stone. I had carved those words. For a few seconds…

 

 

October 31, 1974

Piotr and Janek Tarkowski, American born sons of Polish immigrants, ran through the woods just west of Germantown, Pennsylvania.  The elementary school age boys enjoyed the thick treed wooded area not far from their modest suburban Philadelphia home.  They knew the area like the back of their hands from playing in the woods daily before dinner.

“Race you to the waterfall,” cried out the 9 year old Piotr as his 7 year old younger brother tried hard to keep up.

“No fair Piotr,” replied young Janek.  “You got a head start.”  Nevertheless, Janek followed his older brother as fast as he could.

The boys sneakers could be heard slipping and sliding on the wet leaves as they ran down the path toward an 18 foot modest waterfall which led to the small local creek that ran through the woods.  Both were huffing and puffing as they reached the waterfall but neither would slow down.  Pride ran deep in the Tarkowski family and each dreaded the thought of being the loser in any competition that was held.

The older Piotr reached the edge of the waterfall first and raised his arms in triumph as he went to stop just feet from the edge of the cliff.  But wet leaves on the ground took away his footing and the 9 year stumbled to the ground.  Grabbing a small tree just 3 feet from the edge allowed Piotr to stop his forward momentum.  Janek was not as lucky.  Trying to stop, Janek slipped and slid toward the edge of the cliff.  Piotr scream out and extended his arm in an effort to catch his younger brother.  But it was all in vain.  Janek slid off the edge and headed downward to the rocky creek below.

“Janek!!”  Piotr scrambled to his knees to get to the edge of the small fall.  On the ground below, he could see the body of his brother lying in a contorted position with his left leg twisted 90 degrees from its natural orientation.  Janek’s head was lying against a large boulder near the base of the falls and the boy was completely motionless.

“Janek!!”  Piotr called out several times, hoping that his brother would move or somehow acknowledge the yells.  But the boy continued to just lie on the ground.

Fearing the worst, Piotr descended the cliff and headed toward the creek, all along being careful about the wet conditions in the wood.  Soon he reached the bottom and moved briskly toward the body of his brother.  From a distance, he could see a light gray mist now covering the area where the body was laying.  The mist seemed an oddity given the relative warmth of the fall afternoon.  But Piotr didn’t have time to consider it.  He had to reach his brother.

After following the twisted creek path, Piotr finally each the bottom of the falls and Janek’s motionless body.  He moved toward the body but stopped in a lurch.  Standing next to Janek was a large white dog, appearing to almost be guarding the body.  As Piotr continued to move toward Janek, the dog raised his head.  Piotr gasped as he realized that the animal was not a dog but rather a white wolf.  The animal seemed almost inquisitive as it looked at Piotr.  Then in an instant, the wolf took to flight, heading down the creak and into the woods.  Piotr stared at the animal as it ran away and then immediately went to the side of his brother.  Janek was unresponsive and his body was already cold to the touch.  Piotr screamed for help, not giving up until adults from the area finally came to his help.  But paramedics could do nothing for the young boy as his grieving parents and brother looked on.

 

October 31, 1994

29 year old Piotr Tarkowski looked up from the Germantown Gazette and wondered.  The article in the paper was just like previous ones from 1979, 1984, and 1989.  Every 5 years on the exact same date, a young boy had been found alongside the Cresheim Creek not far from a modest waterfall that partially fed the Wissahickon Valley waterways.  Always occurring on October 31st, local authorities had been questioning whether the unexplained deaths might have been from a serial killer living around the Germantown area.  Authorities were cautioning people to stay away from the Wissahickon Valley area with Halloween once again coming.  The police promised to patrol the area in hopes of stopping the deaths.

Piotr rubbed his eyes and contemplated the article.  He wondered about the first strange death when it had occurred on October 31, 1979.  The young boy was just slightly older than Janek was at the time of his death.  But 15 year old Piotr wrote off the death as being a coincidence.  But then another came in October 31, 1984.  The second death was similar to the first one.  And then there was the death in October 1989.  The pattern was too specific to ignore.  But while the authorities searched in vain for a serial killer, Piotr pondered the unthinkable.

As October 31, 1994 came, Piotr decided that he had to address his nagging suspicions.  He drove to his old neighborhood and parked next to his family home.  With the death of his parents in 1990, the family home was now owned by a young family very much like the Tarkowskis.  Piotr paused as he looked at his old home, knowing that the young children now living there could be at risk.  Tears came down his cheeks as he thought about how much he had lost.  His brother and his parents.

After a few moments, Piotr headed for the woods.  The path leading into the heavily wooded area looked the same as when Janek and he had played there 20 years in the past.

Inside the woods, he could hear police patrolling Cresheim Creek.  He stopped at the top of the waterfall while police moved downstream further into the woods.  He checked his watch.  It was 4:15 PM, close to the time when Janek had passed away just 20 years earlier.

Piotr slowly descended from the top of the waterfall to the creek below.  He headed left and in a short time he reached it.  The location where Janek’s body had laid back in October 1974.  Tears came down Piotr’s cheeks as he looked at the large rock that had crushed Janek’s small head.  The guilt of that day came back and Piotr felt embarrassed.  Couldn’t he have done more?

Rustling came from the woods adjacent to the creek bed as a white wolf appeared.  The wolf looked at Piotr and growled.  Sharp teeth were visible in the mouth of the animal.  But Piotr didn’t run.  Instead, he stood his ground and spoke to the animal.

“Janek, it’s me Piotr.  I have come to talk to you.”

The animal stopped growling but continued to look menacingly at Piotr.  The animal’s eyes looked intently at the young man.

“I know that you have been killing the young boys along this creek.  I know you are doing it out of frustration and revenge over your life being taken so young.  But this has to stop.  They are innocent and don’t deserve this.  Just as you never deserved to die.”

The wolf growled again but much less intensively.  The animal looked away from Piotr as if it were unwilling to look into his eyes.  Piotr eyes were fixated on the wolf as he continued his one sided dialogue.

“If you don’t let go of this anger, you will never have peace. You are better than this.  Mom and dad mourned you for years before they died.  I have too.”

The wolf hung its head and whined.  Piotr was convinced that the animal had to be Janek.  But was he getting through to him?

“Let go of this anger.  Mom and dad are calling for you.  Go to them and find peace.”

As the wolf looked at the large rock in the creek, the one that had caused Janek’s death in 1974, it’s color started to change.  The white fur on the animal turned darker and darker as it eventually reached grey.  And above the animal, a light gray mist formed, just like the mist seen by Piotr in 1974.  The animal looked up, shook it’s head and then took off into the woods.

Piotr shivered as he watched the animal run off.  Had he convinced Janek to search for the peace that he had never allowed himself to have?  Piotr wasn’t sure.

As Piotr climbed back up the cliff back to the edge of the waterfall, he looked back, searching for a glimpse of the wolf.  But to his surprise, he saw instead a rainbow over the creek bed below.

 

Epilogue

The Cresheim Creek killings stopped in 1994 and no additional occurrences every took place.  The Germantown police keep the case file open as part of standard practice but as time passed, they would eventually close it.  In 2012, the case was finally closed as an unsolved mystery.

Piotr Tarkowski eventually moved from the Philadelphia area, taking up residence in Colorado as a freelance writer.  He enjoyed the Rocky Mountains and hiked the area often.  And whenever he would see a gray wolf, he would pause to wonder whether Janek was finally at peace. On several occasions, he saw a rainbow over top of the animal and he suspected that he knew the answer to that question.

The End

Author’s Bio: Tom Schmidt is a Chemical Engineer working in medical diagnostics in upstate New York.  He enjoys creative writing and has been published on www.short-story.me in the past and is scheduled to be published on www.overmydeadbody.com later this year.  He is currently working on the “Paul Garigan Crime Mysteries”, a collection of short stories centered around a Malibu based police detective which he hopes to publish in the future.

0
0
0
s2sdefault

Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:

Amount:

Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!