Some of my flash fiction stories...


SOTM Winner - July 2014
Apr 5, 2009
Trinidad and Tobago
Okay, so I'm not quite sure, I think there used to be a whole Creative Writing section of this forum, of which Cricket stories was just a part of it...maybe I'm having the Mandela Effect here or maybe I'm not.

Anyways, so I've been getting back into writing flashes recently. What's a flash? Well, people tend to define it as a story under a certain umber of words (usually less than 1000). I define it as any story I write in less than 15 minutes. Might not be a full story, might not give you everything, but as a standalone, it holds up. Think of it as...maybe...the Star Wars movies, maybe? You can watch a single movie by itself and you don't necessarily need to watch the others to make sense of everything, but it helps.

The best flashes are those that tell an entire story in those few words.

I dunno, I had a bit of an internet outage earlier today and for some reason instead of playing offline games or watching regular TV, I felt the need to write. And it reminded me of how I used to write back in the day. Which I totally loved, by the way.

Now these aren't polished products, half the time they're barely even edited. Grammar/tense/spelling/typos might abound. But who cares? It's just random.

Today I wrote an installment for a whole story I've always wanted to get started on about Trinidad folklore and legends. Think something like Men in Black and that Fantastical Beasts Harry Potter movies, but for Trinidad.

"The Soucouyant"

A lot of people don't realise that while watching Sesame Street growing up that they were actually learning a lot of things that would scare even adults today. The Count von Count? Do you know why he enjoyed counting things? It's because of the old eastern European legends of vampires. Throw salt over your shoulder, a vampire must stop to count every grain until either disturbed or they're done. Hence the counting. Makes the "one, one bat...two, two bats," thing a bit creepier, huh?

In Trinidad, we have it worse. I remember the first time I went with uncle Johann for a soucouyant. Now for those of you that don't know, a little backstory...those of you that do know can maybe skip the next few lines.

A soucouyant is both a witch and a vampire all rolled up into one. She's an old maiden (and that being the old English sense of the word, she's never been laid with, in the Biblical sense, her life) and she has sold her soul to the devil in exchange for a lifetime to find her eventual mate (hence the witch). She usually lives in an old shack somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and sucks the blood of livestock to keep living (hence the vampire...Chupacabra has got nothing on Trinidad, although I've dealth with them before...another story, however). The whole salt thing, you're supposed to leave it at a crossroad at night (although anywhere can do in a pinch, get it...a pinch of attempt at a pun) and then go rub pepper sauce in her skin before she returns. Oh, skin? Yeah...she wears someone else's skin during the day then sheds it before she goes to hunt for men and animals. Makes you wonder if that creepy old lady at the grocery store was really...just a creepy old lady or something more, huh?

Uncle said that...well we have to visit a "sucker" tonight. He wasn't very specific about it, and I'm by now very used to just listening to him and shutting up about it. When I picked him up at his house, his friend Ren put a briefcase in the back seat of the car. I'd been so accustomed to Rennie doing random things like that...I didn't even bother.

Uncle came shortly after. "Damien, my boy," he said, "We're off. Head down the highway south..I'll let you know when you'll turn off." He looked up at the night sky. "We might meet Serah before we're done tonight too."

This time it was my turn to look above at the sky. "The moon isn't that high or that full either," I said..."And with this lockdown she isn't likely to be out so late either."

Uncle grunted. "Heh, boy before this night is up I expect to see Serah, you trust me on that."

I knew better than to mistrust him and I drove. Even with curfew in effect, police vehicles would either seem to actively avoid us, or find someone else to stop. After three hours of driving with Uncle directing me in the last hour over some roads (and some places where the word "road" should never apply) we stopped outside of a small house.

"Quiet now," uncle snarled, "We don't want to scare her, she's not likely to be in a good mood."

Uncle reached in the back and opened the briefcase, pulling out a small bag of salt.

"Listen here and watch me," he said, "Salt is powerful. She HAS to stop to count it, but we don't want her up all night doing so. And you do NOT want the salt to go in a circle. She'll never approach a salt circle. Too iffy for her."

He took, what I swear was about the smallest pinch of salt I've ever seen, and threw it out of the window, grabbed the still open briefcase and hustled out of the car. "Do NOT leave the car, no matter what you see or hear." Those were his last words to me.

I sat there, waiting. I didn't know what to do otherwise. The radio never worked in any car I'd ever owned, so it wasn't like I had any entertainment. Then I saw a light behind me. Approaching fast. Orange, almost like...oh crap it was...a fireball. A literal fireball. And almost as soon as I was about to crouch under the dashboard and hope I die quickly, it stopped. No glow, no nothing.

I looked outside. A sweet little old lady was there, searching on the ground, pecking at it with her fingers. Almost as if her thumb and forefinger was a chicken. And she kept counting.

"One, two...where's...ah, three, four, five...oh, my there's a lot of you here."

She took no notice of me. I wanted to go tell Uncle. But he said do not leave, and so I sat. Until I saw Uncle coming out of the small house. Suddenly the woman dropped the heap of salt she had by then been collecting and flew at him. The orange, the orange inferno...began again. I had to shut my eyes, it was that bright. I only heard the car door open and then shut in rapid succession before uncle's voice cut through my blindness.


I threw the car into reverse. Don't know how the hell I got back to the highway. Probably reversing the car all the way. With shaking hands and white knuckles from gripping the steering wheel so tight, I finally found my voice somewhere around Couva.


He smiled and put his hand on my shoulder, which for some reason always had the effect of instantly calming me down.

"Boy that was a blood sucker, a soucouyant, as it were. And she wasn't very friendly. But I think she'll not bother many people after tonight."

I remembered the legends. "Did you," I began, "Did you find her skin and put pepper in it?"

Uncle chuckled.

"No boy, the old lady had her teeth falling out. You try sucking the blood out of a nice cow with no teeth. You'd rip it to pieces with your bare hands just to get to the blood. I left her a new set of dentures and a receipt for two cows at a farm I know of. She's angry, boy, but she ain't exactly without reason. And don't worry, the darling cows are almost done with their natural lives, they're milk cows, not food cows."

Huh. I could only drive further thinking about Count von Count and the cows jumping over the moon on Sesame Street.

That's today. Sorry if any typos/tense changes/etc.

The next one I'd like to share is actually one of my favourites. This one was off of a prompt and the title was "still waters" and you had to base your story on that. It had a word limit, not sure what it was. I never edited my entry, but by eyeballing it again, it has to have been either 150 or 200 words. This is another of my favourite types of flashes. Give you enough of a story to make you wonder. Cliffhangers don't work well in full novels, but they do beautifully in flashes.

"Still Waters"

He opens his eyes and is a bit surprised to find that he can see the night sky again. The moon has reappeared and is shining brightly. He sits up and looks across the surface of the water.


He goes to leave, but something catches his eye. There is something floating on the water in the middle of the lake. He shines his flashlight on it and almost jumps backwards in shock.

He throws the device to the floor. Being sturdy, it does not break or even go out. It rolls and the light again shines across the water’s surface. He wishes that he could not see.

Rather, he wishes that he could see something else. A body, even. Not what is currently there. At least death would give him a definite answer.

Instead, her pink nightgown floats silently in the middle of the lake.

I don't even know if these things are worth views, but I've got a ton more and then more left waiting to come out of me. Wish we did have a creative writing section on here again.


SOTM Winner - July 2014
Apr 5, 2009
Trinidad and Tobago

Uncle was correct. Why did I ever doubt him in the first place? We'd barely cleared Chaguanas before he told me, "Turn off by the hardware."

The hardware in question was Bhagwansingh's Hardware. One of the biggest franchises in Trinidad, even in these Covid-restricted curfew times. My problem was...well...I'd missed the turnoff. The next one was PriceSmart, a good couple of kilometres up the highway.


"Uncle, there isn't any -"

I could get no further than that in my statement. Uncle threw himself out of the window. One minute he was in the car, the next he wasn't. I had to look back in my mirrors and I saw him calmly getting to his feet and dusting himself off on the side of the road. I checked the other lanes and pulled to a stop on the shoulder (needless, we were in a curfew and my car was the only one on the road, but I'm a good driver). I looked at the passenger seat, where there was once an Uncle. I could not believe it. I'd definitely seen Uncle Johann throw himself out the window at a decent speed (I was doing the speed limit, but it was still not exactly slow).

Uncle's seatbelt was still buckled and the passenger's door glass was still up. Except he was outside of the car. Huh?

His distant voice, a few hundred metres away, snapped me back to my thoughts. "BOY, the case! Open it, take out the cloth!"

Well, that was a weird request if ever there was one. But I have long since learned never to question uncle and his mysterious ways. Not after the things I'd seen. I opened the case and felt cloth, the likes of which I'd never felt before. I knew that cloth should have a weight and a feel to it, even if it's light. And yet I was holding it in my hands and never felt a thing. It was touching me and I couldn't tell where. It looked like a regular piece of cloth, and yet this was about as far from regular than anything I'd seen in my limited career thus far.


This was serious. Usually my name is "Boy" to Uncle. He never actually calls me by my actual name. I quickly forgot about the mysterious cloth and (I think?) carried it outside. It's very hard to carry something when you aren't sure whether you're holding it or not. Uncle was somehow right outside the car when I backed out of it, ass first, still wondering whether I was holding the cloth or not. He took it from me about as easily as you'd take...well a regular tablecloth-sized piece of...cloth.

"Some child you are," he muttered under his breath but loud enough for me to hear, "Child they said, look for this one, boy you aren't good for a damn thing. Well you make good coffee. But I'll get you there, fear not."

It was then that I heard singing. A beautiful voice. Wasn't like someone was playing a song loudly over their stereo or anything. This song permeated you, it was a part of you. And it was so beautiful. Think piano and strings and then a sitar with a tabla and flutes...and then the most angelic voice singing something that you can't quite make out because you're too far away, if only you were a little closer you'd hear it better and make out the words. I've never heard anything like it, it was in my very bones. My heart beat along to its rhythm. As I kept walking, I thought I could make out the words clearer. They were saying, "Boy, boy, boy, BOY!"

I shook my head to clear it and looked back at Uncle. I was just walking along a flower-lined path in a garden. Now I was in the tall grass at the side of the Butler Highway. And I'm not sure my shoes, and for that matter, my pants, would survive the calf-deep muck I had currently found myself in. At least it was clean enough muck.

Uncle, far from shaking his head and admonishing me as I thought he would do, actually gave a rare smile and helped me out of the ditch without a word.

He had by then unfurled the cloth and I realised that it was big enough to cover a huge part of the road. The four lanes on our side as well as two of the three on the other side, plus the rather wide patch of grass in between. When I say that it covered it, I don't mean Uncle went about pulling each corner and line just like that. The cloth simply seemed to unravel under his hands. More questions for me that I would probably never get answered in this lifetime. Uncle pulled something out of his pocket and pointed it at me. At first I thought it was a gun, but no, it was just a laser pointer.

"Height?" he asked, while pointing the thing at my forehead.


"Height," he repeated, "And your regular height, boy, she's a-hunting tonight. You're lucky she met you. She likes you."

"Who likes me?"

Readers, if you have ever felt the full brunt of an office-sized laser pointer hitting you in the head at about a velocity of a middle-aged man throwing it in annoyance, you'd know what I felt a moment later. If you've never had that opportunity to have such an experience, let me sum it up to in two words: it hurts. I just was happy that someone liked me. Clearly Uncle didn't.

"Five foot ten something, not five eleven but almost." I replied while rubbing my sore head.

Uncle somehow had the pointer in his hand again. He put the dot on a spot in the middle of this piece of cloth across the road (why were there no other cars coming, even during the curfew?) and told me to stand there. He never let that dot move until I stood exactly on top of it.

Readers, you know that when you're holding a pointer, it might shake a little, especially the further away you are from the area you're pointing at? The dot never wavered. But I've been taught never to question Uncle. When I was in the spot, he nodded and went back into the car, pulling out the briefcase. He went around to the far side of the car and I swear, that was the last I saw of him for some time.

It was like he disappeared.

Not the best but I got one like, and one like means one reply. Isn't a "flash" because I did take my time to write it, but say what.

This other one though, is a flash. From my past writings. Think by eyeball the word limit was 100, and the theme was "recall".


The brilliant flash of light danced in front of his eyes and he hoped the inevitable would not come.

He could already smell the acrid odour, filling his mind. It would definitely come.

His father was out in the back. He let out a cry. He was scared.

He cleared all his books from his bed and lay on his side. He bit his pillow and waited.

When he came to, his father was at his bedside.

“Do you know that you had another seizure, Sam?”

Others kept telling him about his epilepsy. He never recalled any of his seizures.

This one was interesting, because it was one of my first medically-related flashes. And yet it does tell a full story.

BTW, all text copyright me.


SOTM Winner - July 2014
Apr 5, 2009
Trinidad and Tobago
Somehow I just...couldn't leave it at that. I could not.

Serah - Part 2

I kept standing there, the cold wind picking up gusts now and again. But it never rippled the cloth. I looked around. Yes, there was Bhagwansingh's Hardware, Courts Home Furnishing a bit lower down, their garish yellow colour always standing out in the night near the overpass. KFC would be nearby too. I was rather hungry, but the place would be closed. Why didn't I eat before?

The car, my car, remained as it was. Well-lit by the streetlamp, I should have been able to see Uncle's shadow somewhere. But I couldn't. I knew he'd went behind the car, right after he had told me to stand in the middle of this road-straddling piece of cloth. I stooped down to try to get a better view underneath the car, but nothing. Uncle had done some weird things in my presence before, but disappearances weren't exactly on the list thus far.

Then again, I thought back to how he had left the car in the first place. His window was definitely up. We were talking, making nonsense small talk...and then he told me to pull over, but I couldn't and then...he was gone. His seatbelt remained buckled. His glass was still up. What the hell was Uncle not telling me? I'd been in this business for long enough to know a lot of things. While I was no expert and I was still learning new things daily, this effed my mind up so much.

"You'd like to not be confused?"

Huh? Who said that?

"Come, love...I see you looking at me, wondering what's under's your chance."

If you're hacking my narrative thought, you'd better have a good reason.

"I see all, I know all. And I know you want me. Come on, let's make your night special. Giving a bloodsucker a new set of teeth, huh? Must feel nice.

I didn't do anything...

"And yet you saw her."

Well, maybe I did do a little...

"What Uncle doesn't know, it won't hurt. Just one taste. I can sing. Let me play the music."

She started singing again, and with all the music that...okay, just think of the best thing you've ever heard that brought tears to your eyes and multiply it by, I dunno, aplenty. I was a shaking, blubbering mess by the time she'd barely finished even the first song.

"I know you liked it...shh..."

I was still struggling for air amidst all the tears and whatnot when suddenly somewhere in the back of my mind I heard a car engine revving. Wait, not just any car engine, that was my car. I turned around and started to run toward my babygirl that is my car, but suddenly I was enveloped in darkness. And tightness.

What was worse, I was not alone.

"Flying fishing mutherfuc-(redacted)-ing c-(redacted)nt!"

Here's the thing, I actually recognised that voice. That voice belonged to Serah, our secretary. Well, there were worse things than being in a very enclosed environment with your secretary. In fact there are quite a few videos online that end up with both parties being extremely happy with the situation. Serah, on the other hand, was not happy.

"You mother(redacted) (redacted) (redacted) (redacted) Johannes Dimitri Komarov, release me this instant!"

There was a tearing sound in something, possibly the fabric. All I knew is that I fell (rather painfully) to the asphalt milliseconds later.

"Good," Uncle's voice said, "You're safe. To be honest I was a little worried."

I was still blinking away...well they always say stars in books and stuff. It's not exactly stars. It's a sort of area where you see all three of blue, red, and black right at the same time, while there are random flashes of light. I guess some might say it's stars. For me, it was pain. And I was winded too. You try falling onto a hard surface from however much feet up I fell from and not be winded. I was gasping for air but it just would not enter my lungs. And Uncle said I was safe? To hell with him and back on the damndest rollercoaster ride I could find.

There I was, gasping, and Uncle kept looking up at this...sack? I guess it was a sack. Suspended in the air by means I know not. I couldn't really see too well, remember? He did some sort of thing with his arms and then the sack tightened and just flew. It flew to parts I know not. I was still trying to push myself up to my feet. I was sure I'd chipped a tooth or a few with my landing and, alas, as I ran my tongue over what was left of the jaundiced yellows...yep...there was a dental visit in my immediate future.

"You're fine."

Uncle pulled me up the rest of the way.

"We wait."

I was still breathing hard at this time. Broken ribs? I wasn't sure. Hell, if I'd died it might have hurt less. I just wanted to get to my car, it was just a few feet away. But Uncle, that damn Uncle of mine, stopped me. And put his hand on my shoulder. And even though I was in pain, even though I'd need a new set of chewers soon, I felt fine.

"You just stopped La Diablesse, boy. For one more night, at least."

I was puzzled. La Diablesse is literally the devil in female form. Le Diable...La Diablesse...two in one and one in two. But I was with Serah, wasn't I? I told Uncle this.

"Boy, you never learn do you? short for Seraphim, the second highest order of angels. Only four Archangels are higher, Mikkael, Gabriel, Rafael, Uriel..."

I was puzzled.

"Serah is our secretary."

"Only when it pleases her. Have you learned nothing in all the time you've been with me?"

"It's been three days, one loup-garou, Papa Bois and his daughter Dame La Fleur, not to mention the satyrs and centaurs in Greece, a homo sapiens sasquatch, giant boas, sights, sounds, smells, and you still won't tell me how you went out of my car!"

Uncle half smiled.

"Boy, you fought with the devil himself tonight and won. Let me tell you, that was strength. Maybe I'll make something of you after all."

I sneered at him. Not exactly effective, given my broken teeth and all.

"Yeah? And my ribs? My teeth? I can whistle without opening my mouth right now. God, I'd probably shit blood tomorrow with all the injuries I have."

A hand was put on my shoulder. But Uncle was in front of me. Huh? I spun around, only to painfully realise that my knee was probably injured too. I stared up into the face of the giant Rennie.


He nodded. "This is my name, yes. I am here to serve."

I was bewildered. "Ren how did you get here?"

Rennie pointed behind him where a Venezuelan was behind the wheel of a pickup truck.

"Uber. It extends to Trinidad, you know."

Well, that was it. Too ridiculous. I damn near collapsed and did not remember anything until the next day.

(EDIT: End of this arc for a while. Damien is fine, don't worry. Yes, we do have an influx of people from Venezuela recently, and no they aren't technically supposed to have driver's licenses. Yes Uber apparently does exist down here. La Diablesse is a real folklore tale, albeit very different from what I portrayed her as. Seraphim is real and Lucifer was one, there may be more than four archangels. But it's my story. Plus we have a sasquatch murder to solve andto meet Papa Bois and a re-configured douen. Our local folklore is so ripe for stories.

Damien and Uncle...well, we'll get to that. I know why, you don't. In time.)
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SOTM Winner - July 2014
Apr 5, 2009
Trinidad and Tobago
I've gotten a few likes, but no replies yet. Hope that'll change soon.

Questions for my readers:

Why did I choose those names for my characters? Damien, Johann(es), Ren?

Why did I stray from the typical La Diablesse character stereotype?

What is going on with Uncle?


Fantasy Cricket Team
PlanetCricket Award Winner
The Boys
Aug 4, 2012
Thane, India
Profile Flag
Would anyone want to know more flash stories with Damien and Uncle Johannes?
Sure. That was a good read thus far. Appreciate your imagination and writing skills. At my place I can't really think to this extent as far as my imagination is concerned.

I could write a lot about Cricket, especially Indian Cricket but not anything other than that. It looks your stories and well thought out. Well written. :clap


SOTM Winner - July 2014
Apr 5, 2009
Trinidad and Tobago
Merry new year to all.

A couple of my friends have lost relatives last year due to stuff other than covid and unfortunately those things don't really get into the public, only covid does. Just a little bit of poetry from me tonight. Just felt it in me.

For all we've lost
We've gained so much
For all we've lost
You've given us luck
For all we've lost
We love you always
For all we've lost
We'll recall those days
For all we've lost
You are not a memory
For all we've lost
It's heaven you'll see
For all we've lost
We love you forever
For all we've lost
We will remember
For all we've lost
We can't state our love
For all we've lost
Bless us from above
For all we've lost
We cry secretly
For all we've lost
Wishing what could be
For all we've lost
We remember you
For all we've lost
Wish we could be true...
To you...
To you...

(Honestly this one was like a song I had in mind where the hook would just keep repeating in the background. Yeah I'm so dumb lol. )

When life gives you thorns, you make roses
When life is out of form, you say don't fret
When life is crazy, you say screw it
When life can faze me, you say don't hate
When life gives you lemons, You say make lemonade
When life gets me down, you say live things


SOTM Winner - July 2014
Apr 5, 2009
Trinidad and Tobago
Carlton sighed as he leant on the broken wall. Someone was firing their rifle about a hundred yards roughly northwest of his position. He had the chance, and he took it. In one fluid motion he hopped over the bricks and ran across to another position of cover. Okay, he thought to himself, I've got this. Still about fifty yards ahead was the man giving rifle coverage. The epitome of teamwork, he thought. Cover me some more.
And as the man shot another burst from his rifle, Carlton ran across to another wall. The RPG that was aimed at his prior position destroyed all but the grains of sand. Carlton sighed a breath of relief. No, nevermore, you bastards, he thought... no I am going to do all of you in. With only his service pistol in hand, he stood up and walked forward... this was war, and war knew not who will become heroes.

(Random word was "epitome")

Millie had not seen her teacher for years. She had been released into to zoo because of something about animal testing being bad or something like that. She wasn't sure, her teacher was so nice to her, always giving her treats whenever she solved the admittedly very easy puzzles. Millie had had a hard time adjusting... she didn't like how Zane looked at her... he was doing to do what with his what to her? Where was her teacher? Where were those little cuddles at the end of the night when teaching was over? This was not a nice place... she preferred to be back in her little cage, at least she knew the cage was hers. Now it was Zane and all those others... she just wanted to stay in the corner and be by herself. She missed her teacher...

(Random word was "cuddle"... think my gf is trying to tell me something here lol.)


SOTM Winner - July 2014
Apr 5, 2009
Trinidad and Tobago
Found my old thread again.

Been restarting writing. Again, more on the horror side of things. Still want to complete an entire book on Uncle Johannes and Damien but in the meanwhile here's this.


You ever watch those TV shows like Storage Wars, Auction Hunters, or the like? Basically the entire premise is this, and they explain it to you at the beginning of every single episode: people have too little room for their stuff, they pay for storage bays/crates/rooms, for a rental fee of course. And if you don't pay that fee, you essentially get evicted. But the people who own the facilities don't want to deal with cleaning out a bunch of your hoarder crap, they'll hire an auction company (apparently the laws vary from place to place whether or not they can hold auctions themselves), but anyways, the auction company sells the contents of the unit to the highest bidder. The buyer, in turn, usually has 24 hours to remove everything from the unit (or in the case of crates, the entire thing) and that way you free up space for the storage company to rent out to potential customers.

Of course, by the way those shows make it out to be, you can find a bunch of priceless stuff in the units. And, me going through college and still living with my parents, I found myself watching those things on TV on a regular basis. Not willingly at first, that is. I lived close enough to the college that I honestly didn't need to live in a dorm, plus there's nothing better than mom's breakfast in the morning, especially before a huge exam. But my dad was always a fan of these types of shows and I guess he got my mom into it, because not less than halfway through my first year, that was pretty much all they watched. I would be in my room doing my Zoom and online stuff (it was pandemic times, ah, the golden days of homeschooling for the entire earth) and I'd hear my dad going, “He paid $600 for that piece of shit?” only to hear after the commercial break, “ God...we have GOT to get into this line of work!”

The idea never went anywhere with him, of course. He was just about a year away from retiring as a decently mid-to-top level position in the company that he had worked for. Mom, to her credit, had managed to get a relatively okayish Etsy customer following during the Great COVID Plague Pandemic of 2019 with her homemade plushies. They were happy in our bubble, and because we were in our bubble, I ended up watching a few episodes with them. And I don't know if there was a different bug in the air, but it did intrigue me.

I had a part-time job working as a barista (I know, right, the most Gen Z job EVER) but hey, it let me give my parents something as a contribution to keeping me around as well as a bit of spending money. Never let the big companies take your tips. Work for a small coffee place and let your tips go directly to you. Although we baristas did pool the tips and share it equally anyways, but that's beside the point. That point I'm trying to make is that I did have some money around, and I did know that there was a storage compound about an hour away. I mean, from what I saw, a bunch of clothes to be donated, a few garage or flea market sale items, every now and then that big ticket thing? Couldn't be that bad.

Turns out that it could be that bad. I went to my first four auction sales (every week for a month) without buying a thing and spending a ton on gas money. But it wasn't all bad, because I made some good friends and got a lot of great advice. Because you can't go inside the unit until you buy it and because you have only a few minutes to inspect the stuff within from the outside, you have to pick up on certain key points early on. If everything is neatly boxed and labelled, for example, it shows that whoever owned the unit cared about their stuff. Might be worth just throwing out a price simply based on the labels alone. If you see furniture, no matter how “antique” it looks, assume it's fake, or else why would they put it in storage? Always try to get a unit that has old toys, video games, or comics...because there's some fan somewhere who will pay top dollar for any half-decent vintage one of those.

So with my new-found knowledge, I started feeling more confident in bidding. And I will say that my mother's lawn turned into a flea market every Saturday and Sunday before long. But you know what? I was actually making a profit for myself. I wasn't going to become a millionaire anytime soon, but with the physical sales and what I sold online, I was seeing the benefits. Some of the cooler stuff I kept for myself too.

Of course there were running costs. Some stuff, you just had to take to the junkyard or the recycling bins. Some stuff, you had to donate to charity, like clothes (after thoroughly washing and cleaning). Then there was some stuff, you just couldn't sell.

See, part of the reason why some of these renters couldn't make their payments is because they had passed away, and there just wasn't anyone to claim their stuff. I would be going through that stuff, and I'd find pictures of kids, grandkids, loved ones. Bank statements, credit card information. Letters, oh my God, so many letters. Love letters, hate letters, breakup letters, holiday letters, letters of every type. Diaries. One particular diary reminded me of Anne Frank, I swear.

Everytime I found anything I thought was too personal for me to keep, I'd go back to the storage center and ask them to get me the contact information for who had rented the unit last. I'd genuinely try to give back any deeply personal effects that I'd found. And a lot of families were happy to receive it again. After a while, I considered myself like a sort of Good Samaritan of the storage world.

(Most expensive thing I've ever returned to someone? A platinum and diamond ring that's worth a metric ****ton of money but had an inscription on the inside, that had been handed down, I believe, from generation to generation until it was lost behind a stuck drawer of a cabinet in a unit I'd bought for barely a hundred bucks. Most personally rewarding thing that I've ever returned to someone? Their great-great-great-grandmother's original handwritten birth certificate and death certificate.)

My dad wasn't too happy with me taking up precious space in his garage, so I'd rented one of those prefabricated sheds for the backyard where I'd store my stuff. While I was at classes, he'd be happy going through my latest buy and sorting out what needed to go back to the families, what needed to be scrapped or donated, and what we could resell at (hopefully) a profit either online or at our weekly yard sale. I'd help him out whenever I could, which, due to money coming in from my newfound side hustle, was about as soon as I came home from school.

I'd just bought a unit which I thought had potential, and the moving company had just unloaded everything outside of the shed. (Note to others: don't tell them you need stuff transported, tell them you just moved into a new house and you had stuff in storage, you really can't afford to have extra money into moving it into the house as yet. The office will not charge you as much. Life hack. But please tip your actual drivers and movers.)

This was one of my rare weekdays off, so we helped the movers get everything out of the van. It wasn't a whole lot, just a dresser set, a small chest that could have possibly been at the end of a bed, and a large full-length oval mirror that I was sure had to be silver-backed. Thing was beautiful. I paid out of my nose for the entire package, $895, but I knew at least that modern silver-backed mirrors go for a ton, so perhaps an antique would have been worth more?

The movers left, and dad went to opening the “treasure” chest, while I stood the mirror to one side and opened the drawers in the dresser. And I envelopes?


There were a ton of them inside of the top left drawer. Okay, stuff to go through later. Opened the top right drawer. Film canisters. I'm not THAT much Gen Z to not know what these things are. A few clipped negatives around as well. I quickly held them up to the sunlight. No issues there. Mother, father, two daughters in an amusement park of some sort. All wearing cartoon masks. Family vacation it looked like. Father smiling, holding mother and daughters. Daughters riding a water slide next. Mother looking left in a picture. Mother looking wide-eyed at the camera even through her mask.

Wait, what?

Not the lovey-dovey wide eyes. This was fear-eyes here. I scanned through the rest of the negatives. Not a single person in them. Just pictures of rides, a couple were blurry.

“Odd,” I thought to myself. But my own dad often had similar pictures of me, including one time when I wanted to meet Goofy so badly that I had run away from my parents and they had to make an announcement on the PA system for them to collect me. (I was old enough to know both my name and their names, my most embarrassing moment in my life to date.)

I kept going through the drawers. The dresser was built so that there was a top left and a top right drawer, then the bottom two drawers were full length. I pulled the middle one out. Empty. So was the bottom one. I looked at the entire thing as a whole and checked the joints (another one of the things those veterans had taught me – if it's all dovetail joints with no nails and just glue, you've got money). Sure enough, I had money.

“Son,” I looked up to my dad walking toward me, “Um, find anything interesting?”

“Not really,” I replied. “Just a few pictures from a family vacation.”

He sighed. “Where did they go?”

I showed him the negatives. “They went to an amusement park – see, look the sign for the ride here and then they're all there and then mom probably notices that the kid is missing and she runs away and dad clicks his camera running for the kid also. Same thing happened to me.”

Dad sighed again. I know his sighs. Plus, let me tell you something about dads – they know things. The mere fact that you have been born has given them superpowers. He knew when I took my first sip of alcohol at the age of 14, he knew when I had my first girlfriend (even before both of us knew), he even knew when I hadn't fed Sir Shoe-Destroyer (our dog) for a day! knew...

“Kid,” now he's always called me kid whenever he's serious, “Look at this.”

He led me to the “treasure” chest. And to be fair I didn't see much, just a whole bunch of dust caking the bottom of the thing and a few glittering pieces of metal. Looked like gold. And gold was good. Made me more money in terms of resale value for everything. I didn't understand why he called me “kid” for something like this, especially when the actual chest itself looked like it was from the 1800's.

“Kid,” he said again, “You've gotten a bunch of pictures in envelopes across the yard right now. Look at them, why don't you?”

I'd forgotten about those pictures, actually. I grabbed all of the envelopes up. Physical pictures are heavy, you guys. But I managed to grab, I think it was either eight or nine envelopes. We had a little table set up in the shed with a lamp in the event that we had found any further such platinum rings or anything of the sort, so I instinctively went to sit at it.

They were labelled and dated, and automatic one-hour processing from back in the day. I started with the envelope with the earliest date. The pictures were much the same as the negatives. At the second envelope, I began to see that this amusement park was not so much an amusement park as it was a construct in someone's backyard, with deception in the camera angles to make it seem as if the first set of pictures were taken in a bigger, brighter place.

“Huh,” I said, “Weird.”

It was as if the second envelope of pictures were taken before the first but developed later, as per the date.

The third envelope continued the first set, after the blurry ending to the first set. This was the adult horror ride maybe? The mother and father, still in their masks taking what would have been considered a selfie even back then. Mother still with that look in her eyes though. Lots of pictures on that ride. The father was smiling a lot, the mother was stoic. At the end, he had to help her out of the ride. I'm not sure she enjoyed it a lot. Again, lots of selfies. Weird that the ride seemed as if it was just one room long though.

I was going to open the next in line but then Dad pushed my hand aside. “Look at the final one, buddy.”

First he calls me “kid” now he calls me “buddy”?

There was a bench knife very close to me. I don't know why my grip tightened on it, but I told him with my jaw clenched in the best smile that I knew how to create at that point in time, “You show me, dad, you show me.”

The last set of pictures depicted him opening the same chest in our MY house! IN MY BEDROOM! And bowing down over it and raising his arms in the air chanting! And him in a trance about it!

That bench knife would have pierced his heart if he had not told me one thing.


See, that was the one absolute no-no in my life. If ever Dad said that word, I'd be in for one hell of a beating and my ass (and back, and sides) would hurt so much that it wouldn't be wise to sit for a week. It meant he was so angry with me that no other word could escape his lips except that one. My mother, who was more into the nature side of things, would make a poultice to rub on my sore butt for a few days just so I could pull up my clothes to head to school. Granted, it didn't happen often, but I cringed at the mere mention of that word, adult as I was.

So when he told me that, I admit that I didn't just freeze. I actually shivered and dropped the knife. Do not let anyone tell you that they are an adult and don't fear a dad who can beat them down. I dropped the tweaking knife. And he picked it up. And handed it back to me.

“I invite you to look into this chest, my son.”

After just attempting to kill my own father and being stopped by what I suppose was Divine Intervention, what else could I do? I still had the knife though. And as I looked in, I half expected him to shut the lid down on my neck and decapitate me or something.

But he didn't.

He said a simple sentence. “These belong to your sisters.”

“These huh?”

He shook his head slowly, looking at me. “Look at those pictures again, they are me and your mother. I didn't know what was happening back then, but she pulled me into something that I can't explain. You had two sisters, son. They are unaccounted for. They were born but they never grew up past age 6 and 8.”

I did the math quickly in my head. “Dad, these pictures look like they were from the early 2000s, I would have been born already. If these pictures are of our family why am I not in them?”

He looked at me.

“Your mother is not who she says she is. I am not bound to tell you the rest, but you will find others. Look to the pictures for clues. I'm sorry, kid, I'm not here for much longer and you'll have to do it alone.”

I looked at my father, my dad. Daddy.

“What...the...actual...fearsome tweak...are you telling me?”

He nodded.

“It'll all make sense in the end. You'll need to do everything in life all over again and then make some difficult decisions. You'll need to live past this life and still make difficult decisions. But this...this here, this makes it all possible.”

He gestured to the “treasure” chest.

“These are the bones of your sisters. They have been reduced to dust.”

Wait, what?

“Bones don't work that way, dad.”

He did that thing that's both a nod and a shake of the head at the same time.

“Bone broth and blenders exist. That amazing texture that your mother got on her plushies? Collagen. I'll leave it up to you where it came from. I could not protect them in this world, but may I protect their souls once again in the next. My time here is almost up, son. Be both your mother's angel and her demon because she does not mean wrong, but she means destruction wherever she appears.

“Anytime you feel distanced from their world, you open this chest. Boiled, freeze dried, pulverized.”

I bugged out.

“This is a late April Fool's joke, right? I bought a tweaking unrelated storage unit!”

Dad shook his head.

“You bought a unit owned by the Fields family. I have spent my life tracing it back and they are descended from the Renfields. Our own name is Hunter.”

I cast everything aside then and there and, apart from one or two drunken rants, I'd never cursed much in front of my father before.

“So go take a fearsome tweak at a flying donut. Go take a flying fearsome tweak at the mooooon.”

“Vonnegut, I've taught you well. Now go kill your mother like the Hunter you are meant to be.”

I didn't want to. My mother, she was the best person ever alive, but then my dad was a very close second. Who to believe?

“I want to see inside of that chest.”
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