Mountaintop Gnome: Horror Flash Fiction by cam

Updated on October 28, 2017
cam8510 profile image

Chris has written more than 175 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

Hot Springs Switchback Road, Idaho

Source

Jeremy relaxed in the natural hot spring at the top of the mountain. His shoulders rested against the stone wall at the back of the pool. The switchback road had been the scariest drive of his life, but now, all his cares evaporated like mist over a lake on a spring morning.

Through half closed eyes he scanned the natural bowl that teamed with greenery. Here and there, blackened skeletons of trees, reminders of a recent wildfire, poked through the new growth.

Warm water and cool air worked their magic. Burnt stumps became a roosting eagle, a wolf slinking through the undergrowth, and small man, possibly a troll or a gnome, wearing a mocking grin. Jeremy fought to stay awake, but reality faded like a dream.

Hot Springs, Idaho

Source

He woke to the pungent smell of sulfur and climbed out of the pool. Why, with all this beauty and the soothing hot spring, was no one else here?

Jeremy’s wandering gaze stopped. What had earlier been a charred stump was now climbing over the trunk of a fallen tree. It reminded him of the picture of a gnome he'd seen in a book. The creature, no taller than a small child, wore bib overalls, and a green shirt. It waved at him. Jeremy retreated backward one step, but his foot found only air, and he fell into the pool.

He came up sputtering, wiping water from his eyes, but the little man was nowhere to be seen. Jeremy climbed onto the rock and scoured his surroundings.

Source

“Looking for someone?” The voice squeaked like a rusty hinge from down at his feet. Jeremy stumbled backward, but not before the gnome clamped a ball and chain to his ankle.

“What are you doing?” Jeremy dropped to the ground and clawed at the lock.

“I believe you saw my friend, the wolf, earlier. I say friend, not pet. Although I do feed him now and then when a stranger wanders into our home.”

“Feed him?” Jeremy jerked the chain and kicked the ball. “Are you saying he’s going to kill me and then eat me?”

“Heavens no.” The gnome laughed and shook his head topped with a knitted red hat. “He’ll kill you as he eats you.

Jeremy scrambled to his feet and backed to the end of the chain. He reached out behind his back, but instead of the stone wall, his fingers grasped fur.

Source

Questions & Answers

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      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Thanks much for the link friend. Some writing you can read over and over again and depending on your mood the story is like new.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        2 years ago from Central Florida

        That was an abrupt ending! I surmise the wolf disguised himself as a gnome to lure his prey into his lair?

      • aviannovice profile image

        Deb Hirt 

        2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

        Nice work, as always.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Hartford, CT

        jgshorebird, thank you for that enthusiastic support. :)

      • profile image

        jgshorebird 

        2 years ago

        Uh oh!

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Hartford, CT

        Ruby, I'm glad the suspense came through. I do like that bit about grasping the fur. Still sends chills down my spine. Thanks for reading.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        2 years ago from Southern Illinois

        Wow! Nothing like a suspenseful story, then BAM our of the blue he feels fur instead of an stone wall behind him. Intriguing story...

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Hartford, CT

        Manatita, I agree, unfinished leaves it to the mind of the reader and at times that is the best place for it to be finished. Thanks for the reference to publishing. Honestly, I have worked very hard for the last three years at raising the quality of my stories. I hope they are ready for wider distribution.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        2 years ago from london

        Great! Unfinished is mostly the greater way. Superb!

        Read your comment to Eric. Wise plan.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Hartford, CT

        Eric, I'm in the process of rewriting all my earlier hubs. Most have been moved to my blog, but I'm closing that down and bringing everything back here to HP and to one other site I am publishing on. The result of rewriting everything will hopefully be an ebook of short stories which will include flash fiction but I won't be using the name flash fiction. Everything will be marketed as short stories or short, short stories. So, yes, it is likely you have read a previous version of this story.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Scary to the max. It is very strange that when I go deep into the wilderness alone my mind often drifts into imaginable horrors. Really a strange phenomenon. Peaceful serene setting and then wham.

        (I do believe I have read a story of yours close to this)

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