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Mountaintop Gnome: Horror Flash Fiction by cam

Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

Hot Springs Switchback Road, Idaho


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


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.

“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.


Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 28, 2017:

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.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 15, 2016:

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

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on June 26, 2016:

Nice work, as always.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on June 23, 2016:

jgshorebird, thank you for that enthusiastic support. :)

jgshorebird on June 23, 2016:

Uh oh!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on June 19, 2016:

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.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on June 19, 2016:

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

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on June 19, 2016:

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 from london on June 19, 2016:

Great! Unfinished is mostly the greater way. Superb!

Read your comment to Eric. Wise plan.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on June 19, 2016:

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.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 19, 2016:

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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