Born a Bloodhound (Detective Mystery Flash Fiction)

Hello Super Sleuths,

This work on fiction is based on last week’s post, the 5 archetypes of fictional detectives. Enjoy!


In every lifetime, I’d been born a bloodhound.

The city was a graveyard, grey and cold and deadly silent. It was near midnight. On a lonely street corner by the museum, I stood there in the pouring rain. Fedora and trench coat drenched. Smoke rose from the sewer grate.

She stood beside me, a viper in heels. Eyelashes sharp like butcher knives.

“Finn, darling,” Her hands slip inside my coat, warm as a shot of ice cold whiskey. She whispered into my ear. “Let’s forget about this little museum jewel heist. The robbers are probably long gone by now,” The minx kissed me, full and feverish. Lips were red like a stop sign. “Couldn’t we just run off together instead? It’d be so easy.” Easy, she says. Easy like a bullet to the head.

I lit a cigarette and eyed the moon. “A dame like you is going to be in a world of trouble someday.” She snickered, her fingers inched towards the gun holstered on my hip. I snatched her wrist. “Quit playing games and fess up already. I know about your little scheme. Now, you want to tell me where that million-dollar diamond is? Or do I have to search you myself?”

Eyebrow raised, she offered a wide wolfish grin, full of teeth and poison. “Please do, inspector.”
———————————————————————————————————–

Every incarnation, there is a trail I’m bound to follow.

That sunny summer morning on Cherry Blossom Lane, I sat cozy in my armchair. On the coffee table, there’s a tray of tea and oatmeal cookies. The rain would arrive later, my bones could sense it. 

“Miss Finnegan, are you feeling alright?” The aid, Gloria, handed me a porcelain teacup embellished with golden roses. Accepting the cup, I nodded with a smile. Looking out the window once more, I watched the new neighbors shuffle cardboard boxes. Lady Whiskerdown, my faithful companion, leapt into my lap.

“Dear? Did you hear about Mister Massey next door?” I asked.

She hummed. “They said it was a robbery gone wrong, yes? Poor thing.”

“His son moved in so quickly after his father’s death, don’t you think?” I pondered. As soon as the yellow police tape was removed, the son was quick to move into the lovely estate. How odd. Lady Whiskerdown thought it odd too.

“Miss Finnegan, you are being nosey again,”  The nurse teased, wagging her finger. As Gloria left the room to fetch my afternoon pills, I gripped my walker, hoisting myself up. “Where are you off to now?”

I may be retired, but an old dog like me can sense trouble when it’s around. Like the rain, my bones could sense it. I gave her a sweet, harmless smile. “Only saying hello to the new neighbors. Where’s the harm in that?”


Every breath dedicated to unraveling the most tangled of life’s mysteries.

After hours, school gave me the heebie-jeebies. Once bustling with classmates, the hallways were eerily empty. Flashlights in hand, my pals and I the snuck around. With the janitor’s permission, of course. He wasn’t thrilled about the recent hauntings and kidnappings either. Our sneakers squeaked against the linoleum tiles. A heavy mini backpack strapped to my back, full of everything a good detective needs to catch a ghost. Fishing net included. Scrunchie on my wrist, in case of emergency.

We found locker #66G. I pried open the metal locker with a screwdriver, its contents spilling out on the floor. Let’s see. A stack of overdue homework. A half-eaten cheeseburger. A bag of glow-in-the-dark powder. I gulped. “Guys,” I turned to my gang of cohorts: The mathlete with thick rimmed glasses, the blonde vixen in a cheerleader uniform, the skater with the tie dye shirt, the dog. “I think I found something.”

Above us, the lights flickered. A strained, moaning sound rang through the halls. Suddenly, a specter in white rags with a phantom mask appeared, floating and glowing a ghoulish green. Rattling chains looped around it’s arms.

“It-it-it’s the Grahamsville G-G-Ghost!”

“Yikes!”

“Finley, run!” My friend called out to me. The Grahamsville Ghost hovered towards us.  

Real ghost or not, I wasn’t looking to become the next missing victim. New plan: Run!


I tried experimenting with different tones here, different subgenres of mystery fiction. Sometimes, It’s good to write outside your comfort zone. In the first part, I was aiming for noir vibes, second part was more a cozy mystery and third part was based on Saturday morning cartoons. Let me know what you guys think in the comments. I’m open to feedback.

Happy sleuthing!

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

3 Terrifying Tips on Scaring Your Readers

Hello Writer Bugs!

In any kind of fictional story, a little bit of terror can go a long way. But how do you strike fear in the hearts of your readers? Have no fear, I’m here to help! Here are three tips on how to scare your audience senseless.


Setting the Mood

A spooky setting can be a total game changer in a horror story. With this literary element, details are key. Paint a horrifying picture for the audience. No, that does not mean you need copious amounts of blood and guts spilled everywhere. Even the most ordinary places can be transformed into a scary environment. Build an atmosphere that unsettles readers, that only enhances the fear factor of the antagonist. Consider what the weather would be like, or how a room is furnished, or the architecture of a building. Once you provided them with vivid descriptions, let the audience’s imagination handle the rest. Not sure where to start in descriptions? When it doubt, the “it was a dark and stormy night” trick never fails in fiction.

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Solid Characters

In horror – or in any genre, really- you can’t skimp on the characters. The audience isn’t going to care about a damsel-in-distress, Mary Sue who happens to tumble into a haunted basement. And if readers don’t care, they won’t keep reading. And they won’t be afraid when that character is put in danger. Simple as that. However, they might care more about a child running around a creepy hotel. Create complex characters and give them real struggles, flaws and life problems that the audience can identify with. The goal is to make readers care and want to protect the main character. To make them feel like they could be standing in that character’s shoes, facing the same horrors. To have them biting their nails until the very end, just to make sure the character survives the ordeal.

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Pacing Makes Perfect

Specific phrasing or wording can enhance the scary factor in horror fiction. When you have longer sentences, it slows down the action, thereby torturing readers with the suspense. On the other hand, quick and short sentences can keep readers on their toes and get their hearts racing. Those fast, up-tempo phrasing works best when a character is running away from the monster or is internally spiraling into panic and confusion. If the scene doesn’t feel quite right, try switching up the pacing. This one element can change the entire vibe of a scene.

Last week, I experimented in writing horror. I noticed that using short sentences added to the claustrophobic feeling. I almost made myself panic as I was writing the story. And if it scares the writer, it will most definitely scare the reader.

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To my fellow writers out there, how do you go about scaring your audience? Also, with Halloween around the corner, what are you dressing up as for Halloween? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

A Victim At Midnight – (Short Horror Story)

“Poor kid. Didn’t stand a chance.”

There’s yellow police tape hanging across the doorway. Boot prints stained into the rug. Rain pounds against the windows. Sirens are flashing outside.

“What are you talking about?” I ask the detective. He looks through me, fishing for a cigar in his trench coat pocket instead. An entire department of police officers is surveying my living room. Furniture is toppled over. A discarded butcher knife on the floor. “You all need to leave. The landlord will kill me if….”

“Time of death?” The detective lights the cigar, takes a long drag. He stomps up the stairs, I follow. Feet barely touching the ground, as if I were floating. They don’t see me. None of them do.

“Around midnight,” A rookie cop supplies the answer, peering down at their notepad. “Friends say she insisted on walking home alone last night.”

“With a killer on the loose? Smart.”

Scratch marks on the wall leading to the bedroom. Picture frames with family photos are shattered.

“There’s been a mistake. I’m right here. Listen to me.” I plead with them, standing in their way. The detective passes right through me. “I’m here, I’m alive. I’m…”

A body –my body – is sprawled across the floor. A puddle of red soaks the carpet in the bedroom. Two puncture wounds in my neck. Anemic white skin. Eyes and mouth open, a face frozen in horror. I’m staring at my own corpse.

What happened to me? Think. I don’t remember much of last night. I don’t remember dying. But I remember fangs.

Her fangs.

Her claws.

Her voice.

I can’t breathe. Lungs emptied of oxygen. No pulse, only stillness. My chest is hollow. My skin is translucent rice paper. I begin to cry. Tears fall and I can’t feel them roll down my cheeks. I can’t feel anything. I am a wisp of air. A wandering soul trapped in Hell itself.

“P-Please. You have to help me!” I look the detective dead in the eye. “Please.” The lamp light flickers above us. Thunder rumbles.

“Think it’s the same one that killed the others? That’d be 5 deaths this week.”

The detective pulls a silver cross from around his neck. He nods. “Each one attacked around midnight. Each one drained of blood. Each one with lipstick on their face. It’s her, all right.”

They don’t hear me. I scream anyway. “It can’t end like this. My family, my friends, they need to know I’m okay. Tell them I’m okay.” The light flickers again. A chill enters the room.

“At least this kid put up a fight.” The detective remarks as they drape a sheet over my corpse.

The lights go out.


Hey Writer Bees! This week, I’m playing around with the horror genre. A genre I don’t have much experience writing in. But I do love a good challenge and a good ghost story. Let me know what you think of this short story in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you guys.

Stay safe and stay creative. (And watch out for vampires!)

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

5 Subgenres of Horror Fiction Explained

Hello Writer Bugs!

Since we are officially in spooky season, I wanted to dedicate a couple posts this month to horror writing. Horror fiction is intended to frighten the audience senseless. A lot of people love a good scare. As a genre, horror can come in a variety of shades of darkness. Today, I’m breaking down the most notable subgenres of horror fiction.


Gothic

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The gothic horror subgenre is a healthy mix of horror, mystery, death and a little romance. And some would say it’s the true beginning of horror fiction and the jumping off point for other horror subgenres that developed over time. The macabre takes takes center stage in this type of story. Setting plays a key role in gothic horror. The atmosphere must be dark and moody, usually taking place in a castle, religious abbey or haunting estate. The theme of death and love are prevalent in the plot. It’s a dreary, decaying world full of ominous omens and unexplainable events.

Example: The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Monster

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Let’s do the monster mash. A true classic in horror genre. Typically, the plot centers around a character(s) encountering a creature. Creatures of the night are either the result of scientific experiments, born from fantastical means, or simply urban legends come alive. Iconic monsters including – but not limited to – werewolves, vampires, mummies, zombies etc. An argument could be made the even gigantic monsters like Godzilla would be included in this horror subgenre. Sometimes in the narrative, there are underlying themes of duality, an internal conflict between good and evil. It’s an interesting battle to explore within characters. Is the monster really a monster at all?

Example: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Paranormal

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In the paranormal subgenre, it’s all about the fear of the unknown. Evil spirits, wicked witches and demonic entities wreck havoc and chaos in the lives of mere mortals. Ghosts, demons and haunted houses tend to fall under this category. Exorcisms – whether the holy kind or the high-tech ghostbuster kind – occur in paranormal horror. Similar to the Monster horror subgenre, antagonists can have supernatural abilities and there’s usually a struggle between good and evil. However, paranormal creatures are derived from mythical, other-worldly origins. And let’s be honest, the things that go bump in the night are often what scares us the most.

Example: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Killer

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A killer is on the loose! For this horror subgenre, the story focuses on a central killer. The main antagonist can be a supernatural entity or a natural born psycho. Whatever their reason, the killer’s sole mission is to annihilate anyone and everyone they deem a target. With elements of a thriller and/or crime plotline blended in, building suspense is crucial in this kind of story. You want the reader to feel like the killer is breathing down their necks and lurking around every corner. Will the killer be brought to justice in the end? That’s entirely up to the writer. In horror, no one is promised a happy ending.

Example: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Psychological

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Send readers into a living nightmare. Throw rationality out the door and turn the mundane into something terrifying. Characters in psychological horror have either fallen into madness or are trapped in extraordinary situations. Surreal imagery or bizarre visions experienced by the protagonist only add to the insanity. For this horror subgenre, the narrative would benefit from a tight viewpoint, not a multi-narrator piece. A single character’s internal conflict can be just as compelling than an external conflict, if written well. Phobias, paranoia and one’s deepest fears are explored in this type of plot. In psychological horror, there’s not overarching monster or antagonist, the real monster is the human mind itself.

Example: The Shining by Stephen King


Personally, I’m not a fan of excessive gore. However, as a mystery writer, I sometimes must describe a corpse or a crime scene, for the sake of the fictional investigation. A little bit of horror can go a long way in any genre.

What’s your favorite subgenre of horror fiction? And if you are a horror writer yourself, how would you categorize your story? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love hearing from you.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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