Nothing can be more scary than the events of 2020 so far, and there isn’t much we can do about it except struggle to protect ourselves and the people around us. However, we might find a little happiness in reading some cool flash stories where the scariness is twisted and utterly not-2020-real. So without further ado, here are my story and the ones from 10 other participants of 2020’s Halloween Bloghop.

If you love audio, you’ll find many of the Bloghop stories (including mine) in the final two episodes of the Podcast “Alone in a Room With Invisible People” (which I highly recommend). Episode 1 can be found here with 21 amazing stories.
Episode 2 can be found here with 25 outstanding stories. My story is on this one and starts about 1/4 of an hour in.

Enjoy the season (and my story) and as always, remember to visit the other participants (list below the story).

 

 

The Witch at the End of the Road

Halloween is a nightmare for me. Mom always forces me to join tight-knit groups of friends that don’t want me, and I hate to pretend to be happy, collecting sweets. This year is worse than usual. She shoves me toward the group of bullies from my school. My arms, back, and legs are still hurting from the lashing she gave me when I begged her to let me stay home.

To my surprise, the trick-or-treating goes smoothly at first, even though the others’ none too gentle nudges hurt. But then Gordon tells us of the witch at the end of the road.

“She turns candy into stones.” His gleeful stare finds me. I shiver with dread. Not because of the witch—we wouldn’t go there if she existed—but due to the promise of lost sweets in his gaze. The closer we get to the witch’s house, the faster my heart beats. I struggle to join the chorus, but my painful bruises remind me of Mom’s anger and I go on.

“You first,” Gordon pushes me up the steps. There are potted plants on the porch and a black cat with white paws. I nearly wet my pants. This is it! I’ll lose my sweets, and Mom will be furious. I search for a solution in vein and ring the doorbell with trembling fingers.

A lady older than any I’ve ever seen opens the door.

“There you are!” Her voice is surprisingly friendly. “Been waiting for you, lazybones.”

I start speaking and stop when I notice no one falls in. Looking around, the boys are staring open-mouthed and motionless at the lady.

“Not spellbound?” She winks at me. “So you’re kin, ey? Interesting.” She turns to the others and taps Gordon on the forehead. “You will stop hurting people. Find joy in the woods.”

He walks away with glazed eyes. The lady taps every boy and gives them a command, and they file away silently. Witches do exist after all. I’m mesmerized.

When she turns to me, fear freezes my blood. Although I want to run, my legs don’t move. My heartbeat drowns out every sound but my breathing and her words.

“For you, I’ll need something special.” She cups my face with her hands. Barely louder than a whisper, a scream escapes my lips. She smiles and her eyes are full of sympathy. “I know, honey. Be strong. It’s over in a blink.” She kisses my forehead, warming me.

Next I’m in Mom’s kitchen, arms over my head, hurting. Stones have spilled from a plastic pumpkin onto the table. I’m covered in fresh bruises, and Mom is lifting a wooden spoon to hit me again.

The witch grabs her wrist.

Blue light whizzes between them.

I can hardly breathe.

The witch changes to the semblance of Mom, while Mom grows old and frail and vanishes eventually.
“Finally!” Witch-Mom hands me a bag of sweets. “Guess, it’s time for a new life for both of us, ey?”

 
 

If you liked the story or want to comment with anything else that’s on your mind, feel free to do so. I’ll answer as soon as I can. Meanwhile read the stories of the other participants:

Immortality by Juneta Key
Unwelcomed Visitors by Bill Bush
Unraveled by Bonnie Burns
Holiday Guest by Sabrina Rosen
Home by Barbara Lund
Missing Parts by Jemma Weir
A Perfect Match by V. S. Stark
The Glistening Bat by Karen Lynn
II-The Priestess by Raven O’Fiernan
The Old Ways by Nic Steven
Halloween Pest by Elizabeth McCleary
Tales From the Pumpkin Patch by Marilyn Flower

 

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Hahaha! It is my job to jump into books. I do that day in, day out. If it’s a good day, I manage to write around 1500 words about the experience. But let’s do this month’s post a little different. I’d like to get the new release out of the way first. We’ll have fun with the theme afterwards.

In time for the spookier season, the short story collection “Ghosts” (universal link to many shops) is now available. If you like ghosts and libraries, you’ll love these stories (not all of them feature libraries but many). Check it out:

In the world between ours and the next, unhappy souls wait for the unwary.

Ghosts are known to scare and torture people, but are they evil?
An oversized librarian must stop a well-proportioned ghost from destroying her beloved books.
Although a young girl has lived with ghosts all her life, coming to term with their existence threatens her sanity.
When a reading addicted teen gets locked in the library, she must face the ghost haunting it.
Struggling with an overpowering craving, a forgetful man must remember to discover the meaning of death.
A young woman’s live is in danger when she finds out why the Blue Room is forbidden.
A book addicted ghosts haunts a library, but protecting the books seems more than he can handle.
A bullied school girl must face a haunted house and her only ally is the bully.
A grandmother’s life in a haunted house changes when she discovers intruders.

These fantasy stories show how to handle a variety of ghosts (many in libraries) for Light never is without Shadow.

 

Great. Now that this is out of the way, let’s get back to being inside of books. Does one really need to enter a book or story bodily? I don’t think so. In my personal experience, it is far more satisfying to share the adventures and minds of peoples in books, visualizing things the way my imagination likes them best, and feeling the characters’ emotions. That way, I can live a multitude of interesting lives, not just a single adventure (Actually, it’s probably the same difference between watching a film and reading a good book, just a little more direct).

Also, there are way too many good books to decide on a single one to jump into. How can I chose? I’ve got close to 2,000 books on my attic shelves, and those are just the favorites I kept. I’ll stick with traveling into stories with nothing but my mind, experiencing a character’s life, love, thoughts, and adventures without coming to harm (even though the character might). How about you? Would you jump into a book? And if so, which one would you chose?

 

#faktastischeroktober #faktastisches2020 #faktastischdurchdasjahr #wirsindfaktastisch

 

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I’m going to apply this theme to the books I published and I’ll be keeping it short. It’s been a very hard week. My MIL (80) cracked a vertebrae falling from a ladder she had no business to be on, and my husband crashed his bicycle, ripped open his leg from the knee to the ankle, bumped and bruised his shoulder, and ruined his helmet (which he thankfully wore, it most likely saved his head). Also I’m a tad busy with some client work, two anthologies in German for charity, and my own publications. So without further ado, here are my favorite covers in the order from loved to most loved.

I adore the covers Corona (no, not the virus) Zschusschen did for my fairy tale retelling series. However, they probably don’t speak to the people who love fairy tale reltellings, so I’ll most likely revamp the whole series some time next year. What do you think? Are they awesome?

 

I still love the covers for my “High School Dragon” trilogy even though a group of professional designers ripped them apart (they said they looked like cheap clip-art put together). I love the simplicity and the contrast between the flaming heart and the dragon silhouettes. “Thankfully tastes differ”, said the monkey and ate the soap. What do you think about these covers?

 

Truth be told, there isn’t a single book where I don’t love the cover, but without a doubt the most beautiful are the audiobook covers for Will Hahn’s “Shard of Light” series (and the narration by the author is superb, even though he’s redoing volume one, the perfectionist :D).

 

 

And now to this month’s publication (where I also love the cover!). It’s another short story collection. The first book of this series came out in March, that’s how long it took me to get this baby ready. But I promise that for the next two or three months you’ll get more of my short stories. Enjoy!

An unhappy Death, murder in the name of an ancient god, and a bridge where dogs die. The world has room for all, but not unchecked.

Even though each world has a dark side, there will always be those who will give their lives to keep innocents out of harm’s way.
Quantum physics opens doors that would better have stayed closed, putting more than one soul in peril.
An Ancient god longs for tranquility when his new acolyte goes too far.
One of the many Deaths is grumbling. He’s in love with life and hates his job. But then he gets accidentally pulled into the soul collector.
A security guard calls Death to ask for a favor when his sins catch up with him. Now the life of his niece and sister are part of the gamble.
A conflicted officer of the magical police must catch a murderer stealing hearts – literally.
A handicapped fairy police officer is sent to investigate an emergency call at Overtoun Bridge, annoyed that she’s got a new partner, a dwarf.
When a child summons The Lady of Slaughter, the goddess must face her biggest enemy: herself.
A young guard is dreaming of other worlds when unwanted visitors show up at the entrance to the forgotten temple.

In these eight short stories, Katharina shows creatures that only partially qualify as people. Writers of the Future judge Dave Farland told Katharina, “Your writing is excellent and you pulled me in from the start.”

To get to know slightly inhuman creatures, buy the book now.

 

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