Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre
Nine dark fiction stories that may just give you nightmares.
A man lives to regret Passing Time. A father will do anything to save his son in Expiration Date. An author finds out her worst nightmare is back in The Devil’s Song. A woman gets more than the claim fee when she takes out vampire insurance in Luna Black.
In Dining in Hell, the Death Valley Diner becomes the wrong place to stop.
A serial killer wants to add another file to his collection in The Vegas Screamer. In Eating Mr. Bone, an undertaker could meet an unfortunate end. A con man meets his first ghost in Land of the Free. And will truth finally be set free in The Letter?
Excerpt from Passing Time
We took death for granted, you and I. We spent our lives in quiet desperation, hoping the final call would arrive later rather than sooner. Yet even though we knew the end was coming, until we met the man with the briefcase, we believed there was nothing we or anyone else could do to stop it. We were wrong.
The first time I saw him, the man who would change everything, he stood at the entrance to my office building one week before my retirement. He wore an old grey raincoat and carried the same briefcase as I, though his appeared worn around the edges through a lifetime of misuse. His face bore a myriad of lines gained through hard living. Holes caressed every edge of his clothing, and I guessed by his silver-patched hair and gait he was in his eighties or nineties. I did not know it at the time, but he’d been waiting for me. I’d passed him twice a day for thirty years and never even noticed.
“Mr. Ashby?” he asked as he placed his sinewy body in front of mine, blocking my path. He stood the same height as I, and we stared at each other like two men preparing to fight.
“Yes,” I said after a few seconds of hesitation.
He reached out a skeletal hand and I took it, though I did not know why. His skin felt cool and ash-like–as if prolonged contact might simply rub it away–and I pulled my fingers free one by one, like peeling a band-aid I feared would rip away the top layer of his skin.
“Thank you,” he said, the timbre of his voice sounding more jubilant. He turned his back to me and, with tremendous ease for a man of his age, began walking down the steps I had just assailed.
“For what?” I called after him.
He stopped for a moment and looked back. “For passing time, Mr. Ashby. Passing time.”
About The Author
A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror, meant writing was the logical outlet for Ellie Garratt’s passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time is her first eBook collection and contains nine previously published stories. Her science fiction collection Taking Time will be published later in the year.