What Fresh Horror

st helena island

St. Helena Island, photo © Kyle Williamson via Google Maps

Every summer I relocate to my villa to flee the city’s heat: the stench of sewage and leather makers and ripe bodies, the hawkers’ cries.  For peace.

The cove is empty. No boaters. No singing or laughter.  I can hear the waves lapping their sweet rhythm.

The half-naked man sighs.  “This place was so popular, too.”

“Such a tragedy.”  I feign solemnity.

After the first deaths, they returned to witness the sea-creature spirits themselves, drawn by rumors of haunting. This last time scared them away. Too many were pulled under, screaming, never to frolic again.

He’s still talking.  “You’ve been coming here since you were young…er?”

Good thing he’s handsome.

“And it’s never happened before?”


“We’ll go somewhere else, then.”

We.  How optimistic.

“Or… maybe everyone will return next season.”

When he goes inside, I let the smile fill my cheeks.  I wish I’d thought of this years ago.


Word count: 150.  Inspired by this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge.  Click on the link to explore this amazing island, to read the other stories inspired by it, and to join in and write your own — everyone’s welcome!

And yes, the title is a play on Dorothy Parker’s “What fresh hell” line, as I was picturing the narrator as a woman with a similar sensibility (although alas, I’m unable to recreate her wit!).

Happy 2019, everyone!   This is my first flash fiction piece posted this year, and what a gorgeous location Karen gave us this week.  My plan is to post one flash fiction story per week — but then, that was my plan for 2018, and it didn’t work out every single week. Ah well, life intervenes. I’ll keep trying! Hope your new years are off to a good start.  Cheers!



20 thoughts on “What Fresh Horror

    • I thought you’d be able to relate to her! Yes, I’m imagining that when she first bought this villa (or perhaps, when she started coming here with her parents) it wasn’t so popular yet, and she actually could get some peace and quiet away from the crowds of the city, with the beauty of nature. Then those noisy party people started showing up! (Shakes her fist at them!) After many years of that, perhaps one can understand her extreme solution. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh my word, the wit of your protagonist and the commentary that followed have me rolling. I think Half Naked Man needs to be a permanent fixture, popping up in your stories periodically all through 2019. But yes, he needs to learn to keep quiet about that age-thing.

    Here’s to you keeping your writing resolution in 2019! I was hoping the beauty of St. Helena would lure you out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so pleased you had that reaction, thanks so much for saying so! And yes, now that you mention it, I bet there’s a Half Naked Man character just waiting to say the wrong thing in any number of future stories! You can say this for him: at least he knows how to worm his way into the lap of luxury. Poor boy, though, stuck where it’s suddenly no longer the “It Place” of the summer!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s her not really listening to what he says, for her just seeing him as a distraction (or so I understood it). And he doesn’t seem to be too perceptive… so yes, danger!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh she’s listening to him all right, but given that he’s not very bright, maybe he’d be better off if she didn’t. So yes, he’s definitely in danger of stumbling up and annoying her enough that she doesn’t want him around anymore. But I wasn’t picturing her as brutal for the sake of brutality — she only used extreme measures against the boaters because they wouldn’t leave any other way. I figure that if he outstays his welcome, she’ll just tell him to leave, and he’ll leave, and he’ll be fine. Now, if he tries to get huffy and — I don’t know, blackmail her or something like that? Yeah, then I wouldn’t say his odds are very good. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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