Flash Fiction Story, Peephole


James didn’t believe he deserved any of the things in his apartment. The big screen TV sitting on the solid oak entertainment center was a constant reminder of how he didn’t deserve to be alive. His chest moving up and down was a constant reminder. He didn’t deserve to be alive after what he had done. Not after the screeching tires broken glass, blood, and the screams. Oh god the screams. The screams woke him up at night.
Everyone told him it wasn’t his fault, even his parents. But every time he looked into their eyes he saw how they felt. It was there. The place behind their eyes, as obvious as a blinking light. “You killed her.” It said. “You killed our baby girl, you killed your sister.” None of the late night crying sessions with his mother, or the reassuring pats on the back from his father made the blinking light go away.

Sara never wanted to wear her seatbelt. James never made her. She was 20 years old and an adult, at least on paper. Gone were the days of being big brother. He wished he had endured the eye roll and made her wear the damn thing. He relived that moment backing out of the drive way every day for the last 2 years, going over every detail, the sun setting, his sisters hair blowing across her face, the flash of the truck bumper, the screams, and then silence. He couldn’t relive that moment anymore, and he wasn’t going to. The gun he purchased a day ago would remedy that. One bullet and things would be set right. One pull of the trigger and the agonizing guilt would be laid low like the bad guy in a spaghetti western.

The gun sat like a brick in the palm of his hand as he raised it to his temple. He felt a lightness come over him. In two years he hadn’t felt this good. This is right, he thought.

He almost pulled the trigger when he heard the knock at the door. The suddenness of the rap left him confused for a second and made him think the gun had gone off and ended his miserable life. He looked around the room, and everything was as it was. James got up from the couch and walked like a zombie to the door. He leaned his head against the hard wood, exhausted by just a few feet. He contemplated going back to the couch and getting on with it.

The door vibrated against his head as he leaned. His desperate feeling turning to anger. He looked through the peephole. The image on the other side of the door wavered as James’ eye adjusted finally focusing on a face he had not seen in 2 years. His sisters face looked perfect. Beautiful like he always remembered. He sighed and opened the door, not glancing back at the physical deed done. Not looking at the wreckage that laid on the couch clutching cool hard steel.

Check out my other titles on Amazon, HERE

5 Free Horror Books

5 free horror books

Ernie Howard's Night Portals

Oh that wonderful word free. Nothing makes a lover of books more happy than have quality books to read that you acquired for the price of… Nothing! Here are five that are free right now. It is 01/15/2020 so if you are reading this a year from now you are probably out of luck. Ya gotta get um while they’re hot!

5) Buried (Twisted Cedar Mysteries Book 1)

4) The Ghost Files

3) Green Lake

2) Blue Skin

1)SurvivingThe Evacuation, Book 1: London

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Sample from Melody 8 Book One

This title is free today. You can get it HERE

I woke up in darkness and silence. The ground under me itched my face. I sat up slowly and looked at what I was laying on. There was just enough light shining through a dirty window on my right to see I was sleeping on an old threadbare carpet that smelled of misty mornings and chilly nights. I heard muffled footsteps, and I squeezed my eyes shut, pretending to be asleep, and not doing a very good job of it. The memories of the day came spilling back into my head, depositing themselves in my chest and gut where I pushed them further down with my mind. Memories that had sharp blades and cut quick if you didn’t force them down into the dark. I saw Mama’s face smiling down at me through unforgiving flames. I felt the loss deep in my bones and tried hard not to let my emotions betray my face. I wasn’t as good at that then as I am now. I sucked in a shaky breath of air and let it out in a shudder.

“You up?” The old man’s voice sounded like sandpaper, but still had a bit of a sing-song quality that I imagined what it sounded like when he was much younger. His shadow went to the corner of the room. He fiddled with something, and the room was filled with light from one single bulb on the ceiling. My eyes squinted, reacting to the unnatural light. I rubbed both of my eyes with the back of my hands. I’d seen houses with electricity before, but in these times, they were only for rich people or people who had access to solar panels and knew what they were doing. Technology from before, things that were slowly breaking down. The world from before was mostly gone, but I’d learned a few things from an old encyclopedia Mama scrounged up. She always said, even if there were no schools anymore, it was no excuse to not be educated. I didn’t mind, I loved reading about how the way things were. The old man smiled down at me from where I sat and then took a chair directly across from me.

The dry wood creaked as the old man settled his weight. I stood up and pushed my back against the wall. I was trying to get as much space between him and me as possible. He saw me looking at the bulb, and his smile got wider.

Get your free copy, HERE

Melody 8 Book One is free today

Free copy of Melody 8 Book One

Ernie Howard's Night Portals

My title, Melody 8 Book One, The Day of the Song, is free today.

I would say this one is a new take on post apocalyptic fiction. It takes place after an event that wipes out most of the human race, which isn’t very different from most post apoc books. But, the event is very different.

So, I hope you get your free copy, and I hope you dig it. If you do, be sure to leave a review on Amazon. Link to get your free copy is below.

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Sample from, The Pool

“Oh, that’s alright. The boy speaks what’s on his mind. Betcha he gets that from his daddy.” Bonnie the hostess looked up from Alex and winked at Shawn. Her once sparkling blue eyes were replaced with the filmy cataracts of a long dead corpse. Puss and blood as black as coal oozed from a bullet hole that was dead center in the woman’s forehead.

Shawn couldn’t hold back the horror this time. He jumped back from the woman in revulsion and fear.

The dank stench of the grave assaulted his nostrils. The smell hung in the air like the stench of a thousand landfills. He managed to suppress the scream that wanted to come out of his throat. He gulped it down with a quick intake of putrid air that made his mouth go dry and his tongue stick to the side of his cheek.

“Honey? Are you okay?” Audrey steadied Shawn with her hand on his shoulder.

He looked at his wife, trying to keep the terror off of his face, trying to process what he had just seen and why no one else was seeing it. He wanted to shout at them: “Can’t you see the dead corpse lady right in front of you!” He couldn’t control his eyes. They darted back and forth from the corpse and the woman sitting by the piano. She was smiling at him. At least, that was what it looked like.

The skin on her face had shrunk and pulled back too far, revealing her wisdom teeth.

Read the rest of, The Pool, HERE

Sample from my title, Walter

Read the full story HERE

Walter hadn’t always trusted The Man. The first time he had popped onto the TV screen a week ago, knowing Walters name, and everything about his life, he thought he was going crazy. He’d had come home from school with black eye dished out by one of Brian Carmichael’s minions. The boy had said something about Walters mom, which had for once wiped the smile off of Walters face. Walter launched himself at the boy only to be pummeled while Brian and his friends cheered. Walter walked home that day angry and bruised, and for the first time he was glad his mom wasn’t home.
He walked straight to the freezer and got out a bag of frozen peas that had been in there since Walter could remember. With tears streaming down his cheeks he wondered why the other kids were so mean to him. He needed to make up an excuse so his mom wouldn’t worry. He had come home with cuts and bruises before and she had always believed his story so this time would be no different.

The house was as quiet as a church, the only sound was the plastic bag around the melting peas, so when the TV popped on, Walters crying stopped. Scaring the bad thoughts right out of his head and replacing them with new ones. He knew his mother wasn’t home, she was never home at this time of day, and even if she was he would have heard her. Walter got up and made his way to the living room, every one of his footfalls seemed loud, and he was sure the intruder would hear him. He peaked around the corner of the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room, expecting to see a ghost or worse yet a giant man carrying an axe. But there was no one there. The only thing animated was the light reflecting from the TV screen onto the opposite wall. Walters heart slowed down, he needed to quit watching so many scary movies, he thought. Electronics malfunctioned all the time. He even remembered hearing a story about universal remotes being able to turn on your neighbor’s TV. That is what it is, the thought made him feel silly.

Walter walked over to the screen and stared, the blue light reflecting off of his puzzled face. His mom nor Walter could ever find the remote, and when they found the retched thing they would lose it once again within a day. This was a lost day. He looked on the side of the TV for the off button, his face so close to the screen he could see all the tiny pixels that made up the images when it was on.

“They are mean to you because you’re different Walter.” The booming sound of The Man’s voice came out of the TV.

Walter flew back falling over the coffee table and sending the peas in his hand into the opposite wall where they exploded like a thousand frozen Beebe’s. As fast as Walter had fallen he was up and running towards the kitchen door. He wanted nothing to do with the creepy TV or the man on the screen that seemed to know his name. He heard the voice calling his name as he ran out the door, slamming it so hard behind him it seemed to shake the whole house.

The TV kept up its loud mantra “Walter, Walter, Walter! It’s okay…”

He sat on the curb for hours not wanting to go back into the house. He’d heard the phone ring twice, and he knew it was his mom. She wouldn’t worry, Walter had let the phone ring many times before in the past. After 3 hours of sitting on the curb in front of his house, his sore butt and empty stomach gave him the courage to go back into the house. He convinced himself he was just hearing things. Maybe the punch to his head had knocked him silly, he thought as he opened the front door and peaked inside. The house was silent, even the TV had turned off, leaving a stillness that seemed even more scary.

Read the rest HERE

Flash Fiction Story, Shed

Shed, a flash fiction story

The machines do their thing and I mine. As best I can. They beep and I wheeze with old lungs not ready to peter out. Sunlight comes through the only window as I lay still, watching it change the tone of colors onto the generic wallpaper that threatens a headache when gazed upon. I lay here and think. Guess that is all you can do at the end of your life. People leave and leave you to your thoughts. As the song goes… Regrets, I got a few. The biggest is one I have had to live with for sixty years.

I was twenty the day I took my last full breath on this Earth. The inhalations after that were for show. I stopped breathing the day I missed my ride, a road to happiness bathed in the warm summer sun. My feet planted firm on the ground that day, wished they had grown wings the long years that followed. The rest of my life was spent glancing up at the stars. Trying to find her in infinity.

I was three sheets in the summer sun. Fishing by a creek that didn’t want to give up the goods. The fish weren’t biting, so I did what any man in my position does when you have drunk your fill in the sun. I took a nap. One of those sweaty mid-day summer naps that leaves your head spinning, and your skin blistered.
I had no recollection of when I fell asleep that day, or how long I slept. I only remember waking up. My eyes opened, and I saw her. I rubbed my groggy eyes and looked up at this being standing before me. Sunlight passed through her hair making it shine golden and transparent in places. A golden light surrounded a face perfect with not a blemish on it. When I looked at her, I knew she could not come from this earth. Her eyes told a story that had been everywhere and seen many stars.
She drew closer, moving as if she was part of the sunbeam that had blinded my eyes. Her perfect golden shine washed over me, making me feel loved, and innocent once again. She smiled, and the brilliance just about killed me dead where I laid. With a movement, so fluid and full of grace, she reached out, touching my cheek sending pleasing vibrations down my spine. Her mouth opened and one word escaped.


One word sounding like a song of angels as it exited her lips. I didn’t know what she meant for me to do.
“Shed” She said. This time raising her hand and beckoning for me to follow. The fear of losing something welled up inside me. I looked at her wanting her to stay here with me because I knew if I left I would quit being me. She looked at me one more time. Her face filled with a confused sorrow before she winked out, and the golden light became just a sunbeam once again.
Oh, I was a foolish boy. Offered something too big too soon. Like a teenager offered money and power and squandering it with reckless abandon.

In the years that followed I compared everyone and everything to the women I encountered at the creek that day. My life blessed with a wife and children. I never wanted for much or needed much of anything at all, except her. I sat quiet on days when the sun was just right. Thinking of her in silent agony. I have had much joy, but not a day goes by when I didn’t think of the golden being. A soul mate that traveled distances unfathomable by the human mind only to have me reject her wish.
I watch the light in the room. I hear the machines beep. I wheeze, as the sun no longer shines in the window, and my heart slows. I hear a voice I haven’t heard in sixty years.


My feet are no longer planted firm on the ground. This time I follow her. This time I shed.

If you liked this story please check out the rest at my author page