Wednesday, April 23, 2014

HB Challenge #3 - The Commuter

This is a new writing challenge posted on the Office Mango website that Lizzie Koch pointed out to me. I thought I'd give it a try! I don't know how particular they are about word limits, but I used all 300 getting this down.

This writing challenge from
Horror Bites Challenge #3

based upon the picture provided.

From the Office Mango website: 

Come on guys I know you can come up with something dark & delicious :)

Guidelines :
1: Tales can be posted on your blogs & then just add to the wee linky tool, or add as a comment if you don’t have a blog.
2:  A word count of 200 to 300.
3:  Try to scare me, or at the very least create a little bit of darkness.
4:  This will be a fortnightly (two weeks) challenge from when the post goes live, so you’ve got plenty thinking time.

The Commuter

Image source

    I'm a terrible creature of habit. Every day for years, I took the same train, sat in the same seat, read my paper, and got off at the station near my office within a few minutes of seven o'clock. Co-workers often suggested I add a bit of variety to my life.
    One morning, distracted by some movement, I looked up to see the reflection of a child gazing out the window in front of me, her small frame apparently obscured by the seat back. I was surprised as there are so few riders that early in the morning, especially children. She never talked, and I never heard her arrive or depart. As time passed, however, her reoccurring presence along that leg of my commute became a part of my daily routine. It's the same section that passes where someone had placed a cross and small stuffed animal by the tracks—the thing people put up as a memorial. I can't really say why I took notice of it.
    It all meant little until that drizzly day last week when I saw two people standing by the cross as the train approached. Getting nearer, I merely watched—but the young girl waved vigorously. As we passed, I saw the woman look up, a hand over her mouth, eyes wide open, flowers dropping from her hand as she fell to her knees, the man struggling to support her. I wanted to ask the child if she knew them, but when I leaned over to speak, the seat was empty. I felt the cushion, but there was no residual warmth as one might expect; indeed, it was quite cold.
    I haven't seen the child since that morning. But change is good, so I'm told, and the drive into work really isn't so bad.

© 2012-2014 K. R. Smith All rights reserved


  1. There wasn't anything overtly creepy about this, yet the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Brrrr.

    1. That's what I try for - I'm not really into the gory, splatterpunk horror. I want people to read my stories and have that nagging, uncomfortable feeling in the back of their mind...

  2. Been left with a creepy feeling, this was really good, thanks so much for taking the time to pop on by and take part,

  3. Glad you joined in. Thought you'd like this challenge.
    Your story has an eerie, lonely feel. I really enjoyed it. x

    1. You twisted my arm! (and I'm already a little twisted to begin with)

      It's good to find a new challenge that's slightly different than the FSF - and it's every two weeks, so I have a better chance at finishing them.

  4. Fun little story.

  5. Another one for shivers! It was the look on the mother's face that got me!


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