Set your story in a town that’s teetering on the edge of something dark, literally or metaphorically.
Posted in Dystopian on Oct 31, 2022
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✍️ 53 stories
“Meaty Claws” by R W Mack
It wasn’t like a wall at all. The dark wave spewed across beaches, asphalt and sidewalks like swarms of hungry crimson ants. “Red tide” people said. Something about algae and the smell of rot. The rot was right at least. I’d seen it coming from the city street as I stared at the horizon between brick buildings. The shoreline snuck up fast, carrying our detritus through corridors of shops, offices, restaurants an...
“The Man In Blue” by Ian Crombie
The town was snuggled peacefully between two small mountains. It contained one road with one stoplight at the center of town with charming brick houses south of the light and to the north, a single gas station and a few essential businesses. The 122 residents lived simple lives, going to their nine-to-five jobs and spending time with their families and neighbors. Nothing happened in this town. It was quiet, wit...
“Sinkhole in Centralia” by Zach Martz
Note: The following story is based on real events. Because what’s scarier than something that’s actually happened?The government van cruised down the state parkway past the sign marking the city limits. It continued past a large field of browning crabgrass and sparse trees, and made a turn at an empty intersection marked only by an abandoned and decaying gas station. The van made its way into the town center, or what was left of it, and was unfettered by traffic as it passed the ...
“All Wrapped Up In Physics” by LC Moran
“Whelp,” he sighed hard, sitting down even harder in his neighbor’s lawn chair. “Ain’t that somethin.” “It’s always somethin,” the neighbor’s wife said, wiping her hands on a dirty apron before accepting the beer her husband held out. “Ain’t it always somethin,” his neighbor summarized, cracking his own beer open. “How many’s that been now, three? Five?” “Well, it’s two this mo...
“In Town for the Weekend” by Sabrina Smith
Cerulea has always been a town that is known for how friendly and kind the people are. Always willing to help a neighbor or give directions to a stranger. Usually once you start a conversation with someone new you end up realizing you have a mutual friend, or a friend of a friend, or you know their cousin's girlfriend's hairdresser, etc. You live near downtown which is always bustling with business people, college studen...
“The Perfect Curse” by Christina Farella
Kensington Park was the kind of place that was photographed for newsletters, where every pearly white shuttered home had grass of no more than a height of one inch. The small, close knit town rallied around their local high school, and everyone knew everyone. In a town full of bake sales, coffee shops, and football games, no one could have suspected the darkness that would soon consume this perfect little town. Rainden h...
“Stories: Dark and Evil” by Heather Johnsen-Gisi
October 4th, 2008 The house had peeling paint, rotting shingles, and an overgrown yard. Vines climbed the front, stretching over the boarded windows. It looked like the door had been scrubbed but faded spray paint remained. “It’s perfect, I’ll take it.” The realtor looked at the house then back at me. “Yo...
“The Ravine” by Lee Disco
It was a cloudy day— the duvet of stratus clouds was so dark and so low that it was like a beast gliding, slow as molasses, over a little town in Iowa. There was a ravine at the edge of it. It stretched and twisted as if groaning with its endless silence, pulling taut whenever a wanderer pulled close enough to see the bottom. And each time, they stumbled back, as if they had seen something beyond ordinary life, beyond t...
“The Sleepy Stream” by Troy Chavez
Mark Twain despised weather, but weather must have rained on him like a blitzkrieg of fire and hell and fury. Even a storm brings cleansing peace after the clouds dissipate. Weather is weather… and on this night it poured like it usually did on this time of year. The water filled the stream’s veins, and they flowed like a rushing army into battle. The troupe of three, daughter, father, and son mushed over the muddy bank. The water dropped from the trees above and tapped onto the father’s hat. “Papa… do you think we’ll find She...
“Playback Recording: The Corpses of San Pedro” by B. F. Tanabata
[physical violence, gore, mentions of abuse; suicide] *click* … You already know why I’m here, the fuck is the point of saying it again? So my mental health gets wrecked even further? That it? Quack therapy, that’s what I think this is. … I’m angry? Yeah, no shit Sherlock, thanks for catching that. … I lost everything, Doc, how do you think that makes me...
“Uninvited Guests” by Katelyn Bullock
Uninvited Guests by Katelyn Bullock It was a conventional summer day. It was bright and the sun was shining like it had just swallowed a bunch of light bulbs.Tim and his two parents were helping the movers clear out the big, white truck and place down the furniture.“ Why don’t you go explore Tim? It will be a good opportunity to get used to the new house.” Said Tim’s mom.Tim wasn’t going to pass up the o...
“The Dark” by Chesley Richards
When the Dark came, the small, thriving farm town of Cemetery Ridge, way out in the flatlands with the best mushrooms around, could not understand what it meant. The town was a small collection of two-story old red brick buildings with a Main Street and charming houses all going back a few blocks. Two churches, one school with all the grades. An organic grocery store toward the edge of town. And a couple of places to get your hair cut. One for women, one for men. The mushrooms grew everywhere, all year round. Oysters and Shitake, Maitake ...
“Hungry, Hungry Gremlins” by Howard Seeley
“I still don’t understand why our father insisted we camp out tonight, Joel,” muttered Rob. “It doesn’t make sense.” Joel wasn’t about to let his younger brother spoil the fun. “Whenever something good falls in your lap and you always complain about it. Relax dude and enjoy the moment. It’ll probably the last time we’ll be camping out this year.” Being late October, Rob couldn’t argue that fact. Joel is ...
“Teeth” by Catrina Bowles
It had been a conversation with her old supervisor over coffee that had gotten Detective Petra Langley back in the field. It wasn’t a desire to visit Drumheller, Alberta, of all places. The tackiness made her nauseous as she drove past the ‘World’s Largest Dinosaur’ to her motel. Everybody around her was also visiting from out of town, so fitting in wasn’t going to be a challenge, loath as she was to do so. ...
“Retraining” by VJ Hamilton
The coal-fired power plant is closing, ready to turn off the lights forever in its industrial complex, and Petra shudders before the winds of change. She gamely attends the half-day retraining sessions, preparing to “deploy her skills in other sectors of the economy.” Late at night she seethes with the question Why me? but in daylight she obeys the poster plastered everywhere: Stay Calm and Carry On. She ...
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