Suspense Horror Fiction

“What? Where? How did I get here? I’m so cold.”

Kristof didn’t know how much time had elapsed since he passed out, it couldn’t have been more than a few minutes, but he awoke shivering and confused, laying in the snow by his car. He got up and noticed his windshield was covered in snow, like the rest of the vehicle.

“But, but how? The note. I had a note. There was a note on my window. Where?”

The note, the one written in his own handwriting, the one that he grabbed from under his wiper blade, the note was nowhere to be found. His teeth were beginning to chatter and he knew he had to get back inside before he started to lose feeling in his extremities. He took one last glance at his windshield to make sure it was snow covered, it was. He came outside earlier when he

noticed the windshield was clear of snow. Wasn’t it? He scrunched his arms close to his chest and made his way to the cabin. He needed to finish getting the logs on the fire, his goal before he was distracted by the mysterious clear windshield.


Kristof stood just inside the cabin door, rubbing his hands together for warmth.

“Brrrrrrrrr. Get the logs in the fireplace after you feel your fingers” he said to himself, “The last thing you need on your first day is to get a splinter or scrape your hand and not be able to feel it.”

The wind from the blizzard had stopped and the house was silent if not for his breathing. As the feeling began to return to his fingers, Kristof paused at what he thought was a small cracking sound.

“Hello?! Who’s there?” He quickly shook his head. “What are you talking about? You have the cabin to yourself, you’ve already checked everything. Nobody is here.”

He heard the sound again, this time several times in a row. The cracking and popping was

coming from the corner of the living area. Even though he was alone, he slowly turned in the

direction of the sound. He stopped.

“What? How is that possible? I went outside before.....” he trailed off whispering to himself.

There was a large fire going in the fireplace with at least three sizeable logs.

“How is there a fire? I hadn’t put any logs on before I walked by the window. What the hell is going on?”

Although confused and a little paranoid, Kristof stood in front of the blazing logs and quickly warmed up. The fire going was odd, but something just felt different to him as he stood in the corner of the living room. He needed to make a sweep of the rest of the house to ease his mind. He knew there was nobody there, but he had a strange sensation that something was off.

He needed to find out what it was. He had never experienced this feeling before. If there was such a combination of fear, uneasiness, confidence, and confusion, that’s what he was feeling in that moment.


Kristof slowly made his way through the living room of the cabin. Everything on the surface

appeared normal. The mahogany couch was against the wall perpendicular to the fireplace.

Apparently having been part of a set, there were two matching recliners on the other side of the room. He had been reading Holmes before the incident with the note, and that book sat on an end table between the two chairs, exactly as he had left it. Even the plants atop the birch coffee table with rock inlay were fine. The living room was just as he remembered before whatever happened with the fireplace, but he still could not shake the weird feeling he’d had since coming inside. He did think the eyes of the mounted deer head above the front door were following him, but that was something he always felt when he saw those things.

“Breathe Kristof, breathe. You’ve got this. You’ll just go through the house, see that everything is normal and you’ll be fine. Maybe you just need a drink” he said to himself as he made his way to the kitchen.

He grabbed a bottle of whiskey from the counter and quickly downed a couple of swigs straight from it, not even bothering to grab one of the shot glasses he’d brought with him. He put the top back on the bottle and looked around the kitchen. For as lavish as the living room was, the

kitchen was very ordinary in comparison. The refrigerator was standard double door with

freezer underneath and built in ice maker. The toaster, microwave, and refrigerator were all black, which really didn’t match the dark tan cabinets.

He had asked the host to have all of the electicity turned off as well. He brought his own generator to run the fridge and keep his items cold, nothing more. Kristof hadn’t really wanted to take up a lot of the cabin owner’s space, so he had his drinks and non-perishable items sitting on the

counter next to the sink.

“Ahh, I feel better now. I needed that.” Even though he’d brought the bottle with him, he wasn’t sure he would drink it. He usually saved whiskey for special occasions. He figured calming his nerves quickly counted. Besides, nobody could stop him this week.

After determining that the kitchen was normal as well, he decided it was time to check out the rest of the house.

“This will only take a few minutes and then I’ll come back and make dinner” he thought as he let the warmth of the whiskey subside.

As he started to walk out of the kitchen, the mysterious strange feeling came over him again like a hammer and he paused to catch his breath and steady himself. He opened his eyes and thought he saw something move. He could barely think straight as a faint shadow moved rapidly around the house. It had no pattern and moved from one end of his field of vision to the other, He tried to follow its movements but they were too erratic. The shadow stopped suddenly, appeared to hover over the coffee table, and then shot at Kristof, circling around him in a type of orbit. He froze in his steps and breathlessly closed his eyes.


Kristof stood in the middle of the kitchen of his AirBnB cabin trying to process what had just


“Did that just happen?” He whispered to himself.

When the shadow was circling him, he had no concept of reality. He KNEW he was standing in a kitchen, but he also felt like he was sitting on the couch. The feeling of being behind the wheel of his car was there, but so was the feeling of swimming for exercise. He could not adequately

describe how he felt when the mysterious shadow engulfed him, all he knew now was that he felt very dizzy, like he was going to pass out any moment.

“I’ll finish checking the rest of the place later. This is all just too much right now.” Kristof said as he poured another small amount of whiskey in his glass and made his way to the couch. Just in case, he made a quick sweep of the living room again before sitting down.

“Nope, everything still like it’s supposed to be.” Car still snow covered, mounted head still where it should be, nothing visibly out of order that he could see as he sat down with his book and drink. He could barely concentrate on the words, his dizziness almost seemed to get worse when he sat down than when he was standing. He finally gave up, set the book open on his chest, downed the rest of the glass, and closed his eyes.

“Goodnight world, please be normal when I wake up.” He slurred slowly as the whiskey took

effect and he drifted out of consciousness.


The sun shone through the window and onto Kristof’s face, waking him up. He had spent the

entire night on the couch, barely moving. His glass had rolled onto the floor but had not cracked, landing on the rug. The book he had attempted reading the night before still lay open across his chest.

“Ugh, my head is killing me.”

He sat up and glanced around the room, getting his bearings. For a few moments, he could not

figure out where he was or how he had gotten there. He was still thick in the fog of sleep,

rubbing his eyes to try and wake up.

“This is either a bad hangover or the migraines are starting early” Kristof said to himself as he

slowly made his way to the window.

The sun had begun to melt the snow from the day before, but the temperature hovered around

freezing. He though he remembered the weather forecast saying this would be the case for a few days. That was fine with Kristof. He didn’t need anymore craziness after the past 24 hours.

“The weird note. The clear windshield. That damn shadow thing. Today needs to not be like

yesterday.” He opened the refrigerator door and stopped.


Where was the water? Kristof brought three cases of water with him to the cabin.

“I swear I put them all in here yesterday morning.”

He began to breathe heavily, almost to a panic. He spun around, looking for the mysterious

shadow from the night before. He didn’t see it. As he finished his turn, he noticed something off to the side that he didn’t immediately remember. He slowly walked towards it, worried that who or whatever had place the note on his winshield had somehow put this box in the corner. When he peered over the edge of the box, he let out an audible sigh.

“Oh thank God. It’s just the water” Kristof said aloud to himself. “I put away everything else

except for the water. I must have been more out of it than I thought.”


“It looks like it’s gotten a little warmer out there. Might as well go see what’s around me.”

Kristof really hadn’t paid much attention to the host’s description of the area when he booked the cabin. His only requirement was that it be secluded with no neighbors. The host, and owner of the cabin, had assured him that it was tucked away from everything with no neighbors for 3 or so miles on all sides. This definitely fit the bill and he was glad he’d spent the extra money.

“I thought I saw a sign pointing towards a lake” he said while putting on his waterproof boots.

“I don’t think it’s more than a mile or two.”

The glare of the sun blinded him momentarily as he walked towards the woods past the

driveway. The snow was so heavy the day before that it was nowhere near fully melted, although his car was clear and he could see more of the trees. His foot sank into the snow just on the grass when the calm breeze stopped and he got a flash of that same strange feeling from the night

before, the one right before the shadow appeared.

“No. No no no. This is not happening again. I won’t let it.”

Even though he was miles from anyone and deep inside he knew he didn’t need to, Kristof ran back up to the cabin and locked all of the doors.


There were no boat slips at the lake. A small pier of sorts jutted about 15 feet out from the

shoreline. Like the area around his cabin, there were tall evergreens everywhere. He may have seen a few other similar piers on the other shore, but they were too far away to determine if

there were people occupying them. A slight breeze caused very little ripples on the water’s

surface. Serene. That was the word he was looking for to describe his surroundings in that

moment. Perfect serenity and solitude. The reason he came out here. The reason he had cut

himself off from the world for a week without his phone or computer. This was where he was supposed to be.

“Maybe I’ll bring Marie out here after we get through this little pause we’re in. She would love it here” Krstof told himself while sitting on a fallen tree stump next to the pier.

Something out on the water caught his attention. Roughly 200 feet from shore, the otherwise calm lake surface was rippling as if someone had thrown a large rock. He briefly looked around to see where it had come from, being so far out.

“Of course nobody threw it. There’s nobody out here and it’s too far out.”

Although he was warm in his layered clothing, a quick and hard chill went down his spine to his feet. The ripples were moving. Not moving in circles like they were spreading out, the actual

circle and center of the ripples was moving directly towards Kristof.




The chill remained and was quickly joined by the all consuming strangeness, as with the shadow.

“I. I. What? Uh, uh”


He couldn’t speak. He had no time. He had to get back to the cabin and away from this, this,

whatever this was.

50. 40. 30.

Kristof bolted upright and began sprinting towards the cabin. He couldn’t remember the last time he had run more than a mile, but he was about to do it now. In the snow. Through a maze of trees with only a small trail to guide him.

20. 10.

As he was running he turned one last time towards the lake before disappearing into the woods.

He couldn’t make it out, but he thought he caught a glimpse of the faint shadow from the cabin. Had the shadow caused the ripples? What was it?

“What the hell are you? What the hell do you want from me?” He yelled as he wound his way through the thickness of the trees under a quickly darkening sky. Barely able to see more than 10 feet in front of him at times, he heard the snow being kicked up not that far behind him, like a

tornado kicking up debris. No matter which tree he turned around or if he slowed down or sped up, the sound of snow being spun and trampled stayed consistently 15-20 feet behind him,

keeping pace with him perfectly. There was virtually no other wind but this spinning faded



Kristof reached the driveway where his car was still untouched. He paused quickly to catch his breath and turned around. There it was, just on the edge of the forest, spinning and causing

ripples in the snow, the shadow. Neither moved. Kristof stared at the shadow, panting with

breath visible at each exhale. The shadow, hovering and spinning, rippling. Was it, was it

taunting him?

“What is this?” He said almost inaudibly.

Before he could take his next breath, the shadow stopped spinning. It seemed to hover in place, still, for at least 30 seconds, although Kristof knew it was only a couple of heartbeats. Just like the night before, it suddenly darted directly towards Kristof.


He covered the last few yards to the front door.

“I’ll never make it, it’s too close.”

He fumbled for the right key but could not get a grip on any of them.

5. 4. 3.

Just as he could almost feel the shadow try to envelope him again, right out there on the porch,

Kristof grabbed the door knob and pulled. It was unlocked.


With a gutteral scream, Kristof slammed the door, locking it in the process. There was a rythmic knocking on the door, maybe for a minute, before stopping instantly. He looked out the peephole to see nothing. No shadow. No rippling circles in the snow. Nothing.

“Thank God that stopped. What in the world is.....”

Kristof never finished his thought as something slammed into the side of his head like a hammer, immediately dropping him to the floor unconcious.


January 16, 2021 15:08

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Sam Reeves
14:31 Jan 23, 2021

You do such a great job st building suspense and mystery, that was great! You did a good job on scene setting and creating the confusion in the beginning too


Keith Edwin
20:25 Jan 23, 2021

Thank you. This is actually part of a larger story I’ve finished (12520 total words) and will probably publish. The majority of it takes place in nearly the exact setting described in the prompt. I just picked 2 of the chapters that worked best for the contest, combined them, made a couple of tweaks, and here we are. I tell you, that lakefront scene was FUN to write.


Sam Reeves
22:58 Jan 23, 2021

That's incredible! Well done!! What's it called? I'll keep an eye out for it if you do publish it


Keith Edwin
23:13 Feb 05, 2021

It's actually called Kristof, like the title for this entry. I'm talking to a cover design guy now and I HOPE to have it ready to put out there in no more than 6-8 weeks, and that's really extending it. I'll say something about it on my author profile when it's up and going.


Sam Reeves
08:08 Feb 07, 2021

I'll keep my fingers crossed! That's amazing, good luck


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