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Sleepy Hollow

November 4, 2010

Photo by Sandy Morrison
A howl ripped through the air. His eyes flew open. The hounds barked and growled, fighting to get free of their pen; the chains banged against the iron bars.

The sheep.

John ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time. At the back door he slipped on his boots and coat and snatched his rifle from the wall. He raced for the pen and released the dogs. They tore across the open field behind the house heading straight for the woods beyond. Marching through the high grass, John’s eyes darted back and forth, wary of a hidden enemy. The moon spilled light across the open meadow, nothing stirred, but the breeze.

A yelp jerked his attention to the woods. A low moan followed, then silence. John rushed ahead, but slowed as he slipped between the trees. Rifle ready, he crept forward. His breath came faster with every heart beat. His chest heaved against the butt of the rifle tucked against his shoulder. A breeze whispered through the branches, shadows writhed at his feet. He scanned left then right, inching his way into the woods.

Hooves pounded the earth behind him. He swung and shot. The horse galloped passed. The rider struck out with a blow that sent John spinning through the air, landing with such force, his body went numb.

The rider circled around him and he looked up at the impossible scene. A man knelt in the woods, a long black coat billowed around him. Beyond that, the horse reared up and the moon shone clear against the broad, empty shoulders of the rider, a flaming pumpkin clenched in his fist.

John watched in horror as the rider approached. He tried to move, but his limbs failed. His mind screamed and his vision blurred as he watched his own body crumple to the ground, ten feet away.

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35 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2010 12:07 PM

    I’ve never been in such a terifying situation… and definitely that’s not a situation I’d like to experience. But I’m pretty sure that I’d be so petrified that I won’t be able to do anything at all. Just as this man.

  2. Ian permalink
    November 4, 2010 12:07 PM

    Oh yeah! My kind of story. Loved the tension. Well done.

    Cheers,
    Ian

  3. November 4, 2010 12:07 PM

    Spooky! I’ll stay inside when I hear the dogs bark. Very well written!

  4. Misty permalink
    November 4, 2010 12:17 PM

    Great work! Creepy!

  5. November 4, 2010 12:19 PM

    Oh, Yah Baby!!!!!!!!!!! Horror’s not the first thing on my mind in the middle of the day at work. BUT THEN, it’s YOU writing!! The biggest experiences written with the fewest words I’ve ever seen a person write. You’re GREAT!!

  6. CDNWMN permalink
    November 4, 2010 12:42 PM

    Really fun reading, loved the ending with the body 10ft away, great hook! 🙂

  7. November 4, 2010 1:31 PM

    I love how the ending changes the image of his whole body spinning in air to something so much more gruesome!

  8. November 4, 2010 2:25 PM

    Thanks for that! Well done.

  9. November 4, 2010 5:19 PM

    Nice. Gruesome, but nice. Your writing is so lushly descriptive with so few words, it just floors me every time. I don’t know how you do it.

    You’re just a master, I guess. 🙂

    And that ending is outrageous. Love this one a ton!

  10. November 4, 2010 7:50 PM

    Should have taken the melatonin and slept in. You didn’t say so, but I’d wager the whole Hollow was sleepy. It would be a viable excuse to miss the sheep massacre.

  11. November 4, 2010 9:14 PM

    Excellent story! Loved the details you added to make the scare factor go up, and the last line certainly brought the horror.

  12. November 5, 2010 6:53 AM

    Oooh!

  13. November 5, 2010 7:05 AM

    Damn, girl. The words “garrish” and “unforgettable” come to mind. I’ll say it again: your gift is point of view. N one else can do it like you.

  14. November 5, 2010 8:12 AM

    ACK! The last line brought all the proper chills/shudders.

    I certainly would never run into the woods. Sheep, you’re on your own. 🙂

    Great spooky stuff. Need to go drink something to settle the nerves.

  15. November 5, 2010 8:13 AM

    You know I love your work, and this is no exception 🙂

  16. November 5, 2010 9:32 AM

    Great pace and a good solid piece of fiction. Getting the emotional aspect into this was tricky and you’ve done a great job.

  17. Deanna Schrayer permalink
    November 5, 2010 9:57 AM

    Fantastically spooky Danielle, and with that last line you’ve given yourself a lot of room to tell of his adventures as a ghost – *hint, hint* 🙂

  18. November 5, 2010 10:36 AM

    “The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” scared me silly the first time I read it as a child, and your version scared me today. Very good descriptions, and a very chilling end.

  19. steve mchugh permalink
    November 5, 2010 11:51 AM

    Long time reader, first time poster 🙂

    Great story. You really captured the tension and fear in the situation.

  20. November 5, 2010 1:21 PM

    Excellent take on the tale! Very descriptive and very creepy.

  21. November 5, 2010 2:19 PM

    Nailed it again Danni. Great take on the story.

  22. November 5, 2010 2:48 PM

    Very creepy and well done. 🙂

  23. November 5, 2010 4:31 PM

    Thanks for the great comments everyone. This one struck me a few weeks ago on my way to work. I was scribbling furiously in the car. I love it when stories hit like that. Glad you all enjoyed it. 🙂

  24. November 5, 2010 7:21 PM

    Girl, you do spooky soooooo good. Hope you weren’t driving when the muse got ya! Peace…

  25. November 6, 2010 10:03 AM

    You build up some great suspense, Danielle! Really good descriptions of his anxiety and of the creepy woods. Grat job!

  26. November 7, 2010 2:50 AM

    Spooky, full of suspense and great paceing throughout. Loved it!

  27. November 7, 2010 7:14 AM

    oh, nice story. Thanks for sharing. Good imagery.
    Firewolf/Julie

  28. November 7, 2010 8:14 AM

    Nicely, and chillingly done, I love the bit about seeing his own body crumple.

  29. A. S. Boudreau permalink
    November 7, 2010 7:52 PM

    a very spooky twist on the classic tale. 🙂 nicely done.

  30. November 7, 2010 7:58 PM

    Gah! The Headless Horseman was my biggest childhood boogieman. (I lived in the city but I could imagine him bearing down on me on his huge horse as I walked to and from my grandparent’s house at dusk.) Gorgeous imagery and pulse-pounding suspense. Well done!

  31. November 10, 2010 7:13 AM

    Another gripping tale that leaves chills. Yep, I’ll be staying inside if I hear anything unusual outside. The ending is always so conclusive in your stories. They hit the right spot. Fantastically creepy tale. 🙂

  32. November 10, 2010 1:46 PM

    Oooh chilling! Well done! I particularly like “shadows writhed at his feet”.

  33. November 10, 2010 4:35 PM

    Wow u blow my mind I love it when I read your stories I get into it I feel it I se_e it and I fall into the situation and can’t wait to see what else happens OzO

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