Hush, Little Baby (flash fiction)

Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean we should stop reading and writing creepy fiction! Here’s a piece of horror flash fiction about a child screaming in the woods and a scary encounter. It’s about 630 words and has an estimated reading time of 2 and half minutes. Let me know what you think!

The wooded area behind my house always creeped me out. It was a desolate wood, as they’d call it, and my home was pretty isolated. My neighbors were about half a mile away.

I never ventured into the woods much, especially at night. I know that it extended pretty far back. If you went down the main trail, you’d eventually stumble into a suburban subdivision on the other side.

So, as I sat on my back porch one lonely night, you better believe I felt frightened when I heard what sounded like a small child screaming in the woods. I tried to ignore it for a while, but I simply couldn’t.

The child’s cries echoed in the dark night. It was cloudy, and the moon was hiding that night. Over the sounds of the crickets and cicadas, I heard the screams and moans of the small child. At least that’s what I thought it was.

Though I was scared, I’m not a coward. And I wanted to help the child. I thought about calling the police, but eventually, I decided to venture into the woods to do what I could. So, I grabbed a flashlight and headed back there.

I pushed through some thickets and bushes; there was a semblance of a trail, but not much. The woods were wild and unkempt.

The child’s cries continued unabated. It sounded like a little girl, and as I drew closer, it sounded like she was weeping. Even with my flashlight, I could hardly see where I was going. A few times, I nearly walked right into a tree.

The closer I got, the more disturbing the cries were. It became like a guttural scream as the child yelled, “HELP! HELP!” repeatedly.

“I’m coming! Hold tight – I’m coming!” I yelled out.

I wished the moon was out to provide some light – it was so terribly dark. It was also a hot summer night and, as I ventured deeper into the wood, I was covered in sweat and dirt from brushing through the thickets.

“HELP! HELP!” the child screamed, then cried.

Finally, it seemed I was almost there. The cries grew louder, and I scanned the flashlight around the perimeter of my vision.

Then, I saw her: a little girl in rags for clothing, just standing there in the wood, tears streaming down her face. She looked so ragged and scared.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Thank you, mister. I’m lost.”

“Where are your parents?”

The little girl then smiled a very devilish grin.

“I don’t have any.”

“What … What do you mean?”

It was then that I saw the child was holding a butcher knife behind her back. She smiled again and laughed. “My parents are long gone, mister.”

I instinctively stepped back, making sure to hold the light on her.

“What’s your name? Please, put the knife down.”

“Why, mister? Are you afraid?”

“Yes … I am. Very afraid.”

The child approached me slowly, holding the knife out. I kept backing up until I hit something solid that made me stop. Then I felt someone breathing on my neck. Whoever it was, it was a huge person. I felt two hands cover my mouth. I tried to scream, but the sound was muffled.

“Nighty-night, mister,” the child said.

As the man behind me gripped me and didn’t let me go, the little girl came closer with the knife. Then, she began singing a little nursery rhyme in her sweet but tremendously evil voice.

“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word. Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird ….”

I felt the cold, sharp steel on my neck. And the last sounds I heard were the nursery rhyme, repeated over and over again, in the dark and sinister wood.

The End

(Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash)

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