The Arms of Halleville

The Arms of Halleville

A Story by Brandon R. Chinn
"

Another from a series of flash fiction horror exercises I've been working on lately. In this piece I was looking to capture a feeling of dread, of inevitability into the unknown.

"



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Of course our luck would run out just five miles from the city.


I mean, why should it not?


“It’s the belt,” she said. “It’s the engine. It’s the tires.”


No matter. We could split hairs over reason until the sun goes down.

Or we could walk to the town.


Halleville, said the sign. Five Miles. As if a sign could speak. As if two syllables could

reach into my mind and sit there, festering, pushing ever inward.


She walked the cracked roadside with naked feet, my jacket about her shoulders, her pumps dangling from two fingers. I walked just behind her, in complete step, as noiseless as her fastly fading shadow.


“Have you ever heard of such a town?” she asked.


“No,” I replied. Though I wanted to say more. I wanted to say so much more. My words were stuck behind my teeth, begging for release, desperate to scrabble over the fence of bone that clamped the thoughts to their sick, soundless end.


“I had a dream once,” I told her.


She chewed her lip. She answered me in that foggy way, that half-listening-always way. It didn’t matter.

The car would be fixed, and we would be on. Every town in this small country would become nothing more than a fickle, fading blur.


“A dream?” she asked.


I nodded, despite being behind her, despite her lack of appreciation for my mere existence. Strange how it is to come into the company of these people who would so quickly abuse your every offered hospitality, but refuse to dirty themselves on your blood.


A dream. A dream of a town. A dream of a place. A coiled thing, buried at the bottom well of the conscious mind, not quite resting against the bone-dry black stones that remained there. A dream that was much less a dream than a thing itself. A thing with many, many, many arms.


“We will be on our way soon enough,” she says between curses. Her feet are already red and raw. She has abandoned her shoes, and my jacket. It has begun to rain.


Another sign. Halleville. There is no mention of its distance from us anymore. Five miles have surely passed.


“I should hope there’s a hotel,” she says. There are tears streaming down her face. I wonder if she knows it.


The trees gather close as the light fades to burnt orange and the shadows grow long. The rocks all around us are black. The gravel is black.

The bottoms of her feet are black, and she further fades from sight with every step.


I think of her body. Not in the throes of passion that I have become much accustomed to. No.

I think of her body all the same.


Halleville. The signs continue on. Illuminated, despite the near-absolute darkness.


She is somewhere in front of me, still speaking. I walk a little faster, though I can no longer hear my own steps.

© 2015 Brandon R. Chinn


Author's Note

Brandon R. Chinn
Once again trying to capture a sense of dread with minimal description. I'm trying to gain a better rhythm in my way of writing.

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Featured Review

This was actually pretty good. The build up of suspense was impressive, given the small amount of description and the short length of the piece. It made me feel as if I looked over my shoulder I'd see tall, lingering shadows standing there. Watching me with their blank faces, silently awaiting my next move. But there was nothing there.
Anyways, that's just an example of how well you captured the rising suspense. You made it interesting, and my absolute favorite paragraph in the entire piece "Halleville, said the sign. Five Miles. As if a sign could speak. As if two syllables could reach into my mind and sit there, festering, pushing ever inward." was completely brilliant, and a perfect, absolutely flawless declaration of capturing that sense of dread you were after.
This review is kind of lame, I know, but I hope it's encouraging. Even it wasn't, don't ever lay down the pen, man. Keep writing. :)



Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Brandon R. Chinn

4 Years Ago

Thank you so much! That's exactly what I was going for. Your review was wonderful. Thank you.



Reviews

This was actually pretty good. The build up of suspense was impressive, given the small amount of description and the short length of the piece. It made me feel as if I looked over my shoulder I'd see tall, lingering shadows standing there. Watching me with their blank faces, silently awaiting my next move. But there was nothing there.
Anyways, that's just an example of how well you captured the rising suspense. You made it interesting, and my absolute favorite paragraph in the entire piece "Halleville, said the sign. Five Miles. As if a sign could speak. As if two syllables could reach into my mind and sit there, festering, pushing ever inward." was completely brilliant, and a perfect, absolutely flawless declaration of capturing that sense of dread you were after.
This review is kind of lame, I know, but I hope it's encouraging. Even it wasn't, don't ever lay down the pen, man. Keep writing. :)



Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Brandon R. Chinn

4 Years Ago

Thank you so much! That's exactly what I was going for. Your review was wonderful. Thank you.

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Added on July 23, 2015
Last Updated on July 23, 2015
Tags: horror, weird, fiction, prose, dark, short, flash fiction, weird fiction, towns, lost, hopeless, fear

Author

Brandon R. Chinn
Brandon R. Chinn

Tacoma, WA



About
My name is Brandon Chinn. I am a novelist living in the Pacific Northwest. I love all kinds of fiction, but I mostly write science fiction, fantasy, and horror. You can check out my novel series, The .. more..

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