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9 Minute Horror Story: FINGERS

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“Burn not thy fingers to snuff another man’s candle.” ~ James Howell

Based on a true story

Kalah gazed at the ten fingers sticking up from the shore of the lake. It was obvious someone had been buried alive and tried to escape.

The sun dipped behind the trees, bringing a chilly wave of air into the night. In moments it’ll be dark.

It seemed obvious to Kalah that she had to force herself to turn around, run back to her parent’s cabin and tell them what she found.

Turn around.

Run.

Two simple tasks, yet, she couldn’t move. All she could do was stare at the fingers sticking up from the sand as if they were pleading for help.

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Instinctively Kalah reached back to her pocket to retrieve her cell phone.

Nope. Not there.

Her father’s first command when they arrived at the cabin was to shut off all phones and place them in his duffle bag.

“This family can go six days without a cell phone,” he said with a pleased smile.

Kalah’s younger brother who turned twelve last week complained the most, followed by Kalah’s mother.

How can anyone on this planet go without a cell phone for six days? Her mother then said, “What if there’s an emergency?”

Kalah’s father responded, “We left all of our problems and emergencies at home. Enjoy the fresh air and reconnect with yourself.” As Kalah stared at the fingers protruding from the sand, it seemed ironic.

Life can follow you anywhere, even to the middle of nowhere.

9

 Kalah approached the man buried in the sand. She kneeled down, examining the large size fingers. He was a big man. Possibly two-hundred and fifty pounds.

A rush of questions began to invade her mind.

How deep was the hole that they buried him?

Who was this man?

What did he do to deserve such a horrible death?

Who killed him?

Kalah imagined the poor man attempting to catch his breath, but could only suck in wet sand and tiny white shells. He reached up, desperate to escape.

Death arrived, but only after the pain of being buried alive had its way with him.

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Bravely, Kalah reached out and touched one of the fingers. It was cold, yet, had the sensation of strength. It must have taken several men to bury this guy.

Were these men still at the lake? Did they have their own cabin?

Kalah pulled her hand back, then swept her eyes in every direction.

Lake.

Trees.

A falling sun.

Why hadn’t she run back to the cabin and told her parents? Why was she on her knees?

The answer was both simple and terrifying at the same time.

Kalah wanted to see the man. She wanted to somehow pull him up from the wet sand and drag him from the grave until he was free.

But free from what? Death? He’s not going to start breathing again.

Kalah wasn’t stupid, although, these last few moments debating a dead man’s condition could certainly question her intelligence, or at minimum, her common sense.

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The night arrived in quick fashion as the wet sand soaked through her jeans to her knees. She began shivering.

Or was she trembling?

Either way, Kalah knew deep down that she wasn’t going to leave this spot until she looked into this dead man’s face.

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Kalah reached down and gripped her left hand around the fingers of the man’s right fingers. She then whispered a countdown, “Three, two, one…”

With a quick motion, Kalah squeezed her hand and yanked on the fingers. She flew backwards and the man’s fingers went flying behind her.

It took a moment to realize what just happened, followed by a scream so intensified, it burned her throat and lungs.

In the distance, Kalah’s scream echoed over the lake, into the trees, and faded in the nothingness of the night.

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A layer of cold sweat formed on her skin with a trailing thought.

Was there a dead man buried in the sand with his hands up in the air and his fingers eroded from his body? Or are there just ten fingers sticking up?

Kalah crawled forward, barley able to see. If only the moon would fight its way into the night, the glow would be enough to illuminate the area.

She lowered her head all the way to the sand, looking at the remaining fingers that were just inches from her face. She couldn’t tell if they were attached, or just sticking up from the ground.

After taking a deep breath, Kalah reached forward and held the tip of one of the fingers. She then counted to three and pulled.

The finger was easily plucked from the sand.

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In quick fashion, she picked the remained three fingers and the thumb, dropping each to the ground. Kalah then wiped the sweat from her face with the back of her hand and stood up.

Who stuck ten fingers into the sand like that? Where was the rest of the body?

Kalah turned, startled by an enormous man standing by the lake, staring at her. She opened her mouth to scream, but nothing could be summoned.

Her eyes drifted to his hands, seeing that his fingers were missing.

A gust of wind brushed her back while turning the man into a black mist. The mist floated across the lake and disappeared into the woods.

9

It was time for Kalah to leave, but she couldn’t until one task was completed. If she didn’t, the fingerless demon would find her.

Kalah kneeled down and crawled, picking up each finger. She then buried each one in the exact position as she found them, creating an illusion for some other person to find.

After completing her task, Kalah returned to the cabin and never spoke of this experience to anyone the rest of her life.

You have now completed this 9 minute story…

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