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  • steven holding


Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Well, it just wouldn’t be Halloween without a spooky story!

So, lock the doors, stoke the fire, pour a stiff drink and sit back in your chair….

SWIPE RIGHT by Steven Holding.

A date has been made.

The name of the place? RAISE THE BAR. Through mirrored glass, hiding behind a pink neon sign, he nervously awaits her arrival. Doing his best to blend in with the hectic weekend decadence.

She casually makes an entrance, catching his and several patrons attention. His initial impression? He can’t help but notice how much she actually looks like her photograph. Offers a slight nod. She responds and, for the first time, he is dazzled by her smile. Cuts across the dancefloor. Gyrating punters, gliding through them: she’s the knife, they’re the butter.

And then she’s there. Really there. Looking down at his empty glass. First words heard.

“There’s not much drinking when you’re dead.”

His laugh is genuine and out loud. Time for a reply.

“I better get another round in.”

He stands. She slips into his seat as she speaks.

“What’s it going to be then, eh? Something dark? Something that fucks you up?”

“I think that’s what I’m looking for.”

A lick of the lips.

“I think that’s what you’ve found.”

Later. The night appears to have been a success. So far. Drinks and conversation have flowed in the right direction. He is feeling less shitty about himself. About everything else. They’ve moved on. Outside. The night is warm. They’re walking arm in arm. Talking. He can’t help but ask.

“Why did you choose me?”

She spins, hands pressed against his glowing cheeks. He can feel the raised welt of tiny scars upon both of her palms. Thinks for a second of how such wounds were inflicted. But is soon distracted.

Their first kiss. And it tastes magnificent.

“Because I knew as soon as I saw you. You’re the one”

She is radiant white light. He invites it inside. She looks deep into his eyes.

“Come home with me.”

He does. And they do. And it is wonderful.

Afterwards. Her question. Quietly whispered.

“What scares you?”

He rolls over onto his belly

“I don’t know. Getting sick, maybe. Going blind. Finding a lump.”

“What about getting old?” she asks.

He chuckles. The realisation he is comfortable with this.

“Why be frightened of something that is inevitable?”

A shrug as her finger strokes skin; touch provoking further giggles.

“And you?”

A shy smile. He worships it. Now and forever.

“We’re all afraid. Of the future, of the unknown. Life has one collective fiction. The illusion of control.”

A puzzled expression demands clarity. His gaze fails to penetrate. She leans in, lays a kiss upon his frown.

“That you wake up one day and will never truly know that it is your last. That you will be gone, and with that departure, lose everything you love.”

“You’re right. We never know. But we have now.”

A nod, an embrace. Holding each other, he silently preys that the moment lasts forever.

Her hand disappears beneath the pillow.

The gentle caress of the knifes razor edge.

She loves the look upon his face.

She swipes right.


For more Halloween chills, you can find my story HALO WIN in the Trembling With Fear Halloween special, published over on The Horror Tree website. Another tale of mine, HAIL O’ WEAN, appeared in the anthology HALLOWEEN FRIGHTS which came out recently, published by those good, good people at Black Ink Fiction (this holiday themed anthology also features a translation of said story from the disgraced academic, cough syrup enthusiast and all round elusive recluse, Den Ghostliven…). Finally, it was also an absolute pleasure to see my story SEA, SWALLOW ME printed in the collection HENSHAW FOUR from Henshawpress. Both these books are available from Amazon, and both feature a great selection of stories from an impressive range of authors. Links to them will be added to the credits section ASAP!

End of Transmission.

Over and Out.


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