It’s been quite a while since I’ve shared a free short story with everyone.
Here is the Screaming Tunnel, revamped from 2017. 1000 words.
“While we’re in Niagara Falls, why don’t we check out the screaming tunnel?” Marlene clapped and bounced on her toes. Horror, spooks, and anything haunted was her cup of tea.
Bill, on the other hand, hated the phoney-boloney stuff. “Do we always have to do this? Seriously, every vacation you drag me off to some” — he waved his hands in the air — “haunted, bull-hockey!”
Marlene pressed her voluptuous chest against his arm and pouted. “Pleeeese Billywilly? I’ll make it worth your while.” She winked as she kissed his cheek.
He wrapped his arm around her slender young shoulder. “Alright, tell me about this tunnel?”
As they headed back to the rental car, she gave him the run-down. “Legend has it that there was an abusive guy with a wife and daughter. When the wife decided to leave him, he got angry and made to grab the kid, but she ran away. Well, nearby their house was a tunnel, and she went in there to hide…” Marlene paused, distracted for a minute as she typed Screaming Tunnel Canada into her phone to get the location. “Uh, where was I?”
“The kid ran into the tunnel. Right, what little girl is going to run alone into a dark tunnel?”
“Anyway, there was a fire, and the girl died screaming. So, they say if you go into the tunnel and light a match, the girl starts screaming, and your match will go out.” Marlene was giddy and thrummed her legs as she watched the bland Thorold landscape pass by. “There—there.” She pointed at the exit to Warner Road, popping open the glove compartment to see if anyone left matches in the car. It was her lucky day. She rattled the little cardboard. The car rolled to a stop. She opened the door and hopped out.
“You’ve got too much energy for me doll-face,” he said. She just grinned back at him as he pulled on his parka and shivered. “Let’s hurry though” — he squinted up at the darkening sky — “it looks like a nasty storm coming.”
Ignoring him, she stood at the mouth of the old limestone tunnel, peering in. “Well, it’s not as long, or as spooky, as I thought it would be. Look, you can see through it.” She stepped into the muddy opening and waited for Bill to catch up.
“Kind of disgraceful of kids to graffiti even this place huh?” he said, touching the cold, damp wall.
Marlene grabbed his hand, dragging him along. “Let’s get right into the center and give this a test and then we can go back to the hotel for a nice jacuzzi.”
“Now there’s a plan.”
Stepping into the tunnel, it darkened further, the end ahead cast in deep shadow, and a thunderous boom rocked the ground beneath their feet. A quick flash of lightning danced zigzags in the opening and rain began to hammer down.
Marlene giggled, pressing into Bill. “Perfect.”
“You’re weird. Now we’re going be stuck in here for a bit.” He felt something on his foot and looked down. Water rushed through the space, soaking his loafers. “Even better—a stream outlet,” he groaned.
“Oh, shush ya old party-pooper.” She swapped him, checking her bearings. The dimness at either end of the tunnel appeared equal enough. She slid open the box and withdrew a match. “Ready?”
“Sure,” he said.
Pressing herself closer to the wall, trying to keep her new open-toed sandals out of the water. She flicked the match against the striker on the box. The flame popped to life, sputtered and held a steady flame.
“Are you supposed to say anything?” he asked.
“No, shh,” she scolded, listening to the downpour of rain. Waiting.
There was another crash of thunder, and the match went out. The light of the flame had briefly blinded them, and the tunnel now appeared darker. A streak of lightening flashed, shadows crept across the walls, undulating elongated arms stretched across the ceiling.
“What was that?”
“What?” she asked, pulling another match to light.
“There at the end of the tunnel?” He squinted, leaning into Marlene, trying to see further than his old eyes allowed. “Is that a kid? HEY! You there!” he yelled.
“Would you shut up? What if it’s her?”
“There is no such thing as ghosts. Come on, that kid might need help.” No longer worried about the rain, he left Marlene and walked to the end of the tunnel.
As she proceeded to light the next match, there was another ground rumbling roll of thunder. The flame went out. A gentle whisper tickled her ear. Shivers raced across her body. Turning her head to the right, she came face to face with a girl about twelve, wide-eyed, dripping wet. Gasping, Marlene stumbling away. Her heart pounded painfully fast, and her voice caught in her throat.
The girl’s mouth gaped open, a black maw of pure hatred, and let loose a scream that pierced her ear drums.
The next bolt of lightning lit up the tunnel, and a roar of searing flames engulfed the center out of nowhere. The girl embraced Marlene. Her own voice returned; their screams melded together, becoming one.
Bill staggered back, falling out of the tunnel into the rain. He was in shock at what he just witnessed. The thunder deafened their screams, and he saw no more when the lightning electrified the wet ground.
This tunnel is a real place in Thorold Ontario Canada, read about it here :