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Fragments of Fear 5: Fragments of Fear, #5

Fragments of Fear 5: Fragments of Fear, #5

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Fragments of Fear 5: Fragments of Fear, #5

177 pages
1 hour
Jul 3, 2020


A deadly phone call

A doctor proves his worth during the coronavirus pandemic.

A dystopian betrayal.

Unexpected effects of COVID-19.


All this and more await you within the pages of this book. Step inside if you dare.

Jul 3, 2020

About the author

Michael Kelso self-published his first short horror story seven years ago. Since then he has gone on to self-publish many more, won 2 horror writing contests, and publish his debut Crime fiction novel.  He conitnues to work on his next novel, a YA sports novel, along with sequels to his first crime novel.  Michael lives with his wife and children in Pennsylvania. Author interview: https://www.qwertythoughts.com/authors-lobby/interviews/michael-kelso/5d2c15e11a1ffb34782c440f Review of One on One: https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=102148&fbclid=IwAR3f66nynkRjlEECORSPN-S83Ph4pCxxgHmn_9J-WDo5TPGeHc6ILx5wsHg

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Fragments of Fear 5 - Michael Kelso

Fragments of Fear 5

Michael Kelso

Copyright 2020 Michael Kelso

The stories in this book are original works of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, and/or locations is entirely coincidental.

Some of the stories in this collection contain violence, blood, language, and adult themes. This collection is not recommended for those under the age of eighteen.

This book is dedicated to Dean Kuch and MIchael Cahill. Two of my writing mentors who passed away last year.

Discover other titles by Michael Kelso

One on One

Fragments of Fear

Fragments of Fear 2

Fragments of Fear 3

Fragments of Fear 4

The Trail

The Mall

Fragments of Fear: Collection

Table of contents

The Sound

The Call

Worse than the disease


I don't go out at night anymore


Grave consequences


Drinking game


Last Night


He waits

The Game

Moving day

There's something wrong with the sun

Night Watch

Help wanted (part 1)

Help wanted (part 2)

Help wanted (part 3)


Slippery Slope


The Sound


That sound. I've heard it every night for the last week. But I don't think I'm meant to hear it. I have terrible insomnia. I lie in bed and stare at the ceiling, when I'm not forcing myself to close my eyes in the vain hope that sleep will be merciful and take me.

It happens when I should be sound asleep. The early part of morning. The territory of dreams and sudden trips to the bathroom. The first night I heard it, I thought I was dreaming. It's amazing isn't it? How you just accept whatever is in your dream. The first night, I don't even get up to investigate.

The second night, I listen a bit more closely.

There...there it is. It's not a thump, not a bang, it's more like a scrape. But not a scrape like something being dragged, more like a prisoner slowly working at a cell wall, trying to get out.

I hesitate, then my curiosity overwhelms my fear and I lean close to the wall in my bedroom. The sound is not coming from there. I turn on the light and it stops.

I turn the light back off, but the sound does not start again. Now I can't even track it down. I lay down in bed, waiting, and eventually fall asleep.

The next night I try again. In the early morning hours, it starts. It sounds different this time.  Like a fingernail very slowly being pulled down a chalkboard. I listen to my wall, it's not coming from there. I get up and slide on my slippers. I begin my search through a dark house. I dare not turn on a light or my search will end. I feel along the walls in darkness so deep it permeates my bones.  My fingertips brushing the wall is deafening in this soul crushing silence.

I cringe, wondering if my fingers will be so loud that the scraping stops.

My fears prove unwarranted. The scrape continues. I follow, making my way through the darkness. I start down the stairs, stepping carefully to avoid a tumble.

I hear the scrape, but it doesn't seem to be getting louder. Am I going the wrong direction? No, it's not getting quieter either. There's only one other explanation...it's moving.

I reach the bottom of the stairs, turn toward the living room, and...

An earshattering claxon reverberates through the room. A red light flashes in front of me. I run towards it, tripping over the couch and doing a spectacular somersault. I only wish someone would've seen it, that would've made the pain worth it. I pick myself up and make my way to the flashing light and deafening sound.

Hello? I said, picking up the phone.

Silence answered back.

Hello, who is this? I said, hearing breathing on the other end.

Sorry, wrong number, says a gravelly voice.

I hang up, and stare at the phone. An uneasy feeling begins to creep up the back of my neck, making my hairs stand on end.

I turn on the light, knowing that my hunt is over for the night. I get a glass of water, swallow a pill and go back to bed.

The next night I am again waiting for my phantom sound to begin. When it finally does, I look over at the clock. It reads, '2:22AM'.

My quest begins much as the previous nights, but I am better prepared. I have a small flashlight with me that I keep covered, leaving just enough light for me to see my way. It makes my hand glow an eerie red. I chuckle to myself. It looks like a cartoon character that has burned its hand on a hot stove.

I make my way down the steps, limping slightly from my encounter with the couch the previous night.

I enter the living room, and dare to let a little bit of light spill out through my fingers. I hear the light patter of rain on the window as I play the light around, looking for anything. Nothing presents itself.

The scrape is moving again. It's heading toward the kitchen. I follow as quickly and quietly as possible. I shine a narrow beam around the kitchen, to no avail.

Nothing seems out of the ordinary. There's no gleaming eyes staring at me, no heavy breathing of some unholy beast, just nothing. The scraping stops, I know I'm close. I turn and look at the closed basement door. It stares blankly back at me, as if silently daring me to open it and unleash the horrors within.

I approach the door, arm outstretched. I reach out, turn the...


The house is lit up like daylight, and shakes to its very foundation. I scream and fall to the floor, waiting for the ultimate destruction that is upon me.

I wait,

And wait,

Nothing happens.

As I uncover my eyes, another bolt of lightning strikes, but not as close as the first. I gather myself off the floor with as much dignity as I can muster. Then I take my pill and drag myself back to bed, knowing that the hunt is over.

The next night I strangely fall right to sleep. I have a strange dream. A presence comes into my room and hovers beside my bed. It reaches out and touches my shoulder. Instantly I feel cold, I feel like I'm falling. My heart leaps up into my throat. It starts to pull me down, I reach out in desperation, clawing at anything I could to keep me from falling.

I startle awake. I could swear I hear a slight chuckle. My sheets are drenched with sweat (at least I hope it's sweat). I turn on the lights and TV, trying to get my mind off of my nightmare.

I don't hear the scraping that night.

I think it is quite obvious by now that this mystery sound has become an obsession. It’s almost strong enough to overcome my fear. It keeps me searching night after night.

Could I just ignore it?

I could try.

Could I just lock my bedroom door, leave the lights on and take a pill?

Absolutely. But that won't give me my answer. So I start this merry-go-round again. I try to take a nap, waiting. 2:22AM, the scrape begins.

I take my light, plus a little extra insurance, and begin my search. It leads me to the kitchen again. I look around, and my eyes fall on the basement door. I'm drawn to it. I can hear the scratching coming from the other side. I reach into my pocket, pull out a snubnose .38, and reach for the door handle...

The phone rings, shattering the quiet and sending my heart into palpitations.


So you like to play with guns do you? comes the same raspy voice from the other night. I've got a good game for you.

My hand begins to shake.


Report number five two six seven, Bradley Cormier, Larsan city Coroner, reporting. Officer Thalle Wilson is my police escort, he says into a small tape recorder, Subject was a white male in his late thirties, initial speculation, cause of death, self inflicted gunshot wound.

No! I scream, Not self inflicted.

But they don't hear me. I watch as they zip a bag around my body and haul it away.

I'M NOT DEAD! I shriek.

Bradley stops.

Did you hear that? he says to the officer.

Hear what?

It sounded like something scratching.

The Call

THE HEAVY BREATHING on the phone was punctuated by the deep, gravelly voice.

Your time is near.

Thomas grimaced at the words.

I'm sick and tired of you calling here, he roared. You want to come get me? You better be ready you heavy breathing piece of trash, because I’ll be waiting.

He punched the button and sat back feeling very unsatisfied.

'It's not the same as slamming down the phone,’ he thought.

His musing was interrupted when his phone rang.

He punched the button.

If you want to go another round I can call the police! he yelled into his headset.

My heavens, the woman caller said. I don’t think I did anything to warrant a call to the authorities.

Mrs. Greenwood, Thomas said. I’m so sorry. It wasn’t about you. There was another caller that was being a total jerk.

Oh, dear, she said. What was the caller doing?

Threatening me. Saying my time has come. I’d like to meet up with the coward and teach him a lesson.

You should be careful how you talk about such things. I once heard a story about a man who went around calling people. He would call them again and again, getting them frustrated and frightened, then when he felt they were alone, he would go to their house and...

What? Thomas said a little more forcefully than he intended. What did he do?

Terrible things, she said quietly.

Thomas began to sweat. His imagination dragged him to a cold dark

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