This week my critique partner and I are swapping blogs. While her story is posted here, mine will be posted on her site. After reading this, please visit her site for more of hers and also my story for the week.


by Danielle LaPaglia

She huddled in the corner of the basement. The dank smell of mold and moisture gagged her every breath. She tucked her chin under the collar of her shirt trying to filter the air and muffle any sound. She’d been asleep on the couch when the groans had woken her. By the time she realized what it was, the house was surrounded. The first window shattered and she’d bolted down the stairs, locking the basement door behind her, and hoped they wouldn’t know how to follow.

Sweat poured down her neck and she rocked back and forth trying to burn off the adrenaline coursing through her veins. She jumped when the hand burst through the door. A ray of light sliced the darkness and she huddled tighter, willing herself to blend in with the cold walls. Hot tears streamed down her cheeks.

It worked at the door punching and pulling, wood splintering; she flinched with every new break. She swallowed a scream as each piece tore away and the moans grew louder. She squeezed her eyes shut and buried her face in her sleeve, blocking out the light streaming from the open doorway. She listened as it made its slow cumbersome way down the steps and prayed it was a dream. It couldn’t be real.

She struggled to remember the prayers she learned as a child, but her thoughts were blinded by fear. She heard it sniff the air then its feet scraped across the concrete floor edging closer to her corner. She risked a glance up and froze. Its head was tilted to the side; its arm hung in an awkward angle. Black liquid drained from one eye and an open wound on its neck; its mouth a gaping hole. She tried to scream, but her breath wouldn’t come.

It shuffled towards her, but she only stared, frozen by fear, muscles trembling, heart racing. She yelped as it jerked her to her feet like a rag doll. Its mushy hand clutched her throat; the flesh nearly gave way to the bones beneath, each sharp tip threatened to burst through its finger and pierce her skin. It leaned in close, nestled its head in the crook of her neck, and sniffed her skin and hair. Then it tilted its head and ran a lumpy tongue up the side of her face leaving a slimy trail  too thick to be saliva. She choked on the smell of death and rot. Tears ran down her cheeks.

Its head jerked to the side as another rotting corpse shuffled through the door, moving faster when its eyes landed on her. The new one gripped her arm as the other tried to pull her away. But the second one was strong. It yanked her arm with both hands. She heard and felt the joints pop and give way. The arm ripped off at the shoulder. Boney fingers closed tighter around her throat cutting off her scream.

Her mind raced in circles as spots danced across her vision: air, arm, pain.

She didn’t notice the others enter, but she was soon surrounded. Hands and teeth everywhere, pulling, gnashing, clawing, biting. Blood and tears gushed down her skin and she prayed for sweet release.


Danielle is my critique partner and a wonderful writer in her own right. she recently completed a series of short-shorts called “The Seven Deadly Sins”  She’s currently hard at work on a novel. You can see other great examples of her work by clicking on her banner. A Few of my favorites are Moon Called, Pride, and Alexandra