Haunting Memories #FlashFiction

Haunting Memories #flashfictionThe day my life imploded I was barely seventeen. Many might’ve considered me an adult, but that didn’t make the crushing pain any easier to absorb. She was my whole world, my everything, and when I lost her I knew I’d never be the same.

For weeks I sat vigil at her bedside, covered in welts, hoping and praying she’d pull through. I put on a good front, never let her see me cry. I even secured an ambulance to take her home for her birthday.

Nothing worked. No matter what I did I couldn’t erase the damage he’d done.

I stroked her hand, read to her.

She didn’t respond.

I kissed her cheek, brushed her hair.

Nothing. Not even a blink.

“Mom,” I cried out, “please don’t leave me.” Tears washed my face, my heart shattering like a bullet through stain glass. I turned my gaze to the Christmas lights around the window. If only I could wish her injuries away. Sadly, there was too much damage.

Why did I go out that night? I should’ve stayed home. Alone, she never stood a chance. The stranger snuck through the unlocked window, into her bedroom. Before she knew what hit her, he pounced, leveling a blade to her throat, stabbing in a rage-filled frenzy. When I arrived home the house was unusually quiet. I crept up the stairs, but something — a yearning, a pull, maybe intuition — told me to check on her.

If only I hadn’t opened that door.14483191540jl5u



On the walls, the headboard, speckles on the ceiling. Her lifeblood, her very essence, bathed the room in a mural of lunacy. By some miracle she remained alive. Or was it? Maybe if she died instantly she wouldn’t have suffered so.

Like any good daughter I called nine-one-one, my hands trembling and bloody. A gurgling diverted my attention. “It’s me, Mom. Help is on the way. Stay with me.” I wailed, my words almost incoherent. “Please don’t leave me. I won’t make it without you.” I lowered my ear to her lips.

She whispered, “I love you” as if for the very last time.

The paramedics ordered me out of the room so they could work on her. I stood in horror. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Everyone loved Mom. She had no enemies. Never in her life did she harm a living soul. Hell, she never even uttered a cross word…except for the time she caught me smoking weed out the bedroom window. But even then, she seemed more disheartened than anything else, her judgmental glare shaming me from the inside out.

A week before Christmas she died. Every day after I received a present in the mail, with a note from the great beyond. “Be a good girl. All my love, Mom.” She’d preordered my gifts. But how did she know? Did she sense her time was coming to an end? Did she meet the stranger who’d followed her home?

I collected the gifts, never opened a one till Christmas Eve. That night I sat cross-legged on the floor at the foot of tiny white lights shimmering on the tree. All alone in the world. My father died years before. My brother took off to God knows where. And Mom, well, she wouldn’t be home for Christmas ever again. It’s only me…a tiny dot in an angry, hateful world of agony.

Yet one glimmer of hope taunted me on the horizon…just out of reach. One shred of mercy. One final pardon for my insignificance.

If I could hang on long enough, maybe I’d struggle through. But my body was weakening — so damn tired of fighting, of elbowing my way through the sludge.

I drew the blade up my last unscathed wrist, slashed open my veins. The water crimsoned, a film of old bubbles surfing blood-red ripples. I reclined my head against the tub, closed my eyes. The darkness brought peace, arms wide, welcoming me home. Nothing frightened me here. My soul floated on a bed of wisps, swaying gently, navigating my journey into the abyss. Away from the anger, from the sadness and pain. The haunting memories of yesterdays fading like taillights on an empty hearse, trailing into the blackness, destruction left in its wake.

When I drew my final breath, an image emerged, a devastating truth that consumed my every inch, my very being. The maw of nevermore opened in anticipation, flames fringing the mouth of madness, girded by screams of terror and anguish. The killer who destroyed my life wasn’t a stranger. The face that haunted my dreams, the evil doer who didn’t know hesitation, who didn’t know right from wrong, who didn’t know real life from imagined, the shadowy beast Mom feared…lived inside me.



About Sue Coletta

Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is the bestselling, award-winning author of psychological thrillers and mysteries. OOTG Flash Fiction Offensive magazine published her flash fiction and her short stories are published in numerous anthologies and collections. InSinC Quarterly featured her forensic articles about Radiocarbon Dating and Skeletal Differences. In 2017, Feedspot awarded her Murder Blog as one of the Top 50 Crime Blogs on the net. Sue's also the communications manager for Forensic Science and the Serial Killer Project. As a way to help fellow crime writers, Sue created a team of crime experts (detectives, coroners, police captains, etc.) and founded #ACrimeChat on Twitter. She's also a proud member of the Kill Zone, where she blogs every other Monday.


  1. I cannot speak. I know everyone of us had some evil inside. But, this touch me too much. I just had my Mom bed ridden & I took care of her.

    Hope that never let that evil (monster, madness) out.

    Sorry, I didn’t like to air my personal life & you didn’t know.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, Eve. Several parts of this story is based in truth…how I felt when I lost my mom and the gifts afterward (different notes, of course), so I get it. *hugs*

  2. Oh, how sad and terrifying to be both the monster and the one in mourning. Great job!!

  3. BRAVO!!!! That was an excellent read, Ms Coletta.

  4. I happened across this flash fiction having been lured here by your wonderful newsletter (and if anyone reading this comment has not yet signed up, well, get on with it, what is the matter with you?)….I am so pleased I did…from the first few lines I was helplessly drawn into the harrowing scene, oh what a brilliantly written story, emotional, powerful and what a superb twist at the end, I loved it. It was one of those moments when you feel yourself wanting to read faster because you can’t wait to discover what happens, all whilst feeling that the story is in itself a bag of your favourite sweets, and the faster you eat ’em, the faster they’re gone, and you regret reading so fast because you know you should really savour each precious moment….yes, it was that good, simply breathtaking….and unlike my everlasting non-existent gobstoppers, I went back and read it all again! You have a talent Sue, you should abuse it unashamedly and write, write, write, your fans need more….lure, lure and thrice lure……

  5. Excellent, Sue! Great twist at the end. Thank you for sharing!
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  6. I agree with all here–never saw that ending coming. Very powerful writing and compact, yet full of suspense. I will remember this, I’m sure, in that part of my brain reserved for shocking endings, along with a story of a red balloon I read a few years ago. You sure are talented, Sue! More, please!!!
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  7. Wow! That was a terrific story, so intense. Never saw that ending coming at all and loved it.

  8. Powerful and packed with emotion, Sue. A superb read that brought chills and anguish. Bravo!
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  9. Gave me chills, Sue. That was great! 🙂
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  10. Brilliant post, enjoyed it so very much.

  11. That was excellent. I never saw it coming. Great, if horrible, ending. Well done!

  12. From the opening few lines in the email — which FORCED me to the website to read more — to the end, I was enthralled. And like everyone else, I did not see that ending coming.

  13. Loved reading this. A wonderful story.

  14. Ooooo. Wild and creepy. Very well written.

  15. Never read/saw that ending coming. Sure the clues are there…if I know what to look for.
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  16. Oh, Sue, that’s powerful! Really absorbing! I want to know more about that girl, no doubt about that. And you share a lot without going on too much, which is always a plus. I hope you’ll do this sort of thing again.

  17. Wow! Powerfully written! Did NOT see that coming!

  18. Good story, Sue. A frightening twist at the end. It took me totally by surprise. Well done. —- Suzanne
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  19. Whoa! Outstanding story, and I never saw it coming. It fits my story trick perfectly.
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