Posted in Short Stories

It Started with a Law…

Another short scary story written in 500 words or less. Inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale and what’s happening in the US right now. Never thought what’s written on fiction would happen in real life, but somehow it does. It’s sad, really.

Word count: 495


It started with a law: no abortion after six weeks.

After a few months, it was decreed that women need a man’s signature to get birth control pills or any medication.

Later, a man’s presence was required for each hospital visit. Doctors were not to talk to their female patient and direct all instructions to the male companion.

Within a few years, laws forbade women to take any jobs not involving children. We were also required to marry and have two children before being allowed to get a job.

Boys were allowed to go to school, learn a trade and work anywhere. Girls had more limited options. Girls were also required to have their fathers or brothers accompany them to school (and work) every day. If at a certain age, a woman remained unwed, her father/brother were required to find a husband for her.

The women (and some men) who refused to follow these laws were taken to the Facility. We were told that the Facilitators help these people to conform and follow the laws of the society. Those who returned were drastically different from when they were taken. And those who didn’t, we never see or hear from again.

No funerals or memorials were allowed for those that disappeared forever, “they are outlaws and do not deserve to be remembered” the Facilitators said.

Most people don’t know what really happens inside the Facility. But I do. I was taken here after I refused to marry my brother’s abusive friend. My father, a well-known businessman in our community, chose to send me here to save our family’s name from shame.

Here, they taught us these mantras:

  • Women are not people; we are object of men’s desires.
  • Our purpose is to continue our husbands’ legacy through children.
  • We do not have rights; we do not own our bodies.
  • We are here only to serve men and the Society.

These were drilled to us every day. We must recite these mantras from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep. We were not allowed to talk to one another, not allowed to read anything besides those words posted everywhere. The ones who refused were severely punished.

Weeks and months in isolation, some broke down after a while. They accepted the words as truth and were allowed to rejoin society. I didn’t. I fought, and I refused to be objectified. I endured all punishment and was declared an outlaw.

First thing tomorrow, all the outlaws will be delivered to Reprocessing. Since “we do not have rights; we do not own our bodies”, the Facilitators are going to harvest our organs for hospitals and medical researchers. In that way, we will be a useful part of the society.

But I won’t let them take me. I won’t let anybody use me again.

I am a woman, I am my own person, and I have my own strength. And tonight, I will take my freedom.

Posted in Short Stories

Ghost Wedding

Tried to write a short scary story using 500 words or less. Inspired by a series on Netflix that I’ve saved but haven’t actually watched (LOL).

Word count: 487


I never wanted to be married. It wasn’t part of my plans. And then I met Xian.

Xian was wonderful, kind, and loving. A bookworm and an adventurer – my perfect man. With him, there were no worries just happiness. Suddenly, I couldn’t picture any future without him by my side. And so, when he proposed, my answer was a resounding “yes”.

But life is cruel, and the gods have a twisted sense of humor. Two weeks before our wedding, I lost Xian in a freak car accident. He never had a chance, and I never got to say goodbye. It was the worst day of my life.

That was until I found I was pregnant.

In our culture, children born out of wedlock were taken away. The woman and her family were also shunned and humiliated. I didn’t want to lose my last connection to my greatest love, but I also couldn’t let my family suffer for me.

Desperate, I went to Xian’s family and begged for their protection.

“Enya, there is a way that we can protect your child and your family” Xian’s father explained. “But it will require a great sacrifice on your part. Are you willing?”

For Xian’s child? Yes.

It was a Ghost Wedding – a tradition that his family practiced for years. In a combination of funeral and wedding rituals, I “married” Xian and moved into their ancestral home. I wore my wedding dress and said my vows in front of a bamboo effigy. I also took a vow of celibacy, which wasn’t really a big deal. I would have my baby and my family would be safe – physical intimacy was not part of my priorities.

I thought my nightmare was over, but it was just beginning. On the first night as Xian’s “bride”, he came in my dream. I was so happy to see even just a vision of him, but he looked so sad and worried.

“Why?” he asked me, “Why did you agree? You should have run, Enya, run far away from here.”

“I can’t run. I have nowhere else to go. I did this for our child, Xian.”

“Run, Enya, run and never look back.”

For months, Xian kept appearing in my dream and saying the same thing:

“Run”

But I didn’t listen. I now wish I had. I wish I ran away to the ends of the world and never came back. But I stayed, clinging to the protection of an old family.

—-

Our son was born yesterday, and he looked just like Xian. His grandfather took him away, and I was taken into the family’s chamber. I finally realized the price for my child’s life, and my family’s safety. They will be okay, but I will never see them in this lifetime again.

I guess this was the sacrifice I had to make: to stay here with Xian until death brings us together once more.