A Cold Welcome

[ Read this in Dutch ]

flash horror story

What if, after death, love and empathy pass over, but hatred and vengeance remain, as a black soul tethered to the site of its murder?

Publication history

  • First published in Penumbra, Paranormal Adventures (October, 2014)
  • Reprinted in French translation in Ténèbres, 2015 as Un accueil glacial (June, 2015)
  • Reprinted in Spark: A Creative Anthology (December 23rd, 2016)
  • To be reprinted in Portugese translation in Hyperpulp (forthcoming)
A Cold Welcome


There is a great rent in the plaster where her portrait hung. You hurl denials at the ceiling while I smile at your defiance. Suddenly becalmed, riddled with tears, you take in the ruin of the parlor, where she held pride of place. You sink to your knees and gather the fragments of frame to you. The task is hopeless, but you set to it with desperate abandon.

Next, you harvest the myriad shards, arranging them in a mockery of glass pane within the ruins of the frame. With lacerated fingertips, you puzzle the shreds of the portrait together, but your blood smears across the oil paint.

The irony delights me.

“You shouldn’t have bothered with the glass,” I whisper.

Or would have, if I could.