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  • Writer's pictureΜαρία Βερμίσογλου

October Frights Blog Hop

Countdown for Halloween has officially started and what better way to celebrate the spookiest in the history of spook but with some creepy fun and paranormal shenanigans?

(Click on the pictures for the link)

Recently, I published a collection of paranormal fairytale retellings. For this book fair, I offer you a glimpse of my Polish fairytale retelling titled "The Plague." Enjoy and don't lose your way!

I stumbled in the dark forest and glanced over my shoulder. The lurking shadows grinned at me over the patches of light, beckoning me in. My ribs and my legs ached from the long run, but I couldn’t stop now. I turned left, then took the next right and kept going deeper into the unknown.

The Plague had sneaked in on our village one night, and many brave men tried to fend it off. One by one we watched in terror as it took the men first, then the women and children. It left no survivors. Locking doors and windows, we stayed isolated, but it found us there too and it attacked viciously. The Homen showed no mercy.

With fear spreading throughout our village and no means of protection, I had decided to get my family to a safer place.

Alas, when I returned to my house at night, I screamed at the frozen expression of their dead faces.

I took off, with only my coat, some food and a hunting knife as my only possessions. My Beata and my Anatol still lived in my mind, their ghastly faces and white hair engraved in my memory.

Glancing behind me, I pushed my legs to pick up the speed and heard the grinding of my old bones. Biting my lip, I tasted blood. An owl hooted, and I jumped, cursing the fat bird.

The night had moved forward and the pitch-black sky showed no mercy for my poor eyesight. I took another left turn and came in front of a hut. Tears rolled on my cheeks, my heartbeat pulsating so hard my ribcage groaned. I had been in the forest all night and didn’t see another residence to seek out help. In my desperation, I had started to believe Homen had killed everyone.

Such was my haste, I almost took down the door. With my heartbeat punching my throat, I pounded at the door.

“Anyone there?” I screamed, breathless. “I need help! The plague is here.” I pushed with my shoulder and managed to crack it open. “I’m sorry for the…” My words hung in the musty air as I took in the dusty room, cobwebs strung in the ceiling and the absence of light. I cursed the gods and spirits. “No one has lived here and can’t help me!” I growled and fell into a rickety chair. My feet were holding me no more.

I took some sharp breaths and stood. Dragging my aching body, I went outside and started collecting leaves and twigs. Seating by the fire was a pure bliss, but I could not rest. Rummaging my pockets, I found some bread and canned meat. The campfire’s crackle gave the false impression of security, and my stomach rumbled. I longed to curl up and gaze upon the stars before I fell asleep. But I could not. I cut the meat, laid it on the stale bread and stuffed it into my mouth.

The bushes moved, and I grabbed the shotgun I had found in the empty cabin. Begging my shaky fingers to work, I found the trigger and lifted the weapon. A raccoon ran past me, screeching. I lowered the shotgun and waited to see the dog trailing him. His master could give me news and directions.

But my hope fell into dead water. I stared at the majestic deer that leaped from the bushes, taking the same path as the raccoon. I scratched my beard. Something thrashed into the ground and I prepared to shoot when my weak eyes revealed a terrified squirrel.

“Has the world gone mad?” My head snapped back and forth, watching the animals pass by, their fur standing on end, ignoring me. They run to escape from something, but what could it be that the wildest of animals would run side by side with their prey?

When the bushes rustled again, I held the gunshot loosely in my hands, expecting another animal. It was a woman.

The woman swayed, her white dress wrapped up like a bedsheet. As she approached, I noticed her milky complexion dotted with black blotches. When the moon shone over her, she grimaced.

I lifted the shotgun to my chest. “Who are you?” I yelled. “Speak!”

“I am only lost, farmer. Will you let me stay for the night?” she said in an alluring voice.

I kept my gaze pinned on her papery skin. My wife, Beata, walked with a smile towards me. “Come on, dear. Let’s go home. Our son awaits.”

Taking a step back, I blinked, my lip quivering at the sudden change. Was I hallucinating? Without lowering the shotgun, I shuffled, searching with my eyes at the quiet forest. The bushes stood ominous under the moon, the fire still burned in front of the hut, but the woman I saw moments ago had disappeared. “Where has that woman gone?”

“What woman?” Beata quirked her eyebrows, smiling at me. “There’s only me.”

My hoarse voice turned tight, and I winced as the information clashed in my mind. “But you were gone, Beata. I saw it.” My hands shook. It cannot be.

Beata giggled, her gargling laughs out of tune. “Dear, were you having a bad dream? Of course, not. We were just strolling, and you wandered away.” She held out her hand.

I rubbed my sweaty brow. “I wandered because of the ridiculous plague.”

My wife’s face twisted, her eyes burning with a live fire. “The plague is not ridiculous,” she hollered.

My wife’s figure melted into the strange woman. Rattling her claw fingers, she threw herself on me. I shot her. One, two, three bullets whistled, wedging themselves into her body. I retreated, watching the woman stand up, the holes in her chest shrinking until the metal casings fell off.

“You idiot peasant!” Her voice froze my bones and reached my heart. “I am the Homen. No one can kill me. For every life I take, I retain my beauty. It's a small price to pay for the destruction humans have caused.”

If you want to know what happens next, Quill & Dust is available for purchase in all major retailers:

In addition to the giveaway and hop, our October spook panel is kicking off today. Be sure to take a look: ttps://

Check out the other blogs participating in this blog hop. There will be many posts during the October Frights:

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