Samantha Brooke has been writing horror fiction for over a decade, ever since completing a writing course in 2012. Since that time, she has completed three novels, the most recent of which is currently being looked at by agents. She also regularly writes short stories and poetry for magazines, and has had work published in both England and America.

When not writing, she is a short story competition judge on Reedsy.

Her website can be found HERE


by Samantha Brooke


“That’s weird. What is it—some kind of weather phenomenon?” Liam asked over his shoulder, as he paused in his task of closing the bedroom curtains.

His wife Angie was sitting on their bed, unclipping her diamond earrings and placing them carefully in the carved wooden jewelry box on her bedside table. At his words, she stood up carefully, cradling her baby bump as though it was the most precious thing in the world. Which—after fifteen whole, heart-breaking years of trying and countless grueling, invasive procedures—it truly was.

Angie stepped up to the window beside him. “Let’s have a look.”

Liam was staring out raptly, as though he was hypnotized by what he saw. He blinked dazedly.

She frowned, and then peered out into the dark night. “Liam, there’s nothing out there. I looked and everything is normal. Colorful sunsets are common. You’re probably just seeing the remains of that. All I see is the night sky. Are you all right?”

“What? Yes, I’m fine.” He cleared his throat and blinked slowly again. “I just feel a little bit sick all of a sudden, that’s all. That light…” He looked back out of the window, and up at the sky.

Angie said, “Look, I only see a deep, inky blackness. There’re not even any stars out. There’s no light. Maybe you’re seeing the moon? Look, go back to bed. I’ll get you a glass of water to help you sleep. Unless you want milk?”

“I’m all right, really. I’m supposed to be the one who’s taking care of you, remember?”

She used the tone of voice that he would not argue against. “Nonsense. I’m pregnant, not some kind of invalid. I’m perfectly capable of fetching a glass of water. Now do as you’re told and lay down.”

“Okay, okay. You’re the boss.”

“That’s right.”

He took off his slippers, leaving them carefully positioned right by his bed just as he did every night. He could hear his wife moving along to the kitchen. She was right; he really ought to just lie down and relax, but he could not help wonder about what that weird light was, where it was coming from. It was the oddest thing that he had even seen. It seemed to light up the entire sky…

“Red sky at night…” he muttered to himself.



Angie stifled a yawn as she grabbed a squat plastic tumbler from beside the sink and filled it up from the cold water tap. The pipes banged and clanged loudly from inside the walls as they always did. She rubbed a hand over her swollen belly, and turned to begin making her way back into the bedroom. She was definitely ready to go to sleep. She loved being pregnant at long last but it certainly was quite exhausting.

She had just made it through the bedroom doorway when screaming started up from right outside the house. It was a shrill, prolonged sound. The tumbler slipped from her fingers and fell, spilling water all over the carpet. Spikes of fear surged through her body.

“Liam!” she cried out. “Did you hear that?”

Her feet carried her automatically over to the bedroom window, and she moved aside the floor-length cream curtain hurriedly in order to peer out. “There’re people in the street!”

She could see not just one but several figures moving around on the pavement below, their figures illuminated by the stark neon glow of the nearby streetlights. The screaming started up again after a brief pause.

Alarmed, Angie leaned closer to the glass to get a better look, her breath misting the surface slightly. The sound seemed to be coming from a woman who was lying on the pavement while a man stood over her, his back to Angie so that she could not see his face. She recognized him anyway from his distinctive hair: mostly bald on the top but with long, thin wisps of black hair hanging down from the sides of his head over his shoulders. It was Bob, a neighbor of theirs from across the street. And the woman on the ground looked like his wife Violet.

Angie’s heart thrummed rapidly in her chest, her mouth growing dry as she watched Violet—clad only in her velvet floral nightgown—try to scramble away from Bob, dragging herself along the pavement to escape.

Angie could hardly believe what she was seeing. Nobody else seemed to pay the slightest bit of attention to the man who had knocked his wife to the ground, although more and more of the neighbors appeared to be spilling out of their homes and onto the dark, neon-lit streets.

She threw open the window and screamed, “Bob! You’d better stop! I’m calling the police!”

And then she saw it: the sky glowed with a strange red light.

Another scream sounded from outside. And then another, this one from a different place. Angie frantically tried to see all that was going on out there.

Frost glittered upon the ground, and carnage seemed to be breaking out all over the street. As she watched with wide, horrified eyes, she saw a car come screeching around the corner at breakneck speed, headlights blazing their high beams angrily. It swerved in a screech of tires, deliberately plowing into some of the people on the pavement. Bodies went flying and there was blood. From where Angie stood looking down over the scene in paralyzed horror, it looked like a dark, slick oil spill on the sidewalk.

Another movement caught her eye: a man—quite naked, with a dough white beer belly jutting out in front of him—was running down the street while brandishing a carving knife. He opened his mouth and began to yell. The words indecipherable to Angie’s ears, but the absolute menace upon his face utterly unmistakable, even in the low light of the streetlamps.

“Liam!” she screamed out in alarm. Surely he hadn’t fallen asleep already? She wheeled around and ran as quickly as she was able to the bed. She was breathless with panic, a palpating fear running through every inch of her body. “Liam! Quick, we have to phone the emergency services! There’s something terribly wrong out there—people are…killing, and…and…”

She suddenly realized that the bed was empty. The duvet had been thrown carelessly aside, and there was no sign of her husband. Fresh fear swirled within her, adding to her already immense state of panic.

She wheeled around just as the bedroom door closed with a sharp snap. Liam had been standing behind it, and now blocked off the only exit from the room.

“Liam!” She waved a trembling hand over towards the window, feeling sick, “Everyone seems to be going crazy! They’re attacking one another! We have to get some help, right now.” Then she said to herself, “Where’s my phone?”

She glanced around the room, forgetting where she had left it when they had come up to bed. But then she saw it—held in Liam’s hand. With his other hand, he reached back and locked the door without taking his eyes off of her. The loud click made her jump, and she found herself feeling more than a little bit unnerved by the expression on his face. But he was surely just scared, she told herself. Everybody reacted to being frightened differently.

“Good idea to lock the door,” she panted. Sweat began to bead on her forehead as she rambled, trying to convey to him the true horrors of what she had witnessed happening out there.

Liam, far from looking worried or afraid, simply continued to stare back at her with an oddly blank expression on his face.

“Liam, you have the phone…come on!” she moaned. “Make the call. Dial 911, now.”

A strong sense of urgency thrummed through her along with panic. Why did he not seem to understand the seriousness of the situation?

Finally, Liam shifted from his posture in front of the door, his movements stiff and unnatural looking, somehow. She felt a renewed flood of horror coursing through her veins as she watched him drop her phone down onto the floor. Then, without pausing at all, he kicked it hard, sending it crashing into the shadowy gap deep underneath the bed.

Angie gaped at him for a long moment, unable to comprehend just exactly what it was that she was seeing. Time stretched on around her, and the terrible truth began to seep into her brain like a poison. Something was wrong with her husband, the father of her child.

More screams came from outside, cutting through the night air and reaching her where she stood. It was all so surreal; perhaps in a moment, she would just wake up.

“Liam…” her voice quaked, but she fought to keep it steady as she spoke to her husband once more. He did not respond to the sound of her voice. Sweat trickled down his clammy-looking face.

He did not say anything but drew back his lips into an animalistic snarl. The way that he was holding his body—taut with aggression— reminded her  of Bob, outside, just moments earlier. She felt a deep, heavy dread settle into her mind.

Suddenly he lunged towards her, and she managed to dart to one side just in time as a yell burst from her lips. Standing beside the window, she watched as he veered around to come after her once again.

She ran to the door, her fingers scrabbling to draw back the heavy, seldom-used bolt that Liam had drawn to lock it. But it was stiff and hard to move. She needed to unlock the door before her husband reached her…and he was coming for her.

Finally the locking mechanism moved but too late; Liam had found her. He yanked her away from the door by her hair.

She knew that her husband was no longer the man she had married. This new Liam wanted to kill her. But she would protect her unborn child.

She ran to the nightstand next to the bed and grabbed the heavy lamp that sat upon it. She swung the lamp towards Liam with every bit of strength that she could muster, ripping the cord from out of the socket as she did.

The heavy lamp collided with Liam’s skull with a sickening crack. Glass from the bulb exploded, shattering over them both.

Angie gritted her teeth, and then she hit him again. She did not stop until he lay in a crumpled and bloodied heap upon the floor, unmoving. She stared down at him for a long moment, the adrenaline still pulsing through her body. Lifting a hand, she realized that her face was wet and she couldn’t tell whether it was from sweat or tears. Probably both.

She didn’t know how much time passed as she stood there, looking down at her dead husband. What finally roused her was a sudden sound coming from downstairs; it sounded like someone was trying to break in through the front door.

She felt her nostrils flare in anger. She stepped over Liam’s body to head downstairs, prepared to fight to the death. She needed to get to the kitchen to grab a knife.

As she reached the bottom step, the front door crashed open. She watched in horror as a figure emerged through the doorway. She thought that she recognized the silhouette of one of her neighbors, his frame tall and imposing as he stepped into her home.

For a moment that seemed to last for an eternity, they simply stood staring at one another: predator and prey. Angie’s heart thudded frantically, her body shaking violently with the adrenaline.

The man stepped closer. She caught sight of his face by the light of a street-lamp that was streaming in through the window. A snarl was upon his lips. His eyes narrowed in animalistic hatred as he glared at her.

She had only a split second to decide what to do—there was no point in retreating back upstairs, where she would be trapped and at the intruder’s mercy.

She decided to make a run for the kitchen.

The man reached out for her as she passed, but somehow she managed to dodge his hands and raced toward the kitchen at the back of the house. She could hear his heavy footsteps chasing after her; feel the very floor reverberating beneath her.

She flung herself into the dark kitchen. From memory, she rushed over to where the knife rack stood upon one of the worktops. Her fingers fumbled toward it just as she heard the neighbor right behind her. A gasp of terror was torn from her throat.

She pulled one of the knives free and wheeled around, just as the man lunged at her.

She plunged the knife deep into his neck as hard as she could. A spurt of hot blood hit her in the face and she almost gagged. The man let out a horrible gurgle, his knees already giving way as he crumbled down onto the hard floor.

She stood for a long moment, shaking in the aftermath as what she had done hit her. Two men. She had killed two men. One of them was her own husband.

Trying not to hyperventilate, she ran a hand over her growing bump. The screams from outside had ceased now, leaving behind only an eerie silence. When she could finally bring herself to move, she stumbled back out into the hallway and then into the living room, barricading herself within.

Surely this event was localized? The whole world hadn’t gone mad, right? There would still be emergency services, right?

She went back upstairs to get her cell phone out from underneath the bed. She would call 911. Surely her call would be answered, right?