104 W. Hawthorne Drive (excerpt) by River Dixon

The following is an excerpt of the short story: 104 W Hawthorne Drive by River Dixon, which you can find in the anthology The Hawthorne Project. Inside you’ll find ten dark and creepy stories written by him and other amazing authors. I hope you enjoy this little snippet. Oh, and click any of the links below to buy.

The members of the Terrance family sat around their dining room table, hands joined, and heads bowed. Jacob Terrance, who would turn eleven-years-old this November, had been delegated the honor of saying grace for the first time this evening. He pulled in a deep breath as the final words of thanks trembled from his young lips.

“Amen,” the family sang out in unison.

Simon Terrance, husband, father, devoted follower of The Law, ruffled his son’s hair with pride.

“That was a fine blessing, boy. A fine blessing. Your nerves didn’t show through one bit.” Simon smiled and winked at his wife, Anna. “Now, let’s thank your mother for all she did preparing this fine meal before us.”

“Thanks, mom,” Jacob nodded.

All three jumped at the sound of breaking glass coming from the living room.

Simon took pause, his eyes darting back and forth between Anna and Jacob. “Where’s the cat?”

“He’s right here, dad. Under my chair.” Jacob pushed his plate forward and nervously folded his hands on the table in front of him.

Anna, clearly annoyed, wiped her mouth and threw down her napkin. “It’s him again, I know it. I’m done playing games. Just who does he think he is, coming into our home and disturbing our family dinner?” The woman lit up with a rage unbecoming of her as she scooted back in her chair, attempting to stand but being swayed by Simon’s gentle, controlling hand on her shoulder.

“Anna, let’s take a moment. We don’t want to be brash. We may do something we could regret.” He got up from his chair and hiked up his pants. “Let’s all three go out there together. Calm, cool, collected. Maybe this time he’ll tell us what he wants.”

“Wants? That’s just it. He never tells us what he wants. This is all just a sick game to him.” Anna’s voice quivered as she forced herself to straighten in her chair.

Simon stopped and sat back down, “You know we have to have faith. The Lord will help us through this.”

This time, from the kitchen, the sound of running water and slamming cabinet doors sent a chill through each member of the Terrance family that froze them in place. A blood-curdling scream reverberated off the surrounding walls, shaking the hanging light fixture above their heads.

“Join hands,” Simon instructed, and the family followed. “Gracious Lord, You are our Loving Father who grants our protection and guides our actions.”

The table shook beneath their joined hands, guttural screams rose from the cracks in the floorboards under their feet.

“I come before You to ask for my family’s safekeeping. I pray You will guard our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being at all times.”

Simon’s plate flew from the table, shattering to pieces against the wall. He could feel his son’s hand growing limp in his own. “Hold onto me, boy!” He shouted over the wailing cries and howling moans. “Keep the faith!”

Jacob felt the warmth of his mother, and the resolve of his father spread up each of his arms. This is the worst it’s ever been, but he committed not to give in to fear.

“Let not the enemy gain a foothold in any aspect of our lives. Help each of us to keep trusting You, recognizing Your victory over the devil and acknowledging the strength you give us to resist him.”

The air grew still as a calmness settled over the room. The family portrait fell from the wall, fracturing the glass and splitting the frame. A final scream grew faint, fading to a whisper.

“Amen,” Simon conceded.

“Amen,” Anna squeezed her son’s hand. “It’s okay, Jacob. It’s over.”

“Aye… a-men,” the young boy fell into his mother’s waiting arms, pressing his face against her shoulder, trying to stifle the tears but failing.

Simon let out a sigh as he brushed his fingers through his thinning hair and rose from the table. He picked up the broken picture, running his thumb along the length of the cracked glass. Three smiling faces stared back at him, with a fourth distorted, now unrecognizable. Anna met his eyes as he slowly turned, holding out the portrait.

“Oh no,” she gasped as the crack in the glass drew her now frightened gaze.

“What’s this mean, Anna?” Simon shook the picture, pleading. “What’s he done?”

Anna darted from the dining room, not slowing a step as she navigated the debris-strewn living room and bound up the stairs to a second-floor bedroom. Her hand gingerly turning the brass knob and her other, making the sign of the cross on her chest. She whispered a short prayer as the door creaked open and the frigid, stale air pressed against her body.


You can find River’s story, along with nine additional ones, in The Hawthorne Project. Each creepy tale interweaves with the others for a week of terror on Hawthorne Drive, a small cul-de-sac in Greenfield, Wisconsin. Buy it at lulu, Amazon, or on your Kindle.


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