Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | S2 Ep 11 | A Face Most Unfamiliar

It’s one thing to dream about others dying. I’ve seen it many times.

First there was my grandmother. Then my father.

I finally convinced my mother to quit drinking the night before New Year’s Eve, when I recounted the mental images of her mangled car on the side of the highway.

But to dream of my own death was a nightmare I prayed would never come.

I gulp down water from the glass on my nightstand. His face is still clear in my mind—the man who will kill me. I worry how long I am cursed to see it before my dream comes true. With my dad’s heart attack, I was left with little to no time to react before he collapsed. With Grandma, everyone knew it was her time. Dementia had been eating away at her brain for 15 years. Only I had the assurance that it would end. And with Mama, the flashing road construction sign that read, “HAPPY NEW YEAR! STAY ALIVE! DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!” gave the date and time away.

However, in this dream, my only clue is my pink nightie, which I wear now. Instinctively, I want to take it off, but I’ve had these premonitions long enough to know that simply changing your clothes does not alter your fate.

If whatever deity that cursed me with this unrequested gift wanted me dead, they will ensure that it happens.

But then I was able to save my mother, so maybe there is hope.

Like any dream, the memory of what is about to happen fades the longer I am awake. I remember the pink nightie. I remember him standing over my bed, his steel blue eyes captivating me. I never once suspected he had ill intentions. He dragged the covers down the length of my body and let them drop to the floor. I pressed my knees together, but deep down, I wanted him. And when he climbed on top of me, I was ready to let him take full advantage, make love to me deep down, until he wrapped his hands around my neck and I woke up gasping for air.

Continue reading “Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | S2 Ep 11 | A Face Most Unfamiliar”

Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | S2 Ep 3 | Death in Death Valley

Photo by Ali Karimiboroujeni on Pexels.com

I’m not imagining the man in black. He’s wearing a long coat and wide-brim hat—entirely too hot for a walk in Death Valley.

When Brian tells me there’s nothing there, at risk of looking crazy, I approach the man that only I can see. His face is hidden in shadow.

He tells me his name is Death.

“Will you kill me, Mr. Death?”

He shakes his head. “I only deliver souls.”

“Then who?” But before he can answer, I feel Brian’s fingers around my neck.

The man lifts his hat, and I see the face of my father.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

This story was originally written in response to a Morning Inspiration prompt, but it reminds me too much of one of my favorite The Twilight Zone episodes, “The Hitchhiker,” not to include it in this year’s marathon! I told you there would be reruns. 😉

Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | S2 Ep 2 | The Patient and the Talking Doll

Seasonal depression. Dr. Sims always gets a bump in clients this time of year, and although she admits she’s had strange cases, never has a woman brought her husband in for…

“What was it that you did again?” she asks as she hits Record on the tape player. Most therapists don’t record sessions these days, but Dr. Sims is old-fashioned, even down to the vintage tape player she paid a fortune for on Amazon. She likes to feel closer to her patients. After each session, she replays the tapes and listens for audible cues she might have missed when she was paying more attention to patients’ physical mannerisms.

This man scratches the crown of his balding head, fidgets on the sofa, and repeatedly glances over his shoulder as if fearful that someone or something has followed him.

“Your wife is waiting outside in the lobby.” Dr. Sims leans forward and lightly touches his bouncing knee. “She won’t hear what we talk about today,” she assures him.

This seems to relax him but only temporarily, as he quickly tenses and resumes the shakes when he confesses to what has his wife so concerned for his mental sanity.

“I tried to murder a doll.”

Continue reading “Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | S2 Ep 2 | The Patient and the Talking Doll”

Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | S2 Ep 1 | Nightmares

Night after night he wakes up screaming, and I’ve grown tired of his nightmares.

Tonight is no different. I’m already awake, sitting up in bed and examining the heavy bags under my eyes in the vanity mirror on the nightstand. The hollows of my face are sunken in. Grayish skin clings to my jawline. In two short months of marriage, I’ve aged a decade, and I question whether I can fulfill my vow to stay in sickness if these dreams continue.

It’s been like this since our wedding night. Always the same dream. At first, I thought he might’ve been epileptic, the way he was shaking uncontrollably in the bed.

“I’ve never had a seizure in my life,” he said.

But when it happened again the following night, we canceled our honeymoon trip to Hawaii and scheduled an appointment with a neurologist instead. Weeks of testing proved inconclusive. His brain looked typical for anyone with no history of neurological disease—no abnormal electrical impulses, no tumors or bleeding on CT imaging—but doctors couldn’t explain the nightly convulsions in his sleep. As a last-ditch effort, under the recommendation of my holistic medicine-preaching sister-in-law, we visited a hypnotist. That was when he admitted to what he hadn’t told me before.

“I was sentenced to the chair for murdering my wife.”

Continue reading “Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | S2 Ep 1 | Nightmares”

Damned resurrection

The morning my husband drew his last breath, the funeral director came to the hospital to make final arrangements for the service. We talked about life after, of heaven and hell, the resurrection.

“Most people have the wrong idea about the resurrection,” he said. “They pray to an unseen god and await his bastard son’s return on a cloud. Sounds more like drug-induced delusions to me.”

“Blasphemy! I will hear no more of this!” my father shouted and stormed out.

I should have followed him, but my desperation to see my husband alive and well again overcame me.

“Just one bite, and he will rise and be yours forever.”

I nodded, and he bared his fangs.

Of course, the resurrection didn’t happen immediately. We buried him three days later, placed a lantern next to his grave so that when he rose again, he could find his way home.

Midnight, the fourth night, a knock on the door lured me out of bed.

He stood at the threshold, receding gums revealing sharp edges of newly grown teeth. “Won’t you invite me in?”

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

After the prom

a woman lost in the forest

We weren’t supposed to be in the woods. He told me he wanted to lie next to me and watch the stars. He even had a blanket in his trunk.

But when we lay on the ground, amongst the shrubbery and raised roots, I saw nothing but the tops of trees and a dense fog descending upon us.

“I told my mom I’d be home by 11.”

“Just a few more minutes.” He curled his finger around the strap of my dress and pulled it down my shoulder.

I saw in his eyes what he wanted, and it scared me.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

Part of my “Prom Night Ghost” saga on this blog. Read previous stories here and here. The short story that all of this inspired was finally written last month! It was seven years in the making, but I did it! I still need to edit and revise, so I’ll talk more about it in a future post. Stay tuned!

So much blood

I felt nothing when I hit him over the head with the skillet, straddled his unconscious body with the pan raised above me, and brought it down five more times.

He was surprisingly light when I dragged him from the kitchen, kicked him down the stairs to the basement, and counted the thuds as he bounced off each step before reaching the bottom.


I was still in my trance as I wandered to the second-floor bathroom, flicked on the light, and stood in front of the mirror.

Then I blinked and saw the blood.

I couldn’t rinse it out.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

Something about the bride…

The wedding was perfect. Her dress fit perfectly. Her mascara didn’t run when she cried reading her vows. There were no objections—she feared there might be at least one—and the caterer was on time.

Now as they waltz their first dance together as man and wife in the center of the reception hall, surrounded by adoring family and loving friends, she whispers in his ear, “I’m gonna eat you up.”

He chuckles. He doesn’t know.

 Later that night, in their honeymoon suite, she mounts him and bares her fangs, drawing first blood with a nibble on the neck.

© Nortina Simmons

Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | Ep 21 | A Mile in Her Shoes

It was no secret my mom was walking the streets when I was little. One of five men could have been my father. But the man who raised me was my uncle. And he held firm to the belief that it wasn’t her, but her clothes that led her astray.

Despite this conviction, he kept all her things when she passed.

“Whenever you’re ready,” he said after the funeral. “They’re in the attic. But be careful. Remember what I told you.”

“Because if I dress like her, I’ll be asking for it, too?” I said sarcastically.

“You joke about it now…”

It took me another five years before I made it up to that attic. Although I tease, I’m not exactly proud to be the daughter of a whore.

In the first box I open, I find a pair of hot pink go-go boots.

“Yep, if this doesn’t scream 70s street walker.”

I try them on, and they’re a perfect fit, but as soon as I stand, I drop through the floor, floating in midair underneath my own body.

“Thanks, doll,” I hear myself say, but it isn’t my voice. She speaks through the nose. She bends over, arching her back, and retrieves the matching tube dress from the box.

“Good god,” I mouth, but no sound escapes.

She puckers her lips and with an index finger, lightly paints them with compact balm, also pink. I cringe at the tackiness of it all. She’s a hot mess of pink cotton candy. And she’s me.

“Now,” I say, “let’s see what the men of this decade have to offer.”

She marches out, in possession of my body, while I stay in place, underneath the floorboards.

© 2021 Nortina Simmons

Dead Man’s Shoes,” dead woman’s go-go boots. Best to keep these locked up, lest you end up in Jordan Peele’s sunken place. You never know who you might let out…

Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | Ep 20 | A Devil in the House

Everyone knows the piano is haunted. So we don’t play it. It sits as decoration in our living room, where no one gathers.

“Maybe it’s time to sell it,” my husband suggests.

“It’s a family heirloom.”

“Didn’t it drive your dad insane?”

That’s what everyone says. A hunt for the devil, they called it. Truth is they never found him. They let my dad die believing he would grow horns and a tail with a spade-shaped end. But there wasn’t an evil bone in his body. True, he was a heckler, he teased my mom and me, until finally she got the last laugh. But deep down, my dad was a coward. And the devil…

I open the music book and thumb through the pages.

“What are you doing?”

“If we’re going to sell it, maybe one final play?”

“But what about it being haunted?” He shifts his weight from one foot to the other.

“Nervous?” I insert a new roll of sheet music into the piano. As the chords of Mozart’s “Confutatis” play, I watch my husband’s neck roll, his ears narrow to a point, and his face flush red.

© 2021 Nortina Simmons

From “A Piano in the House” to a devil in the house. Be careful who you invite in. Warnings from the Twilight Zone!

And so we begin the final countdown, the last five hours of 2021, and we are not bringing the devil with us into the New Year.