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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by hullabaloo22

A couple of Berkeley foodies become the target of an unearthly epicurean.


Flash Fiction

Nicholas Cochran


A ragged thunder tumbled through the hills toward Angela and Alex while they scrambled for shelter from the imminent downpour. “Here, Angie, see?” pointing to the series of small cave openings, barely visible in the cliff face above them, “there’s a path over here.” Alex reached back for her gloved hand and pulled her to him.

“Thanks,” panting, “hope it isn’t too much farther; I’m getting a cramp in my stomach again; maybe acid reflux.”

“No; it’s not bad; here’s the path,” and he pulled her to his left where a thin trail was worn in the stony earth, “here we are; just grab the back of my belt; and watch your footing.”

Angela Mason later understood that not being able to see past the forest-green-clad rump of Alex Martell was the only way she could have reached that first cave. After sitting down just inside the cavity, when she looked back along the route to their roost, she felt a rush of vertigo.

Angela and Alex visited Tilden Park many times before; walking, running, sometimes picnicking. They often took the Stream Trail and wondered about the cave openings high on the western cliff. The cliffs overlooked the trail and the tops of huge cedars, lifting their crowns to the mouths of the caves.

The storm broke as they reached their shelter. Lightning cracked from every point in the roiling sky. Wind-driven rain slapped the park with vicious power. Thunder boomed from directly above their position, shaking both of them as well as rocking the cave. They instinctively grabbed and clutched one another with a flinty tenacity.

 “Wow!” Angie blurted and pulled herself closer to Alex.  

 “Yeah; man, that was really close; sounded like it was right over us, don’t you think” and he returned Angie’s extra pull.

Angela was a sophomore at Cal majoring in English with a minor in Agri-Food Systems. She was an extremely lovable person: medium height; desired weight; a soft shade of dark hair that went very well with her medium coloring. The shape and color of her eyes provided the firm base of Angie’s allure. In form, they slanted slightly, with the irises featuring simmering sparkles of green. Alex had only to look into her eyes at their first meeting, and he was hers.

Alex was that unusual person who comes across as a well-rounded young man taking time out from real life to get an education while enjoying his neighborhood in the universe. He was taller than most, with a full head of thick red hair, hazel eyes, and a strong chin. With him, it was his voice that you noticed first. Alex’s voice was the type that gets your attention; not in a negative way, but in a warm comforting way.

Alex decided to pursue a graduate degree in Agri-Systems once his undergrad days ran out.

Alex and Angie met at one of the undergrad food seminars: cooking. They were dedicated foodies, tasters, and gourmets.

In conversation, when asked the question about his future plans, Alex would smile and say that he wasn’t quite to that point in life where a decision could be based on anything solid. He was waiting for some signs pointing out his direction in life, but was determined to settle somewhere in the food community.  

Abruptly, the wind changed direction. Horizontal curtains of rain flew past the cave opening. In some cases, bursts of water lashed at them while they huddled together. Angie and Alex instinctively scooted back a good ten feet from the opening. As the fury of the storm increased, they moved back another twenty feet. From their new vantage point, they both remarked how the opening resembled a huge gaping mouth. Silently, they also experienced the spine-freezing sensation that somehow this stone cavity was alive; and that they were up for its next meal. Alex decided to state this aloud. He wanted Angie to believe she was all right, and that it was silly to think of caves as being anthropomorphic. All the same, he added that he had no plans to begin exploring the murky space behind them.

At that particular moment, Alex’s preference was truly the best decision, for if he had turned around and peered into the eerie gloom of their enclosure, his red hair may well have turned white. Moments later, Angie did turn and looked over her shoulder but immediately turned forward. Although the deep murk revealed nothing to her eyes, she did feel a stabbing pain in her stomach, and her stuttered breathing drew a concerned question from Alex.

“Are you okay, Angie; you don’t look so good. Is it something you ate; are you sick?”  He put a large arm around her thin shoulders. Angie could only shudder.

Without warning, the outline of the cavity was revealed by a jagged dagger of lightning. All of a sudden, from far behind them, a rapidly-rising roar raced right up to their backs. The mouth of the cave began to close. Thunder boomed. The walls of the cave quickly clamped to within a foot of their position. Angie and Alex screamed in terror.


 Only a few of their very closest friends believed Angie and Alex when they swore that: “We thought we were going to be eaten; by the cave. Instead; it spit us out; or barfed us out. We landed on the tops of the cedars by the stream on the Stream Trail. Then, after the storm passed, the Rangers got us down.”

"Yeah, right . . ."

However that might be, a friend, Kreig Kroot, did nod his head in either disbelief or belief before he announced.

“Well, I ran that trail this morning—the Stream Trail—and there is definitely one less cave there; or opening; something; whatever. Not there. Gone.”


Submitted: June 08, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Good one! I did wonder quite where you were going until the very end. That comment by Krieg Kroot finished it off nicely.

Wed, June 8th, 2016 12:12pm


Hi hullabaloo 22,
Hey, glad you enjoyed it.
It was fun to write,.

Wed, June 8th, 2016 7:39pm

Lionel Walfish

Good one, Nicholas!!!!
Gave me the chills right through.
Your descriptive writing is phenomenal !
Love it !!


Wed, June 8th, 2016 1:03pm


Hey Lionel,
Very pleased that you enjoyed the tale.
This time I wasn’t quite as pissed at ‘the couple’ and so let them live, unlike “Flying Dead.”
Creepy though . . . acting like God; in print. A peculiar ‘rush’ but what the hey, eh?
Best wishes,

Wed, June 8th, 2016 8:05pm


Dun dun duuun!
That was awesome!
I like the way you established the surroundings. I had a really good mental image of everything around them, and it managed to be creepy when it needed to but still warm and comforting when the characters interacted.
I did feel that the characters may have been overdone - the information given was not necessary to the plot - but they were both very nice characters that one can imagine being friends easily (even though I'm assuming they were a bit more than friends). Perhaps descriptions that lengthy would do better in a novel.
I like how the story ended as well - the characters had both been well established, but the climax happened outside of them, making it much more interesting and creative.
On the whole, a good read.

Wed, June 8th, 2016 5:19pm


Thanks Slolemsyrup,
Glad you enjoyed the tale; great fun to write.
I appreciate your suggestions; and I agree with most.
I find it very difficult to gauge the length of a ‘surprise ending’ story, always fearing that too much detail will soften the landing, but I press on.
Thanks again, and

Wed, June 8th, 2016 8:15pm

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