The Fluttering Heartbeat

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

My second short story in the Pits of Fear Collection. Readers who love my award-winning The Beast of Stone would be sure to love it. A note from the author, whatever you do, make sure to read until the end!

Also, please do not read the comments below before you have finished reading the story. They do contain spoilers.





It hurts…. Pain, so much pain. I felt as if my body is tearing itself into pieces. My vision, my world, is blackened.

I could hear it, the rattling of the bed’s metal railings. The deaden sound as their wheels rolled along a smooth, polished floor. The smell of drugs and chemicals wafted in the air like a haze, embracing those in it with the stench of the dead and the living.  

“Doctor, he’s losing his consciousness!” A shrill cry sounded from my left, the speaker moving, breathless, along with me. High-pitched. A woman. I mused distractedly, my mind meandering with the drugs.

“Isn’t the ER ready yet? Darn it!” A man’s gruff voice barked from the right. “I notify them 10 minutes ago that we’ll have a patient coming in!” My vision lightened up periodically as rows upon rows of neon light passes overhead.

Am I… dying? It was a strange thought. I had never fear, even thought, of dying before. Now that the final moment is upon me, images from the past starts drifting into my head, like a current of memories, both cherished and long forgotten.

I could remember the warmth as she would caress me. Her touch gentle as we hold hands. Her bare body bronze with hours she had spent in the sun. She would giggle as we strolled along the beach, her ashen blond hair streaming with the wind. Sometimes they would lay there, and made love upon the course sands, the ocean waves crashing against sea rocks in the background.

I miss her. I miss those old days of ours…  

In my whole life, I had love, had discover love, only once. She was my one and only. She alone no one could replace…

As I recall the love I had for her, however I also felt a sense of amnesia induced horror.  My memories are a jumble of torn-up fragments, and I can’t recall who she is. Who is she?

I mused as the railings bang jarringly besides me, the whole bed shaking as if it was coming apart.

“He’s losing a lot of blood!” One of the nurses cried out, her voice trembling with uncontained anxiety. “Grab that packet of blood over there!” The male doctor thundered, and I could feel strings and needles being passed beneath my skin.

I could still remember that Christmas party, from years ago. We were classmates, but she was also my first crush. That day, she made a gingerbread man cookie for me. It had always been a joke of ours, what with both of us having hazel brown eyes. Her hair, however, was different.

Now that I think of it, what color was her hair?


A voice seemed to whisper to me, the voice of an adolescent girl,

It was a family trait. This color of Christmas flowers…


The bed jolted to a stop. “His blood pressure is dropping dangerously low.” The doctor shouted in a tone of urgency, “Give me 500 mg of Epinephrine!”

I heard the sound of a cap being popped open, then felt the pressure as a needle was inserted into my arm. As my heart gave off a more vigorous beat, the procession scrambled on, the rush of their steps indicating an ever increasing sense of urgency.  


We met at work. I glared at her, that first time. She eyed me like a freak, for we barely knew each other then. What was most striking about her was her hands. They were rough and callused, hard from years of use. She told me that she had to work hard to supply her family over the years.

She told me that she came from another town. Then why did I felt that she was so familiar? As if I had seen her somewhere before, somewhere within this vortex of memories that was mine… Who is she?


I sense a violent jolt as I was lifted up and place onto another bed, this one nailed against the ground.

“Doctor, he is going under cardiac arrest!” There was a rush of commotion as carts and trolleys of equipment were pulled in, their contents haphazardly brought into usage.

“Start preparing the defibrillator!” The male doctor ordered sharply, and I felt a pair of rough hands pressed savagely against my chest.

She was beautiful. Oh, beautiful beyond imagining. My meagre skills at words would do her no justice. As mediocre as my local café was, she stood out like a sore thumb, a pale idol amidst the faceless crowd. I went to her table, as usual, and we chat about the common things; the weather, the local news, our dreams and aspirations. Despite being some years older than I am, I could feel that she was nervous. Tremendously so, for she had a shy and timid nature.

Come to think of it, I had never seen her talk to anyone else besides me. I know that I will never fall in love with anyone else.

“Charge the defibrillator to 300 volts!” A gruff command ripped through my fading consciousness. All of a sudden, the skin above my chest was dabbed with a smooth, gel-like cream that sends prickles along my bare flesh.  

I felt cold. So cold…



She had always been kind, despite the heinous things other kids had done to me. We would engage in a chase, where I leaped and stumbled, waving my pudgy firsts and squealing in childish laughter.

We would skulk around the bushes for hours, playing games of hide and seek, until her father came out calling for her. In the growing hours of the night, I often fail to spot her, from the color of her skin and eyes and hair. It was a past time we always repeat daily, until the day she moved away.

After that, I never saw her again, or did I?

Who is she? My head throbbed abominably, feeling as if it was going to split. I swear that I could tasted blood on my mouth.


“500 volts!” The voice came again, and my whole body shook as if I was on fire. As if I was dancing a tune of life and death.


She was kind to me. She was timid and shy. She was confident. She was a classmate. A colleague. A childhood friend. Her skin was tanned bronze by the sun. Pale and creamy white. Dark as a moonless night. Her hands were soft and gentle. They were rough and callused, like a man’s.

How could I trust myself, if I couldn’t trust my own memories? My mind, my body, my memories were fragmented, like scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. My head pounded incessantly, driving me to the verge of insanity. To the verge of splitting apart.


She is the one, the true love, the only love of my life. I had known no one else, nor had I ever given my heart to another. Yet as I am sure of this, I am no longer certain that I could believe in myself. In all truths, there is that one question that is still bugging me.

Who is she?


“1000 volts.”


Then all was darkness…





My hands felt numb, my fingers blistered from hours of use. Come to think of it, I had never invited her to my place. Especially not here.

I am standing in my own backyard, surrounded by low-lying bushes on all sides. The floor was carpeted with green grasses, interspersed with small clumps of trees and rocks coated with moss.

I grunted as I heaved up another pile of soil and dumped it on the ground beside me. After hours of work, I had finally done it. At long last, I had discovered it. The secret behind my fragmented memories, my broken mind.

I gaze down at the large pit I had unearthed in the backyard. In there were the women I had glimpsed in my near-death flashes of memories. Them, and many more…

She had hazel-brown eyes, and hair the color of Christmas leaves. She had ashen blond hair and skin tanned bronze by the sun. She had skin as dark as midnight, a kind and caring childhood friend. She was a pale, radiant beauty, despite the fact that only her skull is grinning back at him now. Them, and many more, much more than he could have counted.


With a grin, I leaned forward and took in the sight,

Finally, I had found her. I had found them all…  

Submitted: December 25, 2016

© Copyright 2021 S. K. Inkslinger. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Mackenzie Thunder

Wow such intense reading. Kept me on the edge of my seat and kept me wanting to read to the end. Strong emotions mixed with suspense and mystery. Excellent writing!!

Sun, December 25th, 2016 11:44pm


I really appreciate your comment, Mackenzie Thunder. :) This is my first time writing in such a style, and in a non-fantasy setting, so I am truly glad to receive such a good feedback! I am delighted to have such a great fan follow my writing. Stay tuned for more of my horror-genre short stories coming out in the near future.

Sun, December 25th, 2016 8:12pm


A good horror story, building up nicely to that twist at the end!

Wed, December 28th, 2016 6:21pm


Thank you, hullabaloo! It's my first time writing a story in this style, so your comment is really appreciated!

Wed, December 28th, 2016 7:56pm


Great work! In my opinion this story is even better than The Beast of Stone, its plot and layout being more complex and harder to figure out the ending. Some people maybe confuse by the sequence of events, but I love it!

Tue, January 3rd, 2017 6:20am


Thank you so much for your continual support! I'm truly glad you enjoyed the story.

Mon, January 2nd, 2017 10:22pm

A.L. Martin


Tue, January 3rd, 2017 6:13pm


Thank you for the feedback!

Tue, January 3rd, 2017 5:54pm

Jason Rudland


I like a story to slap me in the face, and The Fluttering Heartbeat certainly did that – I didn’t see the end coming, and it was a great twist. It poses other story questions – How did he end up in ER? What lead him to become a serial killer? It made me want more.

I found some typos distracting:
The deaden sound –I took this as being ‘deadened sound’, so I found myself wondering how wheels on a polished floor were deadened. Afterwards I though this was ‘dead sound’ which I think makes more sense.

I don’t think a nurse would say, “Doctor, his heart had stopped completely!” The tense seems wrong. i.e. has not had. Also, surely there is a technical language they would use to communicate that information – code red, or flatline (I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure it exists)

There were too many exclamation marks for me! Is there a way to make what is said and the context give it that same bang? I also felt the same about “The male doctor ordered sharply” – is there a way to make it sound sharp to the reader with context and content of what is being said without telling them retrospectively how what was just said should have sounded?

I enjoyed your story a great deal. I hope you found my comments helpful.

Tue, January 3rd, 2017 9:38pm


Spoiler alert, ahaha. I'm extremely glad that you loved the story, Jason, and thank you for the magnificent review. You were right about the exclaimation marks, I do rely on them wayy more than I should (even in normal internet discussions). I will certainly look into your advices. I'm still in the eternal process of learning and improving, and reviews on my story contributes a great deal to that. Last but not least, if you love short horror stories with plot twists such as these, stay tuned for my future writings!

Tue, January 3rd, 2017 6:05pm

Jaymes Micheals

Wait a second here? was he thinking back to people he had murdered?

Wed, January 11th, 2017 3:02am


*Spoiler Alert* Ahah, that's the plot twist for you. *grins*

Tue, January 10th, 2017 7:44pm


Wonderful Story :)

Hi there, I really enjoyed your story. I have one comment on the grammar.

"I felt as if my body is tearing itself into pieces. My vision, my world, is blackened."

Your verb tense here is slightly off. "Is" should be "was," because you started with the past tense "I felt..."

Thu, January 12th, 2017 3:10am


Thank you so much for the comment, Charise! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I also thank you for pointing out my grammatical mistakes, for my grammatical skills are not the best..

Wed, January 11th, 2017 7:16pm

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