#FlashFiction Fun with Heather McCollum


Happy Almost Halloween! I love October with its cooler weather, pumpkin-spice everything and spooky stories! I normally write Scottish Historical romance, but this time of year brings out the horror-lover in me. Some of my favorite creepy tales are really short, giving one a spider-walking tingle across the nape in less than five minutes.

Have you ever heard of Flash Fiction? It is the telling of a whole story in a very short number of words. Some flash fiction sites ask for as little as 53 words. Others as many as 2000. It’s a fun exercise and makes you rethink every word you type in and delete out.

So below, I took a shot at a Flash Fiction spooky tale. This comes in at about 1,200 words. Enjoy!



The Interview


Abigail Newton hesitated as she stepped through the arched doorway into Bran Castle. “Hello?” Silence and the lonesome whistle of wind answered. Straightening her shoulders and clutching her notebook, she called louder. “Mister… Um… Dracula? I’m here for the interview.”

She gasped as a shadow stepped away from the velvet-papered wall.

“Welcome, come in.” Tall and pale, the man turned, seeming to hover along the floor boards.

Abigail walked gingerly. Sore feet weren’t going to stop her. “I appreciate the interview. The locals told me you don’t give them.”

“Only when I’m thirsty.” His voice was smooth. “Sit,” he said before a fire. He lowered to face her.

Thank goodness there was a chair. She tried to hide the nervous twitch of her eye as she sat. Opening her notebook, she cleared her raw throat. “Mr. Dracula, my readers want to know what it’s like to be a real vampire. You are a real vampire, aren’t you?”

“For the last thousand years.”

“Such a long time.” She rubbed her dry lips together. “Do you really drink blood?”


“Can you eat food?”

“Certainly, but I prefer blood.”

Abigail swallowed. “Can you smell my blood?”

Annoyance tightened his face. “You hide it with that foul perfume you’re wearing.”

“Oh, sorry.” She sniffed, wiping a tissue at her nose. “I’m actually very interested in your life. I studied European history, the legends. I have a Ph.D.”

“Don’t believe all the legends.”

“How about the not going out in the sun or being near garlic?”

He dismissed her comments with a flick of his fingers. “Not something that really bothers me. I’m actually quite invincible.” His deep red lips tipped into a grin, making Abigail’s stomach twist inward, but she was used to feeling nauseous.

“So if you bite someone, they turn into a vampire? Become invincible too?”

“If I don’t suck them dry, but I always suck them dry.”

“Aren’t there other vampires?”

“Oh certainly, but we are solitary creatures.”

“Do you not travel then?” she asked, looking around at the ancient furnishings.

“I have no need when my food comes to me,” he smiled again, and Abigail’s blood pulsed even faster.

“Do you have a compelling need to kill?” she asked. “Must you fight your urge to kill humans, when you…you smell their blood?”

He chuckled. “No. I eat when I’m hungry, but I don’t have cravings. Opportunity gives me enough to live. For instance…” He stood, circling around Abigail, trailing his fingers over the pulse in her neck. “I will drink you dry. Then when your husband comes to find you, I will kill him. Hopefully he will bring your children, you mentioned children.”

Abigail’s heart raced. “No,” she lied.

“A human’s heart speeds up when it lies,” he said, moving his lips down toward her neck. She tried to sit away, but his iron grip grabbed her shoulder. He kissed her skin, his tongue sliding against her frantic pulse.

“Please,” she whispered, her breath coming in dizzying pants. Fear made her quake. “Please.”

“There is no escape,” he said, and he hissed as his teeth ripped through her skin into her neck.

Abigail couldn’t contain her scream. It turned into a mournful groan that issued from her mouth as he drew off her jugular. Cold, aching pain seared through her.

Please God. Her fingers curled into the leather arms of the chair. Dizziness overtook her, and she closed her eyes. Would this be the end to her suffering?

A gurgling sound came from the back of the vampire’s throat. The wound on her neck stung as he staggered back from her.

“Www… What is this?” he asked, eyes widening. Like a dog starting to vomit, his whole body convulsed in waves, and he dropped to his knees. His dark robes floated around him. “What have you done?” he asked, but Abigail was too dizzy to answer. She watched him sink to the rug, her blood dripping from his lips. Teeth open in a grimace, her blood gurgled up between his teeth.

Her own teeth ached, and she closed her mouth over them. As the poison coursed through her tired body, she watched the vampire wilt, astonishment etched into the sharp angles of his face. His gray skin stretched, sinking into the hollows of his skull as the centuries caught up to him. Soon only a bare skull stared at her, his eyeballs curling into their centers, shrinking to the size of hard, black marbles.

Abigail sat through the night, letting the chair hold her weak body off the floor. She watched the fire die down in the hearth, Mr. Dracula’s black robes and bone dust before her feet. As dawn came, she inhaled, her nose picking up the smells of must and death in the castle. She’d have to clean.

She swallowed hard, raising one arm and then the next, watching in fascination as her brown, chipped fingernails reformed into perfectly white curves. With a hand to her scalp, she slid the perfectly coiffed wig from her head and pushed upward out of the chair.

Something dropped to the rug. The plastic Port-a-Cath, which had served her over the last seven years, lay on the rug. Her fingers slid along her neck where the apparatus had been encased under her skin. The spot where it had stuck out was flat, healed, and smooth.

She rushed to the window, the fatigue that plagued her replaced by energy, and gingerly set her knuckles into the light. She yanked back, but her skin didn’t burn.

Abigail laughed and threw open the dark drapes. Her cell phone rang. Harry.

“How did the treatment go?” Harry asked as she answered. “Are you okay?”

Abigail smiled as she watched a bird hop outside the window. “Honey, I think this chemo really worked.”

“Really? My God, really?”

She felt tears gather in her eyes and realized she could now see well past her 20X40 vision. “I think I might be cured.”

“How can you be sure?” he whispered. The boys must be close.

She touched her head where an inch of hair was already growing in and smiled. “I think when you see me, you’ll know that I’m right.”

“We’ll be on the first flight I can book.” Excitement lit his voice like she hadn’t heard in so many long, wretched years. “Should I extend your hotel room?” he asked.

“No,” she said, looking around. “The Count had to leave on business and said we could stay here as long as we want.” She nudged the empty robes with her boot. “I just have to send off my article to Living with Cancer, and I’m ready for a long vacation with my family.”

Abigail walked to a low oval mirror and smiled as her hair reached her shoulders. Chocolate-brown and silky straight, just the way it was before. Tears sat in her eyes, and she smiled, seeing the lengthening of her canine teeth.

“Just call before you drive up here, okay,” she said. “I might be eating.”





I hope you enjoyed my little tale! This story concept came to me in 2011 while I was fighting ovarian cancer with 15 months of chemo (ugh!). I couldn’t understand why mosquitos, biting me, didn’t just fall dead to the ground with all the chemicals in my bloodstream. LOL! Maybe they just needed a bigger meal!

Have you ever tried your hand at Flash Fiction? Do you love spooky tales?

Have a fabulous, shriek-and-giggle Halloween!




Pre-order The Devil of Dunakin Castle, coming November 13th, 2017!


Englishwoman, Grace Ellington, has made a home in Scotland, but to escape from the meddling people around her who seem to think she needs to wed right away—because women need saving, right? —she volunteers to journey north to aid a friend in childbirth.

Keir MacKinnon, the younger brother of the MacKinnon clan chief, has been raised to strike fear in people, on and off the battlefield. Trained to uphold MacKinnon law, he has hardened into a lethal warrior. Caught in a Highland blizzard with the feisty Grace, Keir realizes the beautiful woman who saved him can also save his nephew’s life.

Sparks fly when he takes her against her will to his home, and Grace’s courage is put to the ultimate test. Is Keir MacKinnon the passionate, kind man she saved in the Highland blizzard, or is he truly the cruel executioner who seeks to solve all issues by the sword?





Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal and YA romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists. The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entrances Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination every time she visits. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since her first journey across the pond. When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero, rescued golden retriever & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.



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