Eight Seconds of Torment by Michael Thomas-Knight


Eyes open wide. Adrenalin, panic, confusion. Dirt against my face. Wet leaves try to smother my breath. The gray façade of a large tree stump comes to focus in my view, about two yards away. I can’t move, can’t pick myself up off the ground.

Flashes of memory. Camping in the state park. Awakened. A man with an axe. Big man, large bald head, crazy eyes. Do not like this man. The tree stump, cut smooth, like a tabletop. Dark stains in the wood grain. My memory fades away and I am back in the moment.

Suddenly, movement erupts from behind the tree stump. Thankfully, it is not the big man with the ax. Someone stands. I try to move again, I can not. The person stumbles toward me. I see black Converse All-Star sneakers, like my own, and blue jeans.

The person lurches, walks awkwardly, aimlessly. Thankfully, it is not the big man with the ax. I shift my eyes upward as far as I can see. Soft flannel shirt, white and brown. Looks familiar.

The person stumbles over a tree root and falls to the ground alongside of me. Stillness. On his shirt collar, a Mets pin and a American Flag, Veteran’s pin, like the one my father gave me. Around his neck lays a gold chain and cross – the one my wife had given me on my birthday. I move my eyes further. Something is strange; something is wrong with what I am seeing.  Then I realize, there is no head, there is no head… there is no head… there… is… no…

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Michael Thomas-Knight

Michael Thomas-Knight is the author of numerous horror short stories, bending the scope of reality one word at a time. Michael's style ranges from classic ghost stories with violent conclusions to atmospheric Eldritch tales steeped in mysticism, cynicism, and irony. His stories have been published in publications, Dark Eclipse, Infernal Ink, SNM Horror Magazine, Fiction Terrifica, and Microhorror.com. His work has also appeared in numerous anthologies, Terror Train, From Beyond the Grave, Shadow Masters, Cellar Door II, O Little Town of Deathlehem and others. You can find Michael at his blog, Parlor of Horror, which deals with all things horror: movies, books, and articles for the horror enthusiast.





  1. says

    Thanks Mr. Weber. I liked your story, too! They say when a person is decapitated, they can see and think for Eight Seconds as the blood drains from their skulls. And with a decapitated chicken, their bodies will run around for eight seconds before falling over. I combined the two wive’s tales for my story :)

  2. says

    Oh! I just loved this, my heart is in my throat! I’ve heard that 8 seconds thing before too, and this was a lovely take on it. The short, blunt sentences gave it a really quick pace. The last few lines of realization are artfully done. I look forward to more of your work!

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