Welcome to the October 2020 edition of First Monday Free Fiction. To recap, inspired by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who posts a free short story every week on her blog, I’ll post a free story on every first Monday of the month. It will remain free to read on this blog for one month, then I’ll take it down and post another story.
October is traditionally the month for horror fiction, so this month’s free story is a horror story. Now I haven’t written a lot of straight horror stories, cause for some reason, whenever I try to write horror, it comes out as humor. That probably has something to do with the fact that I haven’t really been scared by a horror movie since I was a teenager either.
This month’s story is called “The Terror of the Bayou” and may be found in the collection Southern Monsters. The title says it all, really – it’s a story about a swamp monster that lives in the Louisiana bayous and snatches a bride on her wedding day and the man who goes after them. It was inspired by my love for the US Gulf Coast, where I lived for almost a year as a child.
So prepare to accompany Remy Theriault, as he faces…
The Terror of the Bayou
Remy Theriault had never really believed in the swamp monster.
True, there had been stories. Stories going back two hundred years, passed on from father to son, from mother to daughter. Stories of the thing that stalked the bayous of Vermilion Parish. Stories of glowing red eyes staring out from the undergrowth. Tales of roots and twigs and pond scum suddenly coming alive to form a crude mockery of the human form. Stories of a thing with razor sharp teeth chasing the unwary through the bayou.
And then there were all those tales of people who had ventured out into the bayou — hunters, traders, runaways and escaped slaves — and never come back. And whispers that they had fallen prey to the thing that stalked Bayou Cramoisi, the Crimson Bayou. Whispers that the Terror had got them. For that was what the locals called the monster. La Terreur. The Terror.
Remy didn’t believe any of it, of course. Growing up Cajun in Acadiana didn’t mean that you automatically had to believe every tall tale told by some old man sitting in a rocking chair on his porch and every superstition whispered by some old woman stirring a pot of gumbo in the cosy comfort of her kitchen.
For Remy was smart, a man of the world, a man of poise and education. He’d been to college, after all. He’d left behind the bayou and the little shack in the village of Leleux where he’d grown up. He’d gotten a scholarship for Tulane, worked hard, studied hard, became a lawyer in New Orleans. He was a man of the world now, yes, he was. And men of the world did not believe in tall tales and superstitions and stories of swamp monsters.
This story was available for free on this blog for one month only, but you can still read it in Southern Monsters. And if you click on the First Monday Free Fiction tag, you can read this month’s free story.