My Paranormal Network

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What could be scary about a beautiful field of wild flowers? Anything in the hands of horror writer Lisa Morton! In this all new episode of Spine Tinglers, two friends head into the California hills to enjoy the annual blooming of the poppies, but discover something in the earth beneath the orange blossoms. This episode stars another beautiful flower with a twisted side! You’ll recognize stage, screen and vocal actress Ella Smith from HBO’s sci-fi horror hit “The Nevers”. You’ve also seen her in independent films like "Ray & Liz", and TV comedies like "Hoff the Record" (on which she acted and wrote). She also wrote and directed an award winning short film "Mdudu Boy".  Enjoy "Poppies."

#CaliforniaPoppies #SpineTinglers #Nevers #Horror #Scary #myPN #myParanormalNetwork #GhostMagnet
Jazmyn stood next to her mini-Coop, staring out at the endless sea of orange blossoms.
“Okay,” Shaun said from the other side of the car, “I gotta say that’s beautiful.”
She nodded, and he knew she was probably glad he’d said that. He hadn’t really wanted to come on this drive – 90 minutes from Silverlake, up into the foothills where the California poppies were in full bloom – but she’d promised him lunch afterwards at his favorite taco joint and he’d acquiesced. Besides, not as if he had much else to do, since he’d been an unemployed barista for the last two months.
The field of golden flowers was separated from the winding two-lane highway by a low picket fence; signs were spaced along that border reading “NO TRESPASSING” and “PLEASE DO NOT CROSS FENCE.”
Jazmyn raised a leg in preparation from stepping over the pickets.
“What are you doing?” asked Shaun, mildly alarmed but also amused.
“C’mon, we drove all the way up here, so let’s run through the field, like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.”
“I think she was running across grass in the Alps, Jaz.”
“Whatever.” Jazmyn stepped over the fence and stood in the field. The poppies came almost up to her knees, the growth so dense that her feet were lost from view. “Dude, let’s do this.”
Something itched at Shaun like a tick digging in. He looked around, his uneasiness growing. “Where is everyone else? Isn’t this whole poppy thing huge in the news?”
Jazmyn shrugged. “That’s why I picked a Monday morning. Yesterday it was probably jammed.”
Shaun finally figured out what was bothering him: it was the cars. They lined both sides of the highway, pulled over on the dirt shoulders next to the picket fences; a lot of them were SUVs, meaning families were here…or had been. “If nobody’s here today, what’s with all the cars?”
Jazmyn was getting irritated. “I don’t know – maybe people park here to car-pool or something. Who cares? Come on!” She turned and started running through the poppies, their orange heads nodding and parting before her.
Shaun reluctantly stepped over the fence. The ground on the other side was surprisingly soft underfoot, not hard-packed like the clay soil of the shoulder. He took a few steps forward, finally breaking into a jog to reach his friend. 
“I love this!” Jazmyn called, running across the field with her arms widespread. 
Shaun ran forward a few feet then stopped, taking in the surroundings. He turned 360 degrees, seeing poppies in every direction. He remembered being frightened by the poppy scene from The Wizard of Oz as a child, but those poppies hadn’t been orange like these. He inhaled deeply, surprised by the slight scent of something musky, almost…meaty.
He saw that Jazmyn had stopped running and was looking down. “What?” Shaun called to her.
She bent down, scrutinizing the greenery beneath the orange. “I just tripped on something…”
Shaun took one step towards her – and gasped as his right foot sank into the earth. He yanked it back, but it was caught on something. He pulled harder and it came free. He raised it to look, balancing on one leg, and saw some sort of brownish, dirt-covered root still wrapped around the toes of his sneakers. “Huh?” he said to himself, wondering how the root could have wrapped all the way around his foot in a split second.
Shivering in the warm, still air, Shaun shouted to Jazmyn, “What if there are snakes or scorpions or something out here?”
To his surprise Jazmyn didn’t laugh the suggestion off. “Maybe…” she said, looking around her own feet.
“I’m going back,” Shaun said, before he tripped and went down.
His hands landed on something moist and squishy buried below the poppies, something that didn’t feel like soil. He grabbed a mass in his right hand and pulled it free to examine. It was a dirt clod, the size of a softball, something pale just visible beneath the dark brown. Shaun shook it to remove some of the dirt, crying out as he saw what was plainly part of a human hand with two fingers still attached. He dropped the gruesome remains in shock, leapt to his feet, and turned to see Jazmyn making her way towards him. “Fuck, Jaz, I just found part of a hand.”
“Part of a what –?” She broke off as her legs were pulled out from under her and she went down, half-hidden beneath the poppies.
“Jaz!” Shaun shouted her name over and over and started to run towards her. Jazmyn began to scream, her hands flailing. 
Shaun was twenty feet from reaching her when his own ankles were grabbed and he fell. He began tearing at his feet, finding them entwined by thick, ropy roots that were pulling him down into the spongy ground. His hands grabbed frantically, and felt more of that stuff beneath him that was neither dirt nor plant, and he knew then what had happened to the people who had been in all those cars. Fertilizer, he thought as he struggled.
Shaun fought, thrashing and fighting his way to a standing position. He realized Jazmyn had stopped screaming, and one glance back showed no sign of her, only a slight depression in the poppies where he thought she’d been.
He turned back in the direction of the road, maybe fifty feet away. He already felt his legs being circled again, he began kicking and pulling at roots, which wrapped around his hands, he knew he didn’t have long left unless –
He saw a police car cruise along the two-lane highway and stop. He shrieked for help, trying desperately to raise his arms.
Two uniformed cops got out of the car.
“Help me!” Shaun screamed, “HELP - !”
The cops stood beside their cruiser, watching impassively.
Shaun tried to scream again, but there was a root in his mouth, gagging him.
The last thing he saw was the cops, standing safely on the asphalt, directing the arriving tow trucks to remove the cars.

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