Happy Halloween! Just wrapped painting my sister's face to look like a skull - from far away it looks great. Ha ha.
Anyhow, staying in the vein of the macabre, I've got a super shot story below drafted in 2010. I don't know that it's even called a story, as much as the start of something; but I like the tone it sets as-is.
Gray Little Gems by Angie Mathews (copyright 2010)
The late afternoon dew dampens Barbara’s gray-laced brown curls. The wetness always seeps in as the sun sets, bringing the moss, ferns, earth and trees alive. She loves the scent of saturated forest floor, the sounds of brush crunching under her heavy hiking boots, and the glistening fern tips that graze the tops of her socks, under her long skirt, making a wet ring around her ankles.
She loosely clutches her willow basket, already weighty with Morels and Chanterelles, with a plump and sturdy hand. Just a few more, she thinks, then she needs to go finish dinner before Bruce gets back from up north. He has been busy on their mountain acreage, pruning pine new growth. He will be hungry, exhausted, smelling of tree pitch and happy when he gets home.
Noticing an old fallen log, she excitedly forages the ground surrounding the waterlogged wood and discovers a large cluster of Hen-of-the-Woods. What a prize, she thinks, as she brushes pine needles and wet, brown fall leaves from her hands and forearms onto her skirt. Collecting her treasures, she stands to head back to her car, but stops to remove bits of dirt and earth from her age-worn wedding ring with one of Bruce’s black bandanas she has taken for her own.
Her strong, heavy, Irish legs carry her down the forest slope from her favorite hunting spot, just behind the liquor store where she parks. As she rounds the corner, by the outdoor ice freezer, her hand and arm begin to tingle slightly with a numbness of electricity, and then her chest bursts. She collapses to the ground, hitting the cement as her gray little gems bounce and scatter about.