Monday, 24 October 2011

Mammoth Competition - Runner-Up: Chris Allinotte

As visitors to The Feardom's Friday Prediction Challenge will know, Chris Allinotte has a unique wit that he often blends into his tales of horror.

Chris's runner-up entry in my Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol 22. competition not only demonstrates his writing skill but had me chuckling through the sinister undertones.

Get yourself a cuppa, maybe a slice of cake - and read why.

by Chris Allinotte

Ada read the name of the bakery, and the phrase underneath again, and smiled. It read, "Venial Sins. It's not so bad to be so good!"

Inside, behind a short red counter, stood a tall, powerful looking man in a crimson apron. At the window, an elderly couple sat at a bleached oak table, sharing a slice of pumpkin pie, and sipping foamy, steaming cappuccinos.

"Good afternoon, Miss," said the man. Ada assumed he was the owner.

"It's Missus, actually," she replied, smiling.

"That's a shame." He winked; and Ada felt hot blood colour her cheeks.

The man pushed a paper menu across the counter.

"What can we tempt you with today, Missus?"

She giggled – actually giggled. Alan never made her feel like this anymore. His brother Michael had – briefly– but that was years ago.

On the menu were five desserts, including chocolate mousse cake, white truffle tart, and her absolute girlhood favourite - butterscotch pie. She tapped the page. “I’ve never seen this anywhere else. Is it good?"

"Just like Grammie used to make," said the owner, winking again. She blushed again.

He went swiftly behind a black velvet curtain, and returned with a small sliver of pie and a gleaming silver fork. Ada seated herself on a black vinyl stool. A moment later, he brought a tall glass of milk and set it beside the pie. The experience was complete - exactly as she remembered it from her childhood. The pie was creamy and sugary, its crust flaking and falling apart with ease. Each mouthful tasted better than the one before it. When she finally finished, her heart sank. Nothing, it seemed, would be as good ever again.

Without knowing she was going to, she spoke. "I'd sell my soul for another piece."

The owner laughed. "You'd have to."

"Pardon?" Ada sat up.

"One piece per customer.” He laughed. “An odd rule perhaps, but it serves." Her surprise must have been obvious, because he added, "Unless you're serious?"

Ada nodded, unable to help herself. She wanted this; she deserved it. Deserved a treat.

"Excellent." The man smiled, and produced a contract.

She blanched.

"Oh, don't worry, darling." said the owner, "It's not forever - not for a piece of pie. It's just three minutes."

She signed.

He opened the curtain, and Ada walked through.

The owner laughed again. He nodded at the old man, "For in hell, one minute shall be as a thousand years, eh?"

There was no reply as the couple faded back to nothingness.

Three minutes later, the curtain parted, and the thing that had once been Ada stumbled through. She saw the pie waiting for her, and began to shriek.


"Lookit that old lady," said the construction worker, looking out the window. "Been wanderin’ around for years now. All she ever says is 'pie.' Sad how some folks get, huh?"

"Indeed," said the man in the apron. "How was your cake?"

"Fantastic," said the workman. "I'd kill for another slice."

"You'd have to..."


Bio: Chris Allinotte lives in Toronto, Canada. In the winter it sometimes gets dark at four o'clock. That, and reading "Christine" when he was eight are probably to blame for some of what he writes. He blogs at The Leaky Pencil.


  1. Thank heavens I'm a cake girl!
    Sweet writing, Chris. "For in hell, one minute shall be as a thousand years, eh?" - killer line.

  2. Oh god, Chris, I love it! I had an actual flashback to one of *my* girlhood favourites: The Twilight Zone -- you´ve managed to evoke that exact same atmosphere! So much fun this, horribly fun =)

  3. Chris, this is superb! from the depiction of the pie to the shock of her realising what she had traded it for ... magic.

  4. Erin - Cake can be arranged... ;) Glad you enjoyed.

    asuqi - I loved the Twilight Zone as well, and I'm certain there is at least some influence in what I write today.

    Antonia - thank you! You're a tough act to follow!

  5. Chris, that was great. It reminded me of the good old Hammer Horror Films I used to watch as a kid. Excellent. Well done!

  6. Chris- A great spin on the deal with the Devil theme. This would make a great episode of Tales from the Darkside, or Crypt. Excellent detail and it read so well.

  7. The pie is a lie! Well, not really, but, you know... ;)

    Mmmm... pie...

    Is it wrong that the idea of her wandering around mindlessly just whimpering, "pie" made me laugh a little? I'm a bad, bad man.

    This is excellent. Nice one, Chris.

  8. David and Sean - Thanks for the comments. This one had that kind of old-school horror-show-episode feel in my head, glad it made it out.

    John - "pie"

  9. I really enjoyed this one. I was also influenced by The TZ, Hammer House, Thriller etc and this would easily fit into any of those series. Some nice details sprinkled throughout that really set us in the place.

    Great pull back of the camera at the end to give us the dangling twist. Kinda wish I was watching this on TV now.

    Well done, great story.


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.