• Marilynn arrived out front of the estate’s opened gates. She gawked up the seemingly never-ending driveways to the enormous building sitting at the top of the hill. “Well, I guess this is where I am sleeping […]

    • Hey Matt, Clever twist on the ghostwriter idea. I admire the storyline and the turns it takes. As a writer, however, I got stymied by the spelling and tense areas. Take a minute to use a grammar check. Clean this up and keep it up. Good stuff.

      • Ray! Thanks for the feedback! I wrote this very quickly and use grammarly but I know there are still errors, I apologize – do you have any suggestions of which grammar checkers you use? I’d love to get some more tools in my tool belt. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! I appreciate it! Glad you enjoyed! – Matt

        • Did you read it out loud. Works for me. Sometimes I record and playback.

    • Matt, for someone who claimed he was in a rush – this was good stuff. Perhaps you’ve gathered from my past critiques I’m not overly fussy about pointing out grammatical mistakes. Rather I like to focus on the overall feeling of an Author’s story. That being said – I think this one of my favorites of yours. It’s clever, witty, wildly imaginative and just fun to read. I think these two characters deserve another tale. Good work.

      • Charles – always appreciate the feedback – i was working on another piece, scraped it last second and wrote this in about 2 hours. Thanks for the kind words and I know there are a ton of grammatical/tense errors! Thanks! I think I will continue to tinker with these two! -Matt

    • Oh how I know about those pesky deadlines! That’s why we’re all here, right? I love the reflection of your real-life deadline in this fictional narrative. A clever and enjoyable read with a unique premise: a ghostly ghostwriter. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Nice combination of crises here. The beginning had an echo of a goldilocks kind of story to it – biggest bed in biggest room and all. So the pressing “dead”line and the “ghost”writer – lovely play on words there.
      The other thing I liked was Suzie’s voice/diction – well done.
      I’d imagine the ghost with a much more archaic turn of phrase though – after all, he’s been dead for centuries.
      The follow-up, where the ghostwriter gets introduced to the computer as the writing tool is going to be SO captivating! Hope it gets written!

    • Hi Matt, This is an amazing story – especially as you wrote it so quickly. I don’t think I have ever managed to write 1500 words in 2 hours. I take my hat off to you.
      I found it engaging and funny:) I do like the pun of a real life ‘ghost-writer’.
      I know you said you know there are many typos or grammar errors – due to your rushing, but again, you did an amazing job in such a quick time frame. I have a few here for you to help with your editing:
      a bar, a bowling alley, and tennis quarts – courts
      I looked at the link you sent me off the house. – of
      I just need to getaway – get away
      pepper spry not far from reach. – spray
      Oh, I am afraid not, I am dead, and this is my ghost form.” – you have many ‘I am’s’ throughout this story, which I think would read better as “I’m”.
      That seemed to get your earlier. – you
      Why care to join?” – needs a comma – Why, care to join?
      Well done Matt:)

  • Matt Bates and Profile picture of Joseph CarneyJoseph Carney are now friends 1 month ago

  • “Man, I really should get back to work.” Steve thought to himself, backing away from his laptop. He sat in his backyard on the first beautiful spring day. The pandemic had kept him cooped up for over two years. To […]

    • Hi Matt,
      Great piece. It made me laugh, especially at the end with the twist. I just wonder whether the boss saw Devil Steve and Angel Steve:-) I couldn’t see any problems with this flash fiction. Thank you for a most entertaining read.

    • Susan replied 1 month ago

      You’d think he’d at least shave, for a video call? This was funny and the punchline was a good one. Entertaining read.

    • Haha, love the ending. I really enjoyed your story, Matt. There are a couple typos – but easy to fix. The concept is perfect.

      • Patty – Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! I appreciate it and I will continue to work on my typos! -Matt

    • Your ending was priceless. I loved how you used this month’s Prompt, Matt. Looks like there’s gonna be trouble ahead for your MC. Funny and irreverent as usual.

      • Charles – always appreciate your feedback, glad you liked it! This could be based on some true life events… haha -Matt

    • Love this Matt! A great write on bringing some dilemmas of lockdown work to life!

    • Jane replied 1 month ago

      Hi Matt, loved devil and angel Steve’s banter. Also loved that Steve got ‘sprung’ in the end. He will have a bit of explaining to do I think:) Well done.

      • Jane – Was unsure how to end it, but thought this might a fun way. I am glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! – Matt

    • Cobus replied 1 month ago

      Boom! Love the ending. Thanks for the laugh, Matt.

    • Hello Matt,
      Humorous take on the prompt and great twist at the end. It was quite an enjoyable read.
      You remind me how I use to write angel/devil on the shoulder stories, but not nearly as good.
      Great how you got so much in such a short word count.
      Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • Hi Matt!
      What a brilliant story!
      I loved the ending and use of the prompt.
      The angel disappearing “in a flash of whimsical disappointment “was my favorite part. Perfect!
      I also enjoyed the differences in the language devil and angel addressed Steve.
      Your story reminded me of the series Good Omens. 😉
      Well done! Thanks for sharing.

  • Matt Bates and Profile picture of C AlexisC Alexis are now friends 1 month ago

  • Charge

    “Man. That had to have hurt, right?” Greg held up his boney hand out to help the recently deceased to their feet.

    “Who are you? What is going on?” Jorge questioned.

    “Well, matador, you’re dead.” Greg […]

    • Funny stuff Buddy. I always enjoy reading about your MC “Greg.” Okay, your story flowed well, although you had a few typos. For example quacking laugh as opposed to quaking laugh. Just needs a little tweaking friend, other than that this was an entertaining read. Two thumbs up.

      • proof reading is always an issue for me haha I appreciate it. I have a grammarly account and everything and still there are tons of typos – read through it twice before posting too. I need to go back to second grade hahah always appreciate the your feedback and time, Charles! Thanks and looking forward to reading your submission this month! – Matt

    • Hi, Matt! I really enjoyed the dynamic narrative here, thank you!

    • This is a lot of fun! The dialogue is snappy and I like Greg just as much as always. The possibilities are endless with this guy. I would also argue that being a matador alone should get Jorge sent to hell, but maybe that’s just me. Typos, yes–but nothing you can’t fix. I’ll offer the old trick of reading the piece backwards, one sentence at a time to catch some of them. It’s not as bad as it sounds. I enjoyed this installment!

      • Sorchia – No one has ever told me about that! Going to give it a try next month! Appreciate your time and feedback! Thanks! – Matt

    • Super cool, Matt!
      Nothing like having the opportunity to even things out.
      The story moved quickly and I am getting the idea from other comments that Greg appears frequently in your stories.
      Amusing character!

    • I can tell you. I’d like to read about Jorge’s exploits before he became a bullfighter. That sounds like a wild ride.
      Great story and a fun read. There are some minor issues here and there, but nothing that really takes you away from the story. I also know the pain of checking everything only to have someone smarter point out all your errors – happens every month to me. 😉
      I do like how Jorge had an influence of Greg, that was funny. Greg is a great character too, he/she/it feels like death. Nice humour throughout.
      I thought Jorge was going to shove Dominic into the portal to replace himself, then end up in Dominic body and have to repent that way. Or something like that.

    • Marilyn – Thanks for your time and for commenting! I thoroughly enjoyed your piece this month! Yes, Greg is someone I write about frequently. No idea where he came from but since I started experimenting and exploring with him more and more folks seem to comment and offer feedback – so I am going with it! haha – Thanks again! – Matt

    • Michael – Thanks for taking the time to read and comment – proofreading is such a pain in the ass for me – and I mess it up every month no matter how hard I try haha. Appreciate the kind words. That ending would have also worked well – maybe I will continue to tinker with it. Thanks again! -Matt

  • Matt Bates and Profile picture of Nelly ShulmanNelly Shulman are now friends 3 months ago

  • “He came out of nowhere!” She bellowed, staring at the wreckage.

    Her burly husband tried to console her, embracing her close to his chest.

    It was a clear night. The stars could be seen through the light […]

    • HI! I enjoyed this story – the humor mixed with something so disturbing. Twisted! A good read.

    • Matt, you crafted a great opening line that grabs the reader. I’m not too keen on your MC “howling like a werewolf.” That analogy is a bit over the top. Also “dead as hell” just falls flat. I know that you can come up with better word than “hell.” You could say dead as bacon, dead as roadkill, dead as a door nail, dead as…etc. The good stuff works and your story draws your audience to a satisfying conclusion. So good job Friend.

      • Great feedback, Charles – appreciate it! I will definitely work on it. Trying to give myself more time this upcoming month to ensure I am doing great work. Thanks! – Matt

    • Very entertaining stuff, Matt! Big fan of Greg the Grim Reaper — loved the humorous, childish spin on what is usually such a solemn character. While I concur with Charles on the word choice, I didn’t feel that it detracted from the story at all, and given that it was written in 48 hours, it’s perfectly understandable. Keep up the great work!

      • Reid! Appreciate the feedback and glad you enjoyed it. Although I know I could have done better I am happy with how it turned out as quickly as it did. If you dig Greg feel free to check out other stories I have written about him on my profile! I’d love any an all feedback about it! Thanks! – Matt

    • Hi Matt, considering the theme, I found this fun. I love the mix of death and humour, especially the dark humour, which I’m a big fan of. And Greg the Grim Reaper is a great character. Good ending too.

      I agree about some of the word choices but I’m putting that down to the fact that you wrote this in 48 hours, which I find impressive.

      • Joy! I appreciate the feedback. I know I could can tinker with it and make it better and hope to make something even better next month! If you dig Greg please feel free to read other posts about him on my profile. He is a super fun character for me to play with! – Matt

    • Great story, just a right balance of action and description! I enjoyed the characters as well. Thank you!

    • Deb replied 3 months ago

      Hi Matt, love the concept here! Your dialogue is well-written. As other commenters mentioned, I could imagine different word choices possibly working better in some instances. For example, I wasn’t sure if “bellowed” was the right word for the woman’s reaction in the first line (very attention-grabbing, by the way!), but maybe it was if you were trying to portray her sort of over-acting her shock to make herself appear innocent. I liked the description of the “rusty” voice, though since the Reaper isn’t made of metal I wasn’t sure how to imagine that. I did think it was funny that the Reaper’s name is Greg. I was thinking, in another version, maybe Mark doesn’t make it and decides he wants to become a Reaper himself, and Greg becomes his mentor in the underworld. Ha! Thanks for sharing your work, Matt!

      • Deb! That is all very constructive and helpful. I really appreciate it thank you! If you want, please feel free to critique other posts I have about Greg on my profile, I am open and encourage any and all feedback! That is definitely a possibility for Greg – there is a whole world written about him in my prior posts if you want to dig into any of it and let me know what you think! Thank you! -Matt

    • Hey Matt, Interesting twist on a theme – the vividness of the opening moment is great, and quite a contrast in seriousness to what follows. Got a bit of Sean of the Dead weaved into it. I like the matter of factness of the reaper and idea of a second chance…now I’m curious as to what he’ll do with it…first thoughts….maybe not much. Thanks for sharing

      • Adam! Thank you very much! I really appreciate the kind words! Definitely a Sean of the Dead-eske vibe – I friggen love that movie and taking serious or scary things and messing with them. I can’t agree with you more – Mark will mess this up. – Matt

    • Hi Matt. Greg calling out to save a guy? Is our favorite irreverent reaper getting soft? As always, cool dialogue. The opening scene was something quite different for a Greg story, and very well executed. I like it when you mix things up. Take care.

      • Cobus – Awesome feedback! Maybe he is? Or, maybe he just doesn’t want to do the paper work that follows bringing this soul to hell? I wanted to play with this idea of Greg rejecting someone and sending them back, unlocked a whole other side of this character for me. Who knows, maybe there is more to Greg than half-assing his job, and skating through eternity on the bare minimum at work? Always appreciate your time and feedback! – Matt

    • Hello Matt,

      Great mixture of humor and the dark subject of death. I like the twist of death helping a person get back his life. An overall enjoyable read. I quite enjoy your stories about Greg.
      Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • Loved this story!! Really made me smile

  • Matt Bates and Profile picture of KeilaKeila are now friends 3 months, 4 weeks ago

  • The executor greeted them at the elevator. He offered his condolences as the silver door dinged open.

    They shuffled down the hall to his office, “Once again, I am so sorry for your loss.”

    The three siblings, […]

    • A tragic story, but interesting. I like your descriptions, although you may want to rethink the use of “somehow.” Overall, I enjoyed your story. Thanks for sharing it here. Nice job!

    • Good job on the dialogue and how you used it to move the story forward. I’d like to read a continuation of this story, Matt. Maybe it won’t be a happy ending for these greedy kids?

    • Hi Matt, ah nothing brings out the true nature of siblings like rivalry over a will. Nice take on the prompt. Your dialogue told more about the characters than their descriptions. Even Michael comes off as trite at the end. I found them somewhat forced (like the inclusion of age numbers), maybe try something more visual? I think you might want to check the switch from singular (talking about a ring) to plural (“the rings have” vs the ring has). Keep up the good writing!

    • Hi Matt, 
      I loved how you twisted a real-life story into a fantastic one. I can already see Greg coming for the executioner. Poor man. Perhaps there’s something he could do to stop the curse. 
      I have a few minor suggestions:

      • “in his late 50’s”: you should remove the apostrophe.
      • “Phoebe, 25 young, thin blonde, scolded her older brother in her feeble attempt to show class, “Besides, “: this part is a bit unclear. I’d remove “young” and change the comma for a final stop after “class”.
      •  “It’s been a long day, and I know this sounds absurd. But, my family has been protecting that stone for generations.”: You don’t need a comma after “but”, but you could add one before it instead of a comma. 

      My favorite part was: “To, Jed, may you finally stop wandering. I leave you my home and estate. Please plant some roots.” It’s obvious how well their great aunt knew her descendants. 🙂
      I enjoyed the plot, the pace, and how you showed the worst in those brothers, especially Jed and Phoebe. Michael seems to be a bit different, perhaps just too tired to care. His burden is already too heavy. 
      Thanks for sharing. 

    • Gosh, what an awful family. Is this a new series, or are we about to see Greg driving up? I can’t wait to find out. Take care.

    • Hello Matt,
      You gave a typical fictional situation an interesting fantastic twist. Very interesting interpretation of the prompt, even if the object is a typical inheritance. I would love to see a continuation of this.

  • “Greg, I need you to cover tonight. Brad called out sick.” Mort, Greg’s supervisor, informed.

    “No way!” Greg pleaded, “The office Christmas party’s tonight! I am literally heading there now! Where’s Brad! He only […]

    • What a fun take on this prompt! I loved your use of humor and spicy language in this, and how you bring the normal office banality to demons/reapers. Thank you for sharing this!

      • Much appreciated Lauren! I had a good time figuring this one out – actually wrote three but kept coming back to this one so I went with it! Glad you enjoyed! – Matt

    • Matt, I smiled throughout your story. First of all kudos on hitting your twelve story submission for Deadlines. You should be proud of hanging in there and reaching your goal. Next, I think this story was a clever take on this month’s prompt I totally dug the idea about Greg being late or missing out on his Holiday Office Party. Your tale was funny and irreverent. In short, a hoot to read.

    • HAHAHAHAH – this was hilarious! I picked up a few typos which you’ll probably find when you read it aloud to yourself but nothing that can’t be fixed easily.
      I had to stop at the ‘Brent Trent, you have been a naughty mother fucker ‘ etc as I had tears of laughter impeding my vision!
      I love these ‘alternate’ takes on traditional stories but it takes skill to carry them off well – you appear to have that skill, you lucky MF!!
      Once you’ve sorted those typos/missing words etc, I think this story has a home somewhere …
      Good use of prompt and title.

      • Del! Thank you so much for the feedback and your time. I run my pieces through spell checkers and grammarly, and still find ways to mess it up! Haha

        Glad you enjoyed it! This is a character I have written a good portion of the year so if you want to check out more feel free! I am always looking for more feedback! Thanks again and happy holidays! – Matt

    • Hi Matt– Great take on the prompt. I love your creativity. This made me smile!

    • Dark humor indeed, this was such a fun, irreverent read, I enjoyed it immensely. I love how you doled out the clues as to who, or what, your characters were. At first I was thinking he had to fill in for a role in a play, but then it became entirely clear when Mort had to take the ‘hard way’ to get Greg to agree to fill in. Not like he had much choice! [minor niggle: Did Mort ‘own me for this one’ or owe me for this one’] Mort’s relieved response after Greg agreed was classic, really set the tone for the rest of the story and the humor throughout.
      The only other minor point that I picked up on is I’ve always heard that people call in sick, never heard them call out sick, either way works, it just threw me off a bit.
      Overall I found your story to be hilariously funny, highly entertaining, and incredibly creative. Well done!

      • Thanks, Peggy! I appreciate all your kind words and specific feedback! I will use it to get better! That’s pretty funny, Ive never heard anyone call in sick haha but I am in the states and we are weird over here!

        Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate it!


    • Hi Matt!
      Last year, I took some days off, so I’m reading December stories just now.
      I loved this one; it’s hilarious! Your dark humor is priceless.
      Greg’s supervisor was an excellent addition to the story. The name was perfect. I identified myself with him when he changed his appearance to show Greg his place, going against his own pacific nature. It’s not that I have spikes sticking out my back and red eyes, but I also like when people do what I ask them to do. 😉
      The ending was great. I can imagine Brent’s despair!
      Super fun story! Thanks for sharing. 

  • .The whole crowd cheered and jeered as the two hulking figures in black leather masks manhandled a woman towards the centre of the town square.“Hag!”“Witch!”“Burn her!”She didn’t struggle, head high, elegant despi […]

    • Hi Michael,
      I’ve only one word for this – Brilliant!! It held me throughout the story. My only moan is that I kinda knew that the Mayor would get his comeuppance, but it was great to see how. Thank you for a most entertaining read.

    • I liked the parodoxical comparison of the seemingly good and seemingly evil. Yet all is not as it seems. One thing that I could not quite figure out is the era more or less that it is set in. Some of the language and politicking by the mayor seemed modern day whereas the whitch trials make me think of a mediaeval setting.

      • I was thinking that it could be any time, even into the future if things don’t go so well.

        Thanks for reading and for your comments.

    • This was great, this mayor is such a conniving arse that I was rooting for the witch the whole time. No matter her evil ways. Her ‘last words’ were perfectly delivered. Especially about helping more towns folks than he ever would/could. Nice bit of justice at the end and I have to say, excellent use of the prompt. 🙂

    • This must go down as the most disastrous re-election campaign ever! I like the way we were following the mayor’s thoughts as he judged the crowd’s reaction. It was, as others have said, quite predictable that the Mayor would get his comeuppance but I guess that was intentional. If you’d wanted to you could have sown seeds of doubt (e.g. describing the fire starting to take hold). But there was a certain appeal for me in the anticipation and inevitability of the downfall. The only thing that didn’t ring true for me was the use of the word “glee” to describe the reaction at the prospect of the burning. For me it didn’t quite describe the bloodlust. Otherwise a very enjoyable read, many thanks.

    • Hi Michael, I also enjoyed this story. At first I was a little disappointed that it was more about the mayor, but I was happy when you later got into the head of Mistress Gowering (great name!). I only have one teeny tiny quibble: this sentence “The executioners each picked up a torch and lit it and held them against the kindling at the witch’s feet.” You can fix the it/them inconsistency with something like: “Each executioner picked up a torch, lit it and held it against …”

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