Welcome to my online portfolio!

I'm a writer living in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was raised in rural Maryland, just north of Baltimore City.

Here you'll find short stories, sample articles, and publication links.

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The Button Girl -- Lute Graves Horror

     Lute Graves is my horror name. To better understand horror, I started writing short, scary stories and posting them online for feedback. Following are some of my short horror stories. I hope you enjoy them!



The Button Girl


The button girl crept from the closet on all fours. She snuck in the shadows to the foot of Sally’s bed and dragged herself upright, lurching in an uneven, shambled mess. A few loose buttons spilled from her onto the hardwood floor, but she remained mostly intact. Her smooth buttons clicked and clattered, as she gripped the bottom of the bedpost to keep upright.

Sally woke up, startled. Her face turned sharply towards the noise of the buttons on the wooden post. The little girl inhaled and froze, as she looked upon the button girl’s face, barely illuminated from the streetlights outside.

She was too terrified to move, but could only stare in horror. She saw red eyes surrounded by white buttons, yellow buttons for hair, and more that made up what looked to be clothes and skin.

The monstrous doll lunged and grabbed a hold of Sally’s foot.

The hand was cold, strong, and lumpy.

The little girl struggled, yanked her leg back, but the button girl held firm.

Sally found her voice and shouted, “Nana! Nana!”

In a few moments, the hallway light flicked on and her grandmother rushed into the room, her nightgown flowing at her knees.

Sally thrashed and threw the blanket and duvet, as her grandmother turned on the bedside lamp, illuminating the entire space in a warm, yellow hue. Sally’s leg was freed, but she found herself shaking in a fierce shiver and gasping for air. She looked to each corner of the room, but saw nothing and no one, except her grandmother looking her over and examining her pajamas and the bed.

“What is it, sweetie? Are you okay?” Nana pleaded.

Sally continued to look around the room confused and shocked.

It looked like there was no one. Yet, her foot still hurt from the grip of the buttons and her leg was sore from the tugging pull. Then, she looked down at her covers strewn from the thrashing motion she made trying to escape.

Finally, she looked into her grandmother’s bright eyes, unsure of what to say.

“There was –” she panted, “a monster, a doll who tried to get me.”

Her grandmother leaned in, “You’re flushed. Are you feeling alright?”

She felt the the young girl’s forehead and cheeks with the back of her hand.

“No,” Sally wailed.

Fists balled, she punched the bed and blankets at her side.

“Oh, come.” Nana pulled her in for a strong hug. The comforting scent of lavender made Sally cry a little, but she tried to hold it back.

“I’ll bring you some water, it was just a bad dream.”

“No!” Sally cried again, and stumbled half out of bed. She reached for her grandmother, “Don’t leave me,” she said, with more tears flowing.

“None of that,” the old lady responded, “It’s time to be a big girl. It’s an old house that has odd sounds and can make you have nightmares. Now that you’re awake, it’s time to calm down. Fix this bed up.”

Nana helped Sally straighten the covers.

“Lay down,” she commanded.

The little girl did as she was told, but sat up straight in bed, unable to calm down past stopping her tears.

            Her grandmother left the room. Sally listened as each step on the staircase brought her further and further from her. She sat, in terror, but nothing stirred. She waited, still as a stone, barely able to breathe, ready to leap and run at any moment, but the room remained silent.

The four minutes between her grandmother leaving to get a glass a water and coming back with it, felt like the longest minutes of her young life. Her mind exploded with possibilities and every inch of the bedroom made her feel terrified.

Nana returned with a glass of water. She stood by the bed with a hand on her granddaughter’s shoulder as she finished it.

Sally drank strangely, with eyes open, still scanning all corners of the room, and eyeing the closet door, nearly choking on it. When she had finished coughing, Nana looked her over once more and nodded.

“Now, that’s better. Call me if you need me again,” Nana said, “Good night.”

“Goodnight,” Sally squeaked, not wanting to upset her grandmother any further.

When she exited this time, Nana hit the switch by the bedroom door.

The side lamp flicked off, shrouding her in darkness again.

Sally stiffened and made an involuntary yelp. Her entire body fell cold and turned clammy.

In an instant she held her breath, jumped out of bed, and lunged towards the switch.

She didn’t make it. She hit the floor with her face, falling to the ground with a large thud.

When she looked back behind her, under the bed, she saw a hand that was made of buttons firmly holding her ankle.

Sally screamed. She kicked.

Her grandmother appeared again in the room in an instant.

“Sally!” she shouted, angrily.

She bent down and reached for the little girl, trying to pull her up. Under the bed, she then gazed upon the face of the doll and saw it twitch and hold onto her granddaughter’s leg.

 “Get off you monster!” she shouted angrily at the button girl.

It made no noise, and with all of her strength, she pulled Sally harder, this time freeing her.

Sally rushed to her feet.

The button girl awkwardly lunged at them from under the bed. Nana gave a swift and fierce kick to its face, causing it to fly back under the bed into a crumpled heap. She rushed Sally downstairs and out the front door.

They knocked feverishly on the neighbor’s door, both barefoot and in their bedclothes. The neighbor knew Sally’s grandmother for a long time, so he let them in with no questions asked.

Too shaken to say much, when the police arrived and all the grandmother could say that there was an intruder and she refused to go back home. It fizzled out, as they didn’t find anything.

Her son arrived to pick up Sally the next day. Before he left, probably to humor his mother and daughter, he helped search the house. but the three found nothing, except for a small pile of buttons on the floor near a bedpost.




Please see my other works under Lute Graves in print and within this portfolio 

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About Me

               My biggest inspiration for writing is David Sedaris. I listened to his 2004 essay collection: “Dress Your Family in Corduroy ...