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Posts tagged ‘flash fiction’

Short Tuesday: Watching

He tried to remember who had talked him into this. His handed were slick with sweat. He dried them on his pants and continued to watch the door. No one was home yet. From his position, he could watch that door and the direction the family would be returning from.

He had been watching this house for weeks it seemed. That had been personal. And why it had been so easy to talk him into taking this job. He knew their Friday night routine. They went out for dinner at six. And returned at nine, almost on the dot. The father would have had two drinks at dinner, so would not be drunk but have a nice buzz. The mother was almost inconsequential. She would be quiet standing behind her husband. It was the daughter that held his interest.

She was the reason the father only had two drinks. She was the one that would get on to him that he shouldn’t drink and drive. She was the only one who seemed to have any fire in this family. And he wanted her.

He saw the headlights turn down the street, and his whole body tensed. He let out the warning signal they had decided on. And when he heard the answering call, knew his “friends” were getting ready to pull out of the house. They weren’t friends, he knew that. They just talked to him when they needed a lookout.

He stepped into the driveway as the car started to make the turn from the road. He would give them a few extra minutes to make their escape. Because he knew if they went down, none of them would have a problem taking him with them.

The father stepped out of the car first. And from the belligerent look on the man’s face, he thought he may have had more than those two drinks. “Who are you? What do you want?”

“My name’s Michael. I go to school with Amanda. I want to speak with you about taking your daughter to prom, Mr. Williams.”

The man sneered back at her daughter. “At least someone wants her. Yes, get her off my hands please.”

He wanted to kill the man. For the way he treated his family, and in particular for the way he treated his daughter. But, that would ruin all of his plans. So, instead he nodded a thank you and started past the car, pausing by the back door for a moment. Amanda would not even look at him though. She just didn’t know him yet, he convinced himself. He’d show her what she was missing. Then, she’d know.

***

 

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Short Tuesday: Run

I ran. I knew he would be coming back with that knife, so I ran. I didn’t know how much time I had before he returned. I didn’t even know where he was. He could be standing right outside. Just waiting for me to make a move at an escape. But, I had to take the chance. And I knew it wasn’t just me who would pay if I failed. I looked down at the little girl at my side. I had promised her I would keep her safe from monsters. I couldn’t let her down now.

“Come on,” I told her. “We’re getting out of here.”

“What if he catches us?”

I almost told her it didn’t matter. We’d be dead either way. But, that wasn’t what she needed to hear. “He won’t. Come on.”

We started to inch up the steps, and I reached for the door over my head. I knew it would creak. It had the last time he had come down into the basement to check on us. I had also realized there was no other way out of here. So, we had to go out this door.

I breathed in the fresh air as the door opened. Then, I peeked my head over the edge of the entrance and looked around. I could not see anyone. “Come on. It’s clear. We need to run.”

I lifted her out and set her on the ground before climbing out the last few steps. “Run.” I took her hand, and praying she could keep up, ran as fast as I could.

I heard the shout behind me. I knew she would not be able to keep up with me, so I swung the little girl into my arms and kept running. I didn’t know where we were. Didn’t know the best way to run. And I knew there was no way we would escape if someone else didn’t intervene.

I could hear him gaining on us and knew our chances of getting out of this were quickly fading. I set her down and pushed her forward. “Run. Get help.”

“But, what about you?” She asked, her bottom lip trembling.

“Don’t worry. Just get out of here.”

I watched as she turned and ran, as fast as her little legs could take her. Then, I turned and faced the monster from the worst of my nightmares. I knew I would die, but maybe at least she could be saved from this horror.

***

Short Tuesday: The Letter

It was Sunday, and there shouldn’t have been a letter in the mailbox, but there was. I don’t even know what had me checking it. I had a routine. I checked the mail when I got the kids off the bus. They don’t have school on Sunday either. So, why was I walking down the driveway to the mailbox?

I reached in and pulled out the envelope. Not a bill. That’s good at least. We got enough bills. Didn’t need one on Sundays as well. I didn’t recognize the writing on the envelope, and there was no return address. I turned it in my hands a couple times, but still could not figure out who it could be from.

There was no postmark. So where had it come from? Obviously not through the mail. Someone must have walked by and put it in the mailbox. Must have been what the dog was going crazy about while I was busy getting the kids breakfast that morning. Of course, that dog would bark at a leaf blowing by the house, so I hadn’t put much thought into it.

I was still examining the letter when I walked into the house. The kids looked up at me as I walked by the living room with it. My oldest jumped off the couch. “What is it? Is it for me? Is it from Daddy?”

I just shook my head. It was addressed to me, but I wouldn’t know more until I opened it. I took it into the kitchen, and uninterested now, my daughter went back to watching her cartoons with her brother.

I grabbed the letter opener and slit the top of the envelope. There was just a single sheet of paper. A coldness swept over me as I looked at it. Then, a scream ripped out of my throat, and the paper drifted to the floor.

Short Tuesday: On the Run

It wasn’t her fault.

That’s what she kept telling herself even as she looked over her shoulder. No one was following her. They probably hadn’t even found him yet. But, she couldn’t help checking again. Or finding what cover she could when she heard a car approaching on the road.

It was his fault.

He was the one who had come after her. All she had wanted was to be left alone. After so long of taunting her, of leering at her when he thought no one else was watching, he had made his move. And she had been prepared for this day. Had been sleeping with a knife under her pillow.

So, when he had slithered his way onto her bed, she had warned him once. When he didn’t leave, she closed her hand over the knife and gave him one more chance. But, he laughed at her. Laughed like he didn’t think she could actually do anything to him with that knife.

But, he didn’t laugh anymore when she shoved it into his gut. She hadn’t expected the blood that sprayed out at her. She shoved him off the bed and jumped to her feet, but not before getting sick all over the bed. She needed to get away. She knew she had to get away from there before anyone found him. Would they even believe her? Everyone liked him. Would they believe he would do such a thing?

She changed her clothes and slung a bag with more over her shoulder, taking the soiled clothes with her. She was nearly a mile away from the house when she found a dumpster to toss them. She had no idea where she was now. And she didn’t care. As she put more distance between her and the man she had killed, she told herself again: It wasn’t her fault.

***

Short Tuesday: Lost

She had been warned, but now it was too late. Why hadn’t she listened? Why did she have to follow him? She didn’t know her way through here. She just wanted to see where he kept disappearing to all the time. Why wasn’t she allowed to satisfy her curiosity.

All the girls were warned to stay away from these woods. Only the boys were allowed to go in them, and even they were warned not to travel too deep into the trees. “Kirwin, what are you doing out here?” She rubbed the skin of her arms as a chill ran through her.

She looked behind her, but she was alone. No one would ever have to know. And she couldn’t just turn back now. So, she took a step past the first of the trees. And her pulse picked up, knowing there was certainly no turning back now. She wasn’t even sure which way to go though.

She had seen Kirwin disappear into the woods at about this point. She wasn’t even sure what had made her decide to follow him tonight. Except that he had been so secretive over the last days. She needed to know where he kept going. What he was hiding.

A blast of cold washed over her as she moved through the trees. She shivered and wrapped her arms around her body. She shouldn’t be here. She should have listened. She shouldn’t have come in here. She turned around, but the way she had come looked completely different now.

Her heart raced. How was she going to get back out of here now? Tears glistened in her eyes. How was she ever going to get home now? She just wanted to go home. She turned in a circle, but she could not the path she had followed in here. “What am I going to do?” She cried and sank to the ground. “Why did I have to follow him.”

Then, she jumped to her feet as she heard a crash behind her. She spun around and saw someone racing toward her. She recognized the shape of his body, his face, his hair. “Kirwin! Where did you go? What are you doing out here?”

He didn’t answer her questions though. Instead, he grabbed her arm and pulled her along with him. “We have to get out of here. You should have never come.”

She wanted to apologize, wanted to ask more questions, but all she could do was try to keep up with him. He didn’t slow until they had broken through the woods and were in the clear again. Then, she collapsed to the ground. After taking a few deep breaths, she looked up at him. “What is that place, Kirwin? Why did it change after I went in?”

He just shook his head at her though. “It’s a place you need to stay out of. That’s it.”

She shrunk back from the anger in his voice and just nodded. “Come on,” he said, his voice gentler now. “I’ll get you home.”

Short Tuesday: Slamming Door

The door slammed behind him. He cringed but just kept walking. She obviously did not want him there anymore. So, he would not turn around and beg. Instead he walked to his car.

And he just sat behind the steering wheel. He had no desire to go anywhere. He wanted to be back in there with her. But, that made no sense, since she obviously did not want him anymore.

What had the fight even been about? He couldn’t remember now. He knew they’d both had a little too much to drink the night before. But, it wasn’t the first time. And they didn’t fight every time they drank. Just most of the times. He should be used to it. And she always let him back in. But, this time felt different. Very different.

She hadn’t been hungover this morning. Not like he was. No she had seemed stone cold sober when she told him she wanted him to leave. And she never wanted him to come back again.

He shook his head. He’d heard those words before. Many times before. But, there was something else in her voice this time. Something that told him she meant it this time.

He dropped his head to the steering wheel. He didn’t want to be without her. They must be meant for each other, since they could not stay apart. At least that’s what he always told himself. Even if they turned into uglier versions of themselves whenever they came together.

He shook his head and stepped back out of the car. He wasn’t going to let her use him like a yo-yo anymore. He would put a stop to that right now. He slammed the car door behind him and walked back up to the house.

***

Short Tuesday: House Hunting

They crinkled their noses, wondering what could make the room smell like this. “The house hasn’t been open in a while,” the realtor explained to the couple who followed him inside.

“That’s not the smell of a closed up house.”

“Thomas, maybe it’s nothing,” the woman beside him said.

But, he shook his head. “It’s definitely something. A house doesn’t smell like this if it’s nothing.”

The realtor was becoming increasingly nervous. The house had sat empty for so long and finally they’d had a pull on the line. If he didn’t reel in this couple, who knew how much longer it would just sit here. “I’m sure your wife is right, Sir. It just needs to be aired out.”

Thomas shook his head again but wandered through the entry way and into a living room. “It’s spacious,” he said, turning in a circle until he had taken it all in.

“Yes, there is lots of room in here,” the realtor assured him, perking up again. “Lots of room for those toys when that baby gets here.”

Thomas’ wife smiled and and rested her hands on her expanding belly. “Only a couple more months. We’re hoping to have a house before that.”

“Well, let’s take you through the rest of the house, so you can decide if it’s the one for you.”

They left the living room and the realtor led them toward the stairs. The woman hesitated. “I think I’ll just stay down here and wander around while you’re up there. If that’s all right.”

“Well, okay, but are you sure you don’t want to see what’s up there?”

“I trust Thomas to let me know what he thinks. If he likes it, then I’ll take a look.”

She headed off down the hallway as Thomas and the realtor started up the steps. They had just reached the second floor landing when he heard his wife scream. He turned and darted back down the stairs, following the sound of her cries. He found her in a bathroom, staring at the decomposing body laying in the bathtub. He fought back his own reaction to the sight and the smell and turned her to him. “Don’t look at it,” he told her.

The realtor came in behind them, and Thomas looked over his shoulder at the other man. “I told you it wasn’t a closed up house smell.”

***

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