Let the Games Begin
Reader Margaret Gallop said:
A nervy description of feelings with a menacing ending.
3am. She couldn’t remember what had woken her.
She sat up. Just a bad dream? She strained her ears. No, there was a siren in the distance. She was about to growl at the injustice of life and go back to sleep, when she heard a creak.
She froze. Her arm was still suspended holding the corner of her blanket. She had no cats; she lived alone in a three-room apartment.
She dropped the blanket and pulled herself into a foetal position.
Two more creaks, each one closer than before.
She wanted to scream, but stuffed her fist into her mouth. She’d done a self-defence class once, but how would she know where to punch the guy in the dark?
Light. The synapses in her brain finally started to ring. She put her hand to the switch.
There was a squeak as the door handle was pushed down.
She hit the light. Nothing happened. Hit it again and again, but nothing. She swore. When had the light bulb died on her? She didn’t know.
He bent down on the wooden planks, his old bones creaking as he leaned towards the shoes.
The material was a faded grey, washed far too many times. He remembered wanting to throw them out. He almost had, he remembered smiling. But then she’d begged him. Pleaded with her wide emerald green eyes that he couldn’t resist. She had the same eyes as her mother.
Slowly, he sat down, the shoes still in his hand. He stared out into the garden.
The old swing set, slightly moving in the cold morning air. How many times he’d pushed her. Higher and higher. She’d always been adventurous. Always in search of new things to know and to do. He’d always thought a thirst for knowledge was better than climbing the sides of mountains. So he’d let her be the journalist she’d always dreamed of being.
Of course she couldn’t just be the kind to write about the local life. She had to get out there. War journalism was far more up her alley.
“Come back inside, darling. Maybe it’s not even her.” His wife put a light hand on his shoulder.
He looked at her and held the shoes up. “She left these behind.”
©2018, FFftPP Week #41
Photo from August MorgueFIle 2018 1415390688o66bl
She could only see the soft glow of the lantern ahead of her. It was disquieting. She’d always loved the darkness, but tonight it felt unsettling. Fear of the dark was one of the most widespread fears, she remembered reading once.
As she hurriedly moved along the street, her hoodie pulled tightly around her body, she felt the shadows shift. She shivered and kept her gaze straight ahead. She didn’t have that much further to go. Just a few more corners.
Then she left the cover of the streetlight. The paths darkened again. There was no lantern around here, but she’d always thought that was the cool part of her journey. No one could see her, as though she were a part of this darkness. Not tonight. Tonight the darkness was even darker and she was no longer a part of it.
She thought back to their argument. She couldn’t even remember how it had started. Who had started it. But it didn’t matter anymore.
All that mattered was that she had to get away from him.
She thought she was almost safely at home when she heard the footsteps behind her. She broke into a run.
Image from free photo stock Pixabay.com
“Bad things happen and then they’re over, but where do they go?”
-Megan Abbott, The Fever
“I get sad every time I hear a person say ‘I don’t read.’ It’s like saying ‘I don’t learn,’ or ‘I don’t laugh,’ or ‘I don’t live.'”
“Good writers know that crime is an entre into telling a greater story about character. Good crime writing holds up a mirror to the readers and reflects in a darker light the world in which they live.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the back of an elephant before,” she whispered amused, nudging him with her arm.
He didn’t reply.
She turned her torch back toward him. “Everything okay?”
He wasn’t looking at her. His eyes were fixed on something behind her, his brows creased.
A knot of unease formed in her stomach. She didn’t want to turn around. “What’s there?”
He opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out. Her stomach flipped. She couldn’t turn around. It was like she was frozen in place. “What is it?” she whispered again, fear shaking her voice.
“Your father,” he finally replied.
Behind her she heard the crack of a floorboard.
She spun around.
Sunday Photo Fiction, May 13, 2018
“Indecision is the key to flexibility.”
“There was nothing more dangerous than people convinced of their own good intentions.”
She was walking down the street, whistling to herself. Night had fallen quickly, but she was almost home. She threw her head back and stared at the sky. Stars were sprinkled across it randomly, but it was as though a thousand eyes were watching her, smiling down at her. She smiled back.
She turned off the street and entered the woods. She didn’t usually like the forest much, but it was only a short walk and faster than taking the long way around. Today, however, she felt strong and confident.
Suddenly, she felt something curl around her wrist, then she was yanked backwards. Her mouth opened in shock. This was not how the night was supposed to end.
It was so dark; she only saw the silhouette of a tall man. Then she felt the shove right before she tumbled backwards onto the ground. The twigs snapped beneath her and her hands hurt as she caught herself. She tried to push herself up.
All of a sudden something hurtled through the air and she felt the force of the blow right before she blacked out.
The sounds were the first to return. She thought she heard soft scuttling and was reminded of the time her little sister kept a pet mouse and hid it in her room. The same panic as back then shot through her now. She hated small animals, as her sister had perfectly well known.
As feeling returned to her limbs, she realized the ground beneath her was hard and uneven. It reminded her of the few times she’d gone camping with her family. The smell of dirt filled the air. Normally, she would have inhaled this and thought summer was almost here, but all she felt now was dread. Where was she?
When her eyes finally opened, everything was black.