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
“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.
“Pain is very useful. It warns you of danger, teaches you of hazards and provides consequences for your actions.”
-Lisa Gardner, Fear Nothing
He turned on the lights and squinted in surprise. Cob webs covered the place from head to toe, but the light bulbs must have been replaced recently. He shivered. This was where they were meeting? He could only imagine: Dark writers had a strange fondness of odd places.
Carefully, he worked his way inside, making sure not to get the thin threads glued to his hair.
The chair creaked as he moved it…Or was that a different sound? He cocked his head.
Suddenly, the light flicked off and his head was jerked backwards. A terrified scream escaped his lips.
©2018, Friday Fictioneers 12 January 2018
“Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”