Playing With Fire

“I can’t believe we’re finally twenty-one,” she said softly. 

I shook my head mutely. It had been a long wait. I looked over at her, about to smile at her, but something caught my eye.

Her face was caught in the flame of her sparkler. She looked mesmerized.

“Mia?”

She stared at the flame for a second longer, then slowly lifted her eyes. There was a strange smile twisting at the corners of her lips. Something about it made me shiver with unease.

Then I shook my head. This was my sister. My best friend.

“We need to do it tonight,” she said in a low voice.

“Do what?” The alarm bells in my head went off again.

“We’ve talked about this, Izzy,” her voice still soft and gentle. “I have fake ID’s. We’ll just set up new identities for ourselves.”

I opened my mouth, but no words came out. 

“It’s now or never,” she said, as the last flame danced across her sparkler and went out. We were standing in complete darkness now.

“Mia…” I started. “I was just angry at the time. We can’t do this.”

There was silence, but I felt the air vibrate with anger around me. 

“If you don’t help me, I’ll do it on my own.” Her voice came through gritted teeth. “But remember, you’ll have to pay the price.”

© 2019

Image from free photo stock Pixabay.com

Numb

Her head was spinning. Her knees felt like jelly and she could barely stand. She was still panting from running.

She couldn’t believe it. 

All those late nights and whispered thoughts. He’d been the only one she’d ever trusted. The only one she thought deserved to know the whole story.

She still remembered his ragged breathing as she’d whispered the words. Her back had been to him and it had been dark, but she’d known he was wide awake. Known he was hanging onto every word she said. Known the pain he was feeling, because she had experienced that same pain for years and years. 

She hadn’t felt it since she’d met him. Had been as close to happy as she was ever going to come. Numb, was what he’d sometimes angrily called her when he couldn’t get a response from her.

She swore and started shaking. Where the hell was the train? 

It was so dark in the station and she wondered yet again, why they never bothered putting on any lamps at night.

A tear ran down her cheek. She was shaking uncontrollably now. Her anxiety had finally returned. Yet the pain hadn’t, she realized somewhere deep down. 

Finally the announcement came. The train thundered into the station. 

She threw herself inside, just as she heard his voice echo through the station.

“Em!”

She flinched at the sound, then slowly turned around to face the closing doors.

He was running full speed towards the train. 

No, she thought and backed up, horrified that he was going to make it.

“Em! You don’t need to run no more!” She couldn’t detect whether it was anger or disappointment in his voice.

She let out a sob. She was going to have to run for the rest of her life, she thought, as she sank into a seat.

He wasn’t going to make the train. Just as the train lurched forward, he reached it.

Breathless, he yelled one last time. “He’s dead, Em! He can’t hurt you anymore!”

Because you killed him, she thought, as the tears streamed silently down her scarred face.

© 2019

Image from free photo stock Pixabay.com

Proud to be Reader’s Choice of October!

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.

Another creak.

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 firing. 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.


Keep reading this story at didcotwriters.wordpress.com


Darkness

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.

©2018

Image from free photo stock Pixabay.com

The Crack of a Floorboard

“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.

©2018

Sunday Photo Fiction, May 13, 2018