Category Archives: Drama

Hostile Work Environment. Flash Fiction.

Fred watched as Jack shovelled more food into his mouth, the sound of lip smacking and chewing was all he could hear, a sheen of sweat coated Jack’s face, a thin skim of grease was just below his bottom lip. Jack opened his mouth obscenely wide to take another bite of food, the yawning maw drew Fred in, he said something around his mouthful of food, spraying crumbs across the table. It was disgusting watching him eat, his fat fingers grasping at his food, spouting off something ridiculous, it was easy to dismiss most of what Jack said, inane ramblings about religion and stories of sex acts that were too athletic for him to even dream of doing. “Fred?”
“What? Sorry. I was miles away.”
There was a pause in the conversation as everyone looked expectantly at him, “I was just thinking about last night.”
“Oh?” the way Fred’s beady eyes seemed to sparkle made Fred’s stomach clench a little, “And what would that be?”
Fred launched into his story, about him and Vanessa having mind blowing sex the night before, with a promise of more to come in the evening. He rattled off the story with ease, it wasn’t the first time he’d told a story like this and it wouldn’t be the last. It didn’t matter that it was a lie, they wouldn’t know he and Vanessa had spent a quiet evening at home watching TV with both falling asleep shortly after going to bed. He finished his story and the others were off, telling their own stories of sexual depravity. Frank let the stories wash over him, trying to ignore the constant smacking of Jacks lips. Finally lunch was over and Jack heaved himself out of his chair and plodded out of the room, everyone following behind. At their desks Fred split off and went to his own, thankful that he’d survived another lunch with them. He didn’t like any of the guys particularly but they were OK enough, the only one he couldn’t stand was Jack, the pompous, self-righteous asshole. As he started to work, Bob leaned around the short partition between their desks. “Did you hear about Jack?”
“No, what about him?”
“He’s getting taken to court again. Some woman accused him of grabbing her ass or something.” Fred rolled his eyes, “again? I don’t know why those women keep going after him.”
Bob nodded, “They’re probably just trying to get a payday out of him, hoping for some hush money so they’d just go away. They’re just greedy bitches.”
Fred chuckled and nodded. He knew the women were telling the truth, they all did. They’d seen the way Jack leered over the few women who worked in the company, the way he’d paw at their asses and breasts,. Everyone else seemed to treat it as a big joke, mostly because they knew Jack was untouchable, his father ran the company and had more than enough money to keep his son out of trouble. Fred had seen the pictures of the women accusing him, he knew it was more than a grabbing. He’d seen the large purple yellow bruises, the broken noses, the swollen-shut eyes. The only thing he could do was keep his head down. He knew what would happen if he said anything or showed anyone the pictures, they’d all turn on him, make him the bad guy and then before the week was out he’d be fired for contributing to a hostile work environment. For now all he could do was keep his head down, pretend to be one of Jack’s friends and hope for the best. He focused on his computer screen, it was better to just not think about it. If he was fired it would be almost impossible to get another job, not when he would be marked as someone who wasn’t a team player. He pulled open his drawer and pulled out a box an antacids, already he could feel that sour burn at the back of his throat and it was only getting worse. He popped a couple into his mouth and started chewing, hating the chalky feel of it in his mouth. He swallowed, the mixture giving a little relief but not much. He started typing, best thing he could do was just not think about it, keep his head down and do his job. It seemed to be the only way to survive these days.

Finished. Flash Fiction.

 

This always happened with Blake. He promised the moon and then he’d go and fuck it up some how. Kim looked at her phone again, he didn’t even have the decency to send her a text. No, it would go exactly as it always had, she would sit here alone like a jackass until Blake rushed in, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and a half late. He’d apologise profusely, give her some reasons like work or traffic and a promise that it wouldn’t happen again, even though they both knew it would. Kim drained the last few mouthfuls of wine from her glass, well she wasn’t going to wait around for Blake any more. If he couldn’t be bothered to be on time, she couldn’t be bothered to stay. She opened her handbag and took out her purse, she quickly counted out some money and left. As she navigated her way through the tables she half expected Blake to come rushing in, that would be a laugh, meeting him mid-storm out. She reached the door and stepped outside.

Kim started walking, her place wasn’t far, At least she hadn’t just waited, she let him do this to her every single time. She had been so proud of herself when she kicked him out of the apartment but she let him weasel his way back in, like she always did. Why did she always act so stupid around him? If someone told her even half the stuff Blake had done she’d have told them to dump him, but there was just something about him that always pulled her back. Well not this time, this time she was done. There would be no coming back from this, leaving her sitting there alone for half an hour, no response to her texts or phone calls and it was already supposed to be an apology lunch. She knew she’d been right to try and start off slow and he couldn’t even handle a simple, quick meal. At least the restaurant hadn’t been too busy so there weren’t many people there to see her being stood up. Her phone started ringing, Kim fished it from her handbag and looked at the screen, she rolled her eyes as she saw Blake’s name. No, fuck him. She silenced her phone and put it back into her bag. He didn’t care enough then, she didn’t care enough now. It was his turn to suffer and wait. She stopped walking, he’d probably come to her apartment next and when he did she’d probably let him in, after all she always had before. No, it would be better to go somewhere else, maybe get a drink or two. Surely one of the girls would be around to get a drink. She grabbed her phone again and sent a few texts, then she set off for the bar.

Three drinks later she was still alone. Everyone had been busy with work, Emma promised to come as soon as she could, but that could still be an hour or two away. She looked around the bar, at least she wasn’t the only one here drinking alone. She looked at her phone, Blake hadn’t rang or texted in over an hour now, surely it was safe to go home again. Kim felt a surge of anger, safe? No, who cared if he was there or not, she wouldn’t be chased from her own home. Kim grabbed her bag and left the bar.

As the elevator doors opened the reveal her hallway she expected to see Blake skulking around hear her door, looking all forlorn and pitiful but the hall was empty. “Good.”, her voice seemed too loud in the quiet. She walked towards her door, ignoring the small pang of disappointment. Part of her was looking forward to a confrontation, she could rip open all the old sores and let the emotional pus drain away. She let herself into her apartment, she stripped off her coat and let her bag fall to the floor. She stepped into the sitting room and froze. On the table was a large bouquet of flowers in a glass vase. She hadn’t had flowers, or a vase, when she had left the apartment this morning. She walked towards the flowers and picked up the small card. They were from Blake. She shook her head, she was such a moron, how could she forget she’d given him a key? The message was short, “I fucked up. Please, just one more chance. I love you.” she picked up the vase and walked to the bin, she threw the flowers in, then she emptied the vase of water and threw it away too. No. He wouldn’t change her mind. She was done. Done forever.

Curfew. Short Story.

Mary looked at her watch, it was almost six and there was still no sign of Tim yet, she looked out the window again, hoping she’d see his car turn onto their road. He had cut it late a few times before, but never this late, he only had fifteen minutes before curfew. Mary let the net curtain fall back into place and started pacing back and forth in the living room, her cup of tea sat on the small coffee table, forgotten about. He’ll be fine, of course he’ll be fine. Even if he doesn’t make it back it’s his first offense, they wouldn’t do anything for that, they’d let him off with only a warning surely. Mary stopped walking, a sudden memory made her stomach tense, she had said something similar a few months before when Johnny from across the street had missed his curfew. She had been sitting at Margaret’s kitchen table as Margaret dabbed at her tears with a sodden tissue, “They can’t just do that to him, he’s only a kid and it’s his first offense, they’re just trying to give him a scare, you’ll see, he’ll be back by tomorrow at the latest.” But tomorrow came and went with no sign of him, no one had heard from Johnny since that day. The phone started ringing, Mary jumped then ran for it, not noticing as her knee clipped the table and knocked over her teacup sending the milky brown liquid across the table, it steadily dripped down onto the white carpet.

“Hello? Tim?”
“Mary? It’s Sandra, is it a bad time?”
“No, sorry Sandra, I’m just a little worried, Tim isn’t back yet.”
“I’m sure he’s fine, Charlie was late back today too, he just got in a few minutes ago, said they kept everyone a bit late.”
Mary shook her head, “What? They can’t do that what if someone is caught outside after curfew because of it?” She gripped the phone tightly, the anger in her voice surprised even herself. “I know but what can they do? If they didn’t stay they’d be let go and, well, you know what would happen then.”
“Yeah.” She spat the word out, most of the anger was gone from her voice, but it was bitter.
“I just wanted to ring you about the barbeque this Saturday, we’re not going to be able to make it, Charlie’s dad is sick at the moment, they’ve taken him into hospital and we wanted to go visit.”
“Oh no I’m sorry to hear that, if you need anything let me know and let me know how he’s doing won’t you?”
“Of course, thanks Mary, I’ll see you at Julie’s thing next week and I’ll let you know how he’s getting on. I have to go get dinner finished up, try not to worry I’m sure Tim will be back any second.”
“Thanks Sandra, have a good evening.”
“Thanks you too.”
Mary hung up the phone, the knot in her stomach had loosened a little but not much. Tim was just running late then, that was all. It would be fine. She smoothed down the nonexistent wrinkles in her jeans with her hands, everything was going to be fine. She heard the noise of an engine coming down the road, before she realised what she was doing she was standing in the hall and peering out the window as the black car went by. For a brief, wonderful second she thought the black car was Tim’s and that he was finally home, then it went right by their driveway. There was someone else cutting it close, they must have been kept back late too. Most of the people in the area worked for the Jones Company, but rather than calming her the thought sped up the beating of her heart, if they did work with him, or at least for the same company, Tim should be here by now. She looked at her watch, only a couple more minutes until curfew, she stayed at the window, the netting gripped firmly in her hand as six passed by. At a quarter past she let the curtain fall and slowly walked into the kitchen. If he wasn’t home by now he wasn’t coming home. She sat down at the kitchen table, there were things she needed to do, things she needed to figure out but that all seemed so far away. All she could do for the moment was sit and let the reality sink in. Tim wasn’t home, that meant either he was caught or he was staying at someone else’s house, if that was the case he would have rang. If he was caught his job was gone at the very least and she wasn’t allowed work, how long would it take Tim to get another one? Assuming he was fine and even able to get another. How would they afford a lawyer for him? Things were tight enough as it was. If she couldn’t get him a lawyer that meant…her stomach clenched painfully, Mary sprung up from the chair, knocking it over, and raced to the sink. She made it just in time as she threw up, she turned on the faucet and let the water wash the vomit away. She rinsed her mouth out then splashed some of the cold water on her face. She needed to keep it together, keep calm, Tim needed someone in his corner right now, someone strong and it had to be her. There were things she needed to do, phone calls she needed to make. She walked to the phone then stood before it, afraid to pick it up. If she did then it would all be real. What was that? She froze, not letting herself hope, then there was that familiar click of the key turning in the lock and Tim was rushing in. Before the door was fully closed Mary flung her arms around his neck, kissing him, she pulled away, “Thank god! Thank god you’re all right I thought the worst, I didn’t know what to do I was beside myself.”
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. We were kept back and then I’d car trouble. I got a lift home with Eric, I tried to get away from him but you know what he’s like, I had to run back here, I thought I was going to get caught any second.” She pulled back from him slightly, noticing that he was breathing heavily and the thin sheen of sweat on his forehead for the first time. She was too relieved to be angry and she kissed him again. “I’m just glad you’re ok.”
Tim held her tightly and they stood, holding one another for a long time.

Without a Trace. Flash Fiction.

There was no point in trying to hang on any longer. It wasn’t even like there was anyone left to mourn him. His parents had died away three years ago, car accident, his father had a bit too much to drink and had played chicken with a tree. The tree won. His sister had died when he was five, he didn’t really remember her all that much, just bits and pieces here and there. His mother wouldn’t talk about her when she was still alive. His brother had gone missing just last year, went on a walk and just never came back. He had no friends, not anymore, not after he’d driven them all away one by one. The only person who might notice his absence would be his landlord, and that would only happen once the rent was late. If he was being honest with himself this was a long time coming, he’d been trying to build up the courage to do it for weeks and today just seemed like a good day for it.

He stood at the railings of the bridge, there were no cars around, the fog meant that most people had stayed in unless they had places to be. He looked over the edge, he couldn’t see the water though he could still hear it, muted and far away. He loosened his grip on the railing and with surprising care he climbed over it. On the other side, he leaned forward and with a final, slow breath he let go of the railings. The air whipped past him as he fell, filling his ears, then he hit the cold water and everything else vanished. The shock caused him to gasp, he inhaled the icy water, it burned as it filled his lungs. He started to struggle, trying to get himself to shore but his water logged clothes were too heavy and the cold water was sapping all his strength. With one final flail he went under and didn’t emerge. The current carried his body down the length of the river, occasionally it crashed into some rocks, but it never caught on any of them.

His body passed from the river and into the ocean, never to be seen again. Three weeks later his landlord would go to his place and find it empty, the fridge full of spoiled food and absolutely no sign of where he had gone. His landlord reported it to the police who gave a cursory search and within a few weeks he was forgotten, left to be nothing more than an occasional passing thought to those who once new him.

Fall of a Dynasty. Flash Fiction.

Jeremy looked at the ruby red blood, the way it shone in the light. Everything in the room faded into the background, he felt his stomach do a slow, lazy flip, then darkness fell.

He woke a few minutes later, feeling nauseous and confused, there was a cold cloth on his forehead, his father and mother stood over him, his father with worry in his eyes, his mother with disgust in hers.
“I thought you’d outgrown this”
“So did I.”
His mother shook her head and walked away, his father sat on the edge of the couch, “are you feeling ok? Do you want anything?”
“No, thank you. You should go after her, try to calm her down.”
his father grimaced, “We both know I’ve never really been able to do that, she’ll calm herself.”
Jeremy closed his eyes, somewhere in the house his mother slammed a door, both of them winced. “Maybe I should go have a word with her…She still loves you you know.”
“I know.”
“It’s just she so wanted to share this with you.”
“I know dad. It’s fine.”
Jeremy could feel the thread of guilt gnawing at him, it was just a bit of blood, that was all, but every time he saw it he passed out.
His father stood, “Are you sure I can’t get you anything?”
“Yeah dad” He looked at his fathers back, he was already scurrying from the room before he had even started to answer. Jeremy sat up slowly, already he was feeling better, he didn’t know what his mother had done with the blood, but he wouldn’t be surprised if it was smeared over his sheets, or walls. It wouldn’t be the first time it happened, when he was ten she had rubbed a bloody cloth in his face in an apparent attempt to cure his phobia. There was also the time she had thrown some on him while he was in the shower, arguing that it wasn’t a big deal because “It washed off anyway.” He knew she meant well deep down, she always put him first and she always had.

Somewhere in the house he could hear his mother screeching, he couldn’t make out the words but he didn’t need to. She was comparing him to his sister, dead for almost ten years now and still the child his mother loved the most. He would never compare to her no matter what he did, even when she was alive he was always second best. She’d been killed while she had been out alone, his mother insisted it was just an accident but Jeremy knew better. She had tried to kill someone and had obviously chosen the wrong victim, though no one ever stepped forward to claim responsibility. If only he could be more like her, if only he wasn’t effected by the blood. Their mother had been proud to pass on her families traditions, the matriarch of a great dynasty and now that would all end with him. How could he pass on the traditions to his own children if he couldn’t even do them himself. It was their god given right to thin the herd, to make the world a better place, but he was just too weak to do it. He smiled bitterly, he wasn’t the only child that was too weak for the job.

The screeching died down, no doubt she was sobbing now, it always ended with sobbing. He felt the familiar twist of guilt in his stomach, it was all his fault after all. He was the problem. He stood from the couch and made his way upstairs, his head down and his shoulders hunched. He opened the door to his bedroom, half expecting the room to be covered in blood, but it was as he left it. He gently closed and locked the door, it wouldn’t keep her out, but it would make it a little harder for her to get in.

He lay in bed unable to sleep, staring into the darkness, he had escaped punishment tonight, but it would come eventually, it always did.

In the Silence. Flash Fiction.

Beth could feel the bead of sweat rolling down her face, she brushed it away and took a sip of her water. She was sitting on a deck chair in the back garden, the sun shining down on her. It was another scorchingly hot day and there was no sign of things cooling off anytime soon. She looked down at the garden trowel that was lying in a patch of grass, she had intended to get some gardening done, but the short break was turning into a much longer one. It was far too hot to be doing any real physical labour today, and there was no rush on getting the place cleaned up a little. Jeremy would nag her about it later, but it wasn’t like he ever spent any time in the garden anyway. Hell, she could probably just tell him she’d done a few bits and he’d just smile and nod. Inside the house there was a crash, Beth sighed, it was probably that damned cat knocking stuff over. Jeremy had brought it home a few months before, and while it was friendly enough it enjoyed knocking things off the counter tops. She stood up and went inside, in the kitchen she quickly scanned for anything broken, then she went into the sitting room. Still nothing. She went upstairs and had a quick look around, everything seemed fine. She shook her head, maybe the noise was from next door. She stood on the landing, she hadn’t seen the cat either, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything, it was always hiding away.

Beth sat down in the chair and leaned back, closing her eyes, enjoying the sun. The argument next door was getting into full swing, from what she could tell someone, most likely Sarah, had broken a plate, maybe a glass. What ever it was they were really laying into each other. Beth took a sip of her water, it felt like it was wrong to listen, but then she couldn’t exactly ignore them at the volume they were shouting at. After a minute it seemed to die down, Beth suspected something else would kick things off again soon, they always fought terribly when it was hot. They fought when it was cold too, but to Beth’s relief it was usually harder to hear.

Beth put her book down, sighing, they were off again, though she had missed what had set them off this time. She heard a heavy, muted thump, then silence. She felt her heart beating heavily in her chest, should she say something? What would she even say? As far as she knew it had never gotten physical between them before, but then she never paid all that much attention to them either. What if she was wrong? What if he hadn’t hit her? Silence fell again, she felt herself relaxing a little, maybe she had misheard the noise, she was probably just overreacting. She heard someone stepping into the back garden next door, followed by the flick of a lighter, after a second the scent of cigarette smoke wafted over the wall. After a few seconds she could hear someone softly crying on the other side of the wall. Beth stayed still unsure what to do. A few minutes later she heard whoever it was go back inside. Beth took a sip of her drink, a thin sliver on unease moving its way through her stomach. Should she have said something? But then she might only have made things worse. She felt too hot sitting out in the sun and her stomach was feeling off. Beth gathered her things and moved them inside, the house wasn’t any cooler than outside but she felt better. She flicked on the radio and allowed the music to fill that dreadful, heavy silence.

A Perfect End to a Perfect Night. Short Story.

Scott walked with his head down and his hands in his pockets, it had been a long night and not nearly as fun as it was supposed to be. He’d struck out with Casey, who’d disappeared halfway through the night with some random guy, they had been flirting on and off for the past few weeks and the night that he was finally going to make a move she goes and hooks up with someone else. He shook his head, it was his own fault really, he should have bit the bullet and asked her out last week when they’d been in the library after everyone else left, it was the perfect moment. He had no one to blame but himself, if he had just manned up and asked her none of this would be happening. He let out a sigh, next time he’d ask her, after all the worst she could do was say no. A drunk couple stumbled passed him, they were laughing uproariously about something and hanging onto each other for balance and support, he smiled a little and continued walking, at least he wasn’t off his face like they were, he’d decided to limit himself to only a few drinks. The last few months had been heavy on the alcohol and he felt good giving it a bit of a break, and it would be nice to wake up with his memory in tact.

Scott walked a little faster, he had gone past the crowds of people and was now alone, he always hated this part of his walk home, it always felt creepy. Part of him wanted to listen to music, something happy and upbeat, but he knew that would be a bad idea. You never know who you might run into in places like this, easy enough place to mug people, no one else around, quiet enough, lots of little side streets to hide in or run through. It had been a while since he heard of anything really bad happening, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t.

He let himself into the house and made his way upstairs, in his room his stripped down to his boxers and got into bed, he lay there for a few minutes before getting up again, he threw on some pyjamas and went downstairs. In the kitchen he grabbed a can of beer and went into the sitting room, he wasn’t feeling all that sleepy and it’d be a while before the others were back.

He cracked open his third beer then looked at the time, he was surprised that the others weren’t back yet, maybe they’d gone somewhere else after, wouldn’t be the first time. He was halfway through his can when there was a heavy banging on the door. Scott sighed, at least he was still awake, he got up and went to the door, they were always forgetting their keys. He opened the front door and looked around, no one was there. He closed the door over, maybe it was just some drunk who realised they were at the wrong house and ran, that or some drunk teens playing stupid games. He went back to the sitting room, he jumped as there was a sudden knock on the window, he looked out but saw no one standing there. His head whipped around as there was another knock at the far window, again there was no one there. He sat, frozen on the couch as the knocking moved around the house, whatever it was was banging heavily on the windows and they seemed to be going in a full circle. It had to be the others fucking with him, it was too weird to be anything else. He could feel a thin coating of sweat on his forehead and upper lip, his heart thudded heavily, he took a slow breath. He just needed to stay calm, it’d be over in a second and they’d all come pouring in, laughing their asses off. The knocking made it to the front door, then it was at the window. Scott watched as the glass shook under the heavy pounding, but still he could see no one, not even a hand. Then, just as suddenly as it began, the knocking stopped. Scott waited, but there was only silence. Finally he started to relax a bit, he stood and moved closer to the window, who ever was fucking with him was doing a good job of it, they had him going. He cupped his hands around the glass and peered out into the garden, he had to admit it was a clever trick, but that’s all it was. He scanned the shadows, looking for whoever it was, but the garden appeared empty. What ever it was hit the glass again, Scott jumped back with a yelp, it felt like whoever was hitting the glass was aiming at his face. Scott turned and ran from the sitting room, the pounding stared again on the door, he could hear it shaking in its frame, he raced up the stairs and ran into his room, locking the door behind him. Below him there was a crack, then another, there was a loud bang, and then there was silence. His phone, he needed his phone, he reached for his jeans and pawed through them, it wasn’t there, Shit. He’d brought it downstairs, it was sitting on the arm of the sofa.

Scott listened intently, there was no one coming up the stairs, they always creaked terribly, whoever or what ever it was might just grab a few things and leave. There was a knock on the door, gentle, almost tender. Scott let out a strained high pitched sound, the door handle began to move back and forth slowly at first then with increasing speed, the banging returned, this time louder, harder. Then it all stopped. The handle slowly twisted, then there was a faint click and the door swung open, revealing an empty hallway. Scott scrambled backwards until his back hit the wall. He could feel something gently rubbing against his cheek, it almost felt like fingers, but they were abnormally hot. There was pain on his cheek, dull and throbbing, it grew in intensity, becoming white hot, he could hear his skin sizzling, smell it burning, the pain was all encompassing, there was nothing left in the world but that awful, incredible pain. His fingers ripped at his cheeks as he screamed, his nails tearing bloody gouges into his skin. When it was over Scott lay on the ground in a puddle of gore, his body a patchwork of gouges and burns, the door to his room closed with a gentle click.

Body Snatcher. Short Story.

“How many times have you died now?”
“I’m not sure, it’s hard to keep track.”
“How do you lose track?”
“It all blurs into one after a while. I kept a log book for a while, it’s around here somewhere if you want to dig it out, but really I don’t see why that’s important.”
“It’s important because it has to be having some effect on you, if not physically then mentally, the human brain isn’t supposed to experience death over and over again, eventually something is going to give.”
“I’m not the only one doing this you know, and they all seem fine.”
“Seem being the word there. What do you know about any of them? Nothing but a fake name and a bunch of words on a screen. For all you know they could be batshit crazy.”
“Trust me, they’re telling the truth. I’ve met a few of them, not them physically obviously, but I would have spotted something wrong.”
“You’re being way too relaxed about this, it’s dangerous, how many times have you almost died?”
“Uh, six, maybe seven? Not that many in the grand scheme of things, I think that’s a pretty low rate really.”
“Low rate? Anything is too high. What happens if you can’t fix it? What happens if your body dies while you’re not in it?”
“I don’t know.”
“Exactly and that’s the problem, no one does. Everything will keep being fine until it isn’t, one day this is going to catch up with you. How many people do you know that have just disappeared? No one ever heard from them again?”
Jessica shrugged, “A couple.”
“And how long until it happens to you?”
“That’s the thing though, it won’t happen to me. I’m good at what I do, I’m better than them at the very least.”
“Oh, so that’s supposed to be reassuring is it? Your judgement that everything is fine? Would you trust an addict telling you they have their drug use under control? No. No you wouldn’t. This is the exact same, how long has it been since you’ve taken a break? No, you don’t need to answer, I already know, it’s been three years. You haven’t gone a single day without using it in three goddamned years. And what am I supposed to do? Just sit around waiting, scared out of my mind that you won’t come back, that your heart will stop beating, that any number of people will finally track you down. I can’t do it anymore. I won’t. I’m not going to do that to myself.”
“Wait, you can’t leave, I need your help with this stuff, it’s safer with two people.”
Jack laughed, “you don’t even care that I’m going do you? You just want someone here to watch over you. That’s all I am to you isn’t it? Just a glorified babysitter. I’m done. You’re on your own.”
He picked up a small bag, “Wait, you can’t go yet, what about the rest of your stuff?”
He shook his head sadly, “I’ve been moving my stuff out for the last week. I though maybe it would help snap you out of it. Did you even notice that the fucking couch was gone?”
“I’m doing an important job, these people need me. I have to do it.”
“There’s always going to be a reason to keep going, you’ll always find a way to justify it. Well I can’t justify it anymore.”
Jack turned and left, “You can’t do this, I need your help! I need you.”
the door closed with a gentle click that seemed to fill the entire room. Jessica stayed sitting, she was too exhausted to stand, not that she would chase after him even if she could. He was just being dramatic, that was all. He’d be back sooner or later. He had always come back before. Besides, he was wrong, she could stop if she wanted to, but she was doing important work. She couldn’t just bail and leave everyone else hanging, as it was their numbers were too low already.

Jessica sat back, then paused, did she really want to do this without a spotter? It was important work, but doing it alone could be dangerous, what if something happened? Maybe he was right, was she addicted to it some how? She couldn’t lie to herself, there was a definite rush, both in going and coming back, and it was certainly exciting, more exciting than her real life could ever be. No, she wasn’t doing this for herself, she was doing it for others, to help people. She closed her eyes and pressed the button. A sudden spike of pain ripped through her head, then it was gone, replaced with euphoria. She opened her eyes and looked around the strange room, sunlight was pouring in from a nearby window, the air smelled of roses and lilac, everything seemed a bit brighter here, better. She could still feel the waves of euphoria washing over her, not as strong as before but they wouldn’t stop until she went back. She moved closer to the window and peered at her reflection in the glass, she was a man this time, about mid-thirties, he wore a suit and had short black hair. She didn’t recognise him, mentally she cursed at herself, she hadn’t done her work beforehand, she had been too upset about Jack, she hadn’t read up on the guy. Well, it wasn’t the first time she had to figure out stuff on the fly. She turned and scanned the room, it looked like a hotel room, and it seemed as though she was alone, “Hello?” Her voice was deeper than she expected, she took a slow breath, the voice sounded normal to her, but it still might sound off to others. She wanted to search through the room, see if she could find anything, but it could be bugged. She went to the wardrobe and pulled out his suitcase, she rifled through it quickly, pretending to be looking for something. There was nothing strange or unusual in the suitcase.
Jessica left the room, in the end it didn’t really matter who this guy was, she would figure out what was going on, she was here for a reason, and she always figured it out in the end. She could feel the thought bouncing around in her head, he had a meeting soon. Smiling slightly she made her way down the hall and got into the elevator, as it went down she closed her eyes and allowed the waves of euphoria to wash over her, already she could feel herself letting go of her worry and anger over Jack. It didn’t matter, he didn’t matter. All that mattered what this.

Resolution. Flash Fiction.

Justine stood in the hallway, she took short, shallow breaths, any attempt to breathe deeply resulted in a coughing fit. The house smelt of damp and rot, of old milk and over it all a heavy stench of stale cigarette smoke. The walls were smoke-stained and rubbish was still strewn about the house. She moved deeper into the house, carefully navigating her way through the crowded hallway, her hip brushed against a wall table and the unsteady stack of papers on it fell to the floor, she ignored it as she moved deeper into the house.

She paused in the kitchen, the linoleum flooring which was once white was now a mottled brown, pots and pans were stacked in the sink, bowls and glasses were on the counters in precarious piles. She glanced at the door to the basement and shuddered, she wouldn’t be looking in there. She turned from the kitchen and made her way back to the hallway, there she climbed the stairs and checked the other rooms. Each room was filled with debris, piles of clothes and food wrappers, stacks of newspapers, unopened boxes of cheap things ordered from infomercials and as always, angel statues stared down at it all from their shelves.

Justine looked into the bedroom then turned and made her way back downstairs. There were no keepsakes she wanted from this place, no reminders. Outside she breathed in the fresh air, then she grabbed the petrol can from the car and she went back inside. She started in the kitchen, first she poured it over the door to the basement, she didn’t want to unlock it. As she splashed it about the kitchen she could hear something moving below, she didn’t stop. Once the kitchen was doused she went upstairs and threw some into the bedrooms, then a trail down the stairs and out the door.

Justine threw the petrol can back into the house, then she took out a box of matches, she carefully lit the petrol trail on fire. She watched as the fire spread into the house then she moved away. She waited, watching the thick black smoke billow into the sky, feeling the heat of the fire against her skin, the roar as it consumed the house. Finally it came, a shrill scream from inside the house, it hurt her ears but Justine waited until it finally stopped, then she turned from the burning building and got into her car. She drove away without looking back, what ever that thing in the basement was it was finally gone and it would never hurt anyone again.

Every Year. Flash Fiction.

Jason stood in the centre of the clearing, a faint breeze rustled the leaves of the trees around him. He pulled his jacket a little tighter, it wasn’t a cold day, but it would get colder. Right on time Todd ran into the clearing, he stumbled and tripped over a tree root that was no longer there. As always Jason studied him carefully, everything about him was pale and washed out, like a photograph faded by the sun. Todd rolled over and started scrambling backwards, Jason couldn’t see what he was trying to get away from. Todd’s mouth opened in a scream as a bright red tear was opened along his stomach, more opened on his arm as he tried to shield himself. Jason watched as more and more cuts and scratches appeared. Todd floated into the air, dragged upwards by his arm, his face screwed up in pain. He was thrown partway through the clearing, his body stopping mid-air before collapsing to the ground. Jason had cut down the tree several years ago, hoping it might do something to alleviate his friends suffering. Todd lay on the ground, his chest rising and falling slowly. Jason moved closer and sat beside his friend, reaching out he grabbed Todd’s hand and Jason felt a deep cold move through his body. He could hear Todd whimpering and groaning in pain. Todd looked up at Jason, he frowned faintly, his face stained in blood that was too bright against his skin, it almost looked like paint, “Jason? Where did it go?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be ok, help will be here soon.”
“I didn’t see where it went, it’s still here somewhere, oh god it’s going to kill us both.”
“Just try to stay calm, it isn’t going to get us. I took care of it. Everything will be ok, I promise.”
He sat in the clearing for hours, Todd fell in and out of consciousness, Jason kept promising that help was coming, it would be just a little longer. Finally Todd closed his eyes one last time, then he faded from view leaving nothing but a few streaks of blood on Jason’s hand. Jason stood, his muscles sore and stiff, he shivered despite the sun still shining above. He wiped at the tears that were falling, he felt drained, empty. He had taken care of the creature himself the day it happened, pure dumb luck really. He had been holding a gun and the creature pounced on him, in his surprise Jason accidentally fired, the bullet going directly through the creatures head. It had taken him a while to get out from under it and longer again to find Todd, who had passed away shortly after he arrived.
He came back on the anniversary, not really knowing why, just that he had a strong need to return. The first time Todd had stumbled from the woods he had screamed and then tried to talk to him, Todd was more defined then, not as faded. No matter what he said or did Todd could never see him, not until after he was thrown at the tree. Jason returned every year and would until either he died or Todd faded away completely. So far he had been unable to change things, unable to stop them, he could only watch and then be a comfort to his dying friend.

Jason took one last look around the clearing, it was starting to get dark, “I’ll see you next year.” He turned and started the walk back to the car.