Afreet #DearDiary #AtoZChallenge

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Afreet – a powerful jinn or demon from Arabian and Muslim mythology

Dear Diary,

My eBay parcel has arrived! A whole two months after ordering and having the delivery date continuously set back. I wasn’t expecting to never receive it, thinking I’d fallen into a scam again but no! I opened the parcel and inside was the box! And it’s a perfect addition to my collection.

It’s so pretty, all cherry wood with intricate inlaid design of flowers, leaves and swirls. It’s bigger then both my hands put together, so a medium size then. It’s hard to tell the age but it must be old because it’s smooth to the touch and looks quite worn down. There’s damage to one corner, it’s cracked and chipped but it’s at the back so can be hidden.

I went to open it but couldn’t not! There was a tiny keyhole lock and of course, no key to be found! Disappointed but determined, I got some tools out and after a few minutes I had broken the lock.

The hinges were old too but silent as I opened the box. Inside, was all wood and a darker colour from the outside which showed how time had aged things.

I smiled, thankful it had arrived safely but then a sort of thick, dark red mist rose up from the box! There was a strong gust of air, I dropped the thing and tumbled backwards. I hit my head on the edge of the sofa and as I sat up rubbing the growing bruise, I saw a form taking place above the coffee table.

I was too shocked to cry out or anything, I just carried on watching as before me appeared a huge red demon ? His massive black curly horns bashed into the ceiling, He had no hair, his eyes with gold coloured and the size of dinner plates. His body was all rippling with muscles and they were so pronounced I could count them all clearly! His hands and fingers were long and claw like. From his hips downwards was a tornado of red smoke which twisted down to a sharp point.

He was heavily decorated with gold jewelry; chains as thick as his arms were around his neck and waist, huge hoop earrings hung from dropped lops and touched his shoulders. Around his wrists and arms were so many bracelets and cuffs it was hard to see his red skin underneath! On his claws were many rings, some were solid but others had gem and precious stones inlaid.

An almighty laugh echoed out of him which shook my house like an earthquake. He seemed very pleased about something. He curled his hands up and rose them to the ceiling as he threw his head back, horns scraping the ceiling and raining down bits of plaster.

I wet myself with fear. I hate to admitment that, Diary but it’s true. I thought I had released the Devil himself! I hide behind the sofa, shaking and with my hands over my ears because his laughter was deafening and sounded like that of an insane man. There was no time to think or do anything. Not that I could have done if I was capable.

The laughter faded then the sofa was tossed aside as if it was little more then child’s rag doll. The demon looked me down, puffing out mega lung fulls of breath.

‘Don’t hurt me! I’m sorry!’ I cried.

‘Bow to me mortal!’ the demon’s voice boomed.

I nodded and pressed my head to the carpet. What else was I meant to do?

‘I am an Afreet, a Jinn and you have released me after a hundred years of being stuck in that box.’

‘A genie? Like in a super being who grants wishes?’ I questioned to myself.

‘No. I am a demon of the underworld,’ replied the Afreet, ‘and now I am free once more to reap chaos on the world!’

He laughed that horrible victorious laugh once more then explode out of living room. My house crumpled like a bomb had hit it. I dashed out of the hole the Afreet had made and into the street. I tripped over something and lay dazed in the middle of the road.

My house was obliterated and nothing more then a pile of bricks and broken glass. The firebridge said it must have been a gas leak or an unexploded World War 2 bomb that had been missed and just triggered itself.

Recovering in hospital and now resting in this hotel room, I decided to write this true account of what happened. Where the Afreet is now I have no idea but I know he was real and soon we will feel the chaos.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2020/04/atozchallenge-2020-anamnesis.html?fbclid=IwAR1f82CLEmAg_AoRywI2FIKGN-OBFnOj7yuGd_JVWiayKcigQmzAADB2L0E thanks.

It’s that time of year again! It’s the April A-Z challenge. I’m sticking with my normal theme of discovering words. I hope you enjoy reading all my stories this month and like me, learn some new words along the way).

Lock It Away #FFftPP

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I want to lock it away. I want to forget. If it’s locked away I might forget. I want things to go back like before. I want it to have never happened. I want to forget. I will forget, I must forget….

Lock it away, lock it up well and lock it all away forever. It can never come out again. No one must ever know nor find the door or the key. Keep it all hidden, keep it safe. Help me to forget. Lock it away. Lock it away!

Throw the key into the sea. Throw the door after it and IT too! Let the sea claim it. Or, bury the key and the door in the ground. Deep in the ground as deep as the dead. Never to return again. Never to be seen again or thought about. I must forget….

Out of sight, out of mind. Lock it away. Melt down the key, put the door through a wood shredder and blow up the walls. Reduce it all to ruin, wipe it off the face of the Earth. Let me forget it, let me go! Go far forever!

Lock me away!

I must forget….

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2020-week-13/ with thanks).

Rock God #FridayFictioneers

Tank looked up at the statue of a sliver car with the words ‘Rock Rogers’ scrawled across the side whilst his breathing echoed in the protection filter mask.

The earth’s ground air was too poison to breath and the humans that had survived through the V-Plague of the late twenty-first century now lived underground and the sky. Tank and his crew came from one of the sky communities and their mission today was only a close visualisation one.

‘They worshipped some strange Gods in the past,’ Tank muttered.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/03/18/20-march-2020/ with thanks).

The Records Office (Part 2)

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Elisa frowned and walked back into the kitchen. The kettle clicked and she made a coffee. Looking around, she decided not to eat in here as she normally did, but go back to the office and turn the TV on for awhile.

The microwave pinged, she got her food and went back to her desk. The radio was still on but no longer playing classical music, it was an old rock song instead. Elisa went over and looked at the dial. It had been moved from her normal station to another. Wondering why that kept happening, she turned it off and put the TV on.

Channel flicking, Elisa ended up with the news again. She ate and listened to the reporter talking absentmindedly. Years ago, she would have often gone out to lunch with the others. Now, going out and eating alone seemed pointless. Staying at her desk meant she could work through lunch or have a shorter break and thus leave earlier. Today felt like one of those days.

Just before Elisa finished the phone rang. She gulped down her coffee and answered the call, ‘hello, Greenfield Hospital Records Office.’

White noise blasted back at her. Elisa listened for a moment then repeated herself. Still static. She hung up and waited a minute. The phone stayed silent. Eliza took another drink of coffee and the phone rang again.

‘Hello?’

White noise then a super distance voice saying something.

‘Pardon me? I can’t hear you,’ Elisa spoke.

More static blared and Elisa had to hold the phone away from her ear. Placing the receiver back again, she had a voice once more but couldn’t make out anything out. She hung up and decided to let the answer machine get the next call. If it was important, they would keep trying.

Elisa finished her coffee and tided up. She went into the kitchen and saw the sink tap running. Turning it off, she told herself she had left it on and went to visit the bathroom. A tap was also running in here.

Elisa went to the middle sink and turned it off. She was sure she hadn’t left it on. She hadn’t used that sink last time she was in here. She went to the toilet and coming out of the stall, she saw that all the taps were on.

‘What the…? Is there a plumping problem?’

Elisa turned all the taps off then had to turn one back  on to wash her hands. That done, she left, went back to her desk and phoned her boss. There was no maintenance team anymore and any reports like that had to be put into the boss who would then find a handyman to fix it. If they could be bothered. It was unsure what the plans were for the now abandoned hospital. So, maintenance was no longer a priority.

Leaving a message, Elisa got back to work. If she skipped her afternoon break, she could leave forty-five minutes early. She looked at the clock to double check this and saw that the hands had stopped on twelve.

Frowning Elisa got up and took it off the wall. The battery had probably died. She set it on the edge of her desk and looked at her PC clock instead. Nodding, she got back to work, typing up the paper files and refiling things.

The tick tick of a clock stopped her fingers over the keyboard. She looked at the clock and saw the hands had began to move again.

‘Odd,’ she uttered.

Elisa took the battery out and turned back to her work.

Tick Tick.

She looked at the clock. The hands were still moving.

‘That’s not possible!’ Elisa cried.

She picked up the clock and watched the hands move. They stopped on two and four. Elisa turned the clock around and spun the dial back so that both hands were on twelve again. Holding the clock before her, she watched it closely but the hands didn’t move. Elisa placed the clock on the edge of her desk and watched the hands again. They stayed still.

‘I’m not losing it,’ Elisa spoke.

She got up and went into the kitchen. She splashed cold water on her face then drink down a whole glass of water. Elisa put the kettle on and made a coffee. Waiting, she heard footsteps in the hallway.

That must be security doing their rounds, she thought.

The footsteps walked passed the kitchen. A door creaked open then slammed shut. Elisa jumped and hurried out but there was no one in the corridor. She walked to each door, knocked on them, called ‘hello?’ then tried to open the doors but they were all locked.

‘Maybe, it was another door somewhere else?’

Going back to the kitchen, Elisa made her coffee and returned to her desk. The TV was off and the radio was on. A pop song was echoing through the speaker. Elisa turned it back to the classical station.

‘Today’s messed up,’ Elisa spoke.

The phone rang. She picked it up and heard static. Hanging up, Elisa sent an email to her boss complaining about a problem with the telephone.

A clacking, like something metal falling over, made Elisa gasp and jump around. The noise had come from above somewhere. Breathing deeply, Elisa told herself to calm down. Something had just fallen over. Maybe, a security guard had moved something. It was nothing to worry about.

A crawling feeling like a spider walking up her hand, rose the hairs on her skin and Elisa felt chilly. The feeling that something wasn’t right and she was being watched, had her turning this way and that.

‘I’m done for the day. I’ll make the hours up later.’

Elisa packed up, gathered her things and left. Going up the stairs, she felt slightly better. The basement without any windows sometimes felt claustrophobic and perhaps that all it was. Elisa reached the floor above and walked down the corridor.

She passed windows, it was raining and getting dark all ready. Lights flickered above her and footsteps fell into time with her own. Elisa turned, there was no one just an empty corridor.

Elisa hurried on, wanting nothing more then to get outside. Once, she was in the fresh air things would be better. It was all in her head, she had been working and thinking too hard. Ghosts weren’t real. It was all just normal sounds.

It felt like forever before she arrived at the main doors. She went though and outside. Rain splashed her face, cold wind stirred around her and Elisa felt more at ease. The strange notion that she couldn’t be got out here floated into her mind.

Elisa tried to shake that thought away. What did it mean anyway? Opening her umbrella, she huddled underneath it and walked back to her car. Not once did she look back but if she had done, she would have seen countless outlines of people looking out of the windows watching her go.

The Records Office (Part 1)

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Elisa unlocked the main hospital’s back door and stepped inside. Rain dripped off her umbrella and coat. Named storm Jorge was building up out there, the rain was heavy coming down on all ready flooded ground and the wind was blowing like a speeding car.

Turning on the lights, Elisa shook her umbrella out and caught her breath. She could hear the rain dripping inside somewhere close by and the wind working it’s way through the broken windows. Hoping it wasn’t too cold in her office today, Elisa walked down the quiet hospital corridors towards the basement.

She was dressed in her relaxed Friday office clothes; grey trousers, flat black shoes, lime green long sleeve blouse and a woollen black jumper. She carried her heavy backpack on one shoulder which held all she needed, plus more to get her through the working day.

Choosing the two flights of stairs inside of the elevator, Elisa watched her step and recalled how only five years, this back staircase would have been busy with office staff and hospital workers. Now, like the rest of the place, they were still. For the past year and a half, Elisa and three security guards were the only people left at the recently closed grounds.

Reaching the basement, Elisa walked to the fourth door which was labelled as The Patients’ Records Office. The other rooms down here were a mixture of supply, storage, other paperwork, a large staff break room and other offices. Sometimes, Elisa would have to go in these other rooms to find things but mostly, she stuck to her desk.

Unlocking the door with one with the keys from a massive bunch of them, Elisa went in and put her umbrella into the stand. Wiggling out of her coat, she hung that up on a peg then put her rucksack at the leg of her desk.

The office was too quiet, she could feel the pressure on her ears. Elisa turned the small TV on which was on the far wall above the handful of abandoned desks and cabinets. The news came on, the sound breaking the quietness and making her feel like she was no longer alone.

Her desk was in the middle of the room, facing the door but she had turned the angle of it so she could see the TV as well. Eliza put her rucksack down, turned on her computer and both screens. Next, she put the heaters on and the kettle too. She made a coffee and sat down on her old chair.

Of all the staff to stay employed to complete the final tasks of the hospital, she was now the last one. Perhaps, she had been chosen because she had been here for over twenty years and had been the manager of the patients’ records for six of those? Maybe, it was because she had been close to retirement and her boss had felt sorry for her?

‘I don’t mind,’ Elisa had said at the deciding meeting, ‘I can’t imagine retiring and having nothing to do. I’ve been applying for jobs and got some interviews.’

‘The board would like you to stay awhile and finish up things,’ her boss had spoken, ‘would that be okay? Your pay and hours won’t change but you may find yourself working alone for a bit. I’m not sure who else will be staying on.’

Without thinking, Elisa had replied, ‘that’s fine. I don’t mind.’

Her job was simple enough; putting paper records onto the computer system. Checking things had been filed correctly, searching for information when contacted by medical staff or the public and disposing of documents as needed.

It was eerie being here alone but Elisa had grown use to it and didn’t mind as much now. She found she could watch whatever TV or listen to whichever radio station she wanted. There was no waiting around in the break room, no one distracting her and she didn’t mind being a bit lonely.

Sometimes, the phone would ring and it would be security checking  up on her or was medical person from another hospital wanting information. Elisa’s boss would call make sure anything was okay and maybe asking her to do something. Once or twice, a person had phoned who was tracing their family history and Elisa had been happy to help see if there was any records of that surname. 

Occasionally, the back door bell would ring and Elisa would answer the phone to find her boss was outside having come on a visit or it would be a PA from someone from the board wanting to pick something up or a security guard come for a chat.

More often then not, the working day would pass without Elisa having contact from anyone. It didn’t worry her though because she knew there wasn’t much of a need for a closed down hospital’s paperwork.

Recently, Elisa had stated hearing and noticing odd things. She didn’t believe in ghosts, she was a religious Roman Catholic and trusted that everyone went to Heaven or Hell. However, things that didn’t have an explanation happened were happening.

The sounds of doors opening and closing, though there was no wind that day. Voices whispering when Elisa knew she was alone. The phone ringing and no one being there or another phone ringing somewhere else which shouldn’t happen because all other phones were disconnected. Equipment being moved or knocked over, footstep above her or outside the records office door and two or three times, the feeling she was being watched.

Elisa had rung the security team and the police a few times and told them, ‘I think someone is in the building, can you check?’ or ‘I’m just seeing if a security guard is close by as there was a big banging sound and a door slamming.’

It was better to be save then sorry and Elisa was just sure it was animals or the natural movement of things. She got on with her work, filling her mind with her tasks and home plans. Perhaps, soon her employment would come to the end and she would get a new job where she had to work surrounded by people again.

I think I’d like that, to have colleagues again, Elisa thought, to chat with someone and get help with tasks. To make new friends and share cooking tips.

Elisa smiled and carried on typing up records whilst above the hospital buildings lay in silence. That didn’t last long because somewhere a door creaked open and a voice called out.

Pausing, Elisa looked up and listened. Blaming the wind, she turned off the TV and put the radio on instead. A pop song filled the room. Frowning, Elisa moved the dial back to the classical station she preferred and went back to work once more.

Lunchtime arrived. Stretching, Eliza got up and went into the break room. Her back and limbs felt stiff but some light exercises whilst she waited for her ready-meal to heat up would help.

‘It’s hotpot today,’ she said to herself, putting it in the microwave.

She filled the kettle and made another coffee.

Heavy footsteps sounded in the hall and approached the door.

Thinking it was one of the security guards, Elisa called out, ‘hi, come and have some lunch with me. I could do with the company today. Fridays drag so much don’t they?’

She turned, expecting to see someone but there was no one in the room. Puzzled, Elisa stepped out into the corridor and saw she was quite alone.

 

To Be Continued…

 

The B Virus

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The experts said the virus transferred from an animal and though it was contiguous, it was a mild bug that would soon go.

He knew differently but was sworn by the Secrets Act not to say anything. Bats were the contaminated animals but they hadn’t been captured from the wild. They had been born and lived in the lab to be the test subjects of a biological warfare drug.

It had been his project until the funding had fallen though. It was his task to destroy the bats but instead, short on money, he had sold them to a market vendor. He hadn’t given it much thought, the virus hadn’t worked and all the bats were fine.

He was slummed on the sofa, having fallen asleep in front the TV when the first reports came in. He awoke, stirred by the noise and saw that a new virus had been declared and the source seemed to be around a market area close to his town.

Perhaps, it was nothing? Just a coincidence. He went back to work; another month, another project, just enough money to get by on.

This thing will all blow over, he thought, the news likes to scare people and make it worse then it is.

But it didn’t go away. Day after day and months later, the virus had spread world wide. A pandemic was declared, people were dying and industry was at crawling speed. Streets and places like cinemas and shops were empty as people tried not to get ill. Everyday reports came in of rising confirmed cases.

He went to his bosses and told them he wanted to help make a vaccine. It seemed every scientists’ responsibility. It was agreed. He went to the archived biological warfare drug project, breed some new bats and got to work.

 

(Please note this is a fiction story and contains no true facts).

Dead Motel

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We had come to find and take scrap illegal.

Dawn was in the sky but it was still dark enough that we could hide if needed. Though I don’t think anybody cared. We pulled up in the empty motel parking lot and the headlights flashed across the keep out signs and the flapping yellow police tape.

The boss turned off the engine and the lights. We sat listening and watching for a few minutes. The power was still on here; lights inside and out were on. There was glass, furniture and other debris scattered around. There were tags of graffiti on the walls telling us that the vandals had moved in.

We got out of the car and slowly walked around. If there was anybody here waiting to give us trouble they’d been in for a shock because there was four us and we knew how to gang fight. Also, at least two of us carried guns and we all had knives.

Glass and rubble crushed under our boots. Birds and crickets were making a racket but nothing else came from the motel. A creepy feeling lingered, almost like we were walking into an empty grave. I felt my hair and skin rise, something was off about this place.

There were many in ways and after checking a few, we went into one of the rooms and began stripping it. Copper, other metals, anything that could easily be scraped with no questions asked. We moved through, doing as much as possible in the little time we had.

‘Not been abandoned long,’ Reggie mutter.

‘Few months at most,’ Ben hissed back.

‘Something went down here though,’ I added.

‘Double murder,’ the boss cut in.

We all looked at him, hands stilled on our work.

‘Owners hacked to death by one of their employees.’

‘Ah, I saw it in the news,’ Ben answered, ‘he buried them in the woods out back there then claimed the Devil told him to do it.’

‘Devils,’ Reggie repeated and shook his head.

Boss snorted, ‘let’s get on.’

When my turn for look out came – because always one of us has to keep an eye and ear out- we were close to the owners’ offices and apartment. I kicked the leg of a chair out of the way and looked at the still tied up police tape.

Beyond, the office looked a mess, someone had done a grand job of turning it over. I stepped closer, just wanting to confirm that no one was hiding in there. I had a small flashlight, that helped me not trip over anything.

I scanned the beam across a window then came to a stop. There was a bloody hand print on the glass.

‘Look at this,’ I called in a low voice.

Ben was closet and came over, ‘what?’ he whispered.

I nodded to the window and my light where we both then looked.

The bloody hand print was gone!

‘But…there was a…’

I shone the flashlight around, looking hard to see if maybe I had just moved off the print but no, the glass was clean.

‘Is there anything worth taking in there?’ Ben asked.

‘I’ll check it,’ I uttered, still trying to process what had happened.

Walking carefully forward, I tore the police tape down and went to the door. It opened easily and I stepped into the office. Papers and stuff were scattered around like a hurricane had blown in. The reminds of police things lay mixed in; a white glove, finger print dust, a vial.

Stepping on things, I looked around and spotted nothing worth taking. A door was blocked by a desk but a second door in the opposite wall was wide opening and leading through to the check in area.

Not enough light was entering there so someone could be hiding. Going on, I had the instinct to clutch the handle of my knife in my jacket pocket. The feel of the black, hard plastic helped reassure me.

Something crunched loudly beneath me and I looked to see it was a computer keyboard. Shaking my head, I nudged it away and carried on.

A groaning sound stopped me. I felt my breath hitch. Maybe, it was just the wind?

Under the counter something flashed and I went back to it. There was a plain gold ring on the floor. Bending down, I went to pick it up but a hand whipped out of the darkness and grip me!

I cried out and tried to break free but the fingers dug into me and I felt sharp nails leaving marking in my skin. With an unbelievable strength the hand pulled me down, causing me to lose my balance and I almost fell onto the counter top.

Dropping the flashlight and seizing my knife, I slashed out with the blade. I felt my hand released. I tumbled back, falling and landing heavily. Breathing deeply, everything screamed at me to get away and I tried to get up but then I saw the hand laying by itself.

It was the size of a man’s. The fingers were curled up and all bruised looking, the bloody, jagged nails were clutching at the carpet. The skin was yellow and brown, clearly dead. A small pool of dark blood was leaking around it.

There was no way I could have cut through bone.

Shaking, I fumbled for the flashlight and aimed the beam beyond the dismembered hand. There under the counter curled two figures. They were the size of small adults and dressed in stained clothing, one was a man and the other a woman.

They were kneeling and clutching each other as if desperate to hold on. The woman’s long black hair was covering her face which was pressed to the man’s shoulder. There were deep gashes all over her arms and legs. Her white dress was ripped up, blood and dirt stained. She had no shoes and her feet were cut opening as if she had been walking on glass.

The man had his face shadowed by the woman’s and his left arm was also hidden by her body. He was wearing a white shirt and black pants, both blood splattered and covered in dirt. Also, his bare feet were muddy and he was missing a hand.

One of them moaned then something like a word came out.

I felt the panic fade and my senses coming back. They were clearly homeless and drug users. They must have been so high or low that the man hadn’t felt his hand getting cut off.  They also smelt. The stench coming off them wasn’t just sweat but something else, like rot and putrid waste.

My hand pressed over my mouth and nose but it did little block out the smell now I was aware of it.

‘What are you doing here?’ I demanded.

Again with the mumbled word and the man moved his face. His skin was dark with something smeared across and his jaw looked to be hanging loose. The woman turned slightly and went as if to move her stringy hair but most of it stayed on her face.

‘What?’ I spoke, feeling my angry growing.

‘Help,’ the man’s rasping voice answered.

Frowning, I fixed the light on there close together faces and felt vomit raise in my throat. Their eyes and noses were gone and their faces were rotting away. Bones were showing through peeling skin. There were large chunks of them missing as if someone had cut off parts of their bodies and I could see things that were meant to stay on the inside.

‘Help,’ the man said again and raised the stump of a wrist at me.

He let go of the woman and reached his other arm out too. The woman followed, bloody arms parting the air and fingers searching. Their hands hit the floor and using this, they tried to pull themselves up and crawl towards me.

I shuffled backwards, my mouth opened and closed but no words came out. Both my hands shook. The flashlight that had been my guide and the knife that had been my protection temporary forgotten.

The woman let out an awful gurgling cry and lunged at me. As her hair flew back, I saw she had no jaw and the rest of her mouth was just a black open hole. A tooth dropped to the floor, clicking away into the darkness.

She grabbed my boot. I screamed, swung my knife automatically and lashed her across the face. Then I kicked at her and felt the force go through her spongy and brittle head. She let go, yowling as best she could with half a mouth.

The man reached for her, feeling his way and drew her back to him. They held each other like frightened children as the curled back under the counter.

Panic shot through me, I scrambled to my feet and tumbled out of the room. Slipping and trapping across papers and rubbish, I threw myself out of the office and screamed into the early morning air, ‘Go! Go!’

Bolting for the truck, I slammed into it and scrambled to open the door. From behind me, came running footsteps and shouting voices. I found the handle, yanked it and clambered in. Distantly, I heard other doors opening and shutting, the truck engine starting and the rumbling of the vibrations as we pulled away.

‘What was it?’ Reggie spoke.

‘Was someone in there?’ boss questioned.

‘Chad, you OK?’ Ben asked, ‘what did you see? A ghost?’

I didn’t hear him. Clutching my knife in both hands, I stared into the blade. There was no blood marking the shinny surface but the rotting face of the woman was reflecting back at me.

 

(Inspired by;

Help! #3LineTales

three line tales, week 213: an old school desk with lamp, rotary telephone and typewriter

I broke into the attic of the abandoned cottage for a dare. Carrying my small axe and torch, I walked over the creaking boards and saw nothing but a desk.

There was an old phone, lamp and typewriter. I pulled out the paper which was covered by a single word repeated over and over again; Help!

‘What the….?’ I trailed.

Behind me, the attic door snapped shut. I spun to look and a handcuff was slammed onto my wrist, imprisoning me to the desk.

A voice from the darkness spoke, ‘the replacement is here, Sir. Shall I brief him?’

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2020/02/27/three-line-tales-week-213/ with thanks).

Still #WritePhoto

I just wanted to be alone and still. I didn’t like the voices in my head. I walked around the edge of the village, following old rights of way across farmland. In my hand, I held a long thick stick. I waved it back and forth like a blind man or a child bored at play.

When the stick hit things, nice sounds of thunking and thudding echoed which broke up the birdsong and faint tractor noises. The rest of the countryside village was quiet as if a sleep spell had been cast over the place. I hated the silence, it allowed the voices to come through more loudly.

Walking by the edge of a large pond, I threw the stick as far as I could. It splashed into the water, sending waves and ripples back towards me. The sound was loud and shocked some birds out of a tree. I watched them wheel away in the dull blue, late winter sky which was strangely warm today.

I sat down under a mossy tree. My back against the rough, cold bark. I could smell the coming spring and around me nature was awaking from her months of sleep. There were buds of green leaves on the tree. Shoots of flowers in the grass and hints of purple, white and yellow colours popping up.

In the field across the pond, sheep were grazing. They were fat with their winter wool and also pregnant with their lambs. I had passed cows and horses on my way here but I liked watching sheep better. They looked like fluffy clouds skimming the grass and I could dream alongside them.

The voices in my head were constantly whispering and they weren’t nice. They made me doubt things, give me anxiety and fear, made me think there was no reason to go on. They took the form of the girls who had bullied me when we were teenagers, tapping into weakness from my past.

Doing things to myself sometimes helped. The voices eased when I give them pain or blood. It was even better after the times I had given into them and given up. I had been saved from myself and for a few days, there had been no voices but then they had returned and continued haunting me.

I looked around and saw I was alone. A stillness had settled over things again. I took off my clothes and folded them in between two tree roots. Naked, I stepped to the edge of the pond. I shivered, goosebumps rose on my skin. My toes brushed the water then my feet were underneath.

Chills wrapped around me, warning me away. I went in further, up to my knees, my hips, my stomach. The pond bed was muddy and the hardness of rocks and branches half buried. I felt the drop and slightly panicked. Starting to swim, I went into the centre of the pond, trying to ignore the sensation of an icy layer across my skin.

I took a deep breath and dived down. The water was semi-clear and I could see weeds and rocks. Was that the stick I had thrown in earlier? There were too many down here to be sure and other things beside. I felt the urge to swim back up, the need for air calling in my brain.

The voices told me not to. They told me stay here and drown.

It was hard though, I had tried once in a bath and the instinct to rise up and breath was too strong to be fought. I twisted about, angling downwards and snatched up some of the weeds. I pulled at them, they were strong. I wrapped them around around my legs and hands, letting them anchor me down.

My lungs burned, I needed to go up but instead I gulped down water.

I looked up and saw the surface of the pond. Up there all was still and soon enough I was too.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/02/20/thursday-photo-prompt-still-writephoto/ with thanks).

Plague Pit

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We should never have returned to the dead planet. And yet, it was full of resources. The colony need supplies for its continuance and there were people who’d pay us well for a rare item or ancient artifact.

As I walked over a wooden beam, distracted by fixing my orange radiation mask, the beam give way under my weight. I tumbled into a dark shallow pit. The sounds of falling earth deafening me as it showered down.

I lay still, trying not to panic and stay calm. I had fallen underground before and soon my team would be here. The waterfall of noise faded and I heard distant voices calling. Then a powerful light came on from above and I saw what was facing me.

The empty eye sockets of a human skull were staring back at me. The dark pits of those hollows questioning and demanding answers.

I shuffled backwards and heard the rattling of bones as my hands and feet skittled across them. There were more skulls surrounding me, their empty sockets seemingly watching me as well.

There were too many! Far too many to be a normal burial place. This was a plague pit!

I tried to fight down the firing panic and the hint of vomit in my throat. I had to stay still and in control. Repeatedly telling myself it was okay, I shut my eyes and breathed heavily into the mask and air ventilation systems.

A rope bashed my helmet with a thud. I reached for it gratefully and let my team pull me up. Scrambling to the surface once more, I lay down and just breathed. A fine mist fell then a cloud of white drenched me. I was being decontaminated.

This plant was dead for a reason and I didn’t want to become it’s next victim.