Silence in the Classroom- Friday Flash

SILENCE IN THE CLASSROOM

By Melissa L. Webb

classroomThe teacher stood at the front of the classroom, her back to the children as she wrote the day’s assignment in big bold letters on the board.  She took her time, enjoying the silence her attentive class was giving her.  She dotted her i’s with hearts to reflect the mood she was in.  When her words looked as good as they could, she tuned and faced her students, a huge smile on her lips.

“Now, children, I know we got off on the wrong foot last week,” she spoke, her voice conveying the disappointment she had felt at her student’s disobedience.  “I also know we all want to do better.  Therefore, I’ve decided to forget last week even happened.  Today is a new day and a new chance to do something productive with our lives.”

She watched her students as they stayed quiet, all eyes fixed on her.  No one fidgeted.  No one whispered to their neighbor.  Nobody did anything but watch her.  Her smile grew even wider.  They were off to a great start.

“John, thank you for sitting right in your chair today.  Claire, thank you for not using your phone in class,” she said, acknowledging the corrections they had made.  “Thank you all for not talking while I’m talking.”

She walked around the classroom, her heart swelling at the improvements.  This was how a class should behave.  “I see you already have your books out and tuned to page 86.  I want you to read this chapter silently.  You have 45 minutes.  At the end of which there will be a quiz on what you read.  You may begin.”

The teacher continued to walk around the room, peeking over her student’s shoulders, enjoying the sound of silence that should accompany schoolwork.  She glanced at the children’s faces as she passed them.  Her work was exquisite.  The stitches were hardly noticeable where she had sewn their bodies back together.  That summer course in taxidermy had indeed paid off.

She looked around the room at the silent, stuffed children sitting at the desks and smiled.  She could finally get some real teaching done without any interruptions.  This was going to be a great year.

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

Beside You- Friday Flash

BESIDE YOU

By Melissa L. Webb

ghost candle

“You can’t hide from us,” a voice whispered in my ear; an icy chill coating my neck as it did.

I turned, looking around me. I was alone. No one else occupied the dark street. It had been like that for the last week. Ever since that day.

The day I died.

People say when you have a near death experience you come back with something. I always thought that was absurd. How could your body gain anything as your cells shut down one by one? If anything, you should come back with less than what you had to start with.

Death is a decaying process. It strips you down until there’s nothing left but dust and bones. No more than nutrients for the ground below. It doesn’t add layers. It doesn’t bestow anything.

I continued on, trying quickly to regain the composure I needed to get on with my life. I needed to put the whole damn mess behind me.

If only I could be so lucky.

“We will never leave,” a hollow disembodied voice informed me; a smile coating every word. “We will always walk beside you.”

Grimacing, I pushed open my door, trying to hide in the confines of my home. It was pointless; the voices followed me as if I was a beacon of light.

It didn’t matter where I went. They were right. They’d always find me. I was the flame to those voices, they fluttered around me, drawn for reasons I will never understand.

When I died, I wasn’t given anything. Instead, I had things taken from me. My life, my sanity, taken from me in a blink of an eye. I wasn’t given any special gifts.

I can’t see the dead, but now they can see me.

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

The Puppy- Friday Flash

Warning: Due to disturbing content, reader discretion is advised.

The Puppy

 

By Melissa L. Webb

 

cute-little-puppy-eyes

 

More than anything the girl wanted a puppy. She’d listen to her friends talk about their dogs or watch people taking theirs for a walk, and think, some day that will be me.

Every chance she got she’d ask her parents for a dog.  “Please, can I have one? I’ll take very good care of it.”

But, no, they would not give in.

“Five years old is too young to be responsible for a dog. We’ll talk about it when you’re older.”

Day after day, that’s what the little girl heard. She wasn’t old enough. She wasn’t responsible enough.

Her parents were wrong about that. She was practically an adult. She could take care of a puppy. She could take care of anything. She needed to prove that to them.

So, the little girl came up with a plan.

Every morning, she would get up early and fix a small plate of leftovers. She’d take it out to the backyard and bring it back empty. She’d wash it until it shined and then put it away, better than before. She would do the same before bed as well.

“What are you doing?” her parents asked her.

“I’m taking care of my puppy,” she replied.

“Do you think we should worry?” her father asked one night after the girl was asleep.

“No,” her mother answered wisely. “She’s only doing this to prove she’s responsible. “She’ll stop once she realizes we’re serious about no pets.”

The little girl did not stop.

She gathered blankets and stuffed animals and took them outside as well.

“What are you doing?” her parents asked her.

“I already told you,” the little girl said dramatically. “I’m taking care of my puppy.”

“Should we worry now?” her father asked her mother.

“I’m sure she’s only building a fort out there,” her mother replied, but inside she was beginning to wonder. Did her daughter really have a puppy? “Maybe we should go check on her.”

The parents made their way out to the backyard, looking for their daughter’s fort. The door to the shed stood open, light spilling out across the ground.  A soft whimper rolled across the lawn from within.

“Sweetie,” the girl’s mother called as they approached the door and peered in. “Are you in there?”

“Yes, Mommy,” the little girl called back. “I’m playing with my puppy. Do you want to see it?” Her words were punctuated with a thin, watery whine.

Her father frowned. She had gone behind their backs and brought home an animal. He wondered which neighbor she’d taken it from.

“Sweetheart,” her mother said as they came into the shed, her eyes scanning the rows of boxes and shelves. “Daddy and I need to talk to you.”

“Okay, Mommy. I’m back here. Come see how responsible I’ve been.”

They silently followed her voice to the back of the shed, each one contemplating a fitting punishment. She couldn’t go around taking people’s pets.

The girl sat with her back to the wall. Something small lay across her lap. A blanket covered it from the neck down. Above that, the girl had tied an old jump rope around its neck as a leash.

Her eyes lit up, a smile coving her face as she looked at her parents. “This is Cupcake,” she said, patting the small brown doggy head in her lap. “She’s a good puppy.”

Her parents leaned down, staring into the puppy’s glassy brown eyes. They held no sparkle, no trace of life at all.

“Sweetie,” her mother said, looking back up at her daughter. “This isn’t a real puppy. It’s the stuffed dog Grandma gave you last Christmas.”

“No, it’s not, Mommy,” the girl insisted. “Cupcake’s only borrowing its face.”

The blanket twitched as a whimper came from under the dog face.

“What do you have underneath it?” her father asked, reaching for the stuffed head.

“I told you. It’s cupcake.”

Her father pulled the dog’s mussel. The head lifted away, nothing more than a hollow mask.

“Oh no,” her mother gasped as she stared down in horror.

A baby looked up at them, its large, blue eyes pleading as it made another whimpering sound. Bruises covered its swollen face and a black tint settled over its neck where the makeshift leash dug tightly into flesh.

“See,” the little girl said, petting the baby’s bald head. “I can take care of something all by myself.”

 

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

 

 

Home- Friday Flash

Home
By Melissa L. Webb

light-show

Owen sat up as bright beams of light shot through his bedroom window. He wiped at his eyes, trying to decide if he was awake.

The lights hummed as they pulsed, scanning the small room. Toys turned on as the lights touched them, turning the bedroom into a strange rave of flashes and sounds.

The German Shepherd at the foot of the bed raised his head, a deep growl rumbling his throat.

“What is it, Frankie?” the boy asked, fear coating the words.

The dog stood up, his growls drowning out the electronic noise.

Frankie’s reaction scared Owen more than the strange lights and the phantom toys. He was a gentle dog. The boy didn’t think he’d ever heard him growl once in his life.

The boy pushed back the covers and swung his legs over the edge of the bed as the light beams danced around the room. His body trembled as he thought about running for the door. He was too old to cry out for his mommy. Ten-year-olds didn’t do that sort of thing. What would people say about him?

But…something was wrong. Toys didn’t turn on by themselves and lights definitely didn’t appear in the sky. He was in danger. He needed his parents to make it all right.

Frankie jumped off the bed and glared at the door, his growls becoming deeper.

The doorknob rattled as someone turned it.

Owen swung his legs back in bed and wrapped the blankets around himself. Fear swam through his veins as he pictured what might be out there. Maybe it was only his parents, coming to see what the noise was, but he didn’t think so. Not the way Frankie was acting.

The door pushed open and darkness from the hallway loomed like a living thing in the threshold.

Frankie bared his teeth, lowering his head as he readied himself for an attack.

Movement stirred in the darkness and a small shape stepped forward, coming into the room. It was completely grey, devoid of any hair or clothing. Two almond shape eyes stared out of an oversized head. They were like blank TV screens blinking up at the boy.

Owen whimpered as he scooted away from the edge of the bed, drawing the blankets even tighter around him. The creature looked like those things in the Sci-Fi movies his father liked to watch. It was one of those creatures who did strange experiments on humans.

It was a space alien.

Owen tried to scream, but no sounds came out. His fear constricted his throat too tightly.

The alien stepped towards the bed, its arms and legs moving with a fluidity that reminded the child of Olympic swimmers.

Frankie lowered his head even more, letting the creature pass him.

The alien reached a hand out and petted the dog’s head. “Good boy, Frankie,” it spoke, sounding like a human.

The dog turned, following the creature with his eyes, a huge doggy grin on his face. He sniffed the air and then hunched over. The dog whined as his fur split open along his back.

Long spider-like legs sprouted from the opening as the dog’s muzzle grew and spread, turning into a wide slobbery grin.

Frankie scurried over to the bed, his new legs hauling him up as he bounced on the end of it. His long, swollen tongue grazed the bedspread as he panted happily.

Anger replaced fear as Owen stared at Frankie. The alien had turned his best friend into a monster. He threw off the blankets and glared at the small creature standing next to his bed.

“You hurt my dog!” he screamed at it. He would make it pay for that no matter what it cost him.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Owen. Frankie’s fine,” the alien said, chastising the boy for his anger.

Owen blinked, confusion fogging his brain. “Mom?”

“Yes, dear,” the creature said, sitting down on the edge of the bed next to him. “It’s me.”

“I don’t understand,” he said, shaking his head. “What’s going on?”

“We don’t belong here, Owen. Your grandma and grandpa have come to take us home.”

Owen glanced over at the window. “They’re the lights?”

“Yes,” the alien said, placing a gentle hand over his. “Our time here is over.”

He looked down at the small grey hand covering his. He could feel his mother in the touch. “How? How is this possible?”

“Our people sent your father and I here when I was pregnant with you. We brought Frankie with us to watch over you when you were born. We have spent the last ten years studying the human race. In that time, we have learned all we can. There’s nothing more to do.”

“I’m an alien too?” he asked, staring at his human hands.

“We aren’t the aliens, Owen. The people on this planet are. We’re going home to our own kind.”

She got up off the bed and headed for the door. “Your father is helping Grandpa load everything on the ship. You have a few minutes to say goodbye to everything here.”

He looked around the room, feeling a bit teary-eyed. What were they doing to him? Didn’t they know life was hard enough for a ten-year-old? Why did they have to spring this on him as well?

“Do we have to go, Mom?”

She stopped in the doorway. “Yes, Owen. We do. This isn’t our home, it was only an assignment. Don’t worry, we have a lot of friends and family waiting for us. You won’t even miss this place. I’ll be back in ten minutes for you and Frankie. We’ll do your form change before we leave.”

Owen sat there, tears running down his cheeks as he watched the slobbering monster at the foot of his bed. They were a family of monsters. They were what children feared.

“It’ll be okay, sweetheart,” his mom said, taking in the boy’s sadness. “Think of it as an adventure. You love adventures.” She disappeared through the doorway into the darkness.

Owen got out of bed, fending of slobbery kisses from the thing that used to be Frankie. He looked around the room, his heart filling with sadness. What did a boy take with him to a new planet?

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

Pieces of Her- Friday Flash

Pieces of Her

By Melissa L. Webb

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She pulled her fingernails off one by one, the flesh tearing as she pried them loose. She flicked them into the empty ashtray as she went. They clicked against the glass, hard, before setting at the bottom. The sound cut through the silence that hung heavily in the cheap motel room.

Her heart broke as she stared at the black painted pieces in the ashtray. They were no longer a part of her. It wasn’t fair; she had given up everything for him.

That wasn’t enough.

She still had to give more.

Teardrops fell from her eyes and she wiped them, leaving bloody smears in their place.

She sighed as she ripped the last nail free. She was doing the right thing. They couldn’t find his blood under her nails if she didn’t have them anymore.

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

A Friend Indeed- Friday Flash

A Friend Indeed

By Melissa L. Webb

 

 

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“It’s only a field,” Lucy muttered to herself as she stared into the night, her eyes searching for the well-worn path in the overgrown grass.

“You don’t have to do it,” Kyle said from beside her. “You can take the chicken way out.”

Lucy rolled her eyes. They were in high school. They were too old for name calling. “Why don’t Shawn and Beth have to do it?” she asked, motioning to the other side of the field. Two more of their friends stood there, their flashlight beams bouncing around the grass.

“They’ve already done this,” Lisa said, banging her flashlight against her leg. “It’s our turn to prove ourselves.”

“This is dumb,” Lucy said, her heart hammering away in her chest. “Everybody in the neighborhood plays in this field. There’s nothing out here but weeds and trash.”

“Then why are you so afraid?” Kyle snickered. “You know as well as anyone there’s something wrong with this place.”

She did know. People walked through the field all the time. Kids spent long summer hours on their own out here, yet the field had a strange vibe to it. Something was off. That never left anyone’s mind as they used the place.

And no one dared entered it after dark.

No one except them.

“Come on,” Lisa snapped. “It’s not difficult. Just walk across the field. That’s all you have to do.”

Kyle nodded. “As long as you don’t look back you’ll be fine. That’s all there is to it. It’s a piece of cake.”

A shiver ran down Lucy’s spine. “What happens if you look back?”

Kyle shrugged. “No one knows. Either no one has, or….”

“No ones’s lived to tell about it,” Lisa added evilly.

“Only the brave walk across this place at night,” Kyle said, handing Lucy a flashlight. “Are you ready to be brave?”

Her eyes drifted back to the field, trying to see through the darkness coating it like a blanket. Anything could be out there. How could she be brave when anything could happen?

“Oh, please,” Lisa said, pushing past her. “I’ll go first. I don’t want to wait all night for a scared, little baby to take her first step.” She looked Lucy dead in the eyes. “You need to grow up if you want to continue to hang out with us. We don’t socialize with losers.” With that she stepped onto the path, her flashlight beam sweeping back and forth with each determined step.

Lucy watched, her breath caught in her throat. How could anyone think this was a good idea? The night paused, like a thousand eyes fixed on them, waiting for one wrong step.

“Hey, Lisa!” Kyle yelled, startling Lucy out of her thoughts. “Don’t look behind you!”

“Very funny, Kyle,” she called with a laugh.

Lucy couldn’t believe it. “She’s not afraid.”

“Of course not,” Kyle said. “She’s not a coward.”

Lucy glared at him, but held her tongue. What happened to her friends? They use to be fun. Now all they did was put her down.

Lisa reached the other side and waved her flashlight proudly.

Kyle waved his back, then turned to Lucy. “Are you ready?”

“I…,” she started, looking back into the dark field. “I don’t know.”

“Fine. I’ll go next,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Maybe once you’re left all alone you’ll be more eager to cross.” He stepped into the field. “See you on the other side.”

Lucy watched him go, dread building with every step he took away from her. Why were they so eager to humiliate her? Was this the only excuse they could find to ditch her? She knew she would never be one of the cool kids. She was too unsure of everything. She didn’t have the confidence the others had.

Sadness crept over her as she realized the truth. They did want to move on. They wanted to shame her into giving them an out.

Well, no way. If they wanted to stop being friends they’d have to tell her to her face. She wouldn’t let them use her fear of the field as an excuse.

She waited as Kyle triumphantly stepped on the opposite sidewalk, flashlights spinning like mad in celebration. Someone shone one in her direction, clicking the light off and on in three rapid burst.

It was now or never.

Lucy took a deep breath and pointed her flashlight on the path ahead. She could do this. All she needed to do was walk.

She took one step into the field and then another. She could imagine the look on her friends’ faces as she drew near. She refused to hand them a excuse for destroying their friendship. Let them be the bad guys.

A rustling stirred the grass behind her even though no breeze touched her skin. The night was calm. There wasn’t any reason for the sound.

Lucy’s eyes locked onto the flashlights in front of her. She didn’t know what was behind her but she refused to turn around. Kyle said she’d be fine if she didn’t look back. She didn’t know if they’d been teasing her or not, but she didn’t dare risk it. It wasn’t like the field was a normal place.

She reached the center and took a deep breath. She could see her friends clearly. She was all most there.

“What is that behind you?” Shawn yelled, pointing with his flashlight.

Lucy started to turn, then caught herself. “Knock it off,” she yelled through clenched teeth. “It’s not funny.”

“Yes, it is,” Lisa called back. “You should see how funny you look standing there with your eyes about to pop out.”

“Why did you stop?” Beth asked. “Did the little baby pee her pants?”

“Aw, do you need a diaper change?” Kyle said with a laugh.

Lucy felt tears sting her eyes. When had her friends become such monsters? High school changed them and the thought sickened her heart.

She had half a mind to turn around and leave them where they stood. Who needed friends like these? She certainly didn’t. She could make new friends. Friends who didn’t treat her like dirt.

Lucy started to turn when she heard footsteps on the path behind her. She froze as ice settled into her veins. She was no longer alone.

“Who’s behind me?” she called, the shakiness of her voice betraying her fear.

“No one’s behind you,” Kyle called impatiently. “Stop being a baby and get over here. You’re almost done.”

“No, someone’s behind me,” Lucy insisted. “I hear them.”

“We’ll leave you here, Lucy,” Lisa snapped. “Is that what you want? Take a few more steps to prove yourself or we’ll leave you alone like the baby you are.”

Terror wrapped around Lucy as the footsteps stopped behind her. Something was there and her friends weren’t going to do anything about it. She tried to take a step forward but fear turned her legs to cement.

A strangled cry escaped her lips as she felt a warm breath drift over the back of her neck. “Help,” she managed to squeak out.

“This is lame, you guys,” Lisa said. “Let’s go. I’m done with this loser.”

They turned and walked away, heading away from Lucy when she needed them the most. She stood there, tears falling from her eyes, as despair fought the fear for control.

They abandoned her.

Fingers curled around Lucy’s shoulder as a voice whispered her name in her ear.

She spun around, pulling away from whatever it was. As her eyes swept over the path, the landscape changed around her.

Flames rolled across the field, churning in delight as ashes fell like snowflakes against her skin. Moans rose from the sea of fire as a chorus of screams tore through the night.

Black eyes stared out of a twisted white face as the creature who touched her drew its hand back. Its body was nothing more than shriveled flesh under the black leather it wore. It towered over her as it grinned down with a blood red slash full of teeth.

“Hello, Lucy,” it spoke. “I see you’re in need of some new companions.”

“Um,” was all she could manage to get out as the fire raged around them.

“Don’t worry. You and I will have lots of fun. We can even teach those losers a thing or two.”

A smile spread across Lucy’s lips as she felt her sanity slip away. She dropped to her knees, staring up at the monstrosity. “Hello, friend.”

 

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

Imp Woods- Friday Flash

Imp Woods

By Melissa L. Webb

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Have you ever seen an old rope swing hanging from one lonely tree? It hangs there, swaying slightly in the breeze.  Its seat covered with dead petals and leaves and you know it hasn’t been used in years. It’s a sad sight and sometimes you think they should just take it down.

They can’t. It’s there for a reason.

Along time ago, every patch of woods had a tree that stood away from the rest.  It was called an Imp Wood. That tree was feared because of the strange things that happened nearby it.

Animals would die. Children would disappear. Men would quake in their boots from the sights and sounds that emanated from that area.

It wasn’t like the tree could be avoided. Imp Woods were always within sight distance from the dwellings. You could look out the window and see it, mocking you with its ominous presence.

A few men thought chopping it down would help. It didn’t and they paid the ultimate price for their mistake.

Everyone who raises an ax to an Imp Wood died horribly within a few days.

People soon realized the only way to protect their homes was to appease these malevolent entities with an offering. It needed to be something that distracted them from their mischief.

A child came up with the answer. They needed to bring laughter and delight to the tree. It needed to become a place to have fun.

Rope swings went up all around the world and Imp Woods lost their Darkness. You could still feel a presence, but the danger was gone. Whatever inhabited the trees seemed pacified by the swings.

Things quieted down and time moved on.

Cities formed and the trees were cut down to make room for the urban developments. Imp Woods became forgotten. They were nothing more than folk tales handed down through the generations. Their Darkness was no longer relevant to society.

As the cities grew, people started to realize it was a bad thing to cut down so many trees.  They began to crave nature once again.

Slowly, people began planting trees. These trees were placed here and there, any where people thought they might look good. They were no longer part of a forest or grove, they were only trees standing alone.

Lonely trees seek company and nature brought back what humanity had once overcome.

Death, violence, and disappearances run rampant through our cities. We shudder and weep because of it, but we have no idea that it’s our own fault. We’ve forgotten to make our offerings.

The Imp Woods know that.

So, tell me, is your family safe in this world? Can you sleep sound at night knowing your home, work, and schools are free from any lonely trees?

If not, maybe it’s time to buy some rope.



© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

The Eye- Friday Flash

The Eye

By Melissa L. Webb

 

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I sneezed yesterday. It wasn’t particularly loud or long. It was just a normal something-tickling-your-nose sneeze. I guess I wasn’t paying attention or something, because I forgot to close one eye.

I know you’re saying that’s not possible. Our bodies automatically close our eyes when we sneeze.  Well, something went wrong. One of my eyes didn’t close.

I didn’t do it on purpose. It was an accident. I was just going along, minding my own business, when I sneezed, and my right eye stayed open.

A terrible pressure built up behind it, causing it to bulge. I thought it would shoot clean out of my head, but a few terrifying seconds passed, then I blinked and the pressure was gone.

My eyesight in that eye was blurry, but it hadn’t shot out, and that’s all I cared about at that moment.

I ran to my mother, to tell her what happened, but she took one look at me and screamed.  My eyeball was bight red.  She said it looked like I was staring at her through a pool of blood.

We raced to the doctor, my mother convinced I was dying.  I wasn’t.  My eye didn’t even hurt anymore.

He told her I was fine.  He said I burst the blood vessels in my eye, but that wasn’t anything to worry about. The blood would go away on its own. As for the blurriness, I’d strained the eye and it needed to rest.

He taped a gauze pad over that eye and told me to wear it for a week. With rest, my eye would be as good as new.  Better even.

Boy, was he wrong.

Everything was fine during that week. There was no pain and my mother kept me home from school. I got all the TV and ice cream I wanted. It was like a mini summer vacation.

Then my week was over.  It was time to remove the gauze.  At first my vision was still a little blurry. I couldn’t make out anything I was seeing with that eye. After a few days, the blurriness went away and my vision was as good as before.

That’s when I wished my eye had shot out of my head.

Everything looked different with that eye.  I could close my right eye and see things like I always did.  A lamp.  A vase.  If I looked at it with my right eye open and left eye closed, it would be different. A burnt lamp. A shattered vase. Nothing was the same.

Things got worse the more I looked. I saw my brother’s bloated corpse floating in the hallway when I knew he was standing there, alive and talking. I saw my cat, Tigger, hanging from a tree from his own entrails even though he was only climbing it.

The images were driving me insane. I put the gauze back on, determined to wear it forever if I had to. I had seen enough.

My mother cried, begging me to take it off.  I was fine. I didn’t need to disable myself any longer.

I tried to make her understand. I wasn’t disabled with the gauze on.  I was better.  If I didn’t look through the eye, I wouldn’t have to see what really was.

My mother’s worried that I might be losing my mind. I’ve told her what I’ve seen.

The world behind the world.

Everything I’ve seen is real on a different level than we know. It’s waiting for us there. I’m sure of this. I don’t know why my messed up eye can see it, but it does.

Mom doesn’t believe me. She hopes that I’m looking for attention, but deep down she’s worried the sneeze gave me brain damage. I wish that was the case. I’d be able to sleep at night.

I’m hiding in my room, the gauze on my eye, and the lights off. Monsters lurk in the world behind the world. If I can’t see anything, I won’t have to know what’s out there.

My parents are deciding what to do with me. They want me see someone.  I don’t want to see anyone.  I’d rather not tell them what I see lurking over everyone’s shoulder.

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

Wake Up Call- Friday Flash

Wake Up Call
By Melissa L. Webb

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The rain dances along the walls of my home, waking me from my deep slumber. I stir as I listen to the wind shivering across the night. I am cold and it upsets me.

I beg sleep to return, to once again wrap me in its gentle embrace.  It does not and I lay there as thunder tears through the night.

Something has let in the cold. Sleep will not be mine until I deal with it. I move, pushing at the wood that has served as my shelter. It is fragile, worn down by time, and breaks apart under my weight.

I don’t know what has changed. I was oblivious to the world around me and now I’m not. Sensations engulf me as I claw my way out of the wood and it is strange after not feeling for so long.

Rain splatters my face as I crawl into the cold night air.  The storm rages and now it’s me shivering in the night. Why am I conscious? Why do I feel?

I glance around me, trying to make sense of it all. It becomes clear as my eyes trail over the shattered wood I’d crawled from.  My home is disturbed.

No.

Destroyed.

Men work around me, tearing the ground with tools and machines. They lay waste to the beautiful land around us.  They dig and dig, then fill it in with cement when done.

Movement from the hole next to me draws my eye.  A figure pushes its way out of rotting wood, clinging to the ground in confusion.

I am not alone.  Bodies claw at their broken homes, birthing themselves into the chaos around us.

These workers have destroyed our sanctuaries, our rest.  They have taken the promise of eternal peace.

With a final glance at the broken shards of my coffin, I stagger to my feet, joining the hordes of rotting dead as they converged on the men who destroyed our cemetery.  Their screams fill the night as we hunger for revenge.

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb