Pink Tutus and Blue Cheese

Pink Tutus and Blue Cheese

By Melissa L. Webb

 

I first heard God speak to me yesterday. It wasn’t a “Greetings from the Exalted One!” type message, more like a “Hey, how’s it going?” I have to tell you, I was quite shocked. Here I was in my skivvies, getting a bowl of fruity flakes, when a voiced filled the room and said, “You’re overflowing the milk, Gary.”

I nearly jumped out of my skin. Not to mention my hard-earned fruity flakes went all over the floor. Which is a bummer, cause I really like them. They’re like the nectar of the breakfast gods or something.

I scurried for the paper towels, throwing them down on the rainbow-colored milk. I leaned over, ready to soak up as much of the liquid as I could when the voice spoke again. It told me, “You can do that later, Gary. I need to talk to you.”

Why God needed to talk to me was puzzling. Why would I be important enough to talk to? I was just your average slacker. I didn’t do much in this world, good or bad. It wasn’t as if I should have caught his attention for any reason.

However, when God comes a calling, you don’t say no. So, I sat down and listened to what he had to tell me.

He rambled on and on about the weather, his disdain for retail stores, and his love for pink tutus and blue cheese. God really seems to love blue cheese. He puts it on everything. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that’s what clouds in heaven are made from.

I listened patiently as he talked away the day. I didn’t mind. It wasn’t as if I had anything else to do. I think the guy’s lonely. Floating around all day, watching everything but interacting with nothing, will do that to you.

As the sunlight was fading from the house, God wrapped up telling me about the doctor who decided to treat only squirrels before asking a favor from me. I would have thought listening to him all day would have been the favor, but as I said before, you don’t tell God no.

I told him whatever he needed, I would see to it. It would give me something to do, and if it was God’s work, all the better.

He then told me about his dislike of white shoelaces. How he couldn’t stand them. He said it had something to do with an experience when both the world and he were young, but that’s all he would say. I think even God has things he would rather forget.

White shoelaces and those who were associated with them had to go. He didn’t care how I did it, just as long as I rid the world of them. So, that’s how I started this quest. I must make this world a better place for God. He has given me purpose. No longer will I waste the life I’ve been given. I will serve him.

My God of the pink tutus and blue cheese.

I will cleanse the world of those who wear white shoelaces. I will destroy them because God told me to. This is my purpose. This is my calling.

Now I must ask: what color are your shoelaces?

© 2017 Melissa L. Webb

Advertisements

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, someday 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.

“A five-year-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.”

 

© 2017 Melissa L. Webb

 

 

Way Station

I am a way station.

Not a person. Not someone.

I am simply a moment in time,

Here to be used as others pass through.

I am only a temporary stopping point for those in need.

The broken, the scared, the weak,

Those with the tattered souls.

They all find me sooner or later.

I am a reprieve from their pain,

A balm for the cutting edges of this world.

I don’t ask to be, yet my words soothe them.

Somehow, I pick them up. I dust them off.

I put them back together,

Replacing shattered pieces of them

Like they were a puzzle I didn’t even know I could see.

They become themselves with me.

They emerge, better, happier.

The who they were meant to be.

The strays of the world become free

And they move on, without a single glance back.

They return to where they belong,

To where they’re meant to be.

And this port shines a little less with each fleeting traveler.

I am a way station.

I am not a destination.

No one stays

And I end up broken and alone.

 

© 2017 Melissa L. Webb

Black Keys- Friday Flash

 

Black Keys

By Melissa L. Webb

antique-typewriter-keys

 

The typewriter stood silent. Black metal glittering in the harsh florescent light. Ivy stood mesmerized by the way the keys called to her. “Why does it have to stay in that display case, Daddy?” she asked, turning to look at the man behind the desk.

“What was that?” he spoke, barely even glancing up from the laptop in front of him.

“Can’t I just use it once?” she asked, trying to get his full attention.

He looked up at her, his eyes resting on her wrinkled brow and sighed. “I’ve told you before, Ivy. That typewriter means a lot to me. I started my career with that thing.” He glanced over at the display case, a frown tugging at the corner of his mouth. “I’ve created our lives with that. Everything I have, I owe to that hunk of metal. I don’t know what I would do if something happened to it.”

“That typewriter gave you the inspiration to write your first story?” she asked, thrilled by the idea.

Her father nodded. “In a lot of ways, it did, pumpkin. I would never have found the courage to share my words with the world if it hadn’t been for that thing.”

Ivy eyed the typewriter with awe. “I want to be like you, Daddy. I want to share my words with the world too.” She turned and looked at her father, putting on her best pout. “Maybe it can give me courage. Please, Daddy? Please?”

He shook his head as he closed the laptop and stood up. “You don’t need that relic to be a writer, Ivy. You can use the computer downstairs.” He walked around the desk and wrapped an arm around his daughter. “And if you decide you really like writing, I’ll buy you a laptop of your own.”

She looked up at her father and grinned. “Really?”

“Really, pumpkin,” he told her as he led her towards the door. “Now, let’s go downstairs and see what your mother’s making for dinner.”

She let he father lead her out of the room before glancing back at the silent back keys shimmering in the light.

 

***

 

 

Ivy tiptoed silently down the hall, taking the cold doorknob in her hand. Glancing around her, she opened her father’s office door, quickly slipping in. Reaching blindly, her fingers collided with the plastic switch and the room was bathed in the fluorescent light once again.

She looked around the room, her eyes instantly falling on the display case. All evening her mind kept wandering back to the archaic machine. She had no clue why it fascinated her so much. All she could think of was how wonderful her words would look on a sheet of paper from that typewriter.

She slipped across the room to where the display case rested on a table against the far wall. Her hands slid along the glass as she peered adoringly inside. She wanted to be a real writer like her father. If this was what started his career, it could start hers as well.

Ivy carefully lifted the glass box from the typewriter, setting it to the side. Holding her breath in awe, she brushed her fingers over the sparkly black keys. How exquisite it was compared to the boring, everyday computers which filled the world. She could see herself writing the next great novel with this machine. This was the romance of being an author.

She looked down at the paper still in the paper guide. Curiously, she pried up the paper release and pulled the paper towards her, taking in the typed words. It must be the last thing her father wrote on it. Her eyes fluttered over it, her lips turning down in a frown as she read it.

I will be a famous writer. I will have a wonderful wife and a beautiful daughter named, Ivy. They will both love me very much. I will be happy and have everything I ever wanted. My life will be good.

Ivy stared at the words. Why would her father leave something like this in the typewriter? Her eyes drifted over the words again, when suddenly they began to fade. Lighter and lighter the ink became until it disappeared completely. She gasped in shock, letting the paper fall to the floor.

She looked around her nervously. How had that happened? Words didn’t disappear like that. She stepped back, away from the display case. Something wasn’t right with that typewriter.

Ivy turned towards the door, opening it as she heard her father cry out.

“What did you do, Ivy?” his voice carried down the hall. “What did you do?”

She shook her head as tears formed in her eyes. How could she have known? Things like that weren’t possible. She wanted to scream, to cry out how sorry she was, but she stayed silent as she watched herself fade from reality.

 

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

 

A Heckler’s Tale- Friday Flash

 

A Heckler’s Tale

By Melissa L. Webb

youth-football-1414061597ZRY

 

 

The mist hung heavily on the field as the spectators watched from the stands. Sarah pulled her jacket tighter and sighed. Her school was losing to the visiting team. What a way to ruin Homecoming.

“Are you cold?” her boyfriend whispered, pulling his arms tighter around her.

She nodded, scooting closer. “Yeah, this is a miserable night, Charlie,” she told him as she wiped the moisture from her cheeks.

“We can leave if you want.”

“No, we promised Joe we’d be here for him.” She frowned down at the players on the field. “After all, his team is getting slaughtered.”

Charlie frowned. “Your brother is going to be unbearable after this.”

It was true. It was going to be a long night.

Sarah let her gaze drift back to the field. She watched as a blanket of fog rolled in, settling over the field. No one could see what was happening down there now.

“Maybe we’ll get lucky,” Charlie whispered, hope clouding his voice. “Maybe they’ll call the game on account of fog.”

She grinned slightly. “I doubt it. Our team couldn’t play any worse even if they were blindfolded.”

A whistle pierced the night as one of the teams scored.

Charlie sighed. “At least we don’t have to watch the bloodshed.”

Sarah smirked and settled back against him, staring at the thick fog swirling in front of the bleachers.

“Hike!” Joe’s voice rang out above the fogbank as the kickoff commenced.

An object shot up in the air and headed for the crowd.

“Look out,” a lady next to Sarah cried. “Ball’s coming.”

Charlie shook his head in exasperation. “Not again.” It flew straight towards him and he caught it on reflex.

“No,” Sarah gasped as she stared at the thing in her boyfriend’s hands.

A head stared back at her, a look of horror permanently etched into its face.

Charlie dropped it as the people around him scattered. “What is that?”

Sarah shook her head as she scanned the field. The fog had cleared, leaving in its wake pure chaos.

Body parts covered the field. Some of her brother’s team was on their hands and knees, feasting on the remains. Others left the field, making their way into the stands, drooling with anticipation.

A cheerleader’s bloodcurdling scream filled the night air as the tight end tore her captain apart.

People shoved their way out of the stands, escaping the oncoming savagery.

“Sarah, we have to go,” Charlie said, trying to pull her with him.

She stayed, frozen with shock. “Charlie. Look.”

Joe made his way up the stairs. His eyes were glazed over and blood dripped from his mouth. “You,” he moaned as he pointed at them. “You laughed at us.”

Charlie looked over at Sarah as the zombie moved closer. “Maybe we should learn to keep our comments to ourselves.”

 

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

 

Hollow as a Jack-O’-Lantern- Friday Flash

Hollow as a Jack-o’-Lantern

By Melissa L. Webb

depression

 

 

“I think I’m coming down with a virus, or something,” Tim said to his wife as he walked into the kitchen.

She glanced over at him. “Are you okay?”

He nodded, pulling a chair out from the table. He sat down slowly, his muscles burning from the strain. “I don’t feel well, Mary. I was up all night.”

“Maybe I shouldn’t offer this to you.” she said, sliding a plate of food in front of him.

Tim shoved the plate away as his stomach protested the sight. “I can’t eat it.”

Mary reached out a hand, placing it on his forehead. “You’re burning up. You should stay home today.”

“No,” he said, shrugging off her hand. “I have that meeting. I have to go.” He stood up, giving his wife a week smile. “I’ll see you later.”

Tim sat at his desk, staring blankly at the paperwork in front of him. It was pointless; all his mind would focus on was the gnawing ache in his stomach.

He took a deep breath as pain flowed in waves. “What is wrong with me?” he muttered, mopping sweat from his brow.

He felt something somersault in his gut. His eyes widened in disbelief as it wiggled deep inside of him, causing fire to engulf his abdomen.

He stood up, grabbing his desk for support. Something was wrong. A virus didn’t make you feel like this.

Tim took a deep breath as the pain subsided and grabbed his coat. He needed to see a doctor.

“Tim, buddy, are you going somewhere?”

He turned to see his boss standing in the doorway. “Yeah, Carl. I’m not feeling well,” he told him, scooping up his briefcase and keys. “I think I’m going to head home.”

Carl stepped forward. “You can’t. The meeting’s starting and I need you there.”

“I can’t. I really have to go.”

“Please,” he said, placing a hand on Tim’s arm. “Do this for me. Give me twenty minutes and then you can go. Hell, you can even have tomorrow off. Just don’t bail on me now, okay?”

Tim frowned but set his stuff down. “Okay, twenty minutes. After that, I’m gone.”

A smile spread across Carl’s face. “Thanks, pal. I owe you,” he said, relieved as he turned and walked down the hall.

Tim followed him into the conference room and took a seat. The pain had dwindled into a dull ache and the slithering sensation was gone. Maybe he could wait 20 minutes.

Other people started to trickle in and the meeting got under way. Tim sat there listening to the others as he tried not to focus on his stomach. He knew whatever it was; it was nowhere as bad as what his imagination was trying to tell him. The meeting was the only thing that mattered at the moment.

One of the Senior VP’s turned and looked at Tim. “So, Tim, tell me, where do we stand with the Honeycutt account?”

He took a deep breath and looked around the room. “Well, I believe we’re looking good on it. The figures are close to what we projected and I don’t think….” His words cut off as another spasm rocked his abdomen. His hand flew to his mouth as he tried to catch his breath.

“Tim, are you okay?” Carl asked, concerned.

He couldn’t respond. He couldn’t do anything. It felt as if his whole body was frozen.

“Is that blood?” someone screamed from across the room.

“It is,” Carl gasped, standing up. “Tim, are you okay?”

Tim’s body relaxed and he could breathe once more. He brought his hand away from his mouth and gasped in horror. His palm was covered in blood.

“It’s dripping from your eyes and nose too,” a man on Tim’s left spoke softly.

“Someone call 911,” Carl shouted, finally coming out of his shock.

“No, no,” Tim said, jumping from his chair. “I need to go.” He sprinted out of the room and down the hall.

He sat on the bathroom floor of his house, a bottle of water in his hands. He’d cleaned up and the pain was back down to a slight ache. He was waiting for Mary to come home from work. She would know what to do. She always did.

He brought the water to his lips, but before he could draw the water into his mouth, the twisting pain in his gut took hold once more. His stomach slithered upward and he leaned over, retching into the ceramic bowl.

Blackish bile poured from him violently. The oily substance kept coming until he was sure every last bit of him was now in the toilet.

He fell backwards as pain seized control of his body. It twisted and danced on its own as if he was in some deep stage of a seizure. His limbs flailed around him, contorting in ways that seemed humanly impossible.

His fingers bent backwards, twisting like snakes and started pulling at his skin. It was as if the bones themselves wanted out of their fleshy prison.

Tim screamed as his legs bent backwards, his feet kicking out at his tormented stomach.

“No, please. Stop,” he screamed, his voice growing horse. He kept on screaming until the world faded to black around him.

“Tim, wake up. What are you doing on the floor?”

He raised his head from the cold tile, his cheek sticking where saliva pooled. He stared up into worried eyes. “Mary?”

“Are you all right?” she asked, grabbing his arm.

He let her help him to his feet and looked down at himself. He looked okay. Nothing was bent in some unnatural way. “I…think so.”

“What were you doing on the floor?” Mary asked, concern still clouding her eyes.

“I don’t feel good, Mary.”

She took his arm and led him into the bedroom. “Let’s get you into bed. You need rest.”

He didn’t have any strength left to fight her.

She pulled the covers around him as she felt his forehead. “You’re burning up. I’ll get you a cold wash cloth.” She leaned down and kissed his forehead. “Don’t worry. Just sleep, my love.”

“Okay,” Tim muttered. Maybe everything in the bathroom was only a fever dream. He’d sleep for a day and then be back to his old self.

She leaned back, staring down at her husband. Her eyes widened in shock.

“What is it, Mary?”

She shook her head. “Nothing,” she told him, heading for the door. “I must be coming down with a fever too.” She let out a little laugh as she went through the door. “For a second, I could have sworn there was a pair of red eyes looking at me from the back of your throat.”

Tim awoke to a light pain in his stomach. He looked around at the darkness in the room. Faintly, he could see Mary asleep in the bed next to him. He didn’t want to wake her over nothing.

He got up slowly from the bed and headed out of the room. The pain was so slight he figured he could walk it out this time.

He headed downstairs to the kitchen, realizing he hadn’t eaten anything in the past twenty-four hours. It was nothing more than hunger and a little milk might do the trick.

He reached for the refrigerator door. As he did, his hand bent backwards and pulled at his shirt, ripping material from his body.

Tim clawed frantically at it with his other hand, but it was useless. He lost control and found himself lying on the kitchen floor, his body contorting uncontrollably as the pain tore through him. His organs jerked against his skin.

The pain swelled like the last few bars of a symphony. His body twisted and contorted until he thought he’d die right there or succumb to the insanity of the situation.

The fire inside him ripped through his guts, causing an intense urge to vomit.

He crawled to his knees as best as he could and heaved, more black sludge pouring from him. It pooled around his body as it kept coming.

Something caught in Tim’s throat. It felt as solid as a cement block. He couldn’t breathe. Whatever it was, it was going to kill him.

He clawed at his throat, his nails leaving bloody gouges along his already tender skin. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t dislodge it.

His vision swam before him as the lack of oxygen reached his brain. Darkness crept in from the edge of his vision. He was going to pass out and die in a puddle of his own vomit.

The blockage squirmed, pulling itself up.

A soft popping sound came from inside his throat  causing him to breathe again. He sucked in air even as the thing crawled higher. As it did, it triggered his gag reflex. He vomited out a squishy pink mass of flesh.

He didn’t care what it was as long as it was out of him. Air slipped back in his lungs as he realized he was pain free, but as he lay on the cool kitchen floor, he realized he felt empty. His insides felt as hollow as a jack-o’-lantern’s, scooped out and tossed aside.

There was a crunching noise in front of him, like bones snapping.

Tim opened his eyes and stared in horror as the mass pulsated and grew. It rose up on two legs off the floor and turned to look at him, his own face staring back at him.

“Thank you for hosting me,” the creature who looked like Tim said.

“Thanks? You were inside me. You used my body as your own,” he cried in shock at the reality of what happened.

It blinked as it looked down at him. “Births are often a painful transition.”

Tim felt tears in his eyes. “What are you?”

It tilted its head as it knelt in front of him. “I am the future and we are more common than you think,” it said, eyes flashing red. Slowly it smiled, showing jagged teeth. “Now, I must feed.”

He didn’t even have time to scream as his doppelganger ripped into his ruined flesh.

 

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

Ink Stains- Friday Flash

INK STAINS

By Melissa L. Webb

old-book

She opened the worn leather book , its over-sized pages cracking with age.  She sneezed as the movement stirred the dust clinging to it as she turned to the last page. Her eyes drifted to the last bit of blank space left in the book.  How quickly time passed.  She’d written the first prophecy before time even started.  Now here she was, pen poised to document the Last Prophecy.  The one that would change everything.

She stared at her hands as she wrote, worn and wrinkled as the leather book.  The prophecies were her burden to carry; and she had for so long.  The words burned into her mind with such intensity they had to be bled onto the paper; either that or she would surely combust from within for containing such knowledge.

They weren’t hers to keep.  She was the messenger; only a slave to the paper and ink.  Yet…it was changing.   This was the last.  They were letting her go because there was nothing else to write.

Laying the pen aside, she stared at the words, weariness building in her like a wave.  Why was there only one left?

Leaning closer to the page, she blew, letting her dry, old breath seal in the ink, forging it there forever.  Her eyes drank in the words one last time, trying to release them from her mind.  Two lives separated must now become one.  The changing world must be undone.  The light in the darkness needs protected at all cost.  If it should fail, then all is lost.

She pushed the curiosity from her mind as she closed the old book, placing it on a shelf.  It blended in with the other books around it.  Now obsolete in this time of transition.

She walked away, her old bones creaking as she went.  The prophecy was no longer her burden.  It sat upon the shoulders of the oracles in the world below her.  Let them worry and fret, making sense from the words her mind bore.

It didn’t matter what it meant.  Only that it was the last.  She could move on, no more words and ink stains.  No more messages being forced into her mind.  She was free.

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

Secret Admirer- Friday Flash

SECRET ADMIRER

By Melissa L. Webb

love-message

I sit and watch you.  You are beauty personified.  The way your brow creases when you’re concentrating.  The way you throw your head back when you laugh.  The way you smile, genuine and pure, like the heart of a newborn.  I adore these things and more.

There is so much to you.  So much that other people can’t even see.  I do.  I see it all and I can’t get enough.  The way you make me feel is exhilarating.  I feel I could do anything because you exist in the world.  You are all I think about.  Day.  Night.  It’s always you.

You are my everything.  I breathe because you breathe.  My heart beats only to sync with yours.  I am your slave, chained to you by these unseen ropes of devotion.

I watch you at work.  I watch you with your friends and family.  I watch you out in public.  The times I can’t watch you I ache so deeply I think my soul might rip in two.  My eyes were meant to take you in; it’s pure torment when they can’t do what they were created for.

I stand in your room at night, watching you sleep.  I hear the soft sounds of breath your body takes in while you dream, and it makes my knees weak.  The feel of your skin excites me to no end.  These stolen moments, when I am this close, is pure paradise to me.   I long to climb into bed and put my arms around you, holding you until the morning light comes, but I never do.  I know it’s not time.  I’m not ready to risk my heart.

But, soon, I will be.

I have been hurt before.  That’s what has made me so cautious.  There have been others I’ve wanted.  They didn’t understand what I felt for them.  They couldn’t see what I had to offer.  We could have been perfection.  They were blind, so bad things happened.

I don’t want that to happen with you.  It would hurt too much to do the bad things to you.  You are my everything.  My whole life has become you.

I know I don’t have to worry about that.  I can see who you are inside.  You’ll know true love when you see it.  You won’t be blind like the others.  I’m sure of that because you are perfection.  I know I can trust you with my heart.

So, soon, my love.  We will be together.

Forever.

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

Storm Front- Friday Flash

STORM FRONT

By Melissa L. Webb

desert-lightning-1408110525Yi1

Joy Westcott stood at the window. Streaks of light danced across the sky, heralding in a dark bank of clouds.  She shivered as the first rain drops struck the glass. They beat out a hypnotic rhythm, lulling her into false tranquility.

She breathed; condensation coating the glass where her foggy exhale touched it.  Stepping back, she checked the thermostat on the wall.  70 degrees and holding.  She tapped at it, convinced it was broken.

“It’s so cold,” she whispered, wrapping her arms around herself as her teeth chattered.  She moved back to the window, the lightning mesmerizing her as it tore apart the sky.

Thunder boomed overhead and the floor shook, quivering like a frightened child.  She glanced around as confusion fogged her mind.  When did the ground ever react to the sky?  The tremor grew stronger, then stopped, falling silent before the storm.

Joy gasped as the air chilled even more.  It felt as if she was on a tundra, exposed to the harsh elements instead of tucked away in her own home.

The lights flickered, then went out as another rumble split the sky.  She glanced at the emergency candles glowing in the gloom.  Thank goodness, she’d thought ahead.  Tonight wasn’t a night to be in the dark.  It wasn’t safe.

That thought surprised her. This was her home.  Her haven.  She’d always been safe here.  Why would one little storm change all that?

But, as she watched the clouds drawing closer, she realized it was true.  A prophetic shudder crept up her shoulders.  It weighed upon her as much as anything alive would.  It might be the last night of her life.  It might also be the end of every life in the world.

She pressed her face closer to the glass.  Lightning flared, turning the large bay window into a mirror.  Immediately her eyes moved to the reflected candlelight burning behind her.  In that instant, a figure moved, blocking one of the candles from view.

Joy gasped as the lightning died, once again gazing out onto her neighborhood.  Fear flooded through her, fast and hard, cementing her to that spot.  Something was behind her.

That was absurd.  She was alone.  All the doors were locked.  There couldn’t be anyone behind her.  Yet…she knew there was.  She’d seen it move.

A jagged gasp emitted from her throat as a slithering occurred behind her.  She wanted to turn, to see what lay in wait for her, but fear held her body tight.  It constricted around her as real as any solid bands.  She was helpless, nothing more than prey for whatever lurked behind.

Hearing a sharp hiss of breath, the room filled with darkness.  A scream ripped from Joy’s throat, terror crushing the sound into nothing more than a gurgle.  This was it.  She was going to die and she wouldn’t even see it coming.  Her mind raced.  Why her?  Why now?  If her life was going to end tonight, shouldn’t she at least be given that much?

Opening her mouth, she tried to force actual words past her lips.  “Did you blow out the candles?”

The slithering sounded again, moving closer.  “Yes,” a voice answered, barely more human than a garbage disposal.  “After all, it is my birthday.”

Joy cringed at its choice of words.  Something had been born into the world.  Something dark and sinister.  Something that shouldn’t be.  “What are you?” she asked.

“Hungry,” it hissed, moving close behind her.

Closing her eyes, she shook in despair, waiting for her demise as the storm raged on.

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb