Misunderstood- Fridayflash

Abandoned apartments1

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MISUNDERSTOOD

By Melissa L. Webb

I never wanted to go in that building again. Never. Even if Hell froze over, I still wouldn’t set foot in that damned place.

Some places become tainted over time. Murders, suicides, deaths. They all take their toll on the world around us. When a person dies, the environment soaks it up, like a Polaroid reaching for the light. It leaves an imprint; one that can never be erased.

I wish I could say that is what happened to this place. It would make this world seem gentler if we could identify why this ground is what it is, but we can’t. Some places, like people, don’t need a reason. They are what they are, and have been since the day they came into being.

This building was one of those. A deviated blight on our reality. Pure evil flowed through every particle of the place. No one can even tell you how old the building is. Some say its been here for hundreds of years. Others say its been here since the beginning of time, in one form or another.

I didn’t know any of this. I just knew it was an old creepy building some kids dared the new kid to spend the night in. That would be me; the new kid. I don’t know if you know what it’s like to be the new kid, but let me tell you, it’s awful. No friends, no place to fit in. Isolated and alone. Everyone judging you on whether or not you might be worth the effort.

That’s why I took this dare. I figured if I could prove myself a badass right away, this new school thing would be a cakewalk. I walked into that building as groups of kids stood around with my head held high. There was no way I would let this place intimidate me.

Boy, was I mistaken. How I honestly survived the night is beyond me. I withdrew in on myself. The whispering walls and the shapes which slithered around my curled up body were too much for me. I left that place in the morning, a mere shade of what I had been.

I had gained the respect of the school, but I couldn’t care less. All I knew was the small sliver of sanity left in me never wanted to set foot near that place again. I wanted to get as far away from it as I could. I begged and pleaded until my family caved. They moved me across the country, but even that wasn’t far enough for me.

Like I said, I changed because of that place. I had never been a goody-two-shoes or anything, but after that, in my more coherent moments, there was a darkness writhing in me. I scared people. They could feel the wrongness pouring off me. My parents tried to explain to people I was different. I was misunderstood.

I realize now that I was misunderstood. I still am to this day. I realized something else, too. The place I had feared so much when I was younger, it was only a misunderstanding that kept me from seeing its true potential.

That’s why I’ve come back. I bought that old building and everything in it. I am now the Keeper, living there with all its many secrets.

There was a time I thought I knew what was right and wrong. There was also a time when I didn’t want to set a foot in this place again. I use to say never. Not anymore.

 

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb

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Intrusion-Friday Flash

Persienn

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INTRUSION

By Melissa L. Webb

Ray’s eyes snapped open as he lay there, listening to the night around him. What had woken him? Nothing moved or stirred. He blinked slowly as sleep began to pull him down once again.

He was almost back in a peaceful slumber when a loud thump shook the room. Straightening up, his eyes scanned the darkness quickly. Something had definitely pulled him from sleep this time.

Another thump sounded. It was coming from all around him. Freeing his legs from the blankets, he stood quickly, reaching for the pair of jeans he left laying nearby. As he slipped a leg in, three more quick thumps seemed to shake the walls around him.

Sliding the jeans all the way up, zipping them with a grunt, he scrambled for the bedroom door. What was going on out there? He raced out of the room and into the dark living room. Light trickled in from the streetlight through the blind slats. It penetrated the darkness like blades, illuminating the room well enough.

Nothing loomed in front of him. He was alone in his living room, wiping the sleep from his eyes. The silence which pressed in on his eardrums was almost deafening. It loomed down on him, bringing him back to reality. There was nothing wrong.

Running a hand through his hair, he looked around, squinting at the empty room. He must have been dreaming. He let out the breath which seemed to be caught in his chest. What an idiot. He had fallen for a dream.

Ray turned to return to bed, when a series of thumps occurred. He looked at the ceiling above his head. Someone was on the roof.

Moving quickly, shaking the doubt from his mind, he hurried through the house. Tearing the front door open, he ran down the steps, turning to look up at the house before him. He steeled himself for a confrontation. “Hello?” he called up to the roof. He could see no one, but knew they were up there, hiding out of sight. “Get off of my roof before I call the police.”

He waited, hoping the threat would be enough to discourage whoever it was. He heard a scraping as something skittered across the shingles. “Get down now!” he shouted, not caring if he woke up the neighbors.

Several shapes moved into view and stared down at him, curiosity dancing in their eyes.

Ray grit his teeth as he looked away. Raccoons? That’s what woke him up? He stormed back in the house, angrily twisting the lock into place. Trying to steady his racing heart, he moved through the house. How could he let something like raccoons freak him out? He wasn’t some scared girl who jumped at every noise. “Stupid animals,” he muttered under his breath as he returned to his room and shed the jeans once again.

Making a mental note to call an exterminator in the morning, he crawled back into bed. He’d teach those furry little intruders a lesson. They picked the wrong man to wake up.

He closed his eyes, but knew sleep would be a long time coming.

With a sudden pressure on the foot of his bed, he felt something slither up the blankets towards him. A gasp froze in his throat as hot breath coated his face.

“That was a great distraction, wasn’t it?” a voice hissed above him.

Ray screamed in terror as the intruder reached forward, coating the room with the evil it carried.

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb

A House, Invaded- Friday Flash

Marc Flamingos

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A HOUSE, INVADED

By Melissa L. Webb

 

The night was darker than usual. The stars seemed faded, like marking left from an eraser. Just smudges of white against black.

James Conner peered out the window of his car at the street passing by. Darkness clung tightly to the things around him, hiding them in ways that made his skin crawl.

Sighing, he pulled his eyes from the shadows. What was wrong with him? He’d been jumpy ever since leaving work. He wasn’t the nervous type. However, as hard as he tried, he couldn’t shake the feeling that plagued him. Something was wrong.

Nearing his destination, he turned onto his street. The unnatural darkness seemed to have touched here as well. The houses lay dark along the road, drawn in on themselves, hiding from the world around them.

James glanced at the digital readout on his dashboard. It wasn’t even seven, yet the street looked ready for bed. Trying to push the thoughts from his mind he pulled into his driveway. Everything would be fine as soon as he was at the dinner table with his family.

Getting out of the car, James looked up at his house. It was dark as well, as if it too was telling him to go away. He shook his head. He was being silly. Grown men don’t have these kinds of thoughts. Or at least they shouldn’t. Hurrying to the front door, he turned his key in the lock. The sound was like a gun shot in the stillness of the night, causing him to jump.

Disgusted with himself, he stepped through the door. “I’m home,” he called. The house lay quiet around him as he took in the empty parlor. No one raced to greet him. No one welcomed him home.

The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as the feeling of wrongness swept over him once again. “Hello? Kaitlyn? Are you home?”

Silence continued as he waited for an answer. Stepping forward, he moved deeper into the parlor, past the dinning room table. A deep growling sounded from underneath it.

He leaned down and peered under the table. Two eyes shone in the darkness below. They gave another warning growl as he leaned closer. “Max? Is that you?”

The growling stopped and a shape slinked forward. A dog looked out, its rusty-colored fur standing straight up as his eyes darted around the room.

James looked at his normally happy-go-lucky retriever; at the fear it held in its body. “Max, what’s wrong, boy?” he said, reaching a hand out to comfort him.

The dog’s lips pulled back in a snarl. It lunged forward sinking its teeth into James’ flesh.

“Damn it, Max,” he cried , pulling his hand away. Crimson dots bulged on his hand, then trickled slowly from the punctures. “Bad dog.”

The dog with-drew back under the table, growling as he went.

Rising from his crouch, he quickly made his way into the kitchen, his hand dripping blood. What the hell had happened to his docile dog? Max had never done anything like that before. Not once in the five years of being a member of the family had he even growled at someone.

James realized something was wrong. He wasn’t imagining it. His heart pounded as he grabbed a dishtowel off the sink, wrapping in around his bloody hand. “Hello? Dammit, somebody answer me,” he said and paused, listening to the house. Silence lingered a few seconds longer, then a sob echoed through the house.

Time froze around him, as his heart slammed into his throat. That sob confirmed his darkest fears. Life at the Conner house had been drastically changed. No more family dinners. No more evening games. The laughter had been silenced forever.

He moved forward, blood dripping from the towel. He barely even noticed the crimson spots his shoes smeared across the floor. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except finding the source of that cry.

“Joey? Is that you?” he called, listening for that tiny sob once more.

“Daddy?” a voice called to him from the back of the house.

James raced forward, relief surging through his body. His son was alive. Whatever else happened in this house, his son was still alive. He tore through the house like a man possessed, his eyes covering all areas around him. “Joey? Where are you?” he called through tears. He needed his little boy in his arms. He feared his heart would stop if he didn’t have him soon.

“Daddy, please. I’m scared,” came his son’s desperate voice from somewhere ahead of him.

“I’m coming. Hang on, Daddy’s coming,” he yelled. Crying flooded through the house as the child realized he was no longer alone. His heart broke as he heard the sadness consuming him. He closed in on the sound, peering down between a dresser and the wall in his daughter’s bedroom. “Joey?” he called quietly into the space.

The crying quickly stopped as silence one again filled the house. His breath froze in his chest as he waited for some kind of movement from within the darkness. Fear ebbed at his mind. That’s not your son, it whispered to him. For a moment he was sure it was right. He had been lied to, and now he would pay with his life.

The darkness shifted between the wall and the dresser, moving with lighting-fast speed and Joey was in his arms, crying for his Daddy.

James let out a breath as raw emotion flowed through him. “I’ve got you, Joey,” he whispered, hugging his son closer. “Daddy’s got you.” The boy held tight to his father, his body pressed firmly to him as he carried him over to the bed. “What happened?” he asked, sitting on the edge. “Where’s Mommy?”

“I don’t know, Daddy,” the little boy sobbed into his father’s chest. “I don’t know.”

He watched the anguish dance behind his son’s eyes as he cried. Something horrible had happened at his home tonight. Something so tragic he was sure his five-year-old would never be the same again.

Rage welled up in his chest as he watched the boy shudder in his arms. How could anyone do this to a child? Was the world so dark that it loved to seek out innocence and squash it, watching it skitter away like a broken bug into the recesses of a traumatized mind?

He held his son closer, letting the tears fall. What had he done so wrong to deserve this? Leaning in, he kissed his son’s matted brown hair. “Joey. Please,” he whispered to him, trying once again to seek the answers he so desperately needed. “Where’s your mother?”

The child leaned back in his father’s arms staring up at him. The amount of pain in his eyes was heart wrenching. “They took her, Daddy,” he said softly. “They took Mommy and they took Lucy.”

James stared back at his son in stunned silence. He knew something had happened here tonight, but the fact that someone had violated his home, forcibly taking the women he loved, was unimaginable. A sob escape his parted lips as the reality of the situation sank in. He believed his son, There was no doubt in his mind he was telling the truth. But that only meant one thing.

His family was gone.

“Who, baby?” he whispered through tears, hugging Joey tighter against him. “Who took Mommy and Lucy?”

The boy’s brown eyes widened even more. “They came out of the walls, Daddy. They just appeared…and…took them. How did they do that?”

James sat there, clinging desperately to his son as the fear grew inside of him. He was drowning in the stuff. They came out of the walls? What the hell was going on here? “Who did? Who came out of the walls?”

The little boy glanced quickly around the room, his eyes no doubt searching for the things that had invaded their home. He looked back at his father; fairly certain it was safe to speak the name of these nightmares. “It was the Flamingos, Daddy. That’s who took them.”

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb

This is an excerpt from my upcoming horror novel, Flamingos.  Available in ebook format in Fall 2011.

 

Coastal Offerings- Friday Flash

The Pacific Ocean

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COASTAL OFFERINGS

By Melissa L. Webb

Neil walked along the beach, his sandaled feet sinking deep into the sand around him. He marveled at the warmth as the sun caressed his cheeks, leaving behind it playful touch. This feeling, right here, was pure bliss. He had never seen the ocean before and it was living up to everything he’d ever dreamed. He smiled contently as he watched the gulls playing in the surf.

Yes, this was what he had always been searching for. It was time for a change. He would leave behind his old life and move out here; find a nice place right on the beach and live happily-ever-after. This was the place his soul longed to be, not rotting away in the country, lost among the corn.

He inhaled deeply, the astringent sea air tickled his nose as he took in everything around him. A man could die happy right here.

He moved on, his sandals slapping sand as he ventured farther along the beach. He wanted to see everything this coastal paradise offered him. Everything that would be his once he started anew.

He stopped short when he noticed a campfire up ahead of him. A group of people sat around it, basking in the warmth of the flames.

Neil frowned slightly, glancing up at the bright blue sky. It had to be at least 85 degrees out here. Why did they need a fire? He watched them a moment longer. They seemed to be enjoying the flames dancing in front of them. Who was he to judge what might be a common practice on the coast?

The smile once again found his lips as he stepped forward, eager to see what a campfire at the beach entailed. He moved quickly as he watched them huddle around the fire. Maybe they would let him join them. He’d love to have actual friends here before he moved.

“Hello,” Neil called out to them as he approached their makeshift ring. “Do you guys mind if I join you?”

The heads quickly turned and stared in his direction. Or they would have, if they had had eyes.

He stopped dead in his tracks as his mouth kept opening and closing; as if it wanted to say something but couldn’t find a voice. His mind just couldn’t comprehend what he was seeing. None of these people had any faces. It was simply pale flesh pulled taunt against the front of their heads. It was as if they were blank canvases waiting for the artist to arrive.

Neil stared into blankness before his eyes and began to tremble. Whatever these things were, it wasn’t something he wanted to mess with. He realized quickly that he shouldn’t be standing here. This was a dangerous place. One full of secrets and darkness.

He turned quickly, fleeing back up the beach as fast as his sandals would carry him. He was no longer enchanted by what the coast had to offer. He was certainly better off among the corn.

 

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb

What The Fates Decide- Friday Flash

An example of Last Night on Earth: The Zombie ...

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WHAT THE FATES DECIDE

By Melissa L. Webb

The two old men sat at the table and sipped at the hot coffee in their mugs; both sets of eyes eagerly scanning the room for something to talk about. They spent so much time together that there really wasn’t much to say anymore.

“So, how are things on your side of town?” one of them spoke, dusting the crumbs from his beard.

“Oh, you know. The same as always.” the other replied, pulling his jacket tighter around him in an attempt to fend off the chill creeping into his bones. “Why do you keep it so cold in here?”

“This is perfect temperature, my friend. It’s not my fault you keep your place so damn warm.” He stared at his guest with concern in his eyes. “It isn’t healthy keeping the heater on all the time.”

The other sighed. “So you’ve told me a hundred times before.”

They sat in silence, sipping now and then at the coffee, desperately trying to think of a topic they hadn’t already discussed to death. The silence drew on as their minds raced. What was left? Was anything really worth talking about anymore?

“Oh,” the bearded man said, rising up stiffly from his chair. “I have something to show you.”

His companion’s eyes lit up, thrilled by something new on this visit. “What is it?”

“It’s some sort of game,” he said lifting a box from a shelf on the other side of the room. “I thought it might be interesting.” Coming back to the table, the bearded man sat the box down between them.

The visitor’s mouth turned up in a slow grin as his eyes caressed the container before him. “What is it about?”

“Every path is filled with choices, yet ultimately they all lead to what the Fates decide,” he told him with a shrug. “That’s what the back of the box says.”

“Sound like it could be fun,” his friend replied as he opened the lid and began rummaging through it. “It’ll give us something to do.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“Hey,” he spoke, looking at the directions in his hands. “It says it includes a whole world of mortals to play with.”

“Hmm,” the ancient bearded one said as he studied his counterpart. “This might take a while to figure out.”

The red-skinned man shrugged as he scratched absently at a horn. “Well, we do have eternity to play around with it.”

 

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb