Sickness- Friday Flash

SICKNESS

By Melissa L. Webb   

“Wait up!” I cry as I try to catch up to the group of kids in front of me. My brother and his friends think it’s funny to leave me behind because I’m so much younger than them. Yeah, like they’re so cool just because they’re teenagers. Some day I’ll be a teenager, too. Mom says I’m going to be taller than my brother anyway. We’ll just wait and see who’s cool then.

“Wait,” I squeak as they take off running in a cloud of laughter. I sprint a few feet and then stop, disheartened by the sight of my brother disappearing down the trail with his friends.

Banging my backpack against the ground, I take in the silent woods around me. I hate this shortcut. Everyday my brother makes us use it on the way home from school. But I fear this place. This shadowed place with its hushed watchfulness.

I feel eyes on me even though I don’t know who they belong to. My brother laughs when I say that. He tells me to stop being such a baby. But I know something is out there, waiting for a chance to pounce.

I start moving, eager to get out of these claustrophobic trees. I raise my arm when I realize I’m still dragging my backpack. My mom will kill me if I bring home a layer of dirt and needles.

A twig snaps behind me. I turn quickly, spooked by the sound. Nothing is there, but a wispy mist. It’s slowly moving in, lightly coating the trees and plants around me.

I shiver, completely unnerved by its ghostly tendrils. I turn, thinking it’s beyond time for me to get home. As I move, a wave of dizziness overcomes me. The strength goes out of my legs and I fall to the ground.

Lifting my hands, I wipe away the grime coating the deep scrapes covering my palms as tears form in my eyes. Why did my brother have to leave me? Am I really that horrible to be around?

Something warm touches my top lip. I reach up, dabbing my fingers into something wet and thick. Red covers my fingertips. Blood. Great. Now on top of everything else, I have a bloody nose.

I try to get up, but pain shoots through my skull as another wave of dizziness washes over me. Fear makes my heart speed up. Boom. Boom. Boom. I am helpless out here. And I am terrified.

Boy,” a voice hisses behind me. I gasp, the sound erupting from me violently. I try to turn around, but a cough works its way out of my body. It continues, rolling out and suddenly I am gagging. I can taste blood in my mouth. Something is wrong with me.

Boy,” the voice hisses again. This time it’s in front of me, somewhere on the trail. I lift my head, fighting the weakness coursing through my body. At least the coughing has stopped for the moment.

A figure is standing there. Tall and pale, wearing a black suit like he is nothing more than a man. But he is no man. The white, blank skin where his face should be does nothing to hide that. He moves towards me, dark appendages moving behind him as he does. I don’t know what kind of monster this is, but I am more scared than I have ever been in my short life.

You are weak,” a voice speaks in my head. I know it is him, this non-man. “You are alone. And I choose you.

I try to scream, but the coughing starts again. I am weak. Too weak to stop whatever this thing plans to do.

He drifts closer, his whole body moving like millions of worms are squirming within him. “Mine,” the voice inside my head hisses. ”Mine. Mine. Mine.”

My eyes are glued to him. He is moving closer and there is nothing I can do to save myself.

“Frankie?” a voice calls. It is my brother. He is coming back. Maybe I won’t die here after all.

The man turns, giving me the distinct feeling he is searching with eyes he does not own. The voice fills my head again, “I will see you again.” And like a dream on the edge of my mind, he is gone.

I blink, trying to clear my fuzzy head. What is going on?

“Are you okay, twerp?” my brother asks me, suddenly standing over me.

I look up at him, confusion thick in my mind. What am I doing on the ground?

“Oh God, you’re bleeding. Mom is going to kill me.” He picks me up off the ground, making me walk along side him.

“What happened?” I ask, dazed.

“You tripped, dummy. Why don’t you ever watch where you’re going?”

“I don’t feel good,” I tell him. My head is pounding with each step. I must be coming down with something. That must be the reason I fell.

I glance back over my shoulder as my brother leads me out of the woods. My feverish mind is struggling to remember something. There’s something I need to remember. Desperately. But I can’t. I am slipping deeper into my sickness. Oh, well. It was probably nothing. The important thing to remember is I have my soft bed and my mother’s cooling touch to look forward to.

 

© 2012 Melissa L. Webb

The House- Friday Flash

THE HOUSE

By Melissa L. Webb

 

The house had sat empty for years. Its presence in the neighborhood was one of distain. It was nothing more than a blight. A scourge that caused people to cross the street when they neared it.

No one wanted to get too close to the god awful eyesore.

Parents discouraged their children from playing too close to it; children spoke of it in hushed whispers in the school yards and at sleepovers. No one was really sure what was wrong with the house. They just knew it needed to be avoided at all costs.

No one could remember a time when someone lived in the house. It just sat there, empty, but not. One look at it and you’d know there was more beyond its curtains than cobwebs and dust.

The Wrongness it projected coated everything around it, casting the street in perpetual gloom. It was a sore on the face of reality, festering more each day.

And a festering wound never gets better. It just continues to rot until death is the only option. And so turning a blind eye to the house, people helped nurture the threat which was growing inside.

The figure stepped away from the wall, its form becoming more solid as it left the place it stood all these years. Just standing there. Watching. Waiting. Gazing out the window and planning all the things it would do once it had been freed.

© 2012 Melissa L. Webb

Don’t Be Sad, Don’t Be Blue- Friday Flash

DON’T BE SAD, DON’T BE BLUE

By Melissa L. Webb

 

 

Gritting her teeth, Nora frowned as the stress rolled through her. How much could one person take? With her husband losing his job, the bills looming on the horizon, and her son’s constant trouble at school, a broken dishwasher was just the last straw.

She stepped out of the kitchen, taking a deep breath as she went. There wasn’t anything she could do about it right now. She couldn’t fix it herself and she didn’t have the money to call a repairman. She’d have to ask Roger to look at it when he came home from his daily job search. Another burden to add to his shoulders. Boy, was he going to explode.

Hurrying into the living room, she stood there, fighting the tears that threatened her eyes. Her whole life was a constant worry lately. It was becoming harder by the minute to stay positive. She needed a break.

She glanced over at the glass case housing all her knick-knacks. A smile came to her lips as she took in a small blue figurine. She walked towards it, her heart feeling lighter as she did.

Popping open the glass door, she patted the funny looking creature on the head. She knew it was silly, that the cheap novelty item really couldn’t do anything for her, but she felt better every time she touched the Worry Doll.

Her mother had sworn by them when Nora was younger. She had all kinds of rules for them, like talking to them as if they were people, and taking them outside to air out once every couple of weeks. From the way she treated them, you would have thought they were one of her children.

Nora laughed, thinking how her mother would react if she knew how she treated this little guy like the porcelain knick-knack it was.

But she had to admit it did make her feel better every time. It must have something to do with thoughts of her mother. Whistling merrily, she closed the glass door, heading happily into the back of the house. She had laundry to get done.

When she was out of the room, a shimmering started in the glass cabinet. It was faint at first, but soon it intensified, spreading out into the living room. A blue creature took shape, growling as it looked around. The Worry Doll sniffed the air, the negativity it had adsorbed showing plainly on its face.

It chuckled with evil mischief as it started forward. She should have listened to her mother. There was a reason you aired all the negativity out of a Worry Doll. Nora thought she had stress before. She was about to learn the true meaning of the word.

© 2012 Melissa L. Webb 

 

 

Only Silence- Friday Flash

ONLY SILENCE

By Melissa L. Webb

The bright pennants rustled in the breeze as the dying sunlight lit the midway around me. I stepped out of the funhouse, squinting in the red glow of the fading light. The carnival was silent as I made my way down the steps and stood there, the fiery light adding to the confusion I was feeling.

Something wasn’t right.

When I had left my mother’s side, racing through the clown’s mouth into a world of mirrors, moving walkways, and things that pop up to startle you, it had been early morning. Now the sky suggested night was creeping in, the darkness waiting to wrap its arms around everything in its shadowy embrace.

I knew I couldn’t have been in there more than 10 minutes. Yet, here I was, standing in red sunlight, wondering what had happened to the day. But I couldn’t dwell on that too long. I had a bigger problem. One that caused worry to bubble up through my soul.

Where were all the people?

The midway had been clogged with children begging their parents for another ride, another game. It had been hard to even move, let alone drag my mother to the funhouse. Now the carnival stood eerily quiet. Only silence among the metal behemoths that so recently whirled with excitement.

I walked down the midway, looking for any sign of life. The carnival stayed open until midnight. It should have been packed until then. It was their last night in our small town and everyone would turn out for it. Yet, no one was here. Not even a carnie was in sight.

“Hello?” I called as I cut through the empty rides and made my way into a row of games. There was always someone in the games, barking away as they tried to scam you out of your hard-earned money. They would never miss out on chance like that. “Is anyone here?”

Nothing but the squeak of an unoiled sign answered my question. Loneliness was the theme of the evening as the carnival laid still around me. It was official. I was alone.

I slowly made my way around the park as fear grew thicker in my chest. The sun stayed where it was, never dipping lower, still giving off its blood red glow. It gave the place an other-worldly quality I didn’t like. A tear slipped from the corner of my eye. I didn’t want anything more to do with this place. I just wanted to find my mom and go home.

“What’s the matter, boy?” a voice asked from behind me.

I spun around, hoping for a sympathetic face.

A man stood there, tall and gaunt in black, looking like he belonged more in a funeral parlor than a carnival. He took a step forward, a gentle look on his face. “This is a place of laughter and joy. There is no room for tears here.”

I shook my head. I didn’t know what this place was, but it definitely didn’t inspire laughter and joy in me. ”What is going on? Where is everybody?”

“You’re lost, aren’t you?” the man spoke softly, hypnotizing me with his words. He stepped closer, looking down at me. “We can fix that.”

I looked around me, my fear of this place growing by the minute. If this man could get me out of here, I would gladly accept his help. “Please, sir, I just want to find my mom.”

He nodded sagely and looked over my head at something behind us.

I turned quickly and watched as a dark carriage came in through the front gate pulled by four very large black horses. It pulled up in front of us, the door opened, waiting silently for something.

“I can take you where you need to go,” the man said, motioning to the carriage.

I nodded. Yes, that’s what I needed. A way to get out of this place. He could take me where I needed to go. I let him usher me in, saying goodbye to the dying sunlight as he pulled the door shut. The horses turned around and pulled us silently out the gate.

 

***

The woman pushed through the crowd of children, frantically screaming for her son. He had wanted to go in the funhouse first thing, so she had taken him straight there. She stood outside, waiting for his return.

When 20 minutes had gone by and he still wasn’t out, she knew something was wrong. The people searched the ride. Her son was no longer in there.

He’d snuck out the back, or someone had taken him. As she glanced into the faces of the children she passed, she knew one thing for certain. Time was running out. Her son would soon be gone forever.

 

 © 2012 Melissa L. Webb