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

 

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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

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

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

image

 

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

The Eye- Friday Flash

The Eye

By Melissa L. Webb

 

image

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

Alone- Friday Flash

Alone
By Melissa L. Webb

                                                      Alanya_old_house

Something about the house felt different when Kara awoke this morning. She couldn’t put her finger on it as she got out of bed, but that feeling was there, heavy as a mallet slamming into her. Something wasn’t right.

She padded through the empty house on her way to the bathroom. She couldn’t figure out where these feelings were coming from. Sure, she lived alone. That was enough to make anyone paranoid, but she had lived there for six months.

Six months was way too long to suddenly feel creeped out.

She hurried about, quickly getting ready for work as she tried to brush the dark thoughts from her mind. There was no place for them. She was an adult. Adults didn’t get freaked out, especially when it came to being in their own home.

Kara poured herself a cup of coffee and let the warm, caffeine-infused liquid flow through her soul. She tried to rationalize her feelings as she stared into the steaming mug. Some forgotten dream was haunting her mind. That’s all this was. She needed to let the morning sun burn away such thoughts. A woman afraid to live alone was doomed to live in someone’s shadow forever.

That wasn’t her. She was good at being alone. She even thrived in it to some extent. She wouldn’t let some ridiculous feeling shatter her solitude.

She grabbed her purse and locked up, heading to the car. Rays of sunlight danced around her, driving back the morning chill as she warmed up the car. A small laugh escaped her lips and a foolish feeling washed over her as she sat there, taking in the surrounding day.

Kara couldn’t believe how spooked she had let herself get. She needed to learn to let her dreams go before getting out of her bed if they were going to do this to her. This was her home, her sanctuary, and there was no reason that would change in one night.

She slipped the car in reverse and glanced up at the house one last time, a smile still on her lips. Her foot came down hard on the break and the smile faded. Something moved in her bedroom window.

Something black with red eyes.

It watched her, tilting its head side to side, as if gauging the amount of fear it caused.

Kara wanted to scream, but she was frozen in fear, her hands locked tightly on the steering wheel. She didn’t know what she was seeing, but she knew it was watching her back with a terrifying purpose.

In a blink of an eye, it was gone, leaving nothing but a fluttering curtain. An eerie reminder that the shape wasn’t imagined.

Tears flooded her eyes, silently slipping down her cheeks as she backed out of the driveway. Her solitude was broken, her life shattered in an instant, because something had changed over night.

The nightmare hadn’t plagued her sleep last night; it began the moment she woke up. That was the reason everything seemed so wrong. She was no longer alone.

© 2014 Melissa L. Webb