The Message-Friday Flash

THE MESSAGE
By Melissa L. Webb

 

Three days ago, I made a terrible mistake. It was an honest one…one that anybody would have made. I know that. If I could rewind time, I know I would do it the same way. I can’t be blamed for my actions, but I can still suffer from them.

I made a mistake that altered my life.

I answered the phone.

I didn’t recognize the number when my cell phone rang. I wasn’t surprised by that. I get a lot of calls from people I don’t know. That’s what happens when you run your own business. There was absolutely no hesitation as I answered it, but the sobbing on the other end did give me pause.

I was speechless as my mind whirled with images of people who might be hurt or worse. That was the only reason I could imagine for this call. But when she spoke, I realized I didn’t know this crying woman. She was only a stranger weeping into my ear.

“I’m so sorry to bother you,” she told me through tears. “But…I need to talk to someone; to tell them this and it can’t be anyone I know.”

I didn’t know what to say to that. How could I turn away this woman when she was so distraught? So, with a sigh, I spoke, “What can I do for you?”

“Just listen, please. That’s all I ask. Just listen to what I tell you, it will only take a minute.”

I reluctantly agreed. She took a deep breath and began to tell me about a conversation she had the other day. A woman had stopped her on the street, asking if she could spare a moment. This woman needed to speak to her. She told her a story of how she had been asked to hear a tale of woe from a stranger and ever since that day, her life had been a nightmare.

This stranger on the street told her she was having nightmares; that her luck had changed for the worse, and she was being stalked by some unseen thing. She was sure some negative force had entered her life and now she feared for herself and those she loved.

The weeping woman on the other end of my phone took a shuddered breath. “I told her I didn’t know what to do for her. She said it was okay, just telling me this would be enough to help her. She just needed to talk someone. She walked away from me then. It was the strangest conversation I ever had,” she whispered to me. “I didn’t think anything more about it. It was just someone with problems.”

I took a deep breath. I could understand that. “Is there a point to this?” I asked.

“It’s happening to me,” she sobbed. “I’m having nightmares. I lost my job. Everywhere I look something is going wrong. And…” She stopped, letting the silence surround us.

I couldn’t help myself. “What?”

“Something is following me. I feel it,” she told me. “I’m never alone anymore.” She was silent once more and then let out a deep sob. “I’m sorry. I just randomly picked you. I had to tell someone. I’m so sorry, but this has to stop.” The phone clicked sharply as she hung up.

I didn’t know what to make of the story. I shoved it to the back of my mind and went on with my life. I should have taken what she said to heart.

It’s started now.

The bad luck and the nightmares, I have them both. The unseen force? It’s here, too. I feel its breath on the back of my neck even as I write this. It’s watching and waiting, looking for the next person to be infected by this story. This tale is no longer my burden. I have finished writing it and you have read it, so I am free.

My only thought now is, “Who will you call tonight?”

© 2017 Melissa L. Webb

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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

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 covering 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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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