Storm Front- Friday Flash

STORM FRONT

By Melissa L. Webb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2015 Melissa L. Webb

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Pieces of Her- Friday Flash

Pieces of Her

By Melissa L. Webb

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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

Problem Child- Friday Flash

Trunk 2

Trunk 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PROBLEM CHILD

By Melissa L. Webb

 

I don’t know why I am even writing this. A man shouldn’t have to admit their failings, but I have a problem. One giant problem clings to me like a sack of bricks on my soul. I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t even know who to turn to. I just know I can’t bear it any longer.

Things didn’t used to be so bad. There for a while I even thought this was the good life. However, ideals are like sandcastles. They crumble and fall under the waves of reality.

My wife was the first one to point out the problem. I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t  But, under scrutiny, I realized I could not turn a blind eye to this awful truth. Our offspring was different.

He didn’t act like us. He didn’t think like us. He did things that shocked my very soul. I knew I had to find a way to get through to him, my demented son, Jeff.

His mother and I tried to raise him right. We tried to teach him the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, but he rejected everything we stood for because of his own sick and twisted desires.

He lives in our basement, even though he is now an adult. A man should be out on his own, making a name for himself and starting a family of his own. But, no. He doesn’t want to live that life. The right life. The life I and my ancestors have so painstakingly worked to provide him.

I am beginning to fear the dark things that lurk inside his mind. I dread going down to the basement now. The look he gives me chill me to the core, as does the way he snarls like a feral animal. It’s enough to make my soul weep. He hates me and it tears me apart inside.
How could I have raised such a deviant child? How can he bear witness to all our morals and traditions and throw them back in our faces?

He needs help, but I’m afraid it is more than what we can give. My wife thinks we need to send him away. Sadly, I am beginning to agree. The hope in my heart has died. He will never be like us and I fear that if he were to go out into society, he’d do something to harm the whole family.

And I can’t allow that.

Our life here is sacred and has been handed down through generations before us. Just because he wants to be “normal” shouldn’t be a reason to destroy everything we’ve worked for.

The others agree with my wife as well. Measures must be taken. The outside world must not know about us, for if they did, we’d have to stop our traditions. And hunting long pig is what we live for.

My wife is sharpening the ax as I write this. My deviant son has refused to make his first kill and now he must be sent away. Unfortunately, his death is the only way to keep the family safe.

I must go down to the basement, and face the look of hate in my son’s eyes as I pull him from the trunk I have kept him in. His torture was not enough to make him see the way. It is too late for him. I must hurry. My wife gets cranky when she’s waiting for the kill.

The Grinning- Friday Flash

Face-grin thanks-zh tw

Face-grin thanks-zh tw (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE GRINNING

By Melissa L. Webb

Jared crossed the street, watching the dying sunlight as it crept away in favor of the waiting darkness. He knew he had promised his mother he’d be home well before dark, but it was summer now. No school in the morning. It stayed light until after nine. How could he not enjoy a few extra hours of this sunshine? His mom would just have to forgive him.

Walking down the sidewalk, he felt the freedom only a kid can feel at the beginning of summer. No Cares. No Worries. Just the thought of another day in the sun. A day he could repeat over and over again.

The trees stirred next to him as he walked, as if waking from a slumber. He stopped, glancing into them, waiting for some animal to show itself. But nothing did. The trees stopped their movement and everything was still.

He stood there a moment longer and then shrugged. It must have been a bird settling in to its nest. He continued on, his step a little faster now. After all, he really did need to get home before dark.

A scuffling sound echoed behind him, like someone dragging their feet on the cement. He turned around, startled by the sound. The street was empty around him. Nothing stirred. Nothing moved. He was alone.

A chill crept up his spine. He wasn’t really alone. He could feel it. Something was out there, staring at him this very moment. He could feel their eyes probe him as real as any fingers. He needed to get home. Now.

A wind chime swayed in the distance, creating a soft tinkling sound that jarred his nerves worse than any scream could ever have. There was no breeze this evening. Those chimes should not have moved.

The chill was beginning to turn into a full blown panic attack. Jared needed to move. He needed to get home now, where he could be safe from whatever was stalking him. He wished to God his mother had gotten him a cell phone for his birthday like he wanted. He could call her. He could call the police. He could call anyone. He didn’t even care if everyone thought he was a baby. He just needed to be safe.

Something was out there.

Turning around, he ignored the terror brewing inside of him. He just had to keep moving.

”Wait,” a voice called, soft and commanding, wrapping itself around the boy, forcing him to do exactly what it said.

Jared froze, his body turning even as his mind screamed no. He couldn’t help it. He faced what was behind him.

A man stood before him, if you could call him a man. He towered towards the sky. His long lanky body standing over seven feet. His clothes ragged and dirty, far too small for a man of his height. It was as if he had stolen them from someone and slipped them on quickly, not caring whether they ripped or not. His eyes blinked down at the boy. Yellow orbs with vertical pupils taking everything in. Long bony fingers flexed open and closed at his side, nails filed into points crowning each tip.

But worse was his grin. It stretched from ear to ear, exposing rows of white square teeth. It was larger than any mouth had a right to be, taking up his lower face. The man stood there, not moving, just grinning away.

Jared took a step back, swallowing the fear that was thick in his throat. He hadn’t been prepared for this. Who would have been? This man had no place in reality.

“What’s a matter, boy? Scared of something?” he asked, never losing his grin.

Jared took another step back, a whimper escaping from deep within him. The fear this thing generated was suffocating. It was amazing he hadn’t peed his pants at the sight of it talking.

The man moved forward, stepping into the boy’s personal space. He lowered his face closer to him. Staring and grinning. Grinning and staring.

Jared gagged as he looked into the man’s face. The smell coming off him stank like rotten meat. The image of this man laying in a pit somewhere came into his mind suddenly. Laying in a pit, feasting for days at a time, the meat spoiling around him and the man not caring at all. His grinning face still feasting away at the rotten stuff.

Jared couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t move. All he could do was stare at that grinning mouth. The grinning that didn’t stop. That would never stop. Always grinning. Always.

“Come home with me, boy,” the man-thing said in his face. His lips practically not moving. The grin never changing shape. “Come home with me and partake in my secrets. They are such nice secrets. And dinner is approaching so fast.”

Jared’s feet refused to move. They had betrayed him in his greatest hour of need. There was no way he was going to escape this thing. There was nothing he could do. The giant man with the grinning face would take him to a pit somewhere. He would remain there until his flesh spoiled, the man stuffing his face as it did.

A car turned the corner, rolling past them silently. It was enough to break the spell the man had weaved around the boy. Jared took a step back. And another. And another. He had been freed. He could run home to the safety of his mother and whatever punishment she wanted to give him.

The man with the grin turned away, angling his back to the car so it couldn’t see what it really is. The grin still there as he carefully watched the boy out of the corner of his slanted eye. He knew he still had the boy’s attention, if only for a few more seconds. “No worries, boy. I have seen you. I have claimed you. No matter where you hide, I will grin at you another day,” he called to the boy, his grin even larger than before.

© 2012 Melissa L. Webb