Copyright 2016 Rebecca Welch
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. The sound resonated off of the solid white walls and floor. Staring at the clock, which read 10:17pm, Johnny’s patience began wearing thin.
“He told us he would be here. He said.” Johnny said to himself.
“Yes… at 10:30. That’s when the rounds are done and he said he could get us out. Remember? 10:30.” Johnny answered.
Tick. Tick. Tick. The seconds passed as if they were going in slow motion, each movement of the clocks hands echoing in Johnny’s head. With each tick, time brought him one step closer to the freedom that he longed for.
“He’s not here! You said and he said he would be here and he is not!” Johnny said.
“He will come. He promised.” He replied.
A clicking noise started to fill the small room, causing Johnny to cease his self-arguing and look at the door. Slowly, he could see the lock on the doors knob rotating, and then the handle turned ever so slightly. A small light filled the room, as the crack in the doorway grew larger. A large shadow covered most of the newly added light and a quiet shuffling sound indicated the maneuvering of feet. As the door began to close once again, a small silence filled the room, until someone began to whisper.
“Hey… are you here?” the voice said.
“We are here. You are late.” Johnny replied.
“Well, you’re lucky I made it at all. Now are you going to come with me or argue about time?” said the voice.
“We’re coming, we’re coming. There’s no way you could leave us here now!” Johnny said as he quietly crawled out of the shadow filled corner.
Just as the pair began their escape, Johnny stumbled over something in the dark hallway. He righted himself before falling completely, but the sound of his foot slapping onto the smooth tile reverberated off of the blank hallway walls.
“What was that? Who’s there?” Said a voice from the next hallway up.
Johnny froze in his tracks. In the silence he could hear footsteps headed toward him and by the sound of them, they weren’t taking their time.
“We must run!” Johnny said. Taking off in the wrong direction, he ran as hard as he could convince his legs to go. Rounding the corner, there was a loud smack and a hiss of air leaving lungs. All Johnny remembered was falling…
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Johnny rolled over in bed at the sound of an awful alarm. Preparing to swing an arm and bat the annoyance off of his nightstand, he froze realizing he couldn’t move his arms at all. His eyes flew open and he glanced down at the straightjacket covering his body. Solid white walls and floor surrounded him, and only a single door decorated his tiny room. He wasn’t sure how he got here, but he knew he had to make an escape.
A face appears and vanishes in a flash of headlights reflecting off the wall. A shadow chases the lights away, followed by the hushed rumble of an engine. Another car passes. From the corner, a pair of eyes glimmers in the fleeting light, heavy with sleeplessness. A faint padding sound comes from the ceiling and stops. Three scratches break the silence. A small flame floods the corner with light. Moving the flame to a candlewick, the barrier of light grows. With a puff, a match goes out. Eyes, now alert, scan the ceiling with wariness. The padding starts again, followed by the creak of a floorboard. A gasp escapes her, fear etched into each exhausted feature of her face. Trembling hands find the floor. Leaving her candle behind, she begins to slowly crawl towards the door. She stops with each sound, staring in its direction.
Once out of her room, she is again consumed by darkness. Scratches produce a flame and she lights another candle. The flickering light shines on a narrow staircase, continuing their upward stretch far past the candle’s glow. The girls face wearing a look of unease, she begins her ascent. A loud thump makes her stop in her tracks. Shadows begin to dance along the wall as her hand shakes. A deep breath in, she continues with a look of determination. With each step, the sounds from the attic grow louder. Each step makes the candle shake a bit more.
A closed door stands at the top of the stairs. The bottom third drenched in a dancing glow of light. A clammy hand reaches for the brass knob, turning it slowly the latch clears and the door creaks open. Darkness hides as the light is moved about the room. Stacks of memories and treasures line the walls and floor. It is difficult to differentiate items as everything is coated in a thick layer of dust. Large dingy sheets lie on what appears to be furniture. A statue of a man in one corner catches her eye, causing her to gasp. The candle drops to the floor, mixing wax with dirt and dust. The attic is pitch black. A light pattering makes its way in circles around her. Something brushes up against her bare ankle, causing a tiny shriek to escape her lips.
Scratching for a third time, light again floods the small space. Once relit, she bravely pushes herself further into the depths of the attic. Almost to the back wall, a chill runs down her spine causing goose bumps to cover her small arms. A breeze can be felt from the tiny window on the back wall. Walking closer to inspect, she notices the window has been pushed open slightly. Muffled steps are heard behind her. She holds her breath, closes her eyes and spins to face her tormentor. Her eyes widen, face frozen in a look of shock. A large tabby cat sits flitting its tail.
Rain tapped on the windshield, provoking the wipers to come alive. The persistent swoosh of the blades, combined with the beads of water falling in rhythm, created a song. I allowed natures music to enter my thoughts and let it attempt to soothe the confusion I felt inside. Why was that car in front of our house? Why do we have to stay somewhere else tonight? From the back seat, I looked up into the rearview mirror at my Mothers face. She smiled but lines of worry and fear were etched along her eyes. I knew something was wrong. I just couldn’t figure out what it could possibly be or who.
“Mom, where are we going?” I asked.
“Honey, don’t be afraid, ok? We’re just going to stay with Uncle Mike tonight, that’s all,” she replied.
Uncle Mike lived just outside of town in a rundown two-bedroom house. He lived alone, but you couldn’t tell it with all of the stuff he had sitting around. Though it was dark when we pulled into his driveway, I could clearly see all of his so called “lawn ornaments” in the beam of our headlights. Mike was standing on his front porch waiting for our arrival. It was difficult to tell from the car, but an object in his hand caught the moonlight and gave me a shiver.
“Mom… why does Uncle Mike have a gun in his hand?” I asked.
“You know your uncle, always paranoid about something!” she said.
It was true, Mike always had a new crazy theory to talk about. This time I had a feeling that wasn’t the case. This time, I knew it had something to do with that car we saw.
We got out and quickly carried our bags inside out of the rain. In the house, the pouring rain added an ominous feel to the overstuffed living room.
“Honey, it’s been a long day, why don’t you go ahead and get some sleep. You can have the spare room upstairs, ok?” Mom said.
With that, I carried my stuff upstairs and tried to calm my nerves. Dust puffed off the bed as I heaved my bag down. This room had clearly been unoccupied for a long time. Attempting to settle in, I laid as quiet as possible trying to register any noise downstairs.
“Mabel, you ok?” Mike said to my Mother.
“Just a little shaken up. I don’t understand how he found us… This is why we moved in the first place, to get away from him,” Mom replied.
I leaned over the dusty mattress towards the floor, trying to be sure I didn’t miss anything.
“Well, you know I could go take care of him right now. I’m not afraid and besides, it’d be self defense, I’d make sure of it,” Mike said.
“Mike, I don’t need you getting hurt. You know how dangerous he can be. Besides, we have a restraining order, I just need to call the cops and let them handle it,” Mom answered.
“Whatever you say Mae, I’m just saying I could handle him once and for all.”
I scooted back to the middle of the bed, mind racing. It was my father. We moved a few years back. Mom said because she wanted to be closer to her brother, but I knew then there were other motives, I just wasn’t sure exactly what. My father was in our house. He was looking for us.
At some point, I guess I drifted off to sleep, because I woke to a loud banging on the door. My mother ran into my room and slammed the door shut. She drug the rickety dresser out from the corner and used it to block the door.
With a quiver in her voice my Mom said, “Hadley, I need you to stay quiet and still, ok? Your father is here, but Uncle Mike is taking care of it.”
There were three loud bangs. I held my breath; a tear collected in the corner of my eye. My mother clung to me, wrapping me within her like a blanket of protection. Silent sobs racked her chest and shoulders as she rocked me back and forth. I could feel her warm tears falling into my hair as she whispered, “It’s going to be ok…” whether it was directed towards herself, or me I don’t know. All I did know was, it was done.
About the Author
Rebecca is currently earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment at Full Sail University. Writing is her passion and she aspires to make her mark in the literary world. If she can give someone else the feeling that reading a good book gives her, she will have fulfilled her dream. This is her first published work.
This collection of flash fiction is three short pieces of a mysterious and thrilling nature. Tick tells the tale of an escape plan with an unexpected ending. The Attic follows the journey of a girl inspecting a mysterious noise. The End is a tragic tale of fear, loss and freedom, all wrapped into one. While this collection is short, each story within is powerful in its own right.