Sunday, May 10, 2015

Flash Fiction: A Horror Story

I briefly belonged to a flash fiction writing group a while back. I only wrote a handful of pieces, and it was an interesting experience. As much as I like writing opinion pieces and telling stories about my adventures, I’ve never had any skill for fiction writing. None of my flash fiction pieces are entirely fictitious.

Prompt: Horror story
Word count: 285/300 max

It’s cold, and you’ve woken with a start.

Take a deep breath. Pause and release it slowly. Assure yourself that this feeling of dread, an icy stone in the pit of your core, was just a dream. Take another breath and listen--silence. Night slowly comes into focus as phantoms fade into memory. Shaking your head clear, you rub your arms absently. These damn drafty old stones: stately, but always so cold.

Seeking to banish and forget the fear lingering around the edges of consciousness, you think a hot tea ought to do the trick. And at the very least, it will warm you a bit. Listening a moment longer to the quiet, you muster the will with a determined inhalation and face the cool air with a brief shudder.
Disoriented a moment in the dark, you stumble, catch yourself, and fumble slowly toward the kitchen. Loud scratching startles you to a stop. Relax, just the wind in the trees against the windows. Draw a calming breath; you’re still feeling shakier than you thought.

You huddle over the warm mug, hugging it closely with a relieved smile as you take it back to your room. Sipping it in bed, you feel your body finally relax and you enjoy the stillness of the night as peaceful sleep beckons to you. Setting the mug down, you lie back and sigh, thinking of what a lovely day tomorrow will be.

Loud scratching again breaks the silence. Remember, there is no wind here at night. A steady clicking becomes louder, closer. You draw a shuddering breath and hear the mug smash just as a low growl rises beside you.

Holding your breath, you remember the dream.

It wasn’t a dream.

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