I heard the sound, the bump from downstairs. I heard it from my room.
I paid no attention
I needed to sleep.

I heard it again that sound that didn’t fit, didn’t quite belong.
This time a creak from the stair;
Fold the pillow, turn on my side, ignore it again. Try to get to sleep.

The near silent squeak of the bedroom door
So familiar to me,
So out of place for now.
It garners my full attention.
Senses on alert, I lie still; peering into the darkness through half closed eyes,
feigning sleep.

The door swings wide admitting a soft white glow.
On the heels of the light I recognize Darlene,
“Paul? Are you awake?”
The chain operates the lamp on the bedside table, bringing more light, yellower light.
Light the color of cornbread.

Darlene’s face is bruised and bloodied. Her left eye is swollen, almost shut.
Her dress is torn and the heel is broken off of one shoe.
“What happened to you?” I swing my legs off the bed, feet on the floor.

“I was walking home from the theater. He came from behind.
I didn’t know where else to go so I came here. I used my key.”
I stood and moved to take her in my arms.


Yeah – Editor’s Pick!

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7 thoughts on “

  1. Another different take on things that go bump. I thought you used your words really well to build up tension and a spooky shadowy atmosphere throughout. I wasn’t quite sure where you were going with it. I think all the best stories have this quality. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is this the same Darlene? And if so, is the theatre a euphemism? So many questions 🙂 Your use of straightforward language and short sentences really anchors the reader in the scene: “Her dress is torn and the heel is broken off of one shoe,” and “I swing my legs off the bed, feet on the floor.” I’ve been trying to channel your talent of describing the beauty of simple daily moments, but now think I’d like to try something like what you’ve done here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, same Darlene. I thought it would be fun to play with answering the ultimate question with the microstory, using the optional prompt with the flash fiction, having both be able to stand on their own legs and yet at the same time intertwine with one another to create a bigger story. And, yes again, theater is a bit of a euphemism. I can’t slip anything past you.
      Thanks for the comment and the read and the interest.

      Like

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