Her scream could be heard from the dormitory. “What’s going on?” A few students asked as they gathered behind her. Continue reading “Friday Fictioneers: What’s in the Trees”
Storytelling Speech: Tell Tale Heart – My Interpretation
I had originally planned to present this story at Toastmasters (a club to practice public speaking) last October but I was so busy at the time that I couldn’t get it written in time. It’s my take on one of my favorite Edgar Allen Poe’s short-stories which I think it was perfect for Halloween. Continue reading “Storytelling Speech: Tell Tale Heart – My Interpretation”
Friday Fictioneers: The Boat
“That’s odd, didn’t you say that couple’s going to take the boat for the night?” Continue reading “Friday Fictioneers: The Boat”
Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: The Woman in Red
Everyone knew her as a regular at the Funky Munky Bar. She’d come in everyday at twilight, donned in red. Red trench coat, high heels, a large scarlet hat, and a clutch purse. Continue reading “Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: The Woman in Red”
Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: The Man on the Bench
He sat there, day after day with his yellow cap, green jacket, colorful socks, and sneakers. Continue reading “Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: The Man on the Bench”
Short Story: Decade Long Paranoia
At 11:11, his nightmares finally ended.
At 7:43 am on a chilly and cloudy Wednesday morning, as usual, Nick Paxton sat on the bus bench waiting for the bus. He glanced left and then right every few seconds while his fidgety fingers fiddled with the papers in his briefcase. He brought his watch to his face. The bus should have been here by now. He thought anxiously. Quickly, he slammed his briefcase shut. His fingers nervously drummed the hard faux leather exterior.
He had been feeling uneasy in the recent weeks, constantly having the suspicion that he was being watched and followed. He could remember the last time he had felt this way was ten years ago, right after he got his first job in a publishing company. Then just as he thought he was losing his mind, wincing and jumping every time someone spoke or tapped on his shoulder, it went away.
Five minutes later, the bus pulled up to the stop. He hugged his briefcase tight as he scurried onto the bus, pulling his pass from inside his coat and waving it at the tan-skinned driver. He walked to the back of the bus, fully aware of every movement on the bus. He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, turned around, and sat down. I am not paranoid. I am not paranoid. He told himself.
At 8:27, he pulled the cord and stepped off the bus, walked a block south to the office building. As he walked toward the elevator, he felt a shadow presence behind him. He spun around quickly but there was no one. The elevator dinged behind him, making him jump. The doors opened, he stepped in and pressed seven.
After he entered his closed off office, he sighed and plopped his briefcase on his desk. Then he sat down in the leather chair and stared at the walls. It was safe haven for him because there were no windows to look outside and employees cannot peek in because of the blinds he installed. He began sorting the pile of papers his assistant, Nadine, had left on his desk.
At 10:39, just as he finished arranging his tasks for the day, the phone on his desk rang, making him jump. He let it ring twice more before picking it up. “Yes?”
Nadine, his assistant’s voice sounded on the other end. “Sir, your mother is on line 2, would you like to take the call?”
“Yes, please put her on.” He heard several beeps, an indication of Nadine pressing the buttons. “Hello, mother, is everything okay?” He did not know why he asked that.
“Why wouldn’t everything be okay?” His mother replied rhetorically. There was a long pause, for a moment, both of them ran out of conversation. “I just called to confirm. Are you coming over for dinner tonight?”
Nick thought for a moment, “Yes, of course.”
“I’m glad.” His mother said in a sweet voice and then another pause. “Well, I will let you get back to work. See you tonight.”
“See you tonight, mother.” He said and hung up the phone.
At 4:51 pm, he once again stood at the bus stop waiting for the bus that will transport him to his parents’ neighborhood. The bus arrived and the doors opened, he glanced up at the driver and waved his pass at him. His hand froze mid-wave. Wasn’t this the same driver this morning? The driver nodded slightly, letting him know his pass was valid.
Nick clasped the handle of the briefcase tight with his right hand while his left hand grasped tight around the bar above him as the bus sped up. He kept thinking that it was a little odd that the same driver was driving different routes. He glanced at the driver in the rear-view mirror. Maybe he was just imagining things, after all, the driver did not recognize him or maybe he had just seen one too many faces.
At 5:42, after walking four blocks from the central bus station alone under darkening skies, he pressed the doorbell to his parents’ home. His heart pounded restlessly in his chest. After a few minutes, his father opened the door. “Come on in, son.”
He stepped in and immediately, he recognized the unmistakable aroma of his favorite dish, eggplant parmesan. His father led him through the hallway into the kitchen dining combination. “We are just about to start.” His father informed him.
“It smells great.” Nick said as he sat down at the table. There was an extra chair at the table. “Is someone else coming?”
His father snapped his fingers, “Oh yes, Sebastian’s coming.”
His forehead wrinkled. “My cousin Sebastian’s in town?” The last time his cousin was in town was ten years ago, right when the time he began sensing he was being watched. Then when Sebastian left, so did his paranoia. He often wondered whether his cousin was the one shadowing him, observing his every move.
“He’s supposed to be here any minute.” His mother said behind the kitchen counter. “Do you think he got lost?” Just then, the doorbell rang. “Oh, that must be him.” His mother said excitedly as his father once again got up from his chair and walked down the hallway to answer the door.
Five minutes later, his father walked back into the dining room followed by a familiar man with dirty blond hair and unshaven face. Nick stood up. “Yo, Nick, you haven’t change one bit.” Sebastian clapped a hand on Nick’s shoulder. He hadn’t seen Sebastian for a decade but he heard frequent tales of his travels during his and his parents’ usual dinnertime conversation.
He looked his cousin up and down. “You haven’t changed a bit either.” Just then his mother rushed to the table carrying a large heavy ceramic baking dish. Everyone dodged out of the way of the steaming dish. Everyone sat down, they joined hands in a quick prayer, and then everyone dug into the salad, the lasagna, and eggplant parmesan.
A 9:08, Nick said goodbye to his father and got out of the car, it had become his usual routine ever since he almost went bankrupt five years ago. He even had to sell his car to cover a portion of his student loan debt.
He unhooked the gate and entered the weed-filled front yard of his rental home. From inside his coat, he pulled out his key, shoved it into the keyhole and turned. He stepped in but just as he shut the door, he could have sworn he caught a small glimpse of a shadow by the gate.
He dropped his briefcase and coat onto the futon where he often spent his evenings and then walked over to the outdated kitchen counter to check his messages. The first message was from his mother. “Just want to check if you’re coming over tonight what with your busy schedule at work. You know, I should probably call your work number.”
Then a deep disturbing voice came on his answering machine. “You didn’t think you can get rid of me that easily, did you?” A cold shiver crawled up his spine and he gulped. The chilling voice laughed and it went on and on like a track stuck on repeat. He staggered back quickly as if the answering machine was a bomb about to be blow.
From across the room, he suddenly heard a click on the front door, his head instantly spun toward the door, his heart caught in his throat. The door flew open and a large muscular figure stood on the other side. He was dressed in black. All Nick could see was his unshaven chin and full dark lips. The corner of his lips tilted into a wry grin. Nick’s lips quivered. “Who are you? What do you want?”
He chuckled, “Oh, Nick Paxton, always straight as an arrow. Never want to play along. I’ve been watching you and I know your every move and every thought. I cannot be beat.”
Nick clenched the counter, his heart pounded. “What do you want?” He repeated in a quavering voice.
The figure approached. “Remember in high school, at that party, we got drunk and stoned. You got behind the wheel with your girl and we went for a drive.” At that moment, he finally figured out who had been periodically haunting him. No, it can’t be.
“No, you were dead.” Nick shook his head.
“You would think that but you just took your girl and left me there, in the midst of the debris. The paramedics eventually got to me and patched me up. The cops asked me who was driving. I had to protect my best friend and took the blame but you never had a vigil for me, nothing. You just acted as if nothing has happened. It was then I swore I will come back and give you what you deserve.” A blade appeared in his left hand and he pushed back his hood.
Long scars lined his face and cheeks as well as his cleanly shaved head. His right eye was light gray while his left was light green, the color Nick remembered. It was the gruesome image of his high school best friend, Rodney, who girls fell head over heel for. Before he could give him a second gander, Rodney threw the knife, Nick dodged. The knife landed on the counter, narrowly missed Nick by centimeters. He sprinted to the other side of the counter and grabbed the chef’s knife from the knife block. He held it before him as Rodney continued to approach.
Rodney closed his fist around his knife and pulled it out of the counter. Then he walked around toward Nick. Nick took one look at his former best friend and then slowly placed the knife on the counter and cowardly raised both hands. “Look, I am sorry I left you there that night but I really that you were dead. I checked your pulse. I even did CPR on you. I couldn’t help you. Whatever you want, just tell me.”
“I want you dead.” Rodney growled, he bared his yellow rotten teeth. “It should’ve been you that night, not me. You should have been the one arrested, not me. You should have been the one in jail, not me. You took away everything I have, everything I’ve ever wanted. Even my parents don’t want me anymore.”
Nick swallowed, “I’m sure we can work something out. You can even live here and we can start over.” It was the stupidest thing that came out of his mouth but anything was better than death.
He scoffed. “Start over? Did you think it’s that easy? You took everything from me. I have been and still am determined to kill you.” He charged with his knife but in a moment of stealth, Nick snatched the chef’s knife beside him and ran it through Rodney’s abdomen.
Rodney’s eyes and mouth widened as he dropped the knife and fell backwards on the floor. Nick sat on top of him and continued stabbing him. Blood squatted out after every stab, spraying onto Nick’s face, white shirt, and blue tie. As Rodney’s eyes became glassy and still, he stood up, dropping the knife onto the floor with a clang. He felt no guilt or remorse for killing this man who’s been following him, stalking him for the past ten years.
At 10:33, he came back into the living room wearing a clean black shirt and jeans. In the middle of the living room was a rolled up rug. He stepped out through the side door to a beat up black Honda parked on the curb, surprised such a psycho owned a car. He pulled the key out of his pocket and dug it into the key hole. He cranked up the engine and threw the car in reverse, backing it into his detached garage. He turned off the engine and stepped back into the house. Ten minutes later, with effort, he stuffed the rug into the trunk. He got in the car again, cranked the engine and sped toward the pier.
At 11:04, he stepped out of the car, got the rug out of the trunk and began dragging it along the pier. As he got to the end, with all his strength, he flung the rug over the pier into the water. He let out a long breath, the person who’s been haunting him for the last decade is dead. He could finally live a life without fear of being followed.
My second attempt at this horror/creepy genre. Let me know if it works.