He rode up on a dark horse this morning, just as the sun rose through the line of trees that faced the house. I was on the front porch, wiping sweat from my brow as I sat in a rocking chair. I needed a rest. I’d been working all night.
He told me I didn’t have to worry any longer, that I was safe. He would take me far away from this squalid house, my unfulfilling marriage. He was going to rescue me.
Then his eyes widened as he saw the deep, brownish-red stains on my white apron, the perspiration on my face, the hole dug at the edge of the property. The sun shone in the window of my house, illuminating what was lying on the floor of the front parlor. He blanched as he looked back at me with eyes full of fear, not pity, for once, and my chest swelled.
I don’t need rescuing.
Not guilty. Eyes closed. Her face.
There is a boy outside. I see his shadow against my wall. I shake my husband awake, allowing fear to narrate my thoughts.
He’s coming up our walk now. Did I remember to lock our doors? My husband creeps down the steps and I sit on the landing, staring at the bedroom doors of my sleeping children. The doorbell rings and I nearly leap from my skin. He’s standing under our harsh porch light. I see the bloody eye, the bruise rising from his temple.
“We had an accident. Phone’s busted. My mom’s hurt real bad. Could you please call 911?”
The Moral Mondays prompt is JUDGE NOT, LEST YOU BE JUDGED.
It was clear that Bianca, the nervous patient fidgeting in the reclined chair, didn’t remember her. But Lauren, Dr. Asher to all of her patients, certainly remembered every cruel word Bianca had ever said, despite the intervening decades.
“Is it going to hurt much? No offense, but I hate coming to the dentist,” Bianca squeaked.
“It won’t hurt a bit,” Lauren said with a placid smile as she wielded the drill. She asked her assistant to shut the door.
The Six Sentence Story prompt this week is Drill.
Part 1 – Intruder
She could feel his breath on the back of her neck. She felt the shift in the air as soon as he stepped inside. She had to think, while she had this tiny, secret moment. If she failed, she’d be proving all the naysayers right. The family members who said she had no business living alone, especially somewhere so remote. That she’d come running back to mommy soon enough.
Should she run? Somehow try and contact the authorities via her laptop without his noticing? Then she saw it, the silver letter opener, it’s shiny handle sticking out from under the stack of mail. She exhaled softly as she slowly moved her hand toward it, until her fingers were wrapped around its handle. She squared her shoulders, took another deep breath, then, with a guttural cry, jumped from the floor and swung her body toward him in one fell swoop, aiming for his neck.
Later, as the man lay bleeding on her living room floor, she went outside and sat on the porch, remembering the look of fear and surprise in his eyes, and smiled. She could see the red and blue lights through the trees.
She was born into a world of silence. She’d never known any different, so she never viewed it as a disadvantage. She cherished the friends she’d made, the community that had embraced her, the life she built herself.
She spent her days walking the grounds of her secluded estate, dreaming and jotting ideas for future novels in her journal. When the weather didn’t cooperate, she sat indoors near the window, clicking away at her laptop. That’s what she was doing when the man entered through the carelessly unlocked back door. He made as much noise as he pleased entering her home; he knew it didn’t matter.
When he reached her living room, where she sat with her back to him, he stood close enough to see the hairs on the back of her neck, the dots of lint on her well-worn sweatshirt. He would wait for her to turn around, to see him, her eyes widening with fear and surprise. Then, his game would begin.
Read Part 2 – Warrior
She danced alone now, in the once-dark basement she’d transformed into a palatial studio flooded with light. Her home, a gray fortress barely visible through the blinding snow, was simultaneously a refuge and a prison.
She had a life back in New York. How she loved the freedom of being onstage, the music of the orchestra swelling in her ears, spinning wildly until the other dancers around her were just a blur.
It started with a few strange, anonymous messages, ardent expressions of devotion. She ignored them. The person that had written them was clearly obsessive, but likely harmless, she’d reasoned. Then came the phone calls and messages threatening her with violence in unspeakable, torturous ways. Demands for attention. Pictures of her, at lunch with friends, hailing cabs, walking to rehearsals, were sent to her phone with the frightening caption, I see you.
Then came the final straw, when she realized her home was bugged. That someone was watching, listening, every moment she thought she was alone. She never slept there again.
Maybe one day she’d turn the basement into a real dance studio, start teaching classes, holding recitals. But for now, just being able to dance was enough. She closed her eyes and leaped into the air once again, not noticing the tiny dot above the doorway.
Someone watched her still.
Read Part 2 Watcher
Why bother? You would never understand.
Zadie awoke with the sensation of tiny, prickly legs crawling all over her skin. Her throat was dry and her mouth tasted sour. Had she really gotten that drunk? The room felt suddenly cold. She sat straight up in bed, eyes wide, searching the darkness. Someone was in her room. She could smell them, hear their soft inhalations.
“What do you want!” She yelled in her meanest growl.
The person stepped forward, into the flimsy light shining through the windows from the street lamps. She could see their form, partially. It was a woman, with a face that was somewhat familiar.
“Get out of my house!”
“Don’t you remember me, Zadie?”
She stepped closer, and Zadie gasped. It was Grace. Her face was still scarred. Zadie stepped out of bed on the other side, putting it between them. She reached into her nightstand for her revolver, finding the drawer empty.
“What do you want?”
“I want what you owe me.”
Read Part 2 – Perfect
He tiptoed inside. Dad was waiting.
The prompt for the Six Word Story Challenge today was “fear.”