Thursday Thriller – Rumors

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“Come on!  Let’s go in!”  Andrew tugged on her arm painfully, but her feet were planted on the ground.  She looked at the brown weeds sprouting up through the cracks in the sidewalk, the vast parking lot, sprawling and expanding around them like a gray, concrete ocean.  The empty mall had been sitting there, an abandoned eyesore, for years, since Mona was a little girl.  The town had no idea what to do with the space and no investor would touch it.  So it sat, and the stories began to swirl.  The murders that had supposedly taken place there, the girls who’d slowly started going missing in the years since the mall had been abandoned, the body found buried in a shallow grave, the madman that supposedly lived there in one of the desolate anchor stores.  It made for great scary stories at sleepovers when she and her friends were little, but Mona had never taken the rumors seriously.  It was just a hiding place for homeless people and a spot for losers to  get high.

Andrew tugged on her arm again, flashing that lopsided smile, and she remembered why her mother had warned her about him.  He took her hand and she squeezed it as tightly as she could as she followed him inside, crawling through a gaping hole in a wall that faced a deserted side alley.

The lights were still on.  She could hear the hum of the electricity all around her, despite the fact that the floor was littered with shattered glass, dirty sleeping bags, and trash.  Every fixture had been ripped from the walls and ceiling, signs hung crookedly around them.  “Welcome Back!” A banner screamed, brushing her arm as she walked past trepidatiously.

“This place is super creepy, Drew.  Let’s just go,” Mona pleaded, trying to pull him back.  He didn’t stop, just kept dragging her forward.

“I have something I want to show you.  It’s just around the corner.”

They ducked into one of the abandoned stores.  It was dark and Mona found herself longing for the well-lit corridor, spooky as it was.  There was a shadowy figure curled up in the corner, laying against the wall.  He stood as they approached.  As they grew closer, she could see the strange look in his eyes, the knife gleaming slightly in the sparse light that escaped from the hallway.  Andrew’s grip on her arm tightened; it was no longer safe, reassuring.  He was restraining her.

The stories were true.

 

I have a strange obsession with creepy abandoned malls, which sadly there are many of in certain parts of the U.S.   Enjoy the video if you’re interested!

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Black-Blue

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I’m startled awake.  There are coarse, raised voices out on the deck.  Curious, I climb the stairs and see them, a man and woman, grappling, fighting over an unseen object.  The woman loses the struggle and slips over the railing with a chilling wail, a flash of white dropping into an infinite black-blue.

I close my eyes, but prolonged sleep is impossible.  She tiptoes through my dreams, leaving crimson footprints wherever she goes.

Someone’s fiddling with the lock.  I hear the cabin door creak open, heavy footfalls across the tiny room.  The bed is jostled, and I close my eyes more tightly, pretending, praying.

“I know you’re awake.”

For Story a Day

Thursday Thriller – Watched

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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

Gem

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Every other hotel room, apartment, and house within a hundred-mile radius of the convention was booked.  But somehow, the quaint little cottage with the bright blue door, tucked away in a quiet suburb a few miles from downtown, sat vacant amidst all the hubbub.

“So, what do you think?”  Their realtor, Sara, asked after they’d completed the brief, unnecessary, tour. They would have rented it sight unseen.  It was this or sleeping in a car outside the convention hall.

“I think it’s too good to be true,” Chris piped up before Meg could answer.  “How come this place is vacant?”   Sara lowered her face, shifting her eyes to the door.

“Is something wrong?  You have to tell us.” Meg urged.

Sara sighed.  “This home is where  John Darden, that cannibal murderer, had his first kill.”

Sara turned away, shoulders slumped, resigned to the fact she would never unload this tainted property.

“Sara, wait!”  Meg called after her.  She looked at Chris, her mouth twisting into a hybrid of a grimace and a smile.  “We’ll take it.”

 

Inspired by this news item and written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.

 

Thursday Thriller – Awakening

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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