Last week, Chuck Wendig asked writers to create 1,000 words of part one of a scary story. I intended to take part but life got in the way. This week you can choose one of those story beginnings and create a part two. Next week will be part three.
I find the middle of a story sometimes the hardest to write, and first person present also difficult. There were some great part one choices, but in the end I chose this (untitled) one, by another Aussie author: http://www.cre8tivelife.net/flash-fiction/a-scary-story-part-one
SCARY STORY PART TWO
Thumping and scratching noises are coming from the ceiling directly above me. A family of possums most likely.
“Honey, do you hear that?” I roll over. The other side of the bed is empty.
Muffled voices drift down the hall from the lounge room. Rodney must still be watching his horror series.
I throw back the covers. “Honey? Are you awake?”
Apart from the voices coming from the TV, there’s no reply from the lounge room.
Rodney’s not on the couch. I pick up the remote and switch off the TV. The house creaks and groans and the stupid possums are making a racket. The fridge chimes in with a hum. The crickets in the long grass outside add to the suburban symphony. I’m used to hearing inner city traffic, sirens, and people yelling at all hours of the night. I don’t know how I’m ever going to get back to sleep.
I check the rest of the rooms in the house, making sure the windows are locked as I go. I start with the spare bedroom I turned into a home office, then the one we’ve designated ‘the nursery’. At the moment it holds most of our boxes of junk and a spare bed for guests. After eleven rounds of unsuccessful IVF, we aren’t rushing to set it up as a proper nursery just yet. I’m betting this round won’t stick either. I’m too stressed because of the move. Right now, I’m also irritated with my husband.
After a full check of the house, I’m back in the lounge room and most of the lights are on. “Honey? This late night game of hide-and-seek isn’t funny.”
A cool breeze caresses the side of my face. The outer screen door at the back of the house creaks on its hinges and bangs gently against the frame. Partially open, the inner wooden door swings wider. I grab hold of it and peer outside. The crescent moon doesn’t emit enough light to illuminate the yard, but I can make out the outline of the rickety shed. A dim, blue haze appears in the dirty window. Yawning, I rub my eyes. The haze is gone and the shed has returned to darkness. Am I seeing things?
“Rod? Honey?” My heart pounds and the milk I drank before bed sours in my stomach. I lean against a dining chair and stare out the kitchen window. The shed is full of that weird blue haze again. It even spills out the doorway. It flickers before going out once more. Is Rodney in the shed? Why would he go out there now? Did that kid from number eleven come back again?
Before I can talk myself out of it, I grab a flashlight out of the bottom drawer and head outside.
The clothesline spins and creaks in the wind. I pull my dressing gown around me tighter and shine the flashlight across to my right. My red hatchback sits under the carport, five meters away. The shed is three times further from the back step in the other direction.
A neighbour’s dog takes to barking and I jump, stumbling off the step into the long grass. I try not to think about the spiders, ticks, and other creepy crawlies lurking underfoot.
“Honey, are you in here?” I aim my flashlight through the door of the shed.
There’s a hint of a stale, metallic odour. Rusted hooks and nails stick out of the wooden walls to support tools we don’t own. Two splintered and rotting benches run the full length of the shed on either side. Empty milk crates the previous owners left behind sit under the benches. Multiple footprints have been left in the dusty, concrete floor – some big and some small. Black spots are spread across one side of the room and over the dirty window.
My foot makes contact with something and it skids across the floor. Rodney’s phone slides to a stop against one of the crates. It’s covered in dust and those strange black spots. I crouch down and pick it up. The screen is cracked. The spots aren’t black like I first thought. They’re a deep crimson, and they smudge.
I angle my flashlight upwards, running the beam over the corrugated iron and roof trusses. There’s nothing there. Even though I should feel relieved, I feel more anxious than I did before.
Shuddering, I leave the shed. I trip over something soft and warm lying in the grass. I manage to hold onto the flashlight and the phone, but when I look to see what I tripped over, there’s nothing there.
A lump builds in my throat and my chest tightens. Tears fill my eyes and I’m close to panicking. I push myself up and sprint back to the house.
I reach the back door, but it’s shut. I grab the handle, and push as hard as I can. Nothing happens. I’m locked out.
“Rodney!” I bang on the door. “Let me in!”
I give up on the door and tap on the phone. The touchscreen lights up, but it doesn’t respond to any of my other commands. It’s too slick with blood. I try wiping my hands on my dressing gown, the phone too, but it doesn’t seem to help.
The door opens and I fling myself inside.
“Meg. Where the hell have you been? I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”
“I was looking for you. I thought you were in the shed. I found your phone.” I hold it out to him.
He examines me, frowning. “You’re bleeding.”
“No, I’m not, I…” I look down at myself. My hands, pyjamas, and dressing gown are covered in blood, much more than the original few drops on Rodney’s phone.
“If you’re not hurt,” Rodney takes a step back, “then whose blood is that?”
I stare at him, confused. “I thought it was yours.”
I hope you enjoyed reading Part Two. I’m hoping someone will pick this story up for Part Three. I want to know what happens next 😉
Edited to add: this story now has an ending. You can READ IT HERE.