To find and join our group of writers, please go to

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/1135/flash-fiction.

These are the picks from a word prompt. Ghostly

 

There is No Place Like Home.

I will never say I hated the town I lived in, but the din from streets jammed with cars crawling towards a full car park, shoppers never looking where they were going. Harassed mothers with strollers and toddlers. The market with streets filled with stalls selling goods of every description. I needed space to breathe and think. After much searching, I moved to a cottage deep in the countryside.

My purchase was not large but old and full of dark wood furniture, much of it covered in mould. Weeks later having cleaned every nook and cranny I moved in.
Have you ever lived in a house with ghosts? Well I had three of them. Harry was a pain as he made his room in the loft ice cold. Isabella, the old housekeeper, kept moving things. After the third or fourth time, I left them where they were and she never touched them again.

Mary, when I saw her was always in the bathroom. In fairness, none of them caused any trouble and they stayed well out of the way when visitors arrived.

Every time I walked past my bathroom door Mary, a thin little girl with jet-black hair tied in pigtails, possessed the brightest of blue eyes. She looked so sweet dressed in a white dress covered in embroidered yellow daisies. Each time she stood staring at the mirror clutching a tatty rag doll. I have no idea why as she had no reflection. I kept the door closed so I could walk by without seeing her, but I sensed she was in there. I could feel those blank eyes. She did not frighten me; in fact, I was sorry for her. Trapped forever in that room she looked a pitiful sight. From the original plans, it seemed long ago it was a vegetable storage cupboard.

As time passed, my three residents never changed but then why would they? Then writing appeared in the condensation on the bathroom mirror. ‘Jack’s coming.’

On the eve of Halloween, Ruth, a long time friend came to stay for the weekend. I never mentioned the oddities of my house. Right after she arrived, she wanted to use the bathroom.

A few seconds later, she returned with a dazed look on her face and said, “There’s a little girl in your bathroom.”

“Jet-black hair tied in a pigtail and wearing a daisy covered dress?”

She nodded.

“That’s Mary. She’s always in there.”

Her face turned white. “What do you mean?”

“She’s a ghost.”

Without another word, she grabbed her suitcase and raced out of the house.
During that night, doors opened and slammed shut. Someone started sobbing. I crept across my bedroom floor not daring to make a sound and turned the key in the lock. Then it went quiet until I heard struggling along the hallway. Then the air filled with a scream so piercing I clamped my hands over my ears, not that it made any difference. The air became cold and my body froze. Awareness crept over me that I was no longer in contact with my bed. I opened my eyes and the room was no longer there, instead, there was only the dark of a shadow. Paralysed, some unknown force dragged me towards it.

For a moment silence, then the telltale click of the door unlocking tossed me back to reality. The bedroom door opened and a shadow entered dragging Mary.

In the moonlight, I could see that rope bound her hands and feet. With a noose tight around her neck, the shadow looped the rope around a hook and pulled. In a state of shock, I wet myself but stayed silent. Then the shadow wrote on the farthest wall. I never thought a ghost could die but Mary’s legs hung, unmoving. The shadow grew and filled the room. The air in around me warped and twisted. Then, in a flash of pale, silvery light, a man appeared. He wore aged clothes, a crisp, white button up, shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbows.

Then, like the genie from Aladdin’s lamp, he vanished.

Trembling, I staggered out of bed and read the writing. “I know you are not sleeping.”

I threw up. With my eyes fixed on Mary, I fainted.

When daylight flooded the room. Mary had gone. Not bothering to shower, I dressed, packed and ran.

***

I placed the house on the market, and took my friend Davy back to collect a few things. The minute we arrived, I saw he sensed something. I could tell, but he insisted he was okay. After a while, he needed to use the bathroom. Seconds after he left, he charged back into the kitchen, gasping for breath. Then he looked straight into my eyes, and said, “There’s a little girl in the bathroom and she’s not happy. She said, you left, and you weren’t supposed to”.

We threw whatever we could grab into the boot of my car and roared out of the drive.
Some time later, the house burnt to the ground. The police blamed squatters. Yet, they remain mystified by the skeleton of a little girl found in the bathroom.

To this day, the memory of that innocent child and her death still haunts me.
Read more: http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/1135/flash-fiction-october-26th-results?page=6#ixzz5Xgl5UQAs

THE DIARY OF SAMANTHA THURLOW
Oct 1, 2018

I’ve done it. I’ve bought a house. Yes, this thirty-one-year-old bachelorette has sunk her life savings into a cottage that needs a great deal of TLC. The movers left hours ago and here I am, sitting on my favourite chair, surrounded by piles of boxes. My new, gorgeous cranberry curtains need to be hung.  I look out and night stares back.  What have I done?   I haven’t decided if I’ve made a wise investment or if I just made the second biggest mistake in my life—my engagement to Ryan will remain at the top of my ‘what was I thinking’ list for years. Note to self: get laid soon before my virginity grows back.

Jemma tried to talk me out of buying this place. I brought her along to the second showing cause I thought that she’d fall for its rustic charm, too. Instead, she’d grown oddly quiet. Went on about negative energy. Friends accept each other’s wacky beliefs, differences. Still, sometimes it’s hard not to roll my eyes when she talks about psychic cleansing and spiritual protection. All that New Age crystal-tarot-aura BS.

Okay, so the house isn’t quiet. It groans, but a strong wind is howling through one of the cracks in the kitchen window. I like the low ceiling, the diminutive rooms. It’s a bit like a dollhouse. But it’s all mine. I can’t wait to set up my studio. I need to make my bed, find the kettle, and actually eat. I’m famished—I should order a pizza. And wings. Instead, here I am writing.  The light in the front parlour is perfect.  All I want to do is to arrange my painting supplies and get to work. I feel so inspired.

WTF. Light blw out. Bulbs? Where did I

Oct 4, 2018

I’ve gone through two boxes of light bulbs. The power surges here are horrible. The electrician who I called told me there was nothing wrong with the wiring.

“Seems it was recently redone,” she said. “All the old knob and tube have been replaced.  Could just be the bulbs. Try some LCDs.“

Instead, I treated myself to four antique oil lamps. They are Crown crystal, almost puritan in their simplicity. I found them in a local shop and although they were overpriced, I just couldn’t resist them. I knew exactly where to put them. And they look like they’ve always been here.

Oct 6, 2018,

I’ve finished unpacking. The place looks cozier, but yesterday I purchased two portable heaters. I’ve arranged to have the cracked panes replaced, next week. Every room has a draft. I’m always cold, no matter how many layers I wear. I managed to start a fire in the woodstove last night. Then, I poured myself a tall glass of chilled Riesling and read things I wish I hadn’t.

Jemma had found some history on the cottage and sent it to me. She has become fixated, and I’m worried about her worrying about me. She thinks I’m in danger. The stove warmed my feet as I read up on ‘Redemption Cottage.’ I hate the name. I’ll never call it that. Ever.

I wish she hadn’t sent me all that information. Apparently, in the thirties, a madwoman lived here. Amelia Deeping was a religious hermit who was barely tolerated by townsfolk. She spent her days writing bizarre devotionals, fasting and self-flagellating. Nobody was permitted to visit and nobody wanted her to visit them.

One day, Amelia broke into the local library and set dozens of books on fire, screeching about corrupted souls and aberrations. She wasn’t jailed, for whatever reason. Mercy? Family pleas? Who knew. But they should have put her in a mental institution. Whatever demons she had battled eventually won. She ended up chopping off her own hand and bled to death in the kitchen. In my kitchen. Dammit. Why did Jemma send me this shit?

Oct 10, 2018

I’ve decided to host a Halloween party. I miss my friends, and I’ve fallen into an unfamiliar routine. I wake up at five, work for two hours, clean the house, work another five hours and then sleep. I have little or no appetite. Suddenly, I’m painting bland landscapes instead of my fiery warrior-maidens.

I need to liven up this place. I’m thinking of painting the rooms a bright yellow. The walls are greyish and sometimes I see shadows. It’s just a trick of the light, easily solved by a fresh wash of colour, new plaster here and there.  This house is desperate for laughter,  company…

Oct 14, 2018

I felt like someone was watching me today. I couldn’t shake the feeling, even when I closed the gaudy curtains. Cranberry? What was I thinking? They should be white. I’ve made the place look like a whorehouse. Tonight, I’ll go through my books. My shelves seem cluttered and there are so many titles that are questionable. I found a devotional in the attic.  It speaks to me.

Oct 17, 2018

I told Jemma to leave me alone. She wants to visit. I’m just too busy. I need my own space, some quiet to concentrate. The world is too loud, too too too

Oct 20, 2018

Cancelled the party. Redemption Cottage is for prayer and purification. I have packed away all my paints and canvasses, stored them in the cellar. The view from my window is enough. Today, I had broth and felt satisfied. I thought I heard someone humming a hymn as I scrubbed myself. Then I realized – I was the one humming.
All Hallow’s Eve, 2018

Flesh is weak. I must rise above sins. I’ve sharpened the ax and trust the voice I hear. It repeats, ‘ you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.’ The shadows are chaste—divine—and they beckon. Like Seraphim. Sever ties. Cut here. You shall. We shall. Show no pity.
Read more: http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/1135/flash-fiction-october-26th-results?page=6#ixzz5XglDpE9y

 

 

The Muse

Sharma’s passion was writing, but she had to toil at a boring job to pay for her living expenses. She devoted any free time to her work in progress, trying to adhere to her daily word count target of 1000. Always scribbling away in her notebook, at lunch break and after dinner at home, she preferred to delve into her stories instead of going out with friends or watching TV. At weekends, she transcribed her work onto the computer and spent her time editing.

On a sunny week day, she could be found on a bench in a remote area of the park, next to the woods. This was her private patch not frequented by visitors who preferred to be part of the lunchtime crowds. It was a niche, a pocket, surrounded by trees, with a small opening in the front. Sharma felt comfortable, undisturbed by the commotion beyond. Sometimes she would close her eyes and listen to birdsong or look through the trees, immersed in thought.

This was when she first saw a lady, sporting a wide-brimmed hat, strolling in the woods. She could hear her footsteps, crunching the dry autumn leaves. Sharma felt a closeness she could not explain. Another loner on a solitary walk, a lover of nature.

After seeing her a couple more times, Sharma noticed the mysterious lady always wore the same outfit. A charcoal hat over blonde hair pulled back in a chignon, and a long, black coat. The next time Sharma escaped to her den, she saw her sitting on the bench. Her bench. Pale blue eyes glimpsed Sharma and smiled. “Good afternoon. It’s a gorgeous day, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Sharma said, unsure whether to go back and find another seat.

“Come,” the woman said, patting the bench. “Sit by me and let’s talk.”

Sharma obeyed.

“You’re a writer,” the lady said.
“I try to be.”
“But you have little time, right?” She raised her eyebrows.
“Yes,” Sharma blinked.
“I’m Marsha Vavenza. Nice to meet you-”
“Sharma, Sharma Wells.”
“An Indian name?”
“I was born there. My father worked with an IT company.”
“Charming. The story you’re working on, do you need help?”
“How?” Sharma asked, pushing back a wayward dark curl from her forehead.
“I’m a retired editor. I only take on works by reference.”
“Really?” She clung to her bag, holding her notebook.

“I can edit your work, but only if you wish to show me.”

Sharma budged in her seat, looking into the deep blue eyes of the handsome woman. “It, it’s only in shorthand, unedited, raw. For my eyes only. I couldn’t.”

“Dear, girl. I’m used to deciphering writing more obscure than hieroglyphics, more illegible than those on medical prescriptions. The computers only came in the late 80’s. As we exchanged hand written notes and comments on typed pages, I got used to breaking the codes.”

“I see, “ Sharma said, still resisting, yet her gut feeling said to trust her. Though showing her scribbles to a stranger was out of the question, something made her pull out her notebook and hand it to Marsha.

“Thank you for trusting me,” Marsha said and smiled, as she fished out a pen from her handbag. She skimmed through the pages, writing notes in red. By the time Sharma had to leave, she had finished reading the entire contents. Marsha handed the notebook to Sharma and winked. “See you at the next chapter.”

At the weekend Sharma read over Marsha’s notes and edited her work. Marsha’s handwriting was clear and concise, her comments and suggestions worth taking into consideration.

Winter had already arrived when Sharma finished writing her story and handed the last chapter to Marsha. After reading and making notes, Marsha said, “If you need me, this is where I live,” and wrote her address on the notebook. “I shan’t be resuming my walks in the cold. See you again in springtime, perhaps.”

She walked into the woods and disappeared into their depths.

Sharma had Googled her name and hadn’t been able to find anything during the past two months. Marsha Vavenza did not seem to exist.

After editing and submitting her work, she went to the address Marsha had written on her notebook. The residents at the block had never heard of her. Sharma was intrigued and asked around the neighbourhood, going in and out of the shops.

A pub called Angel’s Bliss looked old, perhaps Edwardian. The man behind the till, mostlikely the landlord, from the way he managed the staff, looked ancient. Sharma ordered a drink and a pack of crisps, and tried to attract the man’s attention. When their eyes met, she asked, “Excuse me, sir, do you know anyone called, Marsha Vavenza who lives in this area.”

“Why do you ask?” the man said, staring at her.

“I have an address, but no one seems to know her. Here,” she said, pulling out her notebook, and showed him.

The man’s eyes darted between the writing and Sharma’s face. “Who wrote this?” he whispered.
“Marsha,” Sharma replied.

“It’s not possible. She died in 1988 and is buried in the cemetery by the woods.”

Sharma’s heart pounded in her chest. Her back shivered and goose bumps covered her arms.

“I-I, “ she said, but something made her stop. “Did-did you know her?” voice quivering, she asked.
“She was my lover. A great woman and writer I lost to cancer.”
“I’m sorry.” Sharma, said tapping her fingers on the bar.
“You saw her?” he muttered.

“Yes,” she whispered, staring at him.

Sharma arranged a bunch of flowers by a tombstone engraved with the writing, “M.V. Clarkson, writer, lies here. 1938-1988”

A warm breeze touched her face. She closed her eyes and whispered, “Thank you, Marsha.”
Read more: http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/1135/flash-fiction-october-26th-results?page=6#ixzz5XglmUHLa

 

OUT OF HER COMFORT ZONE

“No thanks, Kim. Really, I’ve had enough.” Lizzie covered the top of her glass with the palm of her hand.

“Don’t be a party pooper,” Kim slurred, adjusting her tiara and sloshing wine everywhere as she staggered back on to the dance floor.

Music blared, the heat stifling and the atmosphere damp and sweaty. Lizzy watched as the party goers stumbled around on the dance floor barely capable of standing, let alone dancing.

“Come on Lizzie,” Kim insisted. “Its my hen night.” This time Kim grabbed her hand and hauled her towards the bridesmaids-to-be, all dressed in barely there dresses with saucy slogans pinned to their backs… Faye-loves-Mr-Grey, Maisie-is-Free-and-Easy, Lola-is-a-Goer, and Maeve-the-Rave.

Like flies round the proverbial, their outrageous outfits and behaviour attracted a swarm of lascivious, drooling, drunken admirers who believed it was their lucky night.

Lizzie wondered why on earth she had allowed herself to be talked into accepting an invitation to an event she knew would be out of her comfort zone. She was fond of Kim, they had met when they were both allocated to the same shift at work, and had worked together ever since. Despite their obvious differences, they had established quite a close working relationship. In some ways, she envied Kim, with her brash out there personality, sharp wit and this-is-me, love-or-hate-me attitude, but when Kim tried her include her in social events, Lizzie had repeatedly declined. It was only when Kim refused to take no for an answer, that she had reluctantly agreed to attend her hen night.

“Lizzie, lighten up,” Maeve-the-Rave yelled in her ear. “Watch me,” she encouraged, running her fingers seductively through her long, chocolate coloured silky hair, and putting on a display of overt sexual simulation.

“You look like a fish out of water,” whispered a voice in her ear. Lizzie spun round to find a pair of seductive dark eyes regarding her… a glint of amusement shone in their depths. He smiled. “Not my scene either, want to go and sit somewhere quieter for a while.”

Glad of an excuse, she returned his warm smile. “Kim, I’ll be back shortly, just need a break from the noise,” she yelled above the music.

Kim stood up mid twerk, hoisting her bride-to-be sash clumsily over her shoulder. She stumbled and stared at Lizzie through astonished glassy eyes. “Hey girls, Lizzie’s pulled… go girl!”

Lizzie followed him into a quiet area with squashy leather sofas and soft lights. She flopped gratefully into one of the sofa’s and he joined her. “Hi, pleased to meet you… I’m Jude and I gather you must be Lizzie.”

As she met his smouldering gaze, Lizzie could not believe her luck. She giggled nervously. “Take no notice of Kim, she’s drunk.”

“I’d never have guessed.”

“Okay, that was a dumb thing to say. So, so… do you come here often? No, forget that… if it’s not your scene, why are you here?”

He threw his head back and laughed. “I like you, you’re different. I’m here under sufferance for the same reason as you, a stag night. By the way, you should smile more often, it suits you. I can tell you’re one of those rare females who do not realise how mysterious and attractive they are.”

She felt her heart quicken and lowered her eyes… an automatic response from years of crippling shyness.

“Lizzie, you’re like a breath of fresh air, learn to take a compliment, be proud of who and what you are.”

She slowly lifted her eyes to meet his. “That’s more like it. You know, you have the most hypnotic green eyes I’ve ever seen. Tell me all about yourself and please don’t say you have a partner.”

Lizzie was flattered by Jude’s attention and decided to make the most of the situation. After exchanging life stories over several glasses of wine, their mutual attraction intensified and when he suggested they take some fresh air, she did not hesitate.

As he took her hand in his, she experienced an involuntary tingle of excitement deep inside her. Without a backward glance, they walked through the doors and into the still, clear moon-lit night.

Jude turned to her. “It’s such a gorgeous night, let’s go for a walk. After being in that stifling, crowded place, we could both use some space.”

As she fell into step beside him, he placed an arm around her shoulder, and it seemed so natural to allow her arm slip to around his waist. Oblivious to time, they left the noise of the night-club behind, savouring the magic of the evening. As they walked along a deserted lane, in the light of the full moon, their shadows reflected eerily on the surface.

“Just look at that silver moon with its mysterious shadows. Don’t worry, I’ll protect you from all the werewolves and vampires out tonight.” Jude laughed, pulling her to him.

Lizzie could feel his breath, hot and urgent on her neck. He lifted her chin and kissed her gently. “I’m so hungry for you.”

He took her hand, pulling her towards a rustic gate which he pushed open before gently steering her into the field beyond, their sexual tension almost tangible.

As they fell into soft grass, he ran his fingers through her thick, auburn curls and gazed longingly into those hypnotic green pools.

Lizzie took control… straddling his body, she gently brushed his lips with hers driving him wild with desire.

She hovered over him smiling, her eyes flashing. In a instant his desire turned to abject terror, but he found himself powerless to fight. He groaned as her vampire fangs pierced his Cartoid artery, his consciousness slowly fading as she feasted on his young, rich warm blood.

With her appetite sated, she transitioned… extending out her black, leathery wings and soaring high into the night sky. With her black form silhouetted in the glow of the moon, she flew back towards the night-club.

It had been well worth the effort after all, and had made a welcome change from hours spent surfing internet dating sites for her prey!
Read more: http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/1135/flash-fiction-october-26th-results?page=6#ixzz5Xgm1g59I

OUT OF HER COMFORT ZONE

“No thanks, Kim. Really, I’ve had enough.” Lizzie covered the top of her glass with the palm of her hand.

“Don’t be a party pooper,” Kim slurred, adjusting her tiara and sloshing wine everywhere as she staggered back on to the dance floor.

Music blared, the heat stifling and the atmosphere damp and sweaty. Lizzy watched as the party goers stumbled around on the dance floor barely capable of standing, let alone dancing.

“Come on Lizzie,” Kim insisted. “Its my hen night.” This time Kim grabbed her hand and hauled her towards the bridesmaids-to-be, all dressed in barely there dresses with saucy slogans pinned to their backs… Faye-loves-Mr-Grey, Maisie-is-Free-and-Easy, Lola-is-a-Goer, and Maeve-the-Rave.

Like flies round the proverbial, their outrageous outfits and behaviour attracted a swarm of lascivious, drooling, drunken admirers who believed it was their lucky night.

Lizzie wondered why on earth she had allowed herself to be talked into accepting an invitation to an event she knew would be out of her comfort zone. She was fond of Kim, they had met when they were both allocated to the same shift at work, and had worked together ever since. Despite their obvious differences, they had established quite a close working relationship. In some ways, she envied Kim, with her brash out there personality, sharp wit and this-is-me, love-or-hate-me attitude, but when Kim tried her include her in social events, Lizzie had repeatedly declined. It was only when Kim refused to take no for an answer, that she had reluctantly agreed to attend her hen night.

“Lizzie, lighten up,” Maeve-the-Rave yelled in her ear. “Watch me,” she encouraged, running her fingers seductively through her long, chocolate coloured silky hair, and putting on a display of overt sexual simulation.

“You look like a fish out of water,” whispered a voice in her ear. Lizzie spun round to find a pair of seductive dark eyes regarding her… a glint of amusement shone in their depths. He smiled. “Not my scene either, want to go and sit somewhere quieter for a while.”

Glad of an excuse, she returned his warm smile. “Kim, I’ll be back shortly, just need a break from the noise,” she yelled above the music.

Kim stood up mid twerk, hoisting her bride-to-be sash clumsily over her shoulder. She stumbled and stared at Lizzie through astonished glassy eyes. “Hey girls, Lizzie’s pulled… go girl!”

Lizzie followed him into a quiet area with squashy leather sofas and soft lights. She flopped gratefully into one of the sofa’s and he joined her. “Hi, pleased to meet you… I’m Jude and I gather you must be Lizzie.”

As she met his smouldering gaze, Lizzie could not believe her luck. She giggled nervously. “Take no notice of Kim, she’s drunk.”

“I’d never have guessed.”

“Okay, that was a dumb thing to say. So, so… do you come here often? No, forget that… if it’s not your scene, why are you here?”

He threw his head back and laughed. “I like you, you’re different. I’m here under sufferance for the same reason as you, a stag night. By the way, you should smile more often, it suits you. I can tell you’re one of those rare females who do not realise how mysterious and attractive they are.”

She felt her heart quicken and lowered her eyes… an automatic response from years of crippling shyness.

“Lizzie, you’re like a breath of fresh air, learn to take a compliment, be proud of who and what you are.”

She slowly lifted her eyes to meet his. “That’s more like it. You know, you have the most hypnotic green eyes I’ve ever seen. Tell me all about yourself and please don’t say you have a partner.”

Lizzie was flattered by Jude’s attention and decided to make the most of the situation. After exchanging life stories over several glasses of wine, their mutual attraction intensified and when he suggested they take some fresh air, she did not hesitate.

As he took her hand in his, she experienced an involuntary tingle of excitement deep inside her. Without a backward glance, they walked through the doors and into the still, clear moon-lit night.

Jude turned to her. “It’s such a gorgeous night, let’s go for a walk. After being in that stifling, crowded place, we could both use some space.”

As she fell into step beside him, he placed an arm around her shoulder, and it seemed so natural to allow her arm slip to around his waist. Oblivious to time, they left the noise of the night-club behind, savouring the magic of the evening. As they walked along a deserted lane, in the light of the full moon, their shadows reflected eerily on the surface.

“Just look at that silver moon with its mysterious shadows. Don’t worry, I’ll protect you from all the werewolves and vampires out tonight.” Jude laughed, pulling her to him.

Lizzie could feel his breath, hot and urgent on her neck. He lifted her chin and kissed her gently. “I’m so hungry for you.”

He took her hand, pulling her towards a rustic gate which he pushed open before gently steering her into the field beyond, their sexual tension almost tangible.

As they fell into soft grass, he ran his fingers through her thick, auburn curls and gazed longingly into those hypnotic green pools.

Lizzie took control… straddling his body, she gently brushed his lips with hers driving him wild with desire.

She hovered over him smiling, her eyes flashing. In a instant his desire turned to abject terror, but he found himself powerless to fight. He groaned as her vampire fangs pierced his Cartoid artery, his consciousness slowly fading as she feasted on his young, rich warm blood.

With her appetite sated, she transitioned… extending out her black, leathery wings and soaring high into the night sky. With her black form silhouetted in the glow of the moon, she flew back towards the night-club.

It had been well worth the effort after all, and had made a welcome change from hours spent surfing internet dating sites for her prey!
Read more: http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/1135/flash-fiction-october-26th-results?page=6#ixzz5Xgm1g59I