I love horror.
My love of everything strange, fantastical, and scary began with my dad. Too young or whatever, Dad didn’t change the channel. Either put up with what strangeness was on TV or leave. I was exposed to many things, which warped my mind in odd way (but I don’t think it could have been avoided). When my sisters and I would enter the family room and gaze upon the wonder of what sci-fi, horror, or plain weird entertainment my dad had on, they ran. I stayed.
Never did I believe I could write horror. Never. Until now.
The Midnight Society blog is one of my favorites. The creepy stuff they find and share… seriously. AWESOME. So when they announced a flash fiction contest for the month of September, I sat up a bit straighter.
The theme… mailboxes.
I could not resist.
I thought I’d share it. If you enjoy it, go visit their blog to read the others. http://midnightsocietytales.com/2014/09/07/flash-fiction-contest/ Maybe even write one of your own… maybe you will be chosen as the winner!
Here is my first attempt at something really short… I’ve never written anything under 2000 words…
And this will explain why, when I put my mother’s birthday card in the mail today, I shuddered when I raised that innocent-looking red flag.
I deserve the great nothingness of death.
But it failed to devour me.
Late summer sunlight glares across the front of the white house with blue shutters. My house. Behind me, browning corn stalks chatter in a breeze. My heart flutters nervously at the thought of entering after my long absence, of facing the ghosts that haunted me.
My fingers tug at the plastic band around my wrist. I wouldn’t let them cut it off. After months of therapy, I wanted to keep my problems.
The wind dies, plunging the world into eerie quiet.
I turn, glancing at the field behind me and down the empty road. Nothing. The mailbox sits on its wooden cross. The red flag stands at attention, oddly out of place. I press the red metal shape down and it creaks in protest, echoing the sound.
I brush the confusion away and take one step towards the house then stop.
The front door stands guard. The windows calmly reflect the world. Icy fear closes on my heart. Does the fear still linger in the halls? Do the haunting voices of the dead wait to attack?
The sound, like a cry of pain, of hatred. I glance over my shoulder. The mailbox’s red flag trembles. A gasp lingers on my lips. Fear, anxiety, and confusion pound in my head. The street remains empty, the sun glinting off the pavement. The air vibrates with the terrible hum of cicadas. Stepping forward, my hand shakes as I reach for the flag, forcing it down. I gaze up at the sky, wanting to blame the wind, and blink in the bright light. Fire.
Like the blaze, the one I had started, the one that had killed. Beautiful raging flames remind me of the hell, waiting to claim my soul.
I snap my gaze back to the mailbox. Tears fill my eyes, blurring the red shape,pointing up to the sky as if in accusation. With a cry of frustration, I slap the flag into place. I stare at it as I back away, running my fingers along the long pink scars lining my wrists.
A sob rips from my throat as the red object rises up, slowly, purposefully. I twist the hospital band around my wrist as I step forward to face my fears, to fight. Like
I had that day.
A shudder crawls up my spine and settles in my mind.
All the death of that day.
And it hadn’t mattered.
The letter, an uncaring form, screamed when I lit it on fire. My heart races with the memories of power as I fueled the inferno. The stacks of files on the floor had crackled as their edges blackened, curled, the flames spreading in moments.
The alarm. The screams. I had walked calmly away.
I reach for the mailbox. A wave of cold sweeps across my face.
Sunlight illuminates my jagged scar, the remnant of my search for oblivion. My lip quivers at the thought of eternal sleep, of paying for my crime. My heart pounds out a chaotic rhythm as I force the red thing down.
Tears stroke my cheeks with fear, with acceptance. Those who had died returned for me, demanding I pay. Therapy tried to convince me that there are no ghosts, but there are. They were with me when I sliced my wrists. They laughed. Shadows pool under my feet and the mailbox as if darkness gathers to take me.
The flag jumps to attention. The mailbox shakes.
Wiping tears from my face, I open it. Cold seeps from the blackness inside. My chest aches as I fight to breathe. My trembling hand is drawn into the opening as if I have no say, no control.
My fingers wrap around a solid, icy form, cold as death. Light glints off the blade as I pull the knife from the box. A piece of paper flutters to the ground. Sobs creep along my shoulders as I gaze at the note’s fiery red letters.
Finish what you started. Hell waits.