EDIT: This piece has been featured on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed! Thanks to all my new visitors and followers – make sure you say hello! Or, you can take a look at some more flash fiction, which is mostly what you’ll find on here, or check out some creative writing prompts.
In a bid to get my writing juices flowing again, I’ve written something quite different for me, for this week’s DPchallenge from the Daily Post. This week, write the same story from two or more perspectives…
The Night Visitor
The dog and I are baking in front of the gas fire when we hear it. At first, I tell myself I’m imagining things; that I’ve had a frantic day and that old houses make noises.
It’s a cold night, the heating is on. It makes sense.
But then the dog raises one sandy ear, and I know he’s heard it too. I nudge the volume on the telly down a few bars and do that open-mouthed listening thing that inexplicably seems to improve my hearing by at least a few degrees – or whatever they measure hearing in.
Just as I’m convincing myself that it really was nothing, it comes again.
Eeh urgh urgh.
You wouldn’t think that sounds like that could wrap an icy hand around a heart, but you’d be wrong. I dive for the remote, end up with a handful of very surprised dog and jam my finger on the volume button until the News at Ten is completely silent. I can find out about what the Mayor of London has to say on heavy goods vehicles in the capital tomorrow.
Ignoring the dog, who’s rocketed off the sofa, I squint up at the textured plaster ceiling, my heart pounding. My brain decides to tell me again how much I hate the lamp-shades we’ve got in the lounge. I keep meaning to get rid of them but then every time I think I’m going to pop up to B&Q, something always comes up that means I don’t have the time to go or the money to get
A thump is bad. Why is it that, when all you want is one more eeh urgh, all you can get is a thump?
The dog, who’s wedged himself into the corner between the chair and the radiator, is giving me a baleful look. He knows full well what a thump means, and it’s not good.
Overhead, a stage whisper of a shuffle starts to make its way across the ceiling. It heads from the gauzy spider-web above the telly, past the lampshades, which really are dreadful, and over toward the door.
From my perch on the rickety sofa, I watch as two small, pale feet appear at the top of the stairs.
* * *
The room is dark apart from a chubby little glow-worm which smiles at her from its favourite spot near the chest of drawers. Lit up from the inside, its happy face is often the last thing she sees before she falls asleep.
It’s the first thing she sees now as her eyes blink open.
She doesn’t quite know what’s up. She’s a little bit thirsty, and she might need a wee – if not now, then sometime soon. Or maybe she’s hungry. Whatever it is, something’s not right, and when something’s not right, something needs to be done. Especially when you’re supposed to be asleep.
She rolls over in the bed, snug and warm under the brushed cotton blankets that have been piled on the bed in the last week. The springs give a cheery creak that makes her giggle – eeeh uuuurgh! She likes the noise so much in fact that she hefts her bottom up and flops down again, bouncing once, then twice on the mattress. Eeeeh urgh urgh!
She’s completely awake now. The glow-worm seems brighter than ever, and she can see the outline of the door clearly. She wonders if she could just have a look – even just a tiny peep – to see what’s going on downstairs.
Shuffling carefully to the edge of the bed, she sticks one leg out, her bare foot reaching – eeeeeeeeeeeurgh! – down toward the floor. When her toes make contact with the fluffy nylon carpet rather than the snakes or monsters that slither at the back of her mind at times like this, she plops over the side of the bed.
There’s something exciting about being at floor level, especially in the dark. It reminds her of when she was really small and used to tuck herself between the wooden legs of the chairs in the kitchen, watching feet go past and tickling the dog whenever he came close enough.
She crawls in the direction of the glow-worm, taking a careful detour around the dolls’ house and pausing to itch the marks that the carpet has left on her knees. If she can just get the door open quietly enough, she might get away with this.
Wedging her fingers in the little gap between the door and frame, she clicks it open and shuffles back a bit as the gap widens and the top of the stairs comes into view.
She can’t quite work out why, but the stairs look worryingly steep from down here on the carpet. Reaching up, she hauls herself up on the door handle and takes a cautious step – then another – out on to the landing.
Down there, at the bottom of the stairs she sees mum, wrapped up in the dressing gown that makes her look like a giant pink marshmallow. She’s doing that face where she smooshes her lips to one side and tries to look cross.
Dave, who’s tucked in by her fluffy pink ankles, thumps his tail guiltily. And just when she thinks she’s in serious trouble, Mum’s mouth unsmooshes, and she gives one of her glinty-eye half-smiles.
Clasping both hands around the bannister, she hurries to get downstairs, where a heavy sigh and a tight cuddle await.