by Steppen Sawicki
Flash Fiction: Horror
It’s one in the morning, cold, ink-dark. I don’t feel the chill, but I do feel the blackness of the house, creeping into what was once my bones. I drift through the rooms, searching for you, aware of your heartbeat and your warm breaths. I sense them everywhere – all the easier for having neither myself – but can’t place them. It infuriates me, makes me heavy with impatience. My footsteps begin to echo the halls. Can you hear me, like I hear your breaths? Your life? There’s residue in every room: the sweat, the smell of you. I can’t stand it. I can’t stand you in this house. My house. Another door opens before me, squealing on unoiled hinges, and there you are. You’re sitting upright in bed, knuckles tight where they grip the sheets. Gasping for breath, that same hot breath, every breath scraping against my mind. Red hot. Burning. Can you see me? Or are your eyes as empty as ever in the dark?
I scream, I leap, I claw at you. But nothing connects; you don’t move and my hands pass through you. Your breaths cover me and your heart beats around my arm in your chest. I can’t touch you. You only shiver from the cold, from the air or from my own touch I can’t tell. I scream again, this time in defeat, and run from the room, the door creaking shut behind me.