Record, a Story in Drabbles – part VII

The third video was filmed last week.

It started in motion, someone carrying it with no concern for what it was filming. The screen bobbed as feet swam in and out of the picture.

Finally the camera was lifted, and there was Eva, eating at the dining table. The camera went to her, and Will walked along with it. A hand tossed a photograph onto the table in front of Eva. She froze at the sight of it.

“What do you want me to say?” she said.

Will looked up from the screen. There were photos on the table.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part VI

Will stopped in the door frame of the ruined wall as the second video began. The woman on the screen wasn’t Eva, but a blonde with more highlights than clothes. Dan followed her through the living room, through the wallposts, into the kitchen. Droning on about the movie. All the wonderful scenes Ms. Blonde would be the star of.

Then Eva was on screen. She was at the counter. Chopping. With a knife.

She paused to eye the blonde, and Dan zoomed in on her expression. Her furrowed brow and curled lip filled the screen before the video blinked out.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part V

Will was surprised to find that the camera held only three video files.

Dan was always filming. Of course, he had other cameras. Perhaps this was a spare. It wasn’t like Dan would delete videos.

The first video was from four months ago. Eva led the camera through the living room, and as he watched the little screen Will walked along with her. She talked about what was to come, spreading out her arms to indicate the work they had ahead of them. She laughed contentedly, and Will couldn’t help but smile.

The second video was filmed two months ago.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part IV

The creak of wood rang out like a gunshot in the silence. It came from upstairs, though it seemed to permeate the entirety of the house like oil slicking through the hallways. Will’s head jerked up, his eyes searching the landing above.

“Hello?” he said, his voice hollow and tinny.

Only silence answered him.

It’s an old house, he thought. It’s just settling.

But he stood still for a good minute, watching the landing on the second floor, waiting for another creak or step.

Then he let his burning lungs take a breath, and turned back to the camera.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part III

Will picked up the camera and flipped through the pictures. Snapshots of the renovation: the offending wall, Dan holding up a hammer, Eva covered in plaster dust.

Dan had always had big aspirations for this house. It was to be the set of his next film. The film. The one to put his name in lights. The layout was almost perfect. It just needed a few tweaks.

But the only thing Dan had managed to tweak in five months was to knock the plaster and insulation out of a single wall. Even the wiring still hung coiled around the posts.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part II

The hallway table held only a camera and some papers crumbled into balls. Will smoothed them out.

They were print-outs of the house’s realty listing. But Dan and Eva had bought the house months ago. It was strange to have the listing still hanging around.

The smeared ink of the pictures displayed a different house from the one Will stood in. The photos showed a pristine room furnished in country fashion. Will looked into the living room again, and saw the darkly draped furniture, the support beam remains of the wall Dan had knocked down, the tools littering the floor.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part I

Will rang the doorbell, knocked on the door.

No one answered.

He fished the key out of his pocket. Eva had given it to him, and Dan didn’t know about it. Opening the door, he called out a Hello, but no answer came. No lights were on, and with the evening sun having fallen below the treeline, the hallway looked cold and dusky. The stairs rose up to the right, but Will looked into the rooms to the left and ahead.

Nothing moved. Will’s heartbeat seemed to fill the silence.

No one had heard from Eva or Dan in days.

A Darkness There Too

Short Story: Horror

“Are you sure you want to go through with this, Richard?” Despite her words, there is no worry in Cora’s face. She’s fighting to keep her excitement down, but it sparkles in her eyes. The question is only a matter of politeness.

“Perfectly sure,” I say. “Who better to be hypnotized for this than a hypnotist?”
Two others are with us: Dr Sandy Barrett, who is now plastering me with sticky electrodes and checking my blood pressure; and Samson, one of Cora’s students, and the one who found the study that brought us here.

Barrett looks up from the pressure cuff on my arm. “You know what supposedly happened to the others who went this deep.”

“Oh I know. I know Cora will pull me out in time.” I tip Cora a wink, and she flushes. But the flush is more likely from giddiness for the experiment than for me. Ah well, I can dream anyway.

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How Does She Breathe?

How does she breathe?

Her words run one into the next, over and under each other, never giving me a chance to respond. She never pauses. Never takes a breath. Never pulls in air.

I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t get a single word in. I have to listen to her every second of the day and I can say nothing.

I’ll get a word in now.

I’ll place my hands around her neck

and I’ll squeeze hard enough to stop the words

and with the words she never let me say I’ll ask her

How do you breathe.

Box

Such a pretty box. Wrapped up in gold, bound with a striped ribbon. So pretty I almost don’t want to unwrap it. It’s so big, but I can still hold it up and shake it gently. There’s a pleasing rattle. Something inside.

You tell me to open it.

I tear off the ribbon, rip the gold paper. Slice apart the bit of tape holding the lid shut with your knife. I open the box, look in.

But it’s so dark in there. I can’t see. I only see shadows. Black shadows and… something white.

You tell me to get inside.