Record, a Story in Drabbles – part XII

Rustle rustle

came a sound from behind him. He spun around, nearly tripping over his feet. But nothing was there. He listened closely and heard again

Rustle

from the bedroom. He left behind the still-dark

drip drip

bathroom and stepped further into the hallway. An unnatural light in the corner of his eye sought his attention – a small red light near the ceiling at the end of the hall – but he was focused on the doorway to the bedroom. He strained to hear any further sound, but he could only hear the

drip drip

fading away behind him.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part XI

Will turned at the smeared painting, and looked down the hallway. Save for a dim light that spilled from the bedroom, the space was black as pitch.

He would just check the rooms, quickly and quietly, and leave. The bathroom on the left, bedroom on the right, closet straight ahead. Then out the door.

He stepped forward, and noticed

drip drip

A dripping from the bathroom. As he drew closer he heard

drip drip

it louder and clearer. But when Will got to the doorway the bathroom was in shadows. He reached in, hand shaking, to feel for the lightswitch.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part X

Will climbed the steps slowly, deliberately, waiting for any one of them to creak – a signal to run from the house. But they made no noise.

As he reached the landing a face came into view, one he expected. The portrait, crudely painted in acrylics, hung at the head of the stairs. It was of Eva, but Will only knew that because he had seen Eva pose for it and seen Dan make the childish brushstrokes.

But there was a stroke on it that Dan hadn’t painted.

A hand print, and a thick red streak, smeared across the figure.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part IX

Will left the kitchen behind, fumbling down the hallway, back to the front door. He peered up the stairs, into the muddled darkness that was forming as the sun continued past the horizon.

If another creak had sounded, if a footstep had fallen, he would have slipped back out the door. He would have left further investigation into Dan and Eva’s disappearance to the police. But in that moment, there was only the faint drone of crickets outside and the pounding of Will’s own heart. There was only twilight forming the still shadows.

Will stepped forward, and climbed the stairs.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part VIII

Perhaps forty photographs were spread across the table. All of them Polaroids. Will looked closer, and when he recognized the subjects his blood froze.

Him and Eva. Every photo. Two weeks ago in the rain outside Will’s apartment. Three weeks ago at that terrible Italian restaurant. A park a month ago. An ice cream shop two months ago.

Will braced himself against the table with his hands. His eyes darted from one photo to the next, until they settled on one in particular. A beach, his first kiss with Eva. Three months.

Three months of photos taken from a distance.

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.