Night Terrors

27/10/2014 20:20

OK, this is the last flash fiction story from Black Ship Books that I'll be writing until December. Remember to let me know what you think!


Annabelle listened to the blood drip. Her sister had told her to stop imagining things but she knew what she had heard. The big grandfather clock in the hallway chimed midnight before she was able to fall into an exhausted sleep.

The next day was as dreary as her feelings. A heavy mist wound its way through the streets, collecting on the tree branches and falling on the heads of Annabelle and her best friend Vanessa as they walked slowly to school.

“Did you hear it, again?” whispered Vanessa, not wishing to make her friend's night terror any more real for herself by naming it out loud.

The other girl nodded miserably. “All night. My sister says it's my imagination but it isn't.”

“What do you think is causing it?”

“It's her... Mina, the girl that died in the flat above ours. I think... I think she wants me to solve her murder.”

“How are you going to do that?! I mean, the case has the police baffled, doesn't it?”

“Well, they haven't charged anyone... But perhaps there's something they've overlooked.”

“Like what? You told me the forensic team were all over the block of flats for days – you had to stay with your uncle, didn't you?”

“I know...” Annabelle balled her fists in frustration. “But what if it wasn't a person that did it? I mean, she was into some pretty weird stuff. When I looked after her cats that time, I saw an altar and a whole stack of books on spells and incantations!”

“You mean you think it was a demon or something?”

“I don't know... but I have to at least try. Look, my sister is working the night shift on Friday. Come for a sleep over and we'll sneak into...”

“OK, stop right there! You want to be some cross between Daphne and Nancy Drew, that's your business. Don't drag me in to it.”

“Van! I don't see myself as Daphne – I thought that was more your gig. I'm happy to be Velma,” said Annabelle with a grin.

“Well, it's good to see you smile, at least. OK, stop with the puppy eyes! I'll do it, OK?”

That Friday night, Annabelle waved her sister off to work and then she and Vanessa left the flat and made their way up the concrete stairs to the flat immediately above. The police had finished their work and the council had not yet moved in to clear the premises ready for the next tenants. Annabelle slipped her savings account card between the lock and the door jam, hoping that it would prove as effective as credit cards always seemed to be in films. She was relieved when the door popped open.

“Well, that's the first step...” she whispered to Vanessa and the two stepped inside.

Next, she drew the heavy curtains and tried the lights. Both girls jumped when they actually came on.

“OK, look for anything that looks like it might help.”

“Like what?!”

“How should I know? I'm not exactly an expert, Van!”

Vanessa shrugged and moved towards a some books that were piled haphazardly next to the couch, whilst Annabelle tiptoed into the bedroom where the murder had actually been committed. The metallic tang of blood still filled the room but she forced herself onward. Just then Vanessa called out that she had found something and she felt a huge wave of relief wash over her.

“What is it?” she asked, hurrying over to her friend.

Vanessa was holding a tattered old volume called 'Blood Lore'. “This fell out,” she replied, holding up a photograph.

The man in the photograph was definitely human but was wearing a grotesque mask with horns and a huge tongue poking out of the mouth. He was naked, showing the tattoos etched across his taut skin. One in particular caught their eye; it was close to his hip and showed a curiously shaped knife with a drop of blood at its tip.

“I bet he had something to do with it!” cried Annabelle.

“Why? He could be anyone. And the police went over this place with a fine-toothed comb. They must have seen this.”

Annabelle opened her mouth to speak and then closed it again. She turned the picture over and then showed it to her friend. There was an address on it.

“Oh, no! You are not crazy enough to go to his house?”

“It's not a house, it's a shop. We'll go tomorrow!”

The next morning, they found themselves standing outside a shop that might be described as an antique shop, if one was feeling particularly generous. With their hearts beating so hard they might burst out of their chests, they went inside.

Behind the counter stood a young man only a few years older than themselves. Above his head hung a grotesque mask with horns and a huge tongue. They froze and then began to back out of the shop but he had seen them.

“Good morning, ladies! Can I help you?” he asked.

“Er, no, thanks,” and “Just looking!” they replied before turning tail and fleeing onto the street.

They did not stop or speak until they were back at Annabelle's flat. “Now what?” asked Vanessa when they were safely inside.

“I don't know!”

Annabelle listened to the blood drip. Her sister had told her to stop imagining things but she knew what she had heard. The big grandfather clock in the hallway chimed midnight before she was able to fall into an exhausted sleep.