Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Repay

This is my entry for Cherie Reich's 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Blogfest. Word count: 289. Enjoy!



Lightning flashed, and with it the face inside the hallway disappeared. Val strained her eyes from her cemented position on the tile floor, limbs tense, hardly flinching as the monstrous round of thunder cracked a second later, igniting half the car alarms down the street. There was nothing though, those eyes, the faint outline of a woman staring back at her from the black, all of her gone with that quick instance of luminescence.

 Her mouth had been moving, no words but wordless lip-shapes, and though she couldn't hear, Val seemed to know what the woman had been saying. "Repay the gift", she saw the words in her head, "repay the gift", familiar, as was the face floating without a body just beyond the dim porch light shining in through the window. Rain pattered, light for a few drops before suddenly becoming a heavy release of water, the smacking sound loud enough to dampen every other noise in the house - the drip of the faucet, the hum of the ceiling fan, Val's own rasping breath.

She felt a presence behind her, cold blow of her shoulder, icy. Too terrified to turn, let alone move her eyes, Val felt a touch move down her shoulder, against her arm, past her elbow, and lightning flashed. She saw in that moment the mutilated arm, woman's hand, fingers painted gory where painted finger nails should have been. And it guided her hand to the nearby kitchen drawer, knife drawer, so gently, delicate and loving.

"Repay" the woman whispered unseen, below the distant rumbles, numbing cold on Val's ear. And lightning flashed. Val was alone, shivering, hand scarcely able to hold onto the slick plastic grip of the sharpened chef's blade it held.