For those of you who don’t know, I am a writer and avid reader. I’ve always loved telling stories since I was a small child and was compelled to write stories about my imaginary friend, Tina. She whispered in my ear one day, and I haven’t stopped writing since. I’m in the process of writing my first novel, which is a thriller that takes place during Katrina. I’m about halfway finished the first draft and hope to find time to finally get the whole story down on paper (or rather, in MS Word). As part of this blog, I thought I would share some of my stories with you. This is one of my favorite memories that I made into a flash fiction story a while ago. Flash fiction is a short short story of 1000 words or less and one of my favorite things to write. Hope you enjoy!!
The Great Escape
Swish, swish, swish. Everything went quiet. I quickly tucked my head under the crimson and orange flowered vintage cotton comforter and laid my head down on a pillow that smelled of dusty mothballs. Swish, swish, swish. I knew that any minute I would see a wrinkled hand with raised, blue-green veins mapping the fragile road to the heart grab the edge of the door and push it open. I remained as quiet and still as I had ever been, shutting my eyes tight and pulling the comforter over my head. Every now and then, I opened one eye halfway but quickly shut it again. My heart beat so fast that it burst into orbit in outer space.
Swish, swish, swish. I heard a creaking noise – that horror movie sound of rusting hinges and doors that stick. The swish, swish, swish came to an abrupt halt, and I heard soft breathing on the other side of the door. I tried my hardest not to scream, and when a small “eek” of air pushed through my lips, I swiftly cupped my mouth with my small, fat hand. Then, just as suddenly as it stopped – swish, swish, swish. Swish, swish, swish. I pictured her holding her rosary with both hands, silently moving her knotted fingers from one hand-made Hail Mary to the next. If I listened closely, I could hear her whispering the familiar prayers of the rosary – the Glorious Mysteries.
Swish, swish, swish. I glanced at the German wooden cuckoo clock on the wall. The detail and artistry of the woodwork always intrigued me. As the blue jay chimed midnight, the tiny, angry woman chased the poor little man in a perfect circle around nothing. The fat little woman chasing the skinny old man with a broom always made me laugh, and I could feel the ten-year-old girl giggles welling up in my stomach. I slapped my mouth again to try to stifle the giggle, but that just made it worse. Before I knew it, my hand was covered in drool and I was heaving.
Swish, swish … the familiar sound faded, and I knew the coast was clear. Laughter erupted from the floor beside me as five small girls began to giggle uncontrollably. As I popped my head out from under the covers, I saw four other heads materialize: one from the identical twin bed across from mine, two from the muted pink sleeping bags on the tan and black spotted tiles in between the twin beds, and one from the tree-trunk brown shag rug on the floor in front of the dresser.
As my sister and three cousins emerged from their respective hiding places, I quietly threw the moth-bitten comforter off my tiny legs and, putting a chubby finger to my lips, walked toward the door. The giggles faded as I poked my head into the hall and saw Jesus staring back at me, reminding me to go to confession on Sunday after church. I looked both ways to make sure no one was coming.
“Is the coast clear?” a small voice whispered from across the room.
“SHHH!” I checked that every nook and cranny was dark before saying, “Yes!” and returning to the circle on the floor.
I picked up the flashlight and illuminated my menacing smile as looks of anticipation and dread filled the little girls’ faces. Without skipping a beat, I continued the ghost story I was telling before we heard the sound of my grandmother’s infamous pink slippers.