The month has been so busy and stressful I haven’t gotten any of my own writing done until tonight. I’ve started a short story I’ve been thinking about since last month. This is just the beginning, but feel free to share thoughts and suggestions to make it better. I’m looking forward to a long weekend and, finally, some time to work.
Before I share some of my new story, I’d like to thank people and friends who take time to visit and read. The other day a friend brought up that she had been reading my blog. Inside I was ecstatic and flattered, but outside I played nonchalant. I apologize. If you are reading this, thank you. Knowing someone is reading is the biggest compliment. I just get shy when I know someone’s paying attention :)
And now, here’s the beginning of my rough draft, more to come. Comments and critiques welcome.
Nine o’clock—time to put the brat to bed. Cambria yawned, stretched and groped for the remote. Clicking off the television, she listened to the quiet house. It seemed too quiet.
“Hey Brat!” she called out. “What are you destroying now?” Silence. Cambria felt a shiver go through her bowels. “You better answer me…” Her voice trailed off as her ears picked up a gargling sound from upstairs. She dropped the remote and ran to the staircase. She rounded the corner to see Missy, the kid she was babysitting, on the top step, her eyes bulging out of her head, face blue. The five year old’s tongue protruded from her mouth and she gave a guttural, gargling cry.
“Oh my God!” Cambria yelled out as she took the stairs three at a time. “Oh my God!” she yelled again and she grabbed Missy and shook her. “What is wrong with you?” She stuck her fingers in Missy’s mouth to search for whatever she was choking on.
“Merph… stop it,” Missy said around the invasive fingers. Cambria pulled her fingers out while the little girl pushed her away. “What the Hell are you doing? You scared me to death,” she scolded. Missy giggled. “Your fingers taste like butt,” she said.
“You are such a brat,” said Cambria. “I’m going to tell your parents I can never babysit for you again because you’re so bad. They’ll probably spank you.” She pushed the girl to one side and sat down. “I guess you better go to bed so you don’t piss me off anymore.”
“No!” Missy protested. “I’ll be better. I was just pretending I was like the woman with the braid.” Her chin trembled as she looked up at Cambria. “She was making funny faces.” The little girl turned her face away from Cambria and looked up into the empty air above the stairwell and Cambria followed her gaze.
The ceiling was high enough to be slightly in shadow with a dark wooden beam crossing over the stairwell for decoration. The beam creaked slightly as the house shifted and Cambria felt thick silence stuff itself into the empty rooms around them. “What woman,” she asked in a low voice.
Missy pointed to the beam, creaking softly with the invisible movement of the house. It was regular, rhythmic and Cambria wondered why she’d never noticed the sound before. She swallowed. “There’s no one there, stupid.” Cambria shook off the trembling feeling that was settling into her stomach.
“C’mon,” she said said, standing up. Her voice seemed to ring through the house. “Let’s get you to bed.” Missy was still staring at the shadows over the stairs. Cambria tried again. “C’mon now and I’ll give you a braid your like hers.” Missy looked up at her babysitter, blue eyes wide with shock.
“No!” she cried. “No Cambria, don’t give me a braid like hers. That’s why she makes funny faces.” To demonstrate, Missy cocked her head at an unnatural angle, and let her jaw go slack. She rolled her eyes up as she held her breath and stuck out her tongue again. Realization washed through Cambria’s mind and her chest tightened. Missy gargled and choked before taking a breath.
“The braid’s around her neck,” she said. Cambria turned her head to look back up at the dark ceiling and the beam that still creaked softly, under the weight of nothing.
To be continued…