Flash Fiction

Gotcha

Hand trembling, Selene made her call.

            “Hi, I’m Joyce.  What’s your name?” said the woman, sounding interested, not cheery.

            “I want to report that under no circumstances will I kill myself.”

            “That’s good.”

            “She wants me dead.”

            “Who?”

            “Mother.”

            “Why?  What’s your mother’s name?”

            “I haven’t figured out our real connection. If I kill myself…” Selene shuddered, “…I’ll reincarnate as her child again.” 

            “Oh-kaay.”  “Do you take medications?”

            “No.”

            “Your number is blocked. Give me your address…”

            “No.”

            “Can I speak with her?”

            “She’s insane.”

            “Insane?”

            “Certifiable.  Locked up.”

            “How can she kill you if she’s not with you?”

            “She gets in my head.  Puts in her thoughts.  I get depressed wondering if they’re mine or hers.”



IT


With a slow motion I cautiously pulled the shower curtain back to peek around the tiny bathroom to look for what it was that made me so scared.

        Nothing.

        The adrenalin was causing havoc with my insides.  Grabbing a towel, clean and dirty clothes, I rushed into the bedroom across the hall.  The sense of being scrutinized stopped.  It can’t come in here—maybe.

     Dressing quickly and taking everything off the dresser, I packed our travel bags, zipped them up and hollered, “Adam, come get these cases, we’re leaving!”

        I could hear him yell back over the TV noise.  “What?  It’s ten o’clock.”

         Pushing the luggage in front of me I peered out the door to see nothing.  But I felt it. Drops of sweat formed on my forehead that I swiped away with my palm.  I left the bags to dash along the hall and then leaped down the stairs two steps at a time.

          “Are you nuts?”  Adam asked when I got to the bottom.

      “Go get the suitcases.  Be careful.  There’s something up there.”

         He was going to argue, but squinted at me instead.  “What’s up there?”

         “I  don't  know.  I’ll tell you about it while we’re driving home.”  He was still eyeing me as he headed up the stairs.  “This had better not be a joke.”

    “It isn’t.  I’ll wait right here until you come back.  Hurry.  We’re not staying here for another minute.”

         My eyes flashed from side to side.  It’s not in this part of the house.

                   

“Do those thoughts have anything to do with—suicide?”

            “Not directly.”

“Have you tried to take your own life before?”

            “About fifty years ago.”

            “How old are you?”

            “Eighty-seven.”

            “Your mother?”

            “Hundred and six.”

            Joyce motioned her supervisor over to view the screen where every word exchanged was read and the process of satellite search began.

            “Can you tell me more about how her thoughts get into your head?”

            Considering the question, Selene mused, “I don’t know.”  Then anxiously added, “But she’s done it before.  I’ve been her daughter in so many of my past-lives.  I mustn’t kill myself—again.  If I do she’ll trap me.  I know it.”

            Selene heard a knock at the door.  “I’ll call you back.”

            “No, wait. I’ll hang on. You answer the door.”

            “How do you know someone is at my door?”

            The knocking got louder. Phone in hand, Selene went to see who was banging.  Peeping through the spyhole, she whispered, “An ambulance is at the curb and there’s a man.”

Joyce calmly said, “Don’t worry, I’m on my way.”

            Wide-eyed, Selene disconnected the call.  Her rear sliding glass door opened.  Two men entered, grasped her arms, holding her still.





        Adam brought the bags down.  I turned off the TV, rummaged in my purse to find the car keys, and switched off the kitchen lights before locking the back door.

        As soon as the trunk was shut, I jumped in the driver’s seat and when Adam slammed his door I circled the yard to get onto the dirt road making a dust cloud behind the car.  Glancing into the rearview mirror I was certain there was a light in an upstairs window.  I blinked.  It was gone.

        “Slow down,” Adam complained, “You’ve got nine miles on this road before you get to pavement.”

          At first I ignored him.  No way am I slowing down.  But then sanity took hold, so easing my foot off the gas pedal, I said, “Right.  You’re right.  It’s dark and I need to be more careful.”

            “Are you going to tell me what happened?”

            Feeling like insect legs were trailing up my arms, I shivered goose bumps that grew along the bugs’ path.

            “I can never go into that house again.  I don’t know what it was, but it wanted to use me.  I mean it was leering at me.  I’ve never felt so vulnerable—naked—at a cellular level.”

      Glancing over, I could see Adam was frowning as he considered what I’d said.

            Wiggling in my seat, I knew that energy package produced by my fright had to be expelled.  “Listen Adam, once we’re on the freeway I’m going to pull over to scream my head off.  If I don’t I’m going to vomit.”  With another quick look, I noted he was staring straight ahead in deep thought.  He shrugged.  Then he turned and asked, “ Did you see it?”

            “No, thank God.  Bad enough I felt it.”

        “What are you going to tell your mom and dad about us leaving like this?  We’re supposed to be watching the house while they’re gone for two more days.”

           Shivering again, I told him,” My mother said she was afraid of that house.”

           Joyce arrived.  While she went through the kitchen cabinets discovering bottles of outdated prescription medications, she asked, “Have you eaten?”

“Yes.”

“Do you always stay in your nightgown this late in the day?

“No.” 

“Are these pills yours?” 

            “Yes.”

            Joyce motioned to the men.  “We’ll go to the hospital for a few tests, Selene.”

            “I don’t want to go…”

            “You’ll be taken care of…”

            The men were taken by surprise at Selene’s strength as she wrenched away.

Screaming, “You’ll make me be with her, I’d rather die!” she dashed upstairs, locked the door, took the loaded revolver from the bedside table, put it in her mouth and pulled the trigger.

            Forcing the door open.  Joyce shook her head at the sight of splattered brains.

            A thousand miles away, a crone sat with her chin on her chest as if asleep in front of a nurses’ station.  Anyone paying attention would have seen she’d been mumbling.  Slowing raising her head, the woman’s eyes were piercing and she had a half smile on her lips as she murmured, “Gotcha.”


In September, 2015 this flash fiction piece was awarded 5th place in the contest run by amidtheimagery.com

                                        ...........



 

            “When did she say that?”

            “A couple of years ago she called me, really upset, and told me some tale about being suffocated in her bed.”

            Sounding concerned and intrigued, Adam whispered, “No kidding?”

            “She watches a lot of scary movies.  I told her she was having a nightmare and probably needed some more breathing space since my dad had just retired.”

            “Humph, that sounds like one of your psychological dream analysis approaches.”

            I reacted. “Well, you know, that is what I teach.”

            From the corner of my eye I could see Adam patting his shirt’s front and then he moved forward to check his back and side jean’s pockets.  “You’ve got to turn around.  My security pass must have fallen out when we were rushing to get away.”

            “No…no.  You can get another one.”

             He touched my hand that clenched the steering wheel.  “Stop acting crazy.  You know that badge is important.  I can’t just leave it.  Turn around.”

            The knot in my stomach tightened.  I slowed the car, pulled over to the edge of the road, put the gear into park, then shuddered.  “Maybe you should get another job.”

            Adam laughed.

            “I mean it.  I can’t go back.  Besides, if we did we’d be like all those stupid people in every horror movie ever made.”

            “Get a grip!  You can stay in the car while I go look for it.”

            “No don’t.  It’s in the upstairs bathroom.”

            “My security badge?”

            “Yes, it, too.” 

In October, 2015 this flash fiction piece was awarded 3rd place in the contest run by www.lvwonline.org                                ...........

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