Alone in the House?

Marla dropped her keys on the kitchen counter, then walked around and grabbed the orange juice from the fridge. She took the bottle to the head, because she could, because no one else was there. No husband to shoot a stern look down his nose, no kids to point and say, ‘But you do it Mommy.’ Three long gulps. She pushed the button on the answering machine. Nothing but sales calls.

Why do we even keep a house phone?

Roger was in Philadelphia with the kids, visiting with his parents. Marla volunteered to stay behind and watch the store. They could have asked Fostin to keep an eye on things, but last time, two of the younger staff decided to not show up at all, which left things a bit of a mess – it was a perfect reason to miss the in-laws and catch a fair amount of alone time. She dropped her heels, then slid off her restrictive pants. After draping them over the bar chair, she opened the Papa John’s app on her phone and pulled a bottle of champagne from the fridge.

“Ya, Denise, I have the whole place to myself for three days. I can’t wait to do nothing.”

Denise went on about how jealous she was that she was out of town on a business trip or she would join Marla.

That would kind of kill the alone time, wouldn’t it? But she didn’t say it out loud, there was no point. Instead she went on, “Oh, yeah, that’s too bad. Maybe we can plan a spa day soon.”

Off the phone. To the shower. She answered the door in her robe with a towel wrapped around her hair. After shuffling through her purse for the cash, she handed a crumpled twenty to the pizza guy. He had a wide-eyed stare and kept looking behind Marla. Surely he had seen a spiral staircase before. She dismissed his attempt to hand over change, then closed the door behind her. Deadbolt one and two.

After three episodes of The Haunting of Hill House and almost making it through Jurassic World, she decided to call it a night and wander upstairs. Teeth brushed, age cream applied, time for bed – but she needed a glass of water. Her mouth was dry and her head a little achy from the champagne bottle she killed on her own.

As she approached the bottom of the stairs, she felt an odd tension in the air, the hum you feel when someone walks into a room. Marla rubbed the goosebumps crawling up her arms. She had a tendency to do this to herself, get jumpy in a dark, empty house. Shaking her head, she waved off the eerie feeling and proceeded to the kitchen. The water was cool and crisp, beyond refreshing. The tension in her head instantly eased. She filled the glass once more, then resumed her journey to bed.

She reached the spiral staircase, climbed a couple, then froze. There had been a noise, the sound of something solid on wood. She tried not to focus on her raised heart rate, the fresh flush in her cheeks, the tips of her ears filling with blood. She tried not to notice the weight growing heavier on her back. She was alone in the house. What could have possibly made that noise? Yes houses creak and sing in their own way, but this was not that. This was crisp, distinct, and just a few feet behind her. Her chest raised and lowered with a quickening pace as she prepared to turn around and prove she was only being a wuss, when she felt air rush past her neck.

Someone grabbed her, held on tight. She didn’t think. She kicked the railing on the stairs, sending them both tumbling back. She fell hard on the wood, saw smoke and ash disperse around her in a cloud. She jumped up, scrambled. There was no one there, no attacker or masked man. Just as quick as she felt it, it was gone…except, there was a light layer of dust in the area where she had fallen, some of it on her shoulders.

It grabbed her again.

She struggled, twisted, fought, managed to tangle their feet together as they half danced around the living room. They passed the mirror hanging over the fireplace and she saw…nothing. There was no one holding her, only a light haze, like a foggy day hanging around her body. Marla picked up her feet and drove them into the mantle. She slammed against the wall, and once again, her attacker lost its grasp. The hazy cloud dispersed around her. She didn’t stay for it to happen a third time.

Marla fell onto the door, fumbled with her clumsy fingers to get the locks open. Just before she ran from the house, she looked over her shoulder. The haze seemed to be recollecting, pulling all the particles back together, and next to the mass, seated with an elevated posture, was a cat, a silky, all black cat with absolutely no eyes on his face. Instead, five eyes floated in a circle in front of him, all of them aimed at Marla. The door slammed and locked with Marla still inside. Even the closest neighbors didn’t hear her muffled screams.

 

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Alone in the House?

Regarding Blogtober

Just a quick note regarding Blogtober: some of you may have noticed, my daily blogtober posts aren’t so daily anymore. I did sign up, because Halloween is wonderful, and I wanted to give you all lots of spooky stories to read this month, but a couple of deadline oriented projects have arisen. They are taking a bit more of my time and creativity.

I will continue putting up as many stories as I can churn out this month, and the live readings will continue weekly on my Instagram, @wbwelch, Sundays at 8 p.m., cst. Thank you again for following, reading, and supporting. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week. Watch for my super spooky Halloween story this year!

Regarding Blogtober

Beach Bum

I saw her when I was on my morning jog down the beach. The sand between my toes, cradling my wide feet while the sun rose over the edge of the ocean.

The pink shawl she wore danced on the breeze. What a beauty. Dark lashes, silk hair. I wondered what her story was.

As I neared, I could see more of her features, the positioning of her body. Not what I expected on my morning run.

She wasn’t resting on the beach. She was dead. Blood was dried around a large gash in her dress, what looked like a knife wound.

I moved closer, stooped, then kneeled, pressed my fingers to her neck. No pulse.

What a treat.

Normally I had to hunt for new specimens for my collection. Never had I ever just found one. I tucked my arms beneath her neck and legs, then carried her stiff corpse back to my garage and closed the door, hoping no one had been watching from their back windows that morning. She would be perfect for my new vase case. I couldn’t wait to start the dissection.

 

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Beach Bum

Sushi, yeah?

Becka kicked Harley’s leg under the table.

Harley choked down her water. “Hey!”

“Nails and sushi after school?” Becka raised her eyebrows.

Harley took a long drink of water. Pretended to snub her off.

“Hey dork. Pleeeease. I don’t want to be bored today.”

Harley softened her posture. “You know I can’t resist sushi. First to tap has to pay the bill.”

“Deal.”

 #   #   #

Harley parked her Volvo in front of SushiLot just in time for the dinner doors to open. She walked a slow stiff walk, careful not to damage her fresh toenail paint. “I haven’t been here before.”

“They have a bunch of authentic shit and don’t even serve soy sauce unless you request some. You’ll love it.” Becka opened the door.

They slid their shoes off at the dining entrance, then sat, kneeled, still positioning to preserve their polish.

Water, tea, miso soup, plus four plates to start. They picked at the rolls and meat slabs with their chopsticks, happily talking about friends, assignments, summer job searches, and college prep.

“Adults complain so much about work and say to enjoy our youth, but it’s like really? You justwork.” Becka sipped on her soup.

“Right? I dare them to survive one of our days. They’d either crumble or explode by third period.”

Their laughs filled the quiet restaurant.

“What else can I get for you?”

“Can we get a refresher on our tea please, and this, this, this, this, aaaand,” Becka’s finger circled around the menu, “This.”

Their waitress nodded, lowered in a slight bow, then backed and turned from the table. She returned moments later with a tea kettle. The sickly color of the steaming tea made Harley think of the last time she vomited.

Two octopus nigiri, four tobiko nigiri, a small row of something specialty, and a few slabs of salmon sashimi were delivered.

Becka bowed her head. “Arigato.”

“Kochira koso arigatou gozaimashita.” Our waitress took a few steps back, but she didn’t leave.

When Harley looked at her, she smiled, nodded, bowed, but didn’t move. “O-kay.” Harley picked up her chopsticks. “What’s this one?” She pointed at what the waitress called tobiko.

“Fish eggs.”

“Hmm.” Harley popped one of the octopus pieces in her mouth, then einie-meenie-miney-mo-ed which fish egg pile she was going to eat.

The octopus was extra chewy. Her teeth ground at the meat, but she wasn’t making much headway. She chewed the rice down and kept trying.

When she gripped either side of the tobiko nigiri, the eggs shuffled. She paused, stared. She squeezed a little harder, causing the rice and eggs to bulge upward. Something was rolling around inside.

“Becka, do you see this?” Harley leaned in. She had stopped chewing, left the octopus tentacle tucked in her cheek. “Look, there’s something…” She squeezed harder. An eyeball popped up from beneath the orange eggs; white, round, and rolling. The iris was dark brown, the pupil wide. Harley dropped her chopsticks and kicked back.

The tentacle came alive then, fighting the pressure of Harley’s cheek, squirming to pry open her teeth. Harley stuck her fingers in her mouth, trying to pull the thing out. She choked, spit, gagged. As soon as her jaw parted, the meat slab moved past her teeth and shot down her throat. Harley choked when it lodged itself there.

She grabbed her neck, squeezed at the bulge. Her skin burned. Her eyes ached. Her pulse pounded her head, shaking her brain in its cavity. She was already starting to black out. When Harley looked to her friend, hoping for some form of rescue, she saw Becka slurp down the last of the eyeball fish egg pieces.

The chef came from between the cloth curtains in front of the kitchen then. He held a butcher knife, and blood stained his apron.

Becka licked her fingers. “Can I have five sashimi pieces and five nigiri please? Oh and a little of her stomach twisted into a roll?”

 

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Sushi, yeah?

Siren

It had been three days since Minercia had food. She slipped on her favorite dress with a pair of dainty heels, then slid into her Mecedes coupe. Melrose felt appropriate.

After dropping her keys in the valet attendant’s hand, she meandered down the block, whistling her favorite sensual tune – a rich, slow song from long ago. Eyes locked on her as she passed. They couldn’t help themselves; she didn’t blame them. Her skin was smooth and plump, her breasts sizable and perky, her legs long and creamy. The dip in the front of her fabric didn’t leave much to the imagination.

A young man began to trail behind her. She kept her patience, whistling, walking. How old was he? Seemed maybe twenty-two, twenty-three, but did it really matter? She just needed a meal. He would be good for that. She stopped, turned.

“Hu-hu-hi.”

She raised her eyebrows, tilted her head, smiled seductively. “Take me for dinner?”

“Of course.” He presented his arm.

When they passed the coffee shop, Minercia pulled, directing them to the side and just behind the building.

“Where did you say you wanted to eat again.”

“I didn’t.”

She put her mouth to his, pressed deep. He pulled their bodies together and kissed her back.

She latched her inner teeth into his lips and gums, then started to suck his insides out. She moaned at the satiation. Three days was too long. He screamed into her mouth until his vocal cords broke. Blood splattered from between their connected lips. When he was spent, Minercia let go her hold, then watched his body collapse on itself. Maybe she could lure one more if she whistled loud enough. She was still hungry.

 

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Siren

Beneath the Surface

Michaela fell over the railing. The fall wasn’t far, but it was at least 7 feet down. She would get the wind knocked out of her if she landed flat.

“Lex, I have a cramp, come help me.”

The water must have been freezing. It was in the 50’s that day, windy. “I’ll be right there!” Lex observed each bank and decided left. She darted towards the end of the bridge. When she made it to the surrounding foliage, she looked for a downed branch. “There.”

Lex froze when she reached the bank. Hovering over Michaela was a large shadowy mass, not quite solid, but not quite a vapor. An arm shape protruded and held her friend’s head beneath the water. She flailed, fought, tried to get her head above the surface, but to no avail. Lex thought for two seconds, then kicked off her shoes and dove into the cold pond.

The figure was determined, its grasp too strong. When Lex reached her side, the mass pushed Michaela completely under, then went so deep, she could see no sign of either. Sobbing, she turned and started for the water’s edge. A hand grabbed her ankle before she was pulled beneath.

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Beneath the Surface

Undo

*****READER DISCRETION ADVISED – POTENTIALLY OFFENSIVE CONTENT*****

Hands often hold their grasp, legs tend to stay beneath bodies, but slight moments of error cause some to trip or lose grip on a glass that then shatters. Blame is a slippery substance when error is the cause.

My heart stopped, my breath stopped, my mind stopped, when Isabel fell from my arms. We were four floors up. I didn’t blink when she hit the tile. Blood splattered like a movie gag set to detonate. I could feel it crawling on my skin.

It was Ian who’d bumped me, the neighbor’s son. He was nearing his high school graduation. He and a few friends hurried around us in the spiraled staircase of our apartment building. When I hit the black iron railing, I lost my footing and almost went over. Someone grabbed my legs. I wished they hadn’t.

Shock. Grief. Regret. Anger. Hysteria. Unconsciousness.

Her casket was tiny. She was barely three months old.

I blamed Ian at first, then his mother for not teaching him manners, then society for the way it’s affected youth, then myself for not waiting five more minutes to leave, or five more seconds, or for not holding on tighter. My husband blamed Ian until I defended his lack of ill intention, then my husband blamed me. Then he left.

Who the courts blamed or what they did, I didn’t care. All I could think of on loop, all day, every day, was her expression as she fell, her arms as they reached for something they would never find, the way it felt to not protect her. Medicine had repaired so many broken bones and road rashes from my own youth that, at some point, I unconsciously believed everything could be repaired.

I churned it over in my mind like I could undo time. One day, one minute, one second of interaction sent a shockwave through two families’ lives – and it was no more than human error, the same as overlooking a typo or tripping onstage after a speech.

 

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Undo