Here is this week’s #FridayFlash, a little something I wrote three years ago that needed refreshing. Enjoy, good people.
Today’s your lucky day: you get to choose between your mother and your father. Either you live with the first, who never lets you go out with smelly socks and a stubbled chin; or the other, who doesn’t care enough to look at your report card and cheated on your mother for the past five years. They’re getting a divorce, messing up your life for these last few months until graduation, so who do you choose? Him, of course.
You move into his crappy apartment: third floor, constant baby screams on the other side of the wall, some wife beater across your landing, and this noise above your room at night. No wonder your father lets you have it, it’s impossible to sleep with all the shuffling and dragging and voices coming from the ceiling. Then again, no one will say anything if you bring girls to spend the night and smoke with your window open, so you’re golden.
Until dark circles ring your eyes. Your mother thinks that jackass excuse for a father isn’t feeding you well, that he’s neglecting you and nothing good will come out of living with him. As she wipes spaghetti sauce off your cheek—the sole reason you’re visiting on a Saturday night—she invites you to come back. Begs, really. No hard feelings, she wants you to live with her. You’re doing well, you lie, and get out before she says you’re worse than him.
One night, you actually believe it’ll be fine, you’ll catch up on lost sleep—the shits living above aren’t home. You relax, your thoughts drift into dreams, toasty in bed… WHAM! It shakes your walls, muted voices rank up into shouts. BANG! A heavy drag, left and right, right and left. Heavy feet, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! right above your head, sheet-rock and wood beams separating you from chaos.
Enough, you think, where’s my baseball bat? You knock the butt to the ceiling, afraid to man up, at first. They don’t stop, their voices like whispers slitting the walls and tickling your ears. So you bang on the ceiling some more, half-hallucinating their raspy breaths down your neck. But it picks up, driving you mad, the shouting so close, their voices in your face. Through a haze of murderous intent, your deep breath comes out in a yawn. The couch will do.
On a rare morning appearance, your father asks you why you’re sleeping in here instead of your bed. He asks the heavens why he bothered leaving you the bigger room if you prefer this stinky rathole too small for his plasma screen. You say it’s because of the people in 4D, they just won’t stop moving around at night. He apologizes, the place is noisy. You say, damn right. After a week of whines, he talks to the landlord. Now he calls you crazy as you follow him down the dingy corridor.
Empty, the place hasn’t been lived in for over five years. Everybody moves out after a month, the landlord says with a funny look. He’s not the only one checking you up and down. The back of your neck prickles, your heart thump-thumps, a cold embrace clutches your chest. You hold onto the doorframe, something pricks your fingers. Stuck under the doorknob latch, the picture of this man waits for you to squeeze it free. Yes, the picture waits for you, it’s written all over your bones. And tonight, the noise comes from inside your apartment.
June 30th, 2011 at 1:34 pm
Very interesting. I thought the second person voice was all about being pulled two ways by the parents which was interesting, always being competed for, never allowed to be just ‘yourself’ (himself). But then the spooky summonsing ending made it something else altogether. I think and this is only my opinion, that those two different uses of ‘you’ could be contrasted more. Maybe even something as simple as the picture referring to “You’ as capitalised or block capitalised or italicised or soemthing.
Like I say, very interesting
June 30th, 2011 at 1:37 pm
Thank you and you, Marc:)
June 30th, 2011 at 1:57 pm
This is really well done! I wouldn’t even know where to start with second person and you’ve pulled it off amazingly!
June 30th, 2011 at 2:30 pm
Thanks so much, Angie. This was my first time with the ‘you’ and must admit I enjoyed myself tremendously:)
June 30th, 2011 at 2:22 pm
omigod me loves! Really well done! 🙂
June 30th, 2011 at 2:31 pm
Thanks, Tammy:) I have that picture, you know. It’s in my basement with its other creepy friends…
June 30th, 2011 at 7:17 pm
This is really really well done! Excellent use of the second person.
June 30th, 2011 at 8:01 pm
Thanks so much, Sonia – it’s my first time and not my last:)
July 1st, 2011 at 12:38 am
Major kudos for pulling of 2nd-person! And nice twist at the end. I wasn’t expecting anything creepy. Nice job!
July 1st, 2011 at 7:33 am
Thanks Dani!! Me loves some creepiness:)
July 1st, 2011 at 12:38 am
My immune system typically rejects second person stories. Somehow, despite the first paragraph being awry from my experience, I was won over and played along with the alternative-you role. Very nice picture of a not totally nice existence, Anne.
July 1st, 2011 at 7:34 am
Thanks John – glad I won you over;)
July 1st, 2011 at 6:35 am
Oohhhh freaky witha good side of scare. Thanks for the read Anne.
July 1st, 2011 at 7:35 am
Yay Gareth! I LOVE to scare people;)
July 1st, 2011 at 7:48 am
Even better with the photo. Gave me chills – again.
July 1st, 2011 at 7:59 am
It’s a really old picture I found at an antique store – it’s printed on metal.
July 1st, 2011 at 9:46 am
Ooh, creepy! Second person worked well here I think — more chilling than it would have been in 3rd person
July 1st, 2011 at 9:48 am
Thanks so much – I think so, too:)
July 1st, 2011 at 11:08 am
Oh! I didn’t see the last line coming. I agree with Maria. Second person definitely makes it more chilling. I feel right in with it, in reading.
July 1st, 2011 at 11:22 am
Thanks Melissa – I’m a fan of second person after all those comments:)
July 1st, 2011 at 6:17 pm
July 1st, 2011 at 7:23 pm
Oooh, thank you:)
July 1st, 2011 at 8:31 pm
What have you done? You’ve written a nicely creepy story, that’s what.
July 1st, 2011 at 8:38 pm
Oh Tim, thank you so much:)
July 4th, 2011 at 8:30 am
This is fascinating. You pulled me into the characters with the realistic tragedy of the parents split, and then blindsided me with the surreal. I’m not sure if it quite works for me to change gears like that, but you’ve done it right, without hesitation or apology.
July 4th, 2011 at 8:34 am
Thanks so much, Jennifer – yeah, I rarely apologies for my writting 🙂
July 4th, 2011 at 11:41 am
Beautiful, you capture the way boys-will-be-boys. The ending is spot-on, capturing the ghost dwelling upstairs and giving it a chilling tone.
July 4th, 2011 at 6:17 pm
I love this ‘spot-on’ comment:)
October 23rd, 2012 at 7:02 pm
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