Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Below (Original fiction)

Recently a dear friend told me about Tastes of the Darkness, which is described as a blog carnival of horror flash fiction. After reading the guidelines I truly found it appealing, but found one obstacle along the way. Flash fiction. Not something I'm much used to; I actually tend to write stories which are a bit longer. I did give it a shot though, and managed to produce this little oddity. The theme for this first running of the carnival was "isolation". I hope you enjoy it.



BELOW


The sounds wake him. A shout, a cry, a chuckle. He opens his eyes at first, not sure what’s going on, then sits up with a start. A familiar cold wave creeps up his back. He shudders.

They are down there, again.

More of them.

He clutches the blanket close to his chin and draws his legs toward his chest.

This is my space, the place where I go, and here I’m safe, from the things down below.

They had left him alone for a while. He had been happy, thinking they were gone for good. But they are back now. They always come back. They are loud, never idle. They drag stuff around, they shout, they laugh.

They pound.

The thuds frighten him; they are so loud. And when the thuds start, he knows what comes next.

Sooner or later they’ll want to come up.

This is my space, the place where I go, and here I’m safe, from the things down below.

Sooner or later they will come for him.

A sob escapes him. He wants to be brave, but his chest heaves up and down. He is shaking on his bed, his body rocking back and forth.

In the dark he looks for his shield. He finds it on the floor, just beside his shoes. It should be on the nightstand, must have fallen in the dark, somehow.

In the gloom of his room, he stares at the floorboards. He can feel them moving under the floor. Creeping, scuttling, running around. They are never still.

He clutches his shield to his chest and bites down on the worn head of the brown teddy. Not wanting to, but unable to stop himself, he gets out of the bed. His body cringes as his feet touch the floor. He stands up and stops.

He listens.

They laugh. They call each other. They keep moving.

He takes a step forward, and another, and one more. He can feel the vibrations under his feet.

This is my space, the place where I go…

They had come up twice before. The first time he was asleep, and their screams awoke him. They tried to take him with them. They dragged him. He had yelled for help, which never arrived while their fingers gripped his ankles, his waist, his neck.

Another step. He kneels down, the clutch on his stuffed shield never loosening.

This is my space, the place where I go…

He had fought them bravely that night, hanging on the bed’s leg for dear life, flinging shoes and toys at them. He kicked, he bit. And in the end, he won. He had found strength within, and he had been safe.

Slowly, almost holding his breath, he bends down until his ear touches the floorboards. It’s them, all right. They are laughing. Running. He can feel them closer now.

The second time they had come up, he had been ready for them. They wouldn’t get him. They wouldn’t take him from his room. This was his place.
This is my space, the place where I go, and here I’m safe, from the things down below.

He had his sword by then, and he had defeated them. It had been messy but they didn’t take him. He had cried so hard, but he had stood his ground. He was not going with them. No way he was.

A dry sound makes him flinch, and he jumps up from the floorboards. He wants to get back in bed, to cry for help. But help won’t come. He is always alone. It’s up to him to stand his ground.

There had also been a third time… but he had beaten them then. He had found a way of falling on them before they pounced on him. And how much easier it had been, taking them all by surprise. They had screeched and had lunged at him, but he had the upper hand.

Despite the dread inside him.

Despite the horror within.

He’d found a way of beating them down there. Below. Before they could even come up to get him.

A teardrop falls down his face. He sobs.

But it has to be done.

Before they get to him first.

He is ready.

Another thud. They are near.

He reaches under the bed and grabs his sword. His face, wet with tears, reflecting off the blade’s surface.

He hates looking at himself like this. His skin wrinkled, his nose plugged. The tears making a mess of his face, shimmering as they get caught on his beard.

He can hear them below. Never still. They always call at each other, they drag boxes, they bump into things. By now the people from the big truck, the ones who brought all the stuff should have left. Now it’s only the new ones down there. The ones who will come looking for him, sooner or later.

He needs to be brave. He needs to fight them.

Just like he did five years ago.

Just like he did ten years ago.

And just like he did thirteen years ago.

Waiting for the right moment, he clutches the knife close. And sobs.

5 Comments:

At 5:55 AM, Blogger jayne d'Arcy said...

wow! I was so certain this was a little kid. A great twist. Excellent story.

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger Clublint said...

I thought it was a little kid too and I was soooooooo sympathetic as I was reading it and thought "awww the poor little bugger. He's got monsters under his bed" and then you said "beard" and it totally threw me.

That was an amazing story. Really well done.

 
At 5:34 PM, Blogger cesarcarlos said...

Thanks Jayne and Clubint, your words mean a lot :) I wasn't sure I would be able to pull it off, but seems I succeeded. Glad you liked it!

 
At 11:53 PM, Blogger briliantdonkey said...

Just came across this by way of Absoulute write and 48 other links i dont think i will be able to follow again if my life depended on it. Awesome story dude. Safe to say you pulled off the age thing quite well. Thanks for the entertaining read.

rob

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger cesarcarlos said...

Hey, brilliantdonkey! Glad you enjoyed. Reaction like yours is always the best reward :)

 

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