Friday, 8 July 2016

Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge.

This morning, I decided to take part in Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge on the theme of insomnia that he posted on his Terribleminds blog about a week ago. (Yes, I squandered all that time...) There's nothing like a little horror on a Friday afternoon!

I give you:

Night’s End

By N.O.A. Rawle

Alex turned to the left, pulling up her legs before her and tucking her chin onto her knees. Her breathing  rattled in her ears, eyelids scratching her eyes. She could feel the blood coursing through the capillaries, threading routes across her vision. Twisting face down in the sweat soaked pillow, the feathers forever tainted with a stale whiff of iron. She hoped to slip into sleep.


The house around her creaked as it always had and out in the garden the greengage trees scraped against each other their fluttering leaves reminiscent of a rushing stream. Somewhere far off, thunder bowled across the mountains like an erratic heart beat. The minute hand ticked in the semi dark.


With her back pressed into the sheets, she stared up at the moonlight thrown blue and cold across the ceiling, a reflection of the day. She would stand it one more night – she had to. After that she thought she’d fold. The doctor had said not to fight the sleeplessness. He’d prescribed some pills, but the slip of paper had remained in her shoulder bag. The CVS had been stuffed with late night customers, the closeness of their bodies was unbearable, the chatter of the infirm hard to block out in the sterile whiteness of the neon strip lights.


The sun would rise at 5:17 - 3 hours and 41 minutes. It wasn’t so long: a feature film, a marathon, a double period of Math then English. Lightning flashed obliterating the moon-thrown shadows with fierce outlines of the trees in the yard. Alex longed to drink but daren’t tread on the wooden boards for fear of where her feet might lead her. Parched. Dry. A dessert of thirst with no let up. The doctor had said it was a reaction to the accident. She had a temporary fear of drinking water – she’d been slurping out of a bottle when she’d lost control of the car.


It wasn’t like that though. Water wouldn’t suffice. It hadn’t on Tuesday night when she had ventured down to the fridge and slugged back two glasses from the chiller. It had sloshed around inside her until she’d been forced to eject it. Nothing in the fridge appealed.


But she hadn’t lost control of the car. It had been ripped from her. And now lying in the night dreading her every urge, she flipped from side to the other trying to find a place that would suck her into sleep, a position that would cushion her from the need inside. Slicked in cold sweat, her skin cloying and uncomfortable, she hammered the pillow into a better shape to bolster her head.

3 hours and 40 minutes till sunrise, relief and rest.

Over the scratching of the branches and the rush of the leaves, louder than the thunder and the creaking of the house there came another noise. Alex sat up and listened more acutely. There it was again. A keening cry, morbid and desolate in pitch, raked the night. She had heard it just before the car plunged into blackness and she was lost in that helter-skelter nightmare of mutilated metal and gushing blood, a fading memory of her friend Kelly screaming in terror.


The sound had come from the creature that had collided with her car. It had crashed through the windscreen driving them into the river torrent. Attaching itself to her neck so fast she hardly had time to register the dizzying feeling as it fed first from her and then turned to Kelly to silence her screams. All the time the water seeped in through the windows intensifying the spreading cold.


In her bag was her insulin set. Alex fumbled for it while the creature feasted on her friend. She stabbed the plunger into her beleaguered body and waited for the surge of energy. When the creature turned its leathery maw back to finish her off, she was ready.


She had seen enough B movies to know that you had to drink the blood of a vampire to become immortal and she had sunk her teeth into it with the full fury and rage triggered by its intrusion. She would not leave this world. The whimpering was outside the door now.


Alex had not left then and she would not leave now. After she had rejected water she had accepted blood was the only thing that would satisfy. There was just enough time before dawn. She would leech the creature at her door and embrace eternal insomnia.

1 comment:

  1. Nice chilling tale with a delightfully deranged twist!