Pure Fiction

Flash fiction and short stories

I Love You

I love you. Those three words only mean something if you believe them. And somehow I couldn’t believe this woman was capable of love.

Originally I was one of her victims. She stalked me as she stalked all of her prey. One night after I switched the lights out and fell asleep, something woke me. A presence. As I regained my senses, I heard sounds in my room. Breathing and flittering. I opened my eyes and there was a dark shape standing next to my bed. I have heard that there is such a thing as a fight or flight response, and when a person is scared they will either choose to defend themselves or run away. I think I must be defective because I simply lay frozen, incapable of moving. Perhaps my brain thought if I didn’t move I would be invisible.

A hand reached towards my throat and my life flashed before my eyes, all 22 years of it, from hitting my brother with a golf club when I was 3, to the last time I kissed a girl, over a year ago. But then the hand stopped. The dark figure leaned down and I saw its eyes for the first time. It was a woman. Her eyes were large with long lashes, purple in colour, and slanted in a feminine alluring way. Surprisingly they looked sad, rather than malevolent. Her hand caressed my cheek. I was dumbstruck. Those eyes and her touch melted my terror away, and then I knew it was just a dream.

“Shhh… everything is okay now. Sleep my darling.”

*

Dream or not, she was there when I awoke. Light streamed in through my window. She sat in the corner in a ball, knees drawn to her chest, looking vulnerable like a child.

“Good morning. I’m sorry to have scared you last night.” She said. “I… I… I don’t know what came over me.” She looked confused.

I sat up, wiping sleep from my eyes. “Good morning. Were you going to kill me?”

She took a long time to reply. “Yes. I was. Until… your face… it reminds me of… of someone.” She was stumbling over her words.

We stared at each other for a minute or two. “Wow,” was all I could say. Having a relaxed conversation about my murder was surreal. “So you let me live because I remind you of someone you cared about?”

“Yes. My father.”

*

That morning we ate breakfast together. Gretchin was a tall woman, the clothes she wore were all black, the same colour as her long hair, which was tied in a pony tail. Her angular face was amazing to look at, with her large purple eyes, bright red lips, pale skin and perfect complexion. Her beauty was intimidating and I tried not to stare. She blatantly stared at me, making me self-conscious. I couldn’t hold her gaze and would shuffle in an awkward manner, looking at my plate, at my hands, up at the roof, trying to make conversation, all the while I felt her drinking me in, judging my every move with an unreadable expression.

It was the weekend and I had the usual chores to do. Cleaning, shopping, laundry. I thought about calling the police. I thought about this beautiful woman being dragged away by a police officer. Perhaps she would be bitter and come back to finish what she had started.

While I completed my chores she sat on the couch watching television. At one point in the afternoon I mustered the courage to ask if she had somewhere to go.

“Of course I have somewhere to go. Do I look like I’m homeless? I just want to stay here for a while.”

“Why?” I asked.

She paused, turned her captivating eyes to me, and said “Because I find you interesting. Is it okay if I stay a while?”

“Yeah, yes. It’s fine. I just… I’m glad we talked about it. Thanks.” With that uncomfortable reply I left to do food shopping, not entirely sure I could trust her in my house alone, but not really having a choice.

While I wondered the aisles at the supermarket I thought about my predicament. It really was insane. I had to get rid of her, but I was afraid she might decide to kill me again. Locks didn’t stop her. I figured the only way out of it was to fly to another country. Would she still find me? Was I really that important to her or was I just a random guy she had decided to kill? I needed to know her motivation. If I was just some random guy, perhaps she would agree to leave me alone and kill someone else. What a strange thought. I didn’t think it would work like that. There must be a reason she chose me, which meant she probably would not just leave me alone. Should I run?

As I pondered my fate next to the dairy section, a little idea popped into my head, a horrifying idea, one that stuck in my mind like a thorn. What if she liked me? What if… she wanted to be with me? The thought made me tremble with fear and excitement. She was an incredibly beautiful, lithe, sexy woman. Unfortunately she had planned to kill me. I needed to talk to someone. This was too much for my limited emotional intelligence. I needed someone with the social skills of a Hollywood “it” girl, and I thought I knew who to call.

“Whoa. So you’re telling me that this chick broke into your house at midnight to kill you, and now you think she has a crush on you?”

“Crush… do you have to use that word? It sounds so primary school. But basically yeah, that’s the situation.”

“Far out man, that is so awesome. I mean not for you of course, but, like, such a killer story. No pun intended. Man. So you want me to tell you what to do? I would just call the police and get her arrested. You don’t need proof dude just say you’re scared of her and she won’t leave your house. They have to take her.”

“Okay. Okay. Yeah that sounds good. I’ll go home and tell her if she doesn’t leave I’m calling the cops.”

“Um, you sure you want to do that? She is a seasoned homocidal maniac. I would just call them now.”

“No, no. I think she will listen to reason and leave.” At least I hoped so. Plus I kind of wanted to see her again.

When I got home Gretchin was still on the couch, laughing at reruns of Seinfeld. I took a deep breath.

“Gretchin. I was thinking a lot about this whole thing and…” Her intense stare had landed on me and it almost felt like a physical blow. “Gretchin if you don’t leave me alone I’m calling the cops.” I rushed out the last few words before I could chicken out.

She frowned and slowly rose from the couch. She walked towards me. I backed away, my legs were turning to jelly and I began to fall to the ground. She lunged towards me as I fainted and slipped into unconsciousness.

*

I awoke on the couch with a flannel on my head. I could hear Gretchin in the kitchen. She was cooking soup for dinner. I asked what happened.

“You fainted. I caught you before you smashed your head on the ground.”

“That’s it? I thought you were about to attack me.”

“No. Actually I wanted to kiss you. I don’t know why. I just felt like it. I’ll leave now if you want me to. I didn’t want to leave you unconscious, I didn’t think it would be safe.”

“I… I… what are you cooking? Do you always look so predatory when you’re about to kiss someone?”

“Chicken soup. It’s just a basic recipe my mum taught me when I was young.” She ignored the other question.

“I guess you should stay for dinner. You cooked it after all.” She smiled at me.

After a pleasant dinner I saw Gretchin to the door. She looked troubled. “Is everything okay?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I don’t usually experience guilt, but I feel bad for what I did to you. I wish we had met some other way. It was your eyes I think. When I stalked you from a distance I never really had a good look at you, but when I was leaning over to choke you to death, your eyes were just like my fathers when…” Gretchin looked distraught, “when he died.”

For about the fifth time that day my brain was overwhelmed with the circumstances and what was being said. Nothing can really prepare you for moments like these.

“Thank you for not killing me,” was all I could manage. Awful.

After an awkward hug Gretchin wondered out into the night.

“Do you have a car?” I asked.

She continued to wonder out onto the street. “I’m alright walking, thank you.”

I found a letter about a week later, slipped under the couch, that Gretchin must have written while I was at the shops. It read:

I know I terrified you in your bedroom last night and I’m truly sorry. But you scared me too. When I stared down at your face, something fluttered inside me that I have not felt for a very long time. My heart skipped a beat and a rush of blood to my head made my knees weak. If there is such a thing as love at first sight I think that might have been it. Eating breakfast and dinner with you was delightful for me, chatting with you, drinking you in. You smiled once at me and I lost my breath. I may never know why you have this affect over me, and the only way I can describe this feeling is to say I love you.

I had a strange moment. To think that the woman who wanted to murder me said she loved me, and the fact that I kind of liked it, made me dizzy.

Perhaps I am insane, but I hope to see Gretchin again one day. Occasionally I sense that someone is watching me on the way to work or when mowing the lawn, but then the tingling passes and I tell myself it is just my imagination. I know that if she wants to see me she will show up.

Mothers

rain

The front door bangs as a young boy races out to his bike.

‘Use your helmet!’ yells Mum.

For a second Michael contemplates disobeying, but it’s right there hanging from the handlebars so he jams it on his head.

His bare feet pump at the pedals as he speeds through dusty streets.

Halfway down a deserted lane his right foot slips and his toes catch the ground.

The friction is enough to pull Michael sideways and he tumbles off the bike, skidding across the ground, bare skin against asphalt.

He stands up with grazed hands and knees and a terrible headache. The helmet is cracked.

Crying and screaming doesn’t help. He tries ‘Muuuummm!’ but nothing happens. The pain is excruciating.  Mum always comes when I’m hurt. Where is she?

Michael picks up his bike and limps the rest of the way to school. When he gets to class his teacher immediately races over and asks if he’s okay. He is taken to the nurse’s office.

A few minutes later someone hands him a phone and Michael hears his mother’s voice.

‘I’m coming. I’ll be there as soon as I can.’ Michael feels a wave of relief wash over him. The tension dissipates, his breathing calms. He wipes away tears and lies back. Those words are all that matter sometimes.

His Revenge

This is his revenge. I lie here waiting for him to come to bed. He knows I struggle to sleep if he is not here.

In the past I have heard people say I know him better than I know myself and I never understood what they meant, until now. He is a wondrous book that I have read a thousand times and know back to front. I have memorised every line.

Please come to bed I murmur. It’s 3 a.m. To be fair he has insomnia. Most nights he comes to bed early just so I can sleep, while he must be bored out of his brain. Sometimes he reads but then I get mad and yell at him about the light.

I once asked him what he thinks about while he lies there not sleeping. He said Space and every possible area that my body could inhabit.

I try to imagine that now, my body floating through the universe, freezing solid in the darkness, burning up in a star, landing on other planets, some earth-like, some not.

As I drifted off to sleep with my imagination taking me on a cosmic journey the door edges open, he creeps in and slides next to me.

I feel bad for yelling at him earlier about dinner. I try to mumble an apology. He wraps his arms around me and that is the last thing I remember.

Be Strong

strong

I once knew a wizard that taught me many things. We were friends for years and over that time I tried to soak in as much of his wisdom as I could. One particular lesson occurred as we hunted for dragons deep in the Australian outback.

“Being strong is more than physical strength, and more than strength of will. Most importantly it is about having a strong mind.” He shouted across to me from the back of his galloping mare.

“Mind over matter my friend. If you train your conscious and your subconscious correctly, nothing can defeat you. You will withstand the most heinous torture dreamed up by the devil himself.”

As he finished his sentence a large shadow swooped across the sun.

“Now things get interesting. He will dive in such a way that we are blinded by the sun behind him. Follow my instructions exactly and my plan should work.”

Again the sunlight was blocked as the dragon glided around and began to dive towards us.

“Veer right! I am going left.”

I pulled on the right rein and my trusty steed obeyed. The wizard and I were now galloping in opposite directions and the dragon had to decide who to chase.

“Excellent. Now he is unsure what to do. He is indecisive and we have the upper hand.” The wizard’s telepathic voice sounded like he was right next to me, reassuring me.

“Just be aware he has chosen to chase you as I thought he would. Your horse is slower.” This wasn’t so reassuring.

The shadow descended again. I kicked my poor stallion for extra speed, but he was just about done.

“Wizard? What do I do?”

“Trust me. Be strong.”

I began to feel heat on my back and as my horse tossed his head I saw panic in his eyes. The heat grew and it felt like I was standing too close to a fire. Foam frothed from my stallion’s mouth as he began to lose his mind with fear and galloped at full speed. I lost all control and prayed he did not stumble. At this pace he wouldn’t be able to see where he was placing his feet.

I could hear the sound of large wings beating and began to feel a powerful down draught blowing into me. The heat grew, the sound of the dragon’s wings was like a large bellows, and the draught began to push me over. Even though I was blind with fear, a tiny strange thought popped up, that it was kind of like being in my uncle’s blacksmith workshop.

I tensed, imagining large teeth grabbing me at any moment, but the heat subsided for a moment, as though the dragon had slowed down.

“I have him!” The wizard sounded ecstatic, but the dragon did not, for at that moment it let out a huge inhuman roar. A gust nearly blew me out of my saddle and it was all I could do to stay on. I caught a glance backwards and got my first proper look at the monstrous beast. It was bigger than I had imagined, in fact the biggest thing I had ever seen flying through the air, which made it hard to take in. The wings seemed to stretch across the whole sky. How could something so large stay airborne? I wondered while trying to right myself.

And as the dragon rose, I thought I saw something dangling at the very end of its long tale.

It couldn’t be. I reined in my psychotic stallion and brought him round. The wizard’s mare was riderless.

“Wizard! Wizard!” I cried as I stared up again at the dragon. The shape I had seen dangling from its tale was moving upwards. It was the wizard, he had jumped onto the dragon’s tail and was climbing up onto its back!

I managed to get hold of his mare’s reins as she trotted up to me. My eyes were glued to the behemoth in the sky, now a dark mass in the clouds.

On that day, some years ago now, I watched as the Wizard tamed that dragon as only he knew how.

Today I stand alone in my kitchen, burying sadness in an old coat, grieving with the clouds above, burnt toast falling to pieces in my hand.

Fostering foul guardians to ward me, my emptiness leaving me bare to shattered mirrors’ reflections.

I allow his words to echo through my mind, I say them aloud.

Being strong is more than physical strength, and more than strength of will. Most importantly it is about having a strong mind…

Wizard. My friend. My mentor. I need you.

Mind over matter my friend. If you train your conscious and your subconscious correctly, nothing can defeat you. You will withstand the most heinous torture dreamed up by the devil himself.

If only I had your strength. Help me Wizard, please, just one more chat over lunch, just one more ride.

But this time he wouldn’t appear in the doorway with perfect timing. I was alone now. Be strong. Be strong, he would have said. A small fire lit in my heart, the tiniest of sparks. I nursed it, protecting it with everything I had. It began to catch. Perhaps I would be okay.

Picture credit: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php/76803-Need-some-crits-for-dragon

This Pain

Sunlight shines through his window. A washing machine runs in the background, dogs are barking next door, and his girlfriend is beating cake mix upstairs. The song plays out and he sits quietly with a heavy weight in his soul and nothing but words to help.

No matter how hard he tries to shake it and break free, it always catches him up. A woman’s kiss will sweeten it and almost make it worse, like too much dessert. As he fills his glass, the ice clinking, he just about fools himself this bitter liquid can heal. Remembering the first time, with everything going blurry, he thought this was the cure. But you can’t fill a hole by digging it deeper.

He still tries to run. With the wind in his face, the blue sky above, he escapes now and then. Young and fast, youth is on his side. As he grows older the cloudy days come more often. He puts up an umbrella and lets the rain beat it down until he is bare to the hailstones.

He is scared. He is worried he’s starting to like this pain.

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