Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 9) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021” Week #37.
Today I’m featuring a contribution by Mark Bierman.
I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Here is the image prompt and Mark’s contribution.
“You hear that?” Mandy twisted her red locks into coils. Her wide-eyed expression moved her freckles, like dozens of islands shifted by an earthquake.
Dan put his ear against the door.
“Careful! What do you hear?”
“Chewing.” An icicle lodged in his spine.
“What? Dan Beamish! I can’t take it any longer! I’m calling Mom and Dad! I want to go home! George Binks was right, this place is haunted!”
“My gosh!” Dan jumped back. His jaw became a flag in the wind.
“Stop blubbering, out with it! You’re scaring me!”
“You should be.”
“Stop it!” Mandy’s eyes were red. It reminded Dan of the time he’d drew mustaches on her Barbies, with permanent marker. “Tell Uncle Bill! He’ll know what to do. He’ll call Mom and Dad to pick us up!”
“Don’t be such a wimp. Don’t you want to see what it is? Maybe it’s a Snog, just like in one of your silly books. Besides, Uncle Bill is away this afternoon. Mom and Dad are in the Bahamas.”
“I’m NOT a wimp, you’re just stupid! My books are NOT silly. Snogs are NOT real. Whatever’s in there, is! We should wait until Uncle Bill returns.”
“Get me something to defend myself.”
Mandy crossed her arms and scowled at her older brother. He was stubborn, just like his father, that’s what Mom said. Mom’s always right about Dan. She sighed. “Fine, there’s a croquette mallet in the hall closest.” She stomped down the ancient steps. Stupid, old, haunted house. Why couldn’t they’ve gone to Aunt Rita’s cottage on the beach? Oh, because Danny the Pansy was allergic to the sand. Whoever heard of such a thing?
She returned with the mallet to find Dan testing the doorknob.
Mandy performed a fake curtsy and handed the mallet over. “You’re lance, noble knight.”
Dan rolled his eyes. He counted to three, via the scenic route. “Two and a quarter, two and a half, two and three quarters, three!” He charged in screaming, mallet raised overhead, Brave Heart style.
Something large ran through what could only be described as a trash bin. Dan looked around, shocked by the mess. Uncle was a neat freak, but this was an episode of Hoarders.
Wind gusted through an open window. Papers blew across a desk and onto a floor that could have been hardwood. A huge lump moved underneath the pile, heading straight for him! A terrible hissing and growling came from the thing.
Dan’s arms lost feeling and the mallet struck his knee as it dropped. He was nailed to the floor.
“Dan! Get out!”
He tried to back away, but tripped on a power cord, that brought him and a desk computer, crashing to the floor.
A yellowed New York Times paper, a foot from his face, burst off the floor, to reveal a hideous nightmare of bloody teeth and fur.
The eyes were blacker than the pavement, velociraptor sharp claws, and a hiss like a thousand water snakes. It stood on it’s hind legs, belly fur covered in blood. The thing was about to rip him apart! His mind flashed back to all those nature shows he’d watched. What to do? Run . . . seriously? Play dead? No, he’d be dead. Act submissive, lower your eyes and bow your head . . . quick! He raised himself to a kneel and bowed, face to the floor. It was terrifying, exposing the back of his neck.
“Dan! What are you doing! Have you lost your mind?”
“Showing respect. Being submissive.”
It didn’t work. The thing hissed and moved towards him. Dan could feel and smell its hot and stinky breath . This was it, his life for hers. “Go, Mandy! Run! It wants me and you can still get away!”
The beast moved closer, coming in for the kill bite, just like a lion. It would be a less painful way to die.
Dan was ready too.
Something swept past his head. The creature let out a squeal and then began to whimper, as it fled.
“You rascal!” Uncle Bill yelled.
His new favorite uncle held a broom, as he chased the thing out the window. He shut the window, turned towards them and said, “Blasted racoon. Should have closed the window. Got into my bowl of ravioli again!” He held up an empty can of Chef Boyardee’s “finest” pasta. He looked embarrassed.
Dan smacked his head when he noticed the “blood”’ matched the color of the pasta sauce.
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