Friday, April 4, 2014

Midnight blinds 2.0

After nearly two weeks of stasis (flu, then my ribs being out) and not really eating, I kinda went stir-crazy today.

After breakfast, I shot out to the grocery store, and then spent almost 4 hours straight in the kitchen making a tomato-based pasta sauce with roasted veggies and chunks of stewing beef, so after it cooks for several hours, everything will be tender and delicious.

Then I marinated trout in red wine, added garlic, fresh rosemary, peppercorns, and slices of orange. Going to cook that soon and see how it tastes since I just made up the recipe as I went, just like the pasta sauce recipe.

The sauce is still simmering on low, I'm a big believer in good sauce taking about 5-8 hours to make.

So, that's the reason I'm posting my flash fiction piece so late... and here it is, 200 words:

Around midnight, I creep to the window and peek through the blinds. My feet are cold, my throat dry. It’s hard not to breathe, not to create a cloud of condensation that might be seen on the glass of the unlit room.

The rusted blue pick-up truck is still parked under the broken street lamp. 

It was there earlier when I went to bed, someone lurking in the front seat, blurred and unsavoury under the night sky. Though the figure doesn’t move, I know it’s not a shadow or an abandoned coat draped over the seat. I can feel the eyes, the stare, calculating and intense with purpose.

Even if they have a reason to be here, I don’t trust them. Strangers.

Paranoia is born in the dark, where you can’t see, when you can only imagine, and every moment of guilt oozes into the next and explodes like cancer until you’re slick with fear.

I realize I’m flexing my back, legs taut, adrenaline tugging me onto my toes. 

Fight. Flee. 


Then there’s a gentle voice, calling me back to bed.

I glance again at the truck, then hop off the windowsill with a lash of my tail.


  1. Oh, nicely done! I was left going: "flexing ... what?" at the the end, then re-read after.

  2. Around midnight, I creep to the window and peek through the blinds. He’s still outside, sitting in the park on the swingset. I go downstairs, where Dad is still passed out in the living room in front of the TV, sneak around beer cans into the kitchen, make two peanut butter sandwiches. Because everyone likes those. Dad doesn’t stir. I cross the street and head into the park, feeling both scared and silly at the same time.

    I saw a ghost once, after Grandma died. I asked Dad about the weird person at the funeral, and he’d said it looked like Grandpa who had been dead for years and years. So I’m expecting a ghost but not a kid. Maybe ten, pale with pale eyes, just sitting on the swing and sucking his right thumb as he rocks back and forth.

    “Hello?” I say, because he doesn’t look like any little kid I know, and I’m almost thirteen. He doesn’t have a single grass stain on his jeans or dirt under his fingernails.

    His eyes widen. “You can thee me?” he says around his thumb.

    “You’re sitting right there, so yes.” It feels like a very grown-up thing to say. “I’m Iola.”

    “Jay,” he says, and pops his thumb out of his mouth. “You’re human, yeth?”

    “Yes,” I say, though it seems a little silly. “You’re not?”

    “Nope,” he says proudly.

    “That’s why you lisp?”

    “Yeth.” He glares, as if daring me to comment further.

    I sit on the other swing, not sure what else to do. “Are you going to eat me?”

    He just stares. I hand him one of the sandwiches and he wolfs it down in two bites, then the second without a hint of shame.

    “Are you waiting for someone?”

    “My mathter went thomewhere thidewayth from here, where I can’t follow. And people can thee me now,” he says, soft and furious.

    “People will come asking questions if you just sit here.”

    “Oh.” He shoves his thumb back into his mouth and sucks on it again. “I don’t care!”

    “My little brother went to stay with mom. When she left,” I say, and somehow it hurts less because there is no judgement in his face. “You can sleep in his room, if you want? Dad won’t notice.”

    “Oh. You’d make a binding even if I don’t know you at all?”


    He pops his thumb back out of his mouth and offers up a huge, goofy grin. “Thankth!”

    “Your welcome?” He follows me home, giving, giving Dad a wary look and relaxing when nothing happens. No questions, no comments on the beer cans or Dad’s stained shirt. He comes up the stairs into Connor’s room and then hugs me.

    I’m not eaten. He pulls back, says thanks again and curls up on the bed, dead asleep in moments. I think about my friends, and the neighbours, what they say and what they think as I go into my room.

    I’m crying and I don’t know why.

    1. Oh Alcar, that was so excellent. the lisp the story about the brother, the no grass stains on jeans, the last line. The whole package

    2. Thanks :) Did the sequel set the next morning this morning as well. It's a little over 1K but was pretty much where my head was going with that story. Jay is very good at making his weaknesses into strengths, if nothing else :)

    3. Oh wow, that really was excellent, Alcar! Great emotion, and I loved Lola's 'voice' paired with Jay ;) ...I did get momentarily tripped up on Jay's one line of dialogue with no lisps (thought it was Lola at first :p)

      Can't wait to read the rest!!

    4. *laughs* Yeah. Jay avoided any esses since the binding issue is Important :) Also, had I know how long I'd be writing this character, I would never have given him a lisp. Dear gods....

    5. Haha, but he's just sooooo cute ;) He's one of those characters that just kind of takes over a story ;)

      ...sorry for spelling Iola wrong in my previous comment :p

  3. Yeah someone watching the narrator was my first thought when I did mine. Okay for the record I spotted 2 typos. The last line is perfect, however I still have a question. Who is in the truck? And I do realise it might be another cat.

    Oh the 42 words comes from the last flash challenge I did on my friend’s blog - I’m addicted to short

    1. I, on the other hand, can never keep 'em short enough :)

    2. @ Sue: Honestly, I don't care who's in the truck... could be someone stalking the cat's owner? Or maybe just a perfect stranger... a million reasons, a million options :) It could even be a dog/cat, but in my head, I was thinking human.

      @ Alcar: Haha, yes, but long stories are great to read. Since mine are more like 100 word puns/jokes with the twist at the end, there's really nothing more to them to expand. You're writing snippets of established characters/worlds ;)