Wrote some more flash. This one is 900ish words so about a 6-minute read.
The only thing is, it’s on a mature theme. It’s a bit gory so if you’re in the middle of your lunch, maybe come back later?
I had no image for this one, just a scene in my head, but after I wrote I found this on Pexels, seemed appropriate as a cover image.
Who can that be at this hour? I was hoping to finish up making that dress tonight.
I cross my tiny apartment to the peephole.
Is that Sam? What the fuck does he want?
I know him. Vaguely. Co-worker. Ex, I guess. We dated a few times, but he’s not a good man. Even bragged to me how he was scamming the company. Plus a few other things… No. Definitely not a good human being. I finished it pretty quick. It’s a pity I ever brought him up here. How the fuck did he get into the building, anyhow? What is he? Swaying? Drunk? High? I don’t need this, not now.
I turn my soothing Debussy off. Hopefully, he’ll think I’m not home.
[Knock, knock.] More urgent this time. More rappy.
Then, a boom. “Janey? Open up, Janey. I know you’re in there. I heard the music.”
Oh, Christ. He’ll wake the whole fucking floor.
“JANEY?” Accompanied by a kick on the door.
I need to deal with this. I fix the chain and open the door a crack. I half-feign blurry eyes.
“Sam? Sam? Is that you? I was in bed. What are you doing here this late?”
He opens his mouth to speak, and I smell him. As I recoil, he blubs:
“Janey. They fired me, Janey. Said they knew what I’d been doing.”
I attempt to pacify. “Look, Sam, it’s late. You’re drunk. Tell you what, why don’t you go home, get some rest. Come over tomorrow evening and we can talk then?” At least then, I can make sure we have company. “But not now, man, I’m sleeping.”
He ignores me. “How could they know, Janey? What did you tell ‘em?”
Fuck! Was this that conversation I had with Janis Kozlowski? But those were just passing words, kitchen gossip. No more than hints. I regain my composure.
“I didn’t tell anyone anything, Sam. You’ve conjured this up from thin air. This is all in your head. Honey, it’s late. You’ll wake the neighbours. Can’t you come round tomorrow, and you can tell me what happened? But now, we all need to sleep.”
I try to sound firm, but I’m a leaf. The last thing I need is a pissed-off, 250lb grizzly outside my front door.
“You cost me my job, Janey. What did you tell ‘em?”
Okay, I need to get rid of this ox, once and for all. “Sam, nobody told anybody anything. It’s almost midnight. You’re disturbing my neighbours and you need to calm down. Leave quietly, now, before someone calls the cops. Go home, Sam. Sleep this off.”
I’m as firm with him as I can be, and begin to shut the door on him.
Before I can secure it… BANG! an explosion! An almighty crash! He’ll wake the fucking dead. Pieces of broken door chain fly like shrapnel.
Without even understanding, I must fly backwards. I’m only 120, a feather. What the fuck just happened?
But it’s not over. The unhinged Sam flies through the unhinged door, his momentum carrying him into the apartment. And the next I know, he’s pinned me onto my needlework desk.
I’m in shock. No words come, only a yelp.
On top of me, he’s up close. He reeks. He must have been drinking all day. He’s rasping, now. I can hear the malevolence in his voice.
“Whadd’ya tell ‘em, Janie?” It’s almost a hiss.
“Please, Sam, get off me.” I can’t breathe. “I didn’t say nothing to no-one. Please believe me, Sam. Get up”
“And why’d you stop returning my calls?”
“Please, Sam”, I’m sobbing now. Trying to. He’s crushing me. “Please…”
“I don’t believe you, Janey.” There’s menace in his drunken voice. “You were the only one who knew. It had to be you.” His hands move to my neck, but his weight remains on me. He’s squeezing the air from my lungs.
I pant one more “please” before the breath won’t come. I gasp, but there’s no air. My lungs burn. Can this be? Arms flail. Eyes bulge. Desperate hands probe the desk. Anything. Nothing. Until… Cold metal. My only hope. I grab the shears. Last chance saloon. I lift my hand. His neck is exposed.
A reflex. His hand jumps to the wound. I snatch a breath. Blood seeps through his fingers but he’s not done yet. His dripping hand returns to my neck. Squashing the life from me. I strike again. More blood. Much more. Not a trickle this time. A spurt. I’m spent, though. There’s nothing left. My world dims. But the grip loosens. I steal a shallow breath. And another. And another. The pain subsides. Sam is moving. Still gasping for air, I force my eyes open. It’s not Sam. I glimpse someone behind him. A neighbour? What the fuck’s his name? He’s tugging at Sam. How the fuck can I not know my neighbour’s name?
Sam’s a dead weight now… but what a weight! We tug together but Sam is lead.
“Jane? Jane? Hang on in there, Jane. It’s Paul Williamson. It’s okay, Jane. You’re safe. I dialled the cops when I heard the crash.”
At that instant two black jackets appear in the doorway. Their cap badges offer a reassuring wink. The weight is suddenly lifted, but I am still limp, a rag doll. Williamson pulls me quickly up and into him.
“It’s okay, Jane. It’s over. You’re safe. It’s done.” He’s hugging me, still propping me up.
My eyes catch Sam’s lifeless form on the floor, Williamson is right. I mould myself into his torso. For the first time, I can cry.