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June 2008 Flashers

Flash Fiction written by members and friends of the MuseItUp Club. Submissions are invited for this page.*

 

 

This month we bring you the judges' special commendation from our recent competition.

 

 

 

Anguish in the Night

 

by Crystalwizard

 

 

Throughout the night, I heard their screams of pain. I tossed, I turned, I put the pillow over my head. Nothing helped. Those poor creatures, locked away, pleading desperately to be released.

 

Next to me, my husband snored loudly, oblivious. How like a man! I gnashed my teeth, clenched my fists and desperately fought with the desire to fling myself from my bed.

 

The wailing went on, calling to me with pitiful, heart-wrenching cries.

 

I dragged the blankets over my head, clutched the pillow tightly around my ears and sought slumber.

 

It evaded me.

 

When the air became too stale to breathe, I flung the covers back and gasped for breath.

 

Silence.

 

I sighed with relief and settled down, closed my eyes and began to drift away.

 

The screams started again, scant seconds later. Wails of anguish that sent chills down my spine and wrenched my eyes open.

 

I had had enough!

 

I threw the blankets off, flung myself from my bed and stubbed my toe against the nightstand. A loud crash echoed through the room, causing my husband to mumble something untranslatable and turn over. I squashed the desire to strangle him, and then dropped down on the edge of the bed, rubbing my toe and cursing silently.

 

The screaming went on, rising in pitch for a moment then falling to a low rumbling that twisted my stomach into a knot.

 

I glared at the nightstand, snarled at my husband and stood.

 

The room was dark, the barest hint of moonlight shining through a slit in the blinds, and I was forced to grope across it toward the door. I stepped too hard on the throw-rug, it slid out from under my feet and, arms flailing, I made an undignified landing on my rump.

 

My husband’s snoring didn’t even change tempo.

 

I struggled to my feet, snatched the rug from the floor and tossed it away. I should have replaced it when the backing first started to peel off. Tomorrow, I promised myself. Tomorrow I would go get a new rug.

 

I made my way carefully across the rest of the room, striving to avoid any further accidentally collisions, and ran my hand over the wall. The doorframe eluded my searching fingers for several seconds. Long enough for the wailing coming from several rooms away to set my teeth on edge and tighten my stomach. I found the doorknob and turned it, eased the door open and slipped into the hall.

 

Silence descended again, and smothered me in a blanket of darkness.

 

I glanced over my shoulder at the bed I’d so recently vacated and stood listening, heart pounding.

 

Nothing. My husband snored on, wrapped in a world of oblivion. For once I was grateful.

 

I shut the door gently, turned to face the hall and felt my way down the wall. The open doorway at the end signaled the entrance to the living room and I stepped inside.

 

Light filtered through the blinds from the street lamp and scattered patterns across the parquet floor. I smiled, and then padded across it toward the kitchen.

 

It took almost a minute to traverse the maze of toys and paraphernalia my youngest had left scattered about, but finally I stood in the kitchen doorway, heart pounding, and listened once again for sounds from my bedroom.

 

A loud cacophony of noise erupted from a neighbor’s cat just outside my window and I jumped.

 

The faint sounds of snoring from my bedroom remained faint and I smiled. I then reached for a box on the counter from which the cries for rescue were issuing.

 

I should never, I decided as I lifted the lid on the box and popped one of the chocolates into my mouth, have agreed to let my husband help me stick to my diet.

 

Crystalwizard

 

 

 

Crystalwizard is both a graphic artist and a writer, who spends far too much of her time playing servant to 3 adorable cats.

 

 

****************************************

 

 

*Send Flash Fiction submissions to underamuse@yahoo.com.au .

Please include the words “Muse Marquee Flash Submission” in the subject line.

 

The Flashers page is edited by Les Stephenson.