Friday, October 29, 2010

Horror Story

This is the flash fic that I wrote for Horror at Hannah's - she posted the winners today and it was so much fun reading them - whooooa, shivers!!!  I've never written horror before so the push to write something different is always a bonus for me.  I really enjoyed it!



Breathe. Breathe in, breathe out. Gwen Evens convinced herself that she could slow things down, postpone the baby’s arrival through the night, at least until a gut-wrenching contraction made her grip the door handle with the same white knuckles that Tom had on the steering wheel.

When they arrived at Mercy, Tom snapped at one of the orderlies dressed in teddy bear scrubs, “Has anyone…?” But he knew by the way they avoided his panicked gaze. In the maternity ward, Gwen was examined and hooked up to IVs and monitors. Dr. Paulino arrived within the hour. Disappointment fleetingly graced his features, replaced quickly by a mask of hope. He squeezed Gwen’s hand and looked at his watch. “It may take time. We’ll go slow.”

But baby Joshua had other ideas. Two hours later, he came into the world and sucked enough air into his lungs for one great howl. The unfathomable silence that followed was quickly broken by another wail, a harrowing moan that filled the entire ward the way that only a grieving mother’s voice could.

The night breeze through the car windows blew Becca’s hair across her shoulders. She nestled into the backseat and wondered if Dave noticed. He leaned forward, telling Christian and Abby the three-legged cat joke that he had told her twice already, but she smiled when his hand slid between her knees.  Abby rolled her eyes at the punchline and reached toward the radio knob as they began to lose the station. 

“Where the hell are we?  I have to pee.”  The smoke Abby blew out her window came right back through Becca’s behind her.  Becca coughed under her breath at the sweet, pungent cloud.  She didn’t smoke that stuff, but she didn’t know Abby well enough to say anything.  Dave’s best friend Christian had only been dating Abby for two weeks.  He was the one who had planned the road trip.

As if on cue, they drove past a large white sign.  Dave waved his bottle at Christian.

“Dude!  Back up.  What’d that say?”  Christian hit the brakes and they all bounced forward.  He revved the car backward and stopped at the sign.  It was old fashioned, made of wood, painted white with black lettering. 

Welcome to Balance, Nevada.  Population 2,653.  A nice place to live.

“Hope I don’t have to take a balance test,” Christian snickered.

“A nice place to live?” Abby snorted.  “A sucky place to drive through.”

Dave smirked and squeezed Becca’s leg. “I don’t know.  Plenty of open space, nice long grass, lots of privacy…” He leaned over and kissed her. 

“What’s that one say?” Becca glared at the back of Abby’s seat in front of her, willing her to shut up.  Christian stopped the car again, next to another wooden sign.  He squinted and read it out loud.

“The land is to be allotted to them as an inheritance based on the number of names.
Numbers 26:53”

“Aww, man,” snorted Dave, “It’s one of those towns.  Hide the children, Jackie Sue, them there e-vil kids’ got al-kee-hol!”  All four of them laughed and Christian gunned the engine and roared up the road.

“Teenage heathens!” Dave gasped, “Batten down th-“  But no one battened down anything before the radio Abby was tuning emitted an ear-splitting screech and the gold clunker driven by Tom Evens plowed directly into her door.

Gwen’s eyes narrowed as ambulance lights reflected on her hospital room window.  Not now.  Not a mere three hours later.  She tore the IV from her arm, but the alarm it set off beckoned a nurse before she even got out of bed.

“No, you don’t.  You need to rest.”  The nurse’s grip was strong and before Gwen could protest, a needle was thrust into her arm and the room began to swim.

It was an itch that brought Becca back to consciousness.  An incessant itch on her right foot.  She needed to scratch it.  She willed her tired eyes to open, but her eyelids felt like lead.  After a few moments, she made them part slightly, looking through her sticky lashes like an insect in a Venus flytrap.  Something was wrong.  She couldn’t move.  Couldn’t move, but she could see the woman standing in the doorway.  She tried to speak, but her lips were concrete.  Exhausted, her eyes rolled back and she gave in to sweet darkness.

Gwen sat in the chair next to the girl.  The girl who had survived the car accident that had killed her husband and two other teenagers.  The girl’s eyes fluttered open again and she pulled confusedly at the restraints on her wrists.  Gwen smoothed the girl’s hair and sighed at the pained moan stifled by the tape on Becca’s mouth.

“It’s Sunday, dear.  There are no doctors.  We don’t work on Sundays here.  It’s a day of rest, of course.” The girl’s eyes widened and Gwen smiled, nodding toward the curtain that split the room.

“Don’t worry, though.  The car accident was last night.  Saturday.  So there was time to balance before Sunday.  I’ll have to try to keep that one alive through the day.  Might not be easy, but I don’t know where we’ll get anyone else, and you know what happens if we’re out of balance.” She got up and drew back the curtain. Becca could barely make out Dave’s mangled body.  Was he missing an arm?  Machines clicked beside him but he couldn’t possibly be alive.  Could he?

“You’ll get used to it here,” Gwen’s wistful voice pierced the fog in Becca’s mind. “I’ll raise you like my own.  He can be my Joshua.  I doubt he’ll tell me any different.  And you, my dear, let’s call you…” but Becca couldn’t focus any longer.  As her eyes closed once more, an image flashed behind her eyelids.

“The land is to be allotted to them as an inheritance based on the number of names.
Numbers 26:53”

Welcome to Balance, Nevada.  Population 2,653.  A nice place to live.


Aoife.Troxel said...

Remind me never to drive trough there! Creepy!

Old Kitty said...

Ok please please explain to me the meaning of the numbers with the names??? 26.53.

I've read this several times and can't make it out - (my brain's too feeble and I so do not do maths!!! LOL).

Great story!!!! I just don't get the numbers and the names!! Well I kind of know Joshua's death means they need another one to balance things out?

I'm fretting now! LOL! take care

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Hehe, you got it, Kitty. The Bible passage is an actual passage from the Book of Numbers (chapter 26 verse 53).
“The land is to be allotted to them as an inheritance based on the number of names.
Numbers 26:53”

So since their land is allotted based on the number of names, they felt that they had to keep the town balanced at 2,653 people, as a religious thing.

Ahh, well. It was my first shot at horror. ;) I wondered if it was too confusing!

Erin Kuhns said...

I got it. I liked it. Definitely creepy. I love a good creepy story. Halloween is my favourite time of year so I thank you for the story!!!

Brad Jaeger said...

I dug this story. Reread it a couple of times already.

LeiffyV said...

Great offering for your first horror story! Sure, there could have been a little more ickyness that you could have threw in there but it works! Now it is time to incorporate it into a normal bit of writing and see what happens ;)

I look forward to reading that, just like I looked forward to reading this!

Sarah said...

Very nice! And VERY unsettling! Horror is probably my favorite genre. Very fun to write! :-D

roxy said...

Holy cow, Lindsey! Very spooky. Horror is fun though, isn't it? Great job.