I thought I’d take lesson from Mike at Short Stories. He recently melded two writing challenges into one story (Whispers from the Casket). So, I combined the Haley Whitehall’s April Flash Fiction Challenge with Be Kind Rewrite’s Inspiration Monday VII.
She had been warned, but now it was too late. That’s what they’ll say.
“You never listen, Angie,” my mom always says, drawing out the listen like that’s gonna make it sink in.
I listen just fine. I make up my own mind is all.
I had to clean that room. It hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. Boss was gonna figure it out. I’d get blamed. Never mind it wasn’t my floor. I was the newest housekeeper. No way I was gonna get fired.
“213’s…creepy,” Martina said for the millionth time.
None of us could remember his name no matter how many times we looked it up.
But he didn’t seem creepy when we passed each other in the hall. He looked at me with those dark, slightly tilted eyes and I almost dropped the stack of towels I was carrying. A fleck of blue on his lip. I wanted to kiss it away.
“Artist,” Don snorted. “Better left alone.”
“Someone’s got to clean the room, guys.”
They looked at me but didn’t say anything else.
I waited until 213 left and went in. A strong chemical smell I hadn’t noticed out in the hall hit me first. It was too dark to see. I fumbled along the wall but couldn’t find the switch. The door snicked closed behind me and the light went on. Bright enough to sizzle my eyeballs.
When I could see again, 213 was standing in the middle of the room.
Two more things hit me. First, all the furniture was gone. How the hell did he do that? Second, the room was covered in paint. Oh crap! How am I gonna clean it up?
“What do you think, Angie?” He spread his arms wide.
His voice so low and warm. My skin tingled.
I looked around at what he’d done. Figures painted on every wall. Something wrong with their faces. With their mouths. Their hands looking like they were trying to push their way out of the wall.
I felt him touch my arm and my blood started pounding in my ears. I heard a rumble in his throat that might have been a laugh. He was walking me forward. I didn’t resist. I looked up at the red sun blazing in the painted sky.
“Why is the sky black?”
“It’s the end of the world, baby. Look.”
We stopped and I looked. Into my own face. Me, painted in all my freckled, blue-uniformed glory. “What the hell–”
He pushed me. Just a little shove.
Into the painting.
The smell of paint burned my nose for a second. Then it was gone.
Now there’s only the smell of smoke and blood.
I see figures in the distance, the faces in the paintings. Eyes like holes. Jaws open too wide. And the teeth…
Yeah, I’d been warned but it’s too late to worry about that now.
Now it’s time to run.
There you go folks…two writing challenges for the price of one. 😀