213 (A Story)

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.

What Lies Beyond


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.

I fell.

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. 😀


Photo Credit
Day 32 – What Lies Beyond by Chris Costes, on Flickr | CC BY 2.0

26 thoughts on “213 (A Story)

    1. Thank you so much! I did use those 2 prompts. I was actually trying to figure out how to include “she didn’t change the world” and “we met at the bottom of a river.” (I’m paraphrasing both of those…so please forgive me if I’ve quoted them wrong :D) It just ended up working better this way. I like the combining challenges though. Lots of fun!

    1. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I do love horror. Originally, I wanted to write horror novels. But my novel length ideas tend towards the fantasy (maybe dark fantasty) while the short stories often go horror. Go figure. 😀

    1. LOL. I think I’ve been reading too many of Piper Bayard’s zombie posts…now I’m starting to see zombies in my stories. And I totally hate zombies too. LOL

    1. Thank you! I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of art being a gateway or coming alive somehow. I have a couple of story ideas with those elements.

  1. Wow! Nice and dark and twisted, and … well just plain creepy 🙂

    If this is what we get for doing 2 challenge at once, you should do that more often. Cool story!

  2. Great story Sonia.
    A really creepy, scary tale. I loved the idea of the occupant being named ‘213’making him even more sinister and anonymous.
    I think you are right to consider a longer story here – lots of unanswered questions like,”Who are the people in the wall paintings?’ ‘How did they get there?’ ‘Can they get out?” ……..

    1. Thanks! It’s definitely filed in the “might grow into a bigger story” file. I remember in the movie The Witches of Eastwick when no one in town can remember Jack Nicholson’s character’s name (until they all remember it at the same time). I always loved that idea. 😀

  3. This is creepy! For some reason it brings visions of a Japanese horror movie that usually scares the bejeebers out of me!

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