My latest flash fiction effort for NYC Midnight
Location: Foreclosed Home
Object: Rabbit’s foot
Title: Who is afraid….
Original title, submitted to the competition : Three dark and stormy nights
Synopsis: Three brothers face eviction from their home, fully aware that a vengeful spirit waits for them just outside their door.
The wind first struck three nights before the eviction date. The gale bashed and crashed against the house. It was as if the storm had taken physical form and was pounding against the walls, doors and roof, over and over, with vengeful fury.
Fiddler was lying on the couch, despite it being his turn to clean. Fifer, his younger brother, paused half way through a second helping of dessert. Practical, the eldest brother, joined them as the battering reached a crescendo. The brothers exchanged a look of dread.
“It’s like before, isn’t it?” Fiddler asked, blood draining from his face.
“It’s just the wind,” Practical snapped, “nothing more than that. It is time for bed, both of you.”
Fiddler barely slept. Every time he closed his eyes the hammering and wailing from outside would wake him. When sleep did come, his dreams were filled with a different kind of howling and screaming. He was trapped beneath a mountain of timber, but dared not cry for help. A dark figure was hunting him.
He woke shivering, and after that he didn’t sleep again. By morning the storm was gone.
The next night Practical was in a foul mood. Fifer had disappeared for a few hours in the afternoon, whilst Fiddler had been napping. So Practical had been left packing all the boxes before the move. He raged about the house, assigning chores and ordering the other two about, but even Practical fell silent when the wind started slamming against the window.
“Make it stop,” Fiddler begged.
“It is just the wind,” Practical retorted.
“I think there is somebody out there,” Fifer cried from the window.
“No, look. There,” Fifer pointed.
Outside the darkness was all but absolute. Fiddler could see the outline of bushes and trees moving violently from side to side. Newspapers and debris ripped past the house and down the street. There was a dark and immovable shape standing in the middle of the squall. Upon the sight of it, Fiddler felt his body go cold.
“I see it.”
“It moved before; I tell you it moved. It’s him!” Fifer wept.
“It can’t be. He’s dead! It’s not moving. It’s not him. It’s a trick of the light.”
“Where is it?” Practical asked, joining the younger two. Fiddler turned to him, only for a fraction of a second, but when he turned back the shape was gone.
“You are jumping at shadows,” Practical muttered.
The next morning Fiddler awoke to hear Fifer screaming. The rabbit’s hind foot had been physically torn from its body and was sitting on the front step. Blood stained what would otherwise have been brown fur and it was wrapped in briar thorns.
“Br’er rabbit?” Practical whispered.
“I think so,” Fifer sobbed, staring at their friend’s dismembered limb.
Fiddler vomited into the bushes.
The foot sat upon a note that said: “YOU’RE NEXT. I AM WAITING.”
“We need to pack. Only one day until eviction,” Practical muttered, his face unreadable.
At some point during the day Fifer made a run for it. The house had always been a sanctuary, but it couldn’t protect them anymore. Fiddler didn’t blame Fifer for running. However, he didn’t like his chances alone. They should have stayed together.
The remaining two brothers sat in silence, worrying and waiting. That night the wind struck again.
“This is your fault,” Practical spat.
“Huh?“ Fiddler frowned.
“I took you both in when you should have been standing on your own two feet. You brought him here. I was safe. I didn’t provoke anyone, but you brought that monster to my door.”
“That’s bullshit. You’re the one that killed him, it was your idea.”
“I did it to protect you. I did everything for you, and now I have nothing. You eat me out of house and home, you do nothing all day. I have to support us all. I couldn’t afford the repayments.”
“Is that what this is about? Being evicted?”
“Yes! No! I don’t know,” Principal’s eyes were wild and unfocused. ”I still hear him screaming. Every night, I hear him cursing me, until finally he dies. It haunts me. I’d never killed anyone before,” Practical sobbed.
“I know,” Fiddler tried comforting him.
“Why did you have to bring him here? I wouldn’t have had to kill him if you hadn’t brought him to my house!”
“I should give you to him. Yes, he’ll leave me alone then. Let me live. Let me walk away.”
“Practical, wait,” but it was too late. Before Fiddler could stop him, Practical was opening the door. Immediately the wind struck Fiddler like a giant wave of water, pushing him back. Practical was still at the door shouting into the night.
“He’s here. Take him. Just leave me alone. Make it stop!”
Fiddler grabbed Practical pulling him away from the door. The two rolled on top of each other, exchanging blows.
“Close the door!”
“No!” Practical struck Fiddler’s nose with his trotter. Dazed, Fiddler retaliated, but Practical bit hard into his brother neck. Fiddler screamed in pain as the teeth pierced flesh. Fiddler struck Practical in the stomach over and over. He screamed into Practical’s ear as Practical tore the flesh from his brother’s shoulder. Fiddler leaned back striking his brother in the head again and again, until Practical stopped struggling and was still. Exhausted Fiddler collapsed.
“What have I done?” he cried, tears streaming from his eyes. “Practical?” His brother didn’t make a sound. He didn’t move or breathe. Everything was still. There was no sound except for Fiddlers rasping sobs.
It took Fiddler a few moments to notice that the wind had also stopped. Had the door shut? Fiddler stopped crying and turned slowly around. A figure stood in the open doorway. Pink and blistered flesh, scars left from the boiling water that killed him, poked through a thick hide of wet fur.
“Little pig, little pig, let me come in,” it chuckled.