Art by Kath
My imagination gets the better of me WAY too often. All I need is a peculiar incident. A flash of imagery from every day life, or a stolen sentence from someone in the street. Yes I am an eavesdropper, so I warn you, I love to listen to snippets of conversations.
I am the people watcher, observing you for useful character traits. I cannot help it, nor stop what I do. Story ideas can come from everywhere and nowhere. One morning I drove by the bus stop in the holidays. A haunting vision of a red hooded coat which hung from a mailbox, flapping in the breeze. It was like someone was waving at me, as if to say help! I’m trapped. But no one could see this person, only me.
Have I captured your imagination? Yes? No? Maybe? Oh well I will get to the point.
This short story came from that one visual. I have decided to share this random writing prompt with you. It is from the shadows, the dark places in my mind. I read many Stephen King books as a young adult. When I met my husband he had shelves of Stephen King novels, which my sisters warned may not have been a good thing. It all worked out because on the other walls he had framed cartoons from my all-time favourite cartoonist, Gary Larson. A fine balance indeed. (oh how I love his cows.)
Enjoy this short story and I must thank Yolanda for encouraging me to share this piece, I do love this community. Please stop by her blog and say hello. Her recent blog post inspired me to share. http://ygmcadam.wordpress.com
The Red Coat
It was now or never she thought, stepping out from behind the bushes she hurled the rock. She missed, even under the light of a full moon her aim was off. A loud screech from the creature as it turned to inspect where the noise came from. She hid in the scrub and held her breath. She felt safer in the shadows yet her heart pounded in her chest as she watched the large bird pecking at something or someone.
“Come on Freda you can do this” She whispered to herself.
Something bad had happened here, she could smell the decay of rotting flesh. A swarm of blow flies buzzed in a frenzied dance, another sign that something was dead. She hated blow flies and had never seen them in such numbers, especially at night-time.
“One last try.”
Picking up a large branch she moved forward, wild-eyed and waving the heavy log above her small frame.
“Get away!” She screamed. Yellow eyes flashed at her. The crow flapped it’s strong wings and let out an ear-splitting cry, before swooping, it then vanished into the woods. Freda dropped the branch, taking small cautious steps towards the figure slumped near the fence post. How long had this body been here? Her faced crumpled at the thought of what she would see, she hoped it would not be too gruesome. Her torch was small and did not give off much light.
She had seen dead animals on the farm before, but a human body was something different.
“What the? Ha ha ha ha!” The laugh did not sound like her own, it echoed through the trees and disappeared with the wind.
‘It’s just a coat!”
A red padded coat with a fur-trimmed hood, flapped in the breeze. She fell to the ground in relief and giggled. Freda thought about all the times her mother had said her imagination would get her into trouble one day.
“Thank you, but the crow meant no harm, he is my friend.” Said a soft voice.
Freda pushed herself backwards along the ground, her legs floundering in the dust.
“Please don’t leave me here.” A small girl with raven hair and large blue eyes peered back at her. She wore an empty expression on her pale face. Freda swallowed hard, the moon now trapped behind the swift moving clouds, brought an eerie darkness. She wanted to run and keep running. But something held her there. Her curiosity was stronger than her fears and her determination to prove she was not a weakling, even stronger.
“Then the rumours are true! You do exist?” Freda blurted out.
“Oh please, I beg of you, don’t leave me here like the others did. My mother will have dinner ready by now, I expect. I could ask what rumours you are referring to, but it is rude to gossip.”
Freda took solace in the fact the flies had vanished, there was nothing, no smell, only this strange girl tied to a fence post. The one all the boys in the village had told her about. She pinched her wrist, hoping to wake up and wished she had never promised them that she could find the ghost. Well she had found it and now she would find out the truth.
“I want to go home.” The girl started sobbing.
Because you, you’re dead.”
The girl moaned even louder.
“Who would do such a cruel thing?” Freda interrupted.
“Oh my best friends Jenni and Louise Parker, it was just a stupid game.” Said the ghost, wiping her face like a real live girl. “I don’t feel dead.”
“Thats absurd!” Said Freda feeling a tingle of fear wash through her belly.
“Because Louise Parker is my mother.”