Every two weeks writers have the chance to take part in Soliloquies Anthology’s Flash Fiction contest. We publish a new single-word writing prompt as a starting point, and you write a story in 300 words or less. This winning story uses the prompt creaky.
Maybe the house had been trying to warn me for months. But you have to understand that I'm a scientist, and even when things started to get really weird — even on the nights when I couldn't sleep because the creaking and cracking was so bad — I always thought there must be some logical explanation. I wouldn't have left her alone there if I'd thought the place was dangerous, Carol. Believe me.
It's not like I didn't tell her about it. Even before she got there, she called me from her dorm one night when we were working out the details, and I said, "Are you sure you still want to housesit, sweetie? Six weeks is a long time to be stuck out here in the sticks in this old claptrap. It's a little creepy here some nights."
But she laughed and said, "Oh Dad, I'm not into ghost stories anymore. I just need a quiet place to paint. The light's so spectacular there in the morning.”
And Carol, listen, I've read the texts. I know she was scared. Like the constant creaking of the floors, the groaning walls, the sound of those old boards clenching and twisting were all working their way into her brain. Grating her down to the bone. But why didn't she leave when you told her to? Why didn't she leave when I said she didn't have to stay anymore, that she should just take the cat to a kennel and lock the door until I got back? It's not my fault she insisted on finishing that painting.
But please believe me, Carol, I never expected that cursed place to come crashing down. And it shouldn't have been our girl under all that rubble. I know that. The house should've taken me.
Kim Mannix writes articles, poems and short fiction from her cozy, not-haunted house in Sherwood Park, AB. She finds composing bios almost as awkward as self-promotion, and yet she will tell you that you can check out more of her writing at www.makesmesodigress.com.
For more Flash Fiction prompts and winners, visit soliloquies.ca/flash-fiction.