Posts Tagged ‘Challenge’

Replacement

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Josh wasn’t supposed to replace Jane, he was only supposed to cover her work while she was out of town. Some of the data entry was tedious, but he made a few upgrades to her spreadsheets so he could search and sort faster, and by Tuesday afternoon he had finished tasks that usually took her all week. Unfortunately for her, his boss noticed and started to poke around her computer. He found a bunch of personal pictures, which led to checking her Facebook page, and next thing Josh knew she was getting canned.

Some of the other folks at the office wanted to have a going away party, and it didn’t occur to him that he wouldn’t be invited. It wasn’t really his fault, after all. He showed up at the bar after work to see everyone else having a grand time, including… his girlfriend Petra, sitting in the stool next to Jane.

“Petra, what are you doing here?” Josh asked, just loud enough to be heard above the music.

“What are YOU doing here?” she asked back. Jane turned around and shot him a look that would have wilted flowers, and then frosted them over.

“I came to…” He wasn’t sure. Why had he thought this would be a good idea?

Jane smiled. “As you can see,” she said, slipping an arm around Petra’s waist, “you’ve been replaced. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

* * * * *

Written for Five Minute Fiction Challenge 8/31/10

Curiosity Kills

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Dana sprawled on her bed in her room upstairs, reading the assigned parts of Hamlet for class. She wanted to talk to Stacy about Aiden, but if she got another C in English her parents would ground her again. They’d given her a lecture before they left on vacation about how they were trusting her and she needed to prove herself and—

A noise from downstairs made Dana’s nerves twang. It sounded like someone was in the kitchen. She held her breath and listened. She was about to exhale and laugh at herself for being a scaredy-cat when she heard the noise again.

Slowly, quietly, she got up and closed the door to her bedroom. It locked with a click. She winced. The person downstairs must have heard it, too, because the house fell into an uneasy silence. Then, she heard the creak of the bottom stair.

Dana grabbed her cell phone, purse and keys, opened the window, climbed down to the front yard and ran as fast as she could. She didn’t stop until she reached an open convenience store, where she called the police.

Haunted House for Sale

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

“So, that’s the grand tour,” the realtor said, flashing her pearly whites at Hank. “What do you think?”

“Needs a lot of work,” he said, ticking off items on his fingers. “Every door and window squeaks, not to mention the stairs. I’d have to lubricate all of—”

“That’s minor,” the realtor interjected.

“Hmmph,” Hank said. “Then there’s the insulation. This place is so drafty, I bet doors slam shut on their own a lot, and there are cold spots in some rooms.”

“Nothing a little ductwork won’t fix!”

Hank ran a hand along one of the walls. “You may have noticed stains on the wallpaper and carpeting, even the ceiling. Some of it looks like water, which is bad enough because that means mold, but some is… reddish brown.”

The realtor coughed. “Let’s not be brash. We’d be happy to negotiate a credit for repairs—”

“But you’re already asking almost nothing on account of the rumors.”

“Yes, but the rumors are—”

“Probably true. Regardless, you’d need the patience of a saint to live in this death trap. I’ll pass.”

Bad Habit

Monday, April 12th, 2010

We’d thought the church would be safe from the legions of undead. We were wrong. Alone, they were weak and easily dispatched, but together they formed a battering ram of flesh that turned the tall oak doors into firewood. Even the stained glass windows eventually buckled inward under the press of bodies, turning the floor into a patternless kaleidoscope.

Bruce and I huddled together in the sacristy, praying for a miracle, but we were short on hope since the Rapture. Obviously, neither of us had earned one-way tickets to the spirit in the sky, but we’d been making the best of it until the dead rose.

“Cigarette?” Bruce asked, offering me his pack.

I took it with a smile. “Smoking kills, you know.”

He laughed humorlessly and lit up, looking around as he took a deep drag. “Never thought I’d be smoking in a church.”

“Never thought I’d die in a church.”

Bruce nodded. We smoked our cigarettes in silence. I flicked the glowing butt of mine into a basin of holy water, where it hissed out. Then they were on us.

Following the Leader

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Confused? This is for the Inter-blog Choose Your Own Adventure! The story begins here. The previous branch of the story is here. Enjoy!

1) Listen to Bach to get directions.

* * * * *

The man quickly retrieved the Bach album and, hands trembling, set it to play backwards. It started with a scratching and cacophony of instruments that made Michael’s ears hurt, but soon the weird burbly noise receded into the background and was replaced by a soft male voice.

“To combat the alien menace: Begin at the corner of Madison Lane and head south. Turn right on Lake Reynard Drive. Turn left on Kingsbridge Street. Look for the building made of red bricks with the sign that reads ‘AADLTF’ and knock three times, then once, then four times. Good luck.”

The message was repeated twice more and then there was only the backwards music.

“I know those streets,” Latoya said. “Those are in our town!”

The man nodded. “I thought it was incredible myself, but I was so scared that I never dared investigate.”

Michael rehearsed the directions in his head so he would remember them. It made sense that this would be meant for their town; after all, with the number of pickle silos cropping up, they may very well be at the center of the invasion. “We have to do what it says,” he said. “We have to find this place!”

Latoya shook her head. “What if it’s a trap?”

“None of the other recordings have been traps,” Michael replied. “This is our only hope to stop the aliens.” He turned to the man, who was watching them nervously. “Would you like to come with us?”

“Oh my goodness!” The man shook like a leaf in the wind. “I’ve been too afraid to go outside. What if the aliens find us?”

“I’m scared, too,” Michael said. “But we may be the only ones who have these directions. If we don’t do something, who will?”

“You’re right.” The man stopped shivering and stood up straight. “Okay. I’ll go with you.”

“Awesome!” Michael exclaimed. “What’s your name, mister?”

“Toby Brown,” the man said. “Let me get my stuff.”

Toby disappeared into the back of the store, where he’d been hiding before. He came back with a messenger bag bulging with stuff.

“These are the other albums that I think might help us,” Toby explained. “And a player so we can listen to them.”

Latoya tapped her foot impatiently. “Are we ready now?”

Toby shook his head. “It might be a good idea to stop at the grocery store to get more supplies. I hear that tinfoil can stop aliens from reading your mind!”

“No way!” Latoya said. She looked at Michael. “We need to go straight to this place as fast as we can so the aliens don’t catch us.”

Michael thought about it. “Supplies might be good, but you have a point about getting there quickly. I think we should…”

1) Go to the grocery store for supplies.

2) Head right for the mysterious red brick building.