This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.
For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.
The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, incorporating two given pictures into the tale. This week I bring you …
The air within the house was heavy, clinging to the walls and ceiling. Nobody had been around in the weeks since the devastation, the windows shut tight, keeping in the musty scent of neglect. Through the grimy windows I could see the blue sky, seeming to mock the efforts of the salvage teams as we prodded and poked our way through what remained. Such a picture would have been far from possible when the bombs had been dropped, the flames and smoke spreading through the town.
This house was the same as all the others, signs of immediate abandonment everywhere. Once the sirens had sounded there wasn’t much time for an orderly exit. This family had just been finishing their evening meal, the dirty plates and glasses still scattered over the kitchen table. Half eaten food now had little resemblance to anything edible, instead adding to the pungency that emanated throughout the place. On the worktop the after-dinner coffee had been dropped, the beans scattered all over and toppling onto the floor.
With nothing worth recovering in here, I made my way gradually through the rest of the house. The lack of noise made it an uncomfortable task. In any house there was often the expected creaks and groans of the structure, the humming of electrics, the clattering of human activity. All of that was absent here though.
In the main bedroom, empty suitcases lay open on the bed, a pile of clothes left in the middle of the floor where they’d been dropped halfway to being packed. It still baffled me that some people had been so willing to sacrifice their lives for such trivialities. I shuddered as I remembered the elderly couple, caught up in the flames while trying to load their car with family trinkets. Their burned remains still haunted me some nights, clinging to each other as they realised they had no escape.
Leaving the bedroom, my attention was distracted by a small noise from behind one of the other doors. My skin crawled as the realisation sunk in, how out of place it was in the silence of the house. I began to doubt myself, my own senses, when the noise came again, a scraping of nails against ceramics. Something was in the bathroom.
I felt myself become dizzy as I contemplated that thought. Something in the bathroom. Nothing was supposed to have survived, and we’d seen first hand what had happened to the natives who had lingered.
There was a shuffling now, coming closer to the door, coming closer to me. I had to leave, to tell someone that something had remained. It had to be dealt with before it could recover.
But somehow I was rooted to the spot, curiosity and fear battling it out within me. I couldn’t move as the door began to open, and whatever it was on the other side edged its fingers around the gap.
Word count: 486