Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Flash . . .

Last Wednesday at Drummonds in Worcester, 42 staged '42 Flashes', an evening of Flash Fiction - stories of 300 words or fewer . . . I performed two stories - it's a nice challenge, trying to tell a gothic horror story in such a restricted form. I promised that I would put my two stories up on my blog, so here is the first . . .

The Darkness Upstairs

And now that the night has fallen, the darkness crawls down the stairs from the places where it sleeps the day out. It waits up there in the daytime. It's safe to go up then, but every time you do, you know that it's watching you from the corners of the empty bedroom, the room you try not to enter. It's there in the heavy wardrobe and the unopened cupboards, where it waits among mothball-scented clothes that are no longer worn. All those velvet dresses! Those silk stockings! It waits in the top drawer of the dressing table, where smeared tissues still carry the crimson imprint of lips that no longer need adornment. Lips that have gone forever. The loving darkness waits inside the mildewed shoes that are still lined-up underneath the bed. It waits behind the dusty perfume bottles on the shelf. It is waiting for nightfall. It remembers the person who ought to be there. It remembers the person who should be wearing those clothes, those shoes, those perfumes. It remembers me.
And at night, it stirs itself from the places where it waits; at twilight it unfurls, and crawls downstairs like a slow black liquid mist, filling up the places where the electric light cannot reach or dispel it. You cannot stay in the house any longer than that. You have to go out. You spend hours walking around the streets of the city, or waiting in a cold cafe until daybreak, because you know the darkness that loves me has come downstairs, just as it does every single night. And every single night, the darkness and I take back our home from you, and once again we make it our own private, secret domain, where you will never be welcome.


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