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The Return

May 20, 2010

by Danielle La Paglia

Jodie’s heavy lids pressed on her eyes.  Her muscles relaxed as her breathing slowed and her body melted into the comfort of the warm bed.  A gentle fog rolled through her mind, covering over the last thoughts left over from the day, replacing them with a calm haze of nothing.  As the remnants of consciousness slipped from her grasp, she heard it.

Eyes flying open, her stomach clenched, and she held her breath, listening for the sound.  The all too familiar sound.

She waited, telling herself it couldn’t be, praying that it wouldn’t be.  But even above the sound of her heart hammering in her ears, she caught it.  The sound of finger nails scraping along the hardwood floor.  More like claws really.

A scream lodged in her throat.  Yanking the blanket over her head, Jodie curled in on herself and began to hum the childhood lullaby she thought she’d long since forgotten.

The bed rocked as the beast jostled his way out from beneath it.  She held her breath.

It’s just a dream.  It’s just a dream.  It’s just a dream.

His raspy breaths grew louder.  Closer.  A heavy hand gripped the blanket above her head, jerking it from her grasp.  Frozen in fear, she stared at the beast.  Red eyes gleamed down at her.  Spittle glistened at the corner of his mouth.  A growl grew up from his belly and echoed from his twisted lips.

A flash of teeth.  The slash of a claw.  Pain.

***

The neighbors heard the screams, but when the police arrived they found nothing but an empty house and an unmade bed.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Ian permalink
    May 21, 2010 6:51 AM

    Nice and creepy. Great start to my Friday.

  2. May 21, 2010 11:09 AM

    Well done, Danni 🙂

    I once started a story kind of like this. Never finished it though. *sigh* One more in the pile of unfinished business 😛

  3. May 21, 2010 12:28 PM

    Yipes, terrifying. And the last line just ratchets the terror up by a factor of 10.

    So much creepiness in so little space. Great story.

  4. May 21, 2010 12:31 PM

    Childhood terrors made chillingly real. Really drew me in!

  5. May 21, 2010 12:44 PM

    Whoa! How did she know what it was? Had this happened before? Why was she there, then? So many questions! Terrific story.

  6. May 21, 2010 12:44 PM

    I’m sleeping with the light on tonight!

    Excellent flash of horror.

  7. May 21, 2010 2:04 PM

    Teleportation is the best way to travel, but the schisms and visions are a nightmare.

  8. May 21, 2010 2:18 PM

    Very terrifying! Brought back horrible memories of nightmares in my childhood.

  9. May 21, 2010 3:16 PM

    I had all Jen’s questions, but still enjoyed it. Don’t buy a frame for your mattress. You don’t want things under your bed.

  10. May 22, 2010 3:32 AM

    Great story! I really enjoyed how you catapulted Jodie’s thoughts back to her childhood as soon as she heard the claws against the hardwood floor. Excellent build up of tension. Must go and check under my bed…

  11. Pat permalink
    May 22, 2010 5:33 AM

    I was glued to every word. Then the ending scared the crap out of me. I wanted more! Truly awesome, as usual. Your gift for telling a whole story in a few lines is inspiring! I love these pieces. I really think you should do a whole book of flash fiction! 🙂

  12. May 22, 2010 5:58 AM

    Wonderfully scary little piece that feed on our childhood fears!

  13. May 22, 2010 6:04 AM

    Fun little horror story¬
    The first paragraph is beautifully written

  14. May 22, 2010 6:07 AM

    So much terror in such a small package! Well written horror . . . Gotta love it!

  15. May 22, 2010 1:06 PM

    Very nice! I like how you lead the reader into the relaxation of sleep, and yanks us out of it with the character.

    This is good too: “A flash of teeth. The slash of a claw. Pain.” 🙂

  16. May 22, 2010 10:15 PM

    Nice retelling of something every child is afraid of- the monster under the bed. 🙂

  17. May 23, 2010 9:00 AM

    Scary! I remember that under the covers scared feeling as a kid, telling myself, “It’s just a dream”. Unfortunately for Jodie, it wasn’t a dream. Good story.

  18. Michelle permalink
    May 23, 2010 4:48 PM

    Nice. As a kid, I was always sure there was a monster under the bed, LOL!

  19. DianeG permalink
    May 24, 2010 9:04 AM

    well done!

  20. May 26, 2010 7:59 AM

    Oh great, so the monsters under the bed ARE real. Good story with economy of words. Well done.

    Welcome to #fridayflash.
    ~jon

  21. May 30, 2010 7:08 AM

    What a nightmare. Literally. Despite all the creep factor in this piece, it’s the “unmade bed” that sends the most shivers up my spine.

  22. Jeremy Connelly permalink
    June 4, 2010 10:49 AM

    Great story Chica, with a good creepy feel to it and the whole twist at the end with the unmade bed is awesome. Good job.

  23. adampb permalink
    July 14, 2011 2:25 AM

    Oooh… more Championship Creepy Points. Loved the image of the unmade bed. Even more spooky.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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