I’ve been doing some house cleaning on my blogs, and I came across this story again. It was my very first piece of flash fiction. Funny, but when I wrote it, I never figured how much it would change the direction I was going in. My love of flash fiction (reading and writing) plus the “campfire” are both direct results of it. It remains one of my favorite stories which I have told. So for those of you that may have missed it (or feel like reading it again) here is…
She had been warned, but now it was too late! The text messages were all the proof needed. Alone on the rain-soaked front porch of the house she stood frozen, trapped between fight or flight. Staring at the doorknob and fiddling with the keys, Sara replayed the events of the last half hour over in her mind. It was a nightmare come to life.
It had been a good day at work, and she had felt quite pleased with herself that nobody had figured out her “little secret”. Smiling, she had shut down her computer when her cell phone alerted her to an incoming message. Checking the ID she didn’t recognize the number, so she opened the text. “I know” was all it said. A cold shiver ran down her spine. She snapped the phone shut and quickly looked around. Not a soul in sight. She took a deep breath and flicked off the desk light.
By the time she exited the elevator, she had convinced herself that it had been a wrong number and was nothing to worry about. Shoes clicking on the foyer floor, she walked past the guard at the security desk.
“Night Sara” he said as she came along side the counter, “any big plans tonight?”
“Nope Dave” was her answer “just a nice quiet night. See’ya.”
The guard smiled as she left the building, then picked up his cell phone. She was unlocking her car when the text alert sounded again. The ID was the same number, and this time the message said “I’m waiting”. This can’t be happening she thought. Quickly she got into the car as she scanned the parking lot. No one was visible. Frightened she jammed the car into gear and speed off towards home.
Her breathing had slowed down by the time she had pulled into the driveway. She was resting with her head on the wheel when the phone chirped a third time. The same number, and this time the text said “soon”. No this wasn’t real, this happened to other people not her! Looking at the street she saw nobody around, so she bolted from the car to the front door where she stopped.
Finally Sara thrust the keys into lock, and pushed the door open into the waiting darkness. Her hand found the light switch, but it didn’t work. Slowly she edged down the hallway towards the kitchen. From the darkness of the living room she heard a bump followed by a low curse.
“Hello, is there someone there?” she challenged, as fear twisted in her chest.
Suddenly the lights blazed on revealing her friends and co-workers.
“Surprise! Happy birthday Sara!” they shouted.
Sara screamed and fainted.
A few hours later as the sounds of laughter spilled from the house, no one noticed the uniformed man standing in the backyard shadows. He opened his phone to check the clock. Oh well he thought, I have time and besides, she had been warned.
Photos: (Top left) “Street” by jijis (Flickr), (Bottom right) “Stormy Night” by Christina Welsh (Flickr)