Welcome to Act 3 of 3 for the Chuck Wendig flash fiction challenge, where scary stories come in thirds, each section prepped and baked by a different writer.
Of the two acts I have already submitted, I feel obliged to confess that I struggled with both. However, I happily look back at my Act 1 beginning (about a fat man in a bathroom) and my Act 2 continuation (about a man with a shiny trinket) as I enjoyed both.
Then, Act 3 – or the conclusion – rolled around (as to be expected) and… ruddy hell… I properly enjoyed this! So much that, for the first time, I have ignored the 1,000 word limit and chucked a full 1,400 words together to conclude the story created by Rosemary Carlson’s Act 1 and Daniel “StarNinja” Gomez’s Act 2.
To reiterate… I had fun.
I’d like to think the last half of this final act doesn’t read like it was at all “rushed”, but I certainly like how it has ended – many thanks to Rosemary Carlson and StarNinja for building it up.
If you as a reader or writer has any feedback, I’d be mucho gracious for your words. Again, I had a bit of fun with this one.
Evan had been here before; a childhood of being hurled towards preposterous endeavours he didn’t want to embark on taught him that there’s no fighting back. Not now, anyway. His parents used the stern words, swift back hand or threats of being grounded. His grandfather would simply have a wise moral to share. But what would a fairy do to put a 17 years old boy in line, he thought.
He had tried to avoid watching the mysterious Ramona, who was conjuring sparks and shapes in the hanging air, only to be too afraid to interject or argue. Her hands sliced side to side, pulling beads of light together into a glowing pattern above their heads. Evan wanted to be in awe at this peculiar display, but he daren’t let anything sway the obvious…
“How can I kill this woman?
Why should I?
He was overwhelmed with questions, and struggling to trust, or even believe, this magical being before his eyes. More importantly, it were the words she spoke that were the hardest to comprehend.
“You reek of uncertainty” Ramona muttered, saying the first words for a good while. She turned her tiny head over her shoulders to see Evan looking at his feet.
“Us fairies smell uncertainty like you smell poop… Or at least that’s what we think” she giggled.
Evan didn’t move. He kept his head down to his feet, trying to block out anything remotely unusual and alien. The ground below, his red converse, a tidy mound of dirt, and a song he heard earlier in the day replaced thoughts of magical creatures, conjured shapes and dark demands.
“Let me quell that smell, human”
Evan looked up. Damn, he thought. He hadn’t thought of fairies or magic for a while. He caught sight of the house too, still sat in the distance.
“I mean… Let me make things certain for you”
She fluttered over, leaving a hexagon of light hanging in the air above. She smiled like a disgruntled mother would to a naughty child.
“You love your grandfather?”
“Yes” Evan replied.
“Then it will hurt you dearly to know he has just died in his sleep”
Evan’s body twitched. His head finally lifted to Ramona, but everything else froze. She placed her tiny hand on his cheek, all whilst Evans imagined his grandfather, alive and kicking, or at least as best he could. Her saw her smile; it was bitter, but not as cold as her words.
“Oh, yes. But this isn’t the end, you see. I can bring your grandfather back!”
“Yes! I can! I promise!” Ramona tried to soothe, turning back to her conjured lights and shapes.
Evan clutched his fists tight. “Tainted words“, he thought “that will make me bend to her will“. He dragged his head to the ground again, trying to return to thoughts of normal things, like shoes, dirt and his grandfather; not murder, death or that house.
Grandfather can’t be dead, he thought, over and over until Evan pictured him in his head; cold, pale… and rotting. He shook away that thought quickly, only to catch sight of the house again.
Ramona huffed as she manipulated her floating lights once again. Her eyes squinted as she sniffed more of Evan’s uncertainty.
“Dark fairies don’t simply appear to a human, just to lie and play tricks… We are much more complicated than that…”
Evan had forgotten much of what Ramona had said in the past hour, but words like “kill” and “complicated” echoed through his head. He felt the world slow as those words opened up further. Kill. Complicated. His breaths became light as thoughts of Ramona bloomed into a knotting weed inside him. His fears of the unexplained tortured his mind, replacing other memories that infested him before; why did father leave? How did mother die? What are dark fairies? Evan tried to think of anything else…
All he could think about was his grandfather.
Ramona looked back, and a twisted grin grew around her tiny gaunt face.
“Do this for me… Kill the woman… And he will live again…”
Evan jumped, his fists still clenched. “Where is she?” he said. His breath raced and his heart pounded.
Ramona flicked her fingers across the air. Light reverberated like waves in the ocean, shooting towards the floating hexagon that hung above Evan. It glowed with a menacing purple hue, rippling and splashing as Ramona effortlessly pushed it closer. Drips of the oily light fell onto Evan, colouring him in a vibrant spectrum of violets and blues.
“Look up” and so he did.
A darkness greeted Evan. The space outside was replaced by a thick, churning void. Despite this, he recognised it, as clear as his mind would let him. He could feel it. He knew he was still outside, standing with the house on the horizon, but this new space around him shattered his perspective. He felt a sudden spasm through his legs, stumbling and losing his balance. He reached out. His stomach churned to the feeling of wall where a wall wasn’t. The darkness began to dilute to the thick oozing purples that lit Ramona’s conjured portal. Ever so slowly, a room appeared around him.
Then a window.
Then a door.
And then a chair.
Evan peered through the dark window to see a hill in the distance.
“I recognised that hill“, he thought. “I’m standing on it! Only… I’m not… But I am!” Evan stumbled again. The fairy’s magic bewildered him. “Such power“, he continued in his head, “could easily end this woman she so desires to kill.
So why am I here?”
Questions, again, filled his mind as he stumbled in the dark room, hitting his open palms against walls, shelves and wardrobes. He could almost hear someone from behind the harsh purple darkness, calling him from behind the rippling static of the portal.
It was then he saw her.
As dark as a colour the thick purple void could conjure, a figure stood in the corner of the room. She stood there, alone, staring straight back at Evan.
He stared back.
He felt a lump in his throat as he watched the figure, still against the wall like a shadow, watch him back. He averted his gaze, feeling a hot piercing burn as it stared into him.
Evan tried to move, but paused. He could still hear a voice in the distance, muffled by the churning waves of the conjured walls, but he couldn’t make the words up in his head. He could only hear his name…
The room grew lighter, revealing the finer details of the furniture around the room. A bed, the books on the shelves, a toy on the floor, but the silhouette stayed dark and still. He looked back, and again it burned him with its harsh gaze
He looked down to the table that fissured into existence against him. A tool, like a hammer, was emerging through the void. He didn’t hesitate. He felt fire tear his soul, and saw the silhouette getting darker.
He grabbed the hammer.
He pushed his feet through the thick purple air, and lunged.
The figure watched. It didn’t budge, only until the hammer struck it’s pitch dark head. Shards of black shattered like a china plate, and a cloud of ink spewed over the purple wall behind.
Evan pummeled again.
Another strike landed. The corner of the two walls was oozing with the thick tar bursting from the shadow’s crumpled head.
…..mummy will always love you………”
He soon fell, collapsing down from the purple void above and back through the portal. The sound of waves faded, replaced by the heavy thuds of a body tumbling down hard wooden stairs. His body became limp, landing on his chest at the bottom. A thick chunk of broken wood followed him down, followed by a heavy purple hammer.
“You’re the first to actually bring something back with you”
Evan remained still, in a slumped mess, sobbing quietly through the sharp gaps of pain that stabbed his heart.
“You’re also the first to kill their own-”
“STOP!” Evan spat, trying to catch a breath between his whimpers and airless groans. He kept his head low, and his limbs motionless, as memories flooded back into his heavy, pulsing head. All unanswered questions disappeared, and all pictures of a dying grandfather vanished. All he could see now was a familiar face that stared back.
“I don’t want to live anymore” Evan sobbed.
“Shame” Ramona replied, looking up the hard wood stairs. “I know someone who does”