By the time TJ had rested the handset back on it’s charging dock, Robert was inside hovering around. She tried to speak but her words kept getting trapped in her throat, stuck behind breathless sobs.
“TJ, what? What’s happened? Have they found her?” He asked for the fifteenth time in his insufferable ‘calming’ voice.. She attempted to answer by shaking her head and completely broke down in the same moment. Tears were streaming. She couldn’t breathe. Her little girl, dead. Gone.
She slid her back down the wall until she laid curled on the granite floor, the tiles cold against her skin. Her legs no longer held the strength to stand, and there was no need to carry on being strong now. She let herself sink into the most engulfing sadness she had ever felt, worse than any feeling she imagined any human even capable of feeling, let alone bearing. What was she supposed to do now? How was she supposed to live?
The face of her little girl just played over and over in her mind. Smiling, laughing, crying, arguing, stropping. Every happy moment. Every momentous breakthrough—her first steps, the first time she counted to ten, her first day coming out of school, smiling and buzzing about all the new friends she had made. And along this carousel of thoughts, mixed in at random with the shining golden horses and flying fairies, were the mounts no kid wanted to ride. The black horses with chipped paint and ugly eyes, a leg or two missing. Every time mummy didn’t have time for playing because she had to send an email, or the times she couldn’t listen to what her little angel had to say because she was stressed and had pointless shit on her mind. The time she made Abi cry because she wouldn’t get her usual Friday-after-school-McDonalds because she hadn’t gone to bed like a good girl the night before.
She looked up at Rob through flooded eyes. Even through saturated eyelashes she could see the hurt all over his face. She wasn’t the only one who had lost her little girl. The man that hunched over her on the tiled floor, cradling her body and stroking her hair, who had spent every day for ten years showing her how much he loved and appreciated her after what now seemed like such a trivial mistake.
“She’s dead, Rob. Our little girl is dead.”
* * * * *
After laying TJ out on the sofa in the lounge, with pillows stuffed under her head and a blanket wrapped round her, Rob headed upstairs to grab a few essentials before going to the station. Hoodies, rain jackets, the umbrella. He wasn’t sure what else they’d need. For some reason his mind kept snapping to the typical hospital overnight bag, but this wasn’t a hospital, and he saw no reason they’d be there any more than the time it took to confirm that it was in fact their little girl’s body that laid dead on the table. Still, the amount of times he shoved ‘toothbrush’ and ‘fresh underwear’ out of his mind was alarming. He could hardly focus on any singular thought for more than a moment.
Is that really it then? Eight years of life. Of memories and pride and optimism for the future… snuffed out in a moment. Swiftly taken by the hand of… what, God? Or some sicko still out there, probably high off whatever mad buzz he got from snatching kids out their beds and killing them. Wave after wave of blood-boiling, gut-wrenching, heart-dropping thoughts smashed into him all at once. The fear and powerlessness she must’ve felt, her little cries when she realised she’d been taken. The pain they’d probably put her in. What had they done to her? Beat her, cut her? Raped her. Did she know where she was? Was she drugged and dazed or kicking and screaming without being able to escape? Did fear paralyse her or did she fight until her last breath? Was it quick, or slow and painful? Torture or sport?
He slammed the wardrobe door closed and watched his reflection as the mirrored door rattled on its hinge. He hated the man he saw staring back at him. Weak, pathetic, useless. The kind of man that let’s his kid get taken from his own house and murdered. The kind of man that failed to protect his family. The kind of man that deserves to be in her place, instead of standing in front of a mirror with a dazed look like a deer in fucking headlights.
Without thought or hesitation he launched his fist toward the reflection of his face, smashing the glass and his knuckles to pieces all at once. He roared in pain, screamed out the most violent and broken emotions any man could face, pounding his fists again and again and again into the doors as mirrored glass fell down around him.
His hands and wrists—half the way up to his elbow—dripped thick streams of blood from his onslaught, as he fell to his knees and rested his head up against the ruined cabinet. Nothing left in him, all energy zapped from his body. Out of fight. Out of hope. Out of his mind. He held those doors like they were Abigail, and cried until he was out of tears.
* * * * *
Was that the doorbell? Rob opened his eyes, blurry and stinging from the tears. He peeled himself off from the wardrobe, confused, all of him aching. He must’ve sent himself off into a trance as thoughts whizzed around his mind, or fallen into a half sleep. He felt drunk, like he’d stubbornly kept his eyes closed while resisting the urge to take a piss but didn’t get any rest anyway. That dazed, exhausted feeling, where you might as well have just got out of bed an hour earlier and been done with it.
Ding-dong. There it was again.
“Rob?” TJ called, sounding as dazed and confused as he felt. Maybe she had drifted off too. Grief does crazy things to people, one of which, Rob imagined, was shutting down. Who’d be at the door now?
Something didn’t feel right. An ominous mood fell over the house. A heaviness. Dread. That same dread he’d felt in the garden. He fought to his feet and rushed down the stairs to the entrance hall, leaving a trail of blood as he went. By this point TJ had got up too, still wrapped in her blanket with her head peaked round the lounge door, fear oozing off her. Could she feel the dread too?
They stood silent, neither of them daring a breath, necks stretched and heads craned to one side. Listening for… anything. Anything to put them at ease. Any sound to indicate who it was.
In a sudden wave of confidence Rob lunged at the door and ripped it open with every small ounce of strength left in him. TJ leapt to his side to be with him.
There, in the doorway, they stood. Both white. A deathly, pallid white. Stunned. Silent. Staring.
“Hello Mummy, Hello Daddy. Can I come inside to play now?”
End Of Part 4
Still enjoying it? I struggled getting this one out, not going to lie. I’m entirely unhappy with TJ’s whole part… I’m gonna work on it as the next days and weeks go on. I have a few flash fictions written in advance and ready to post up once this story is over and done with. I still haven’t missed a day of writing, while I’ve missed a couple of ‘posting.’ What I wanted to avoid was interrupting this story with random flash fictions… and it took me a while to tackle this part.
Going in this afternoon was tough. I had no idea what I was going to write. I wasn’t inspired, I wasn’t energetic, and I just wasn’t excited about it. That completely changed around 500 words in, and then the whole pace picked up and I’m much happier with the second half of the piece in general. But that’s the point of this process. Just get it out, tell the stories. Refining and tweaking comes after, but for now, form a habit of writing on theme. Being minutes away from hitting post, I’m actually pretty proud to get this out. It could’ve been a stumbling block for me I think. It was make or break, and I made it!
If you respect what I’m doing here, want to support the project as it runs through the month, and get a bunch of amazing rewards at the end of it, then you’ll love this!
Whispers From The Dark ‘Supporters Edition’ Ezine
Whispers From The Dark is a 31 day flash fiction event, promising a horror based flash-fiction each day of the month in the build up to Halloween. All Posts will be pulled down on the 10th November, refined, edited, and placed into a full colour PDF Ezine for sale. This is a recurring yearly event.
So you’re interested in supporting this spooktastic project? Here’s the run down!
Your £10.00 payment not only supports this site and the creation of all its works throughout the year, but nets you the following rewards:
-All 31 flash fictions fully refined and edited in one beautiful E’zine upon release, direct to your email inbox!
-A custom artwork cover exclusive for those who purchase the Supporters Edition (offer ends 31st October)
-An exclusive ‘Whispers From the Dark’ Short story tucked inside the E’zine, for Supporters Edition only. (Offer ends 31st October)
-A special mention in the acknowledgements and a link of your choosing to your online presence.
-50% discount on limited edition print run, signed and delivered anywhere around the world.
-As a special thank you, I’ll throw in the Gold Member subscription for the entire month of November, absolutely FREE. (4 extra flash fictions, direct to your inbox)
-Guaranteed safety from the eternal forces of darkness… We have an understanding 😉
Simply make payment below and send an email to email@example.com from the email address you would like to receive the E’zine. Please provide the Name, Link and Bio Text (Max 50 words) in the body of the email to be placed directly at the beginning of the ‘Zine.
Whispers From The Dark ‘Supporters Edition’ E’zine
Estimated Delivery: 15th-30th November
Thank you so much for supporting this project! For now, enjoy all the horror stories in the event so far: Whispers From The Dark