“Duct tape haunts me. It should have been the street where the sun could not seem to reach that stayed with me in my nightmares. Or the fact that I was there alone. But it was the letters…”
Hi there! I’m sick with a raging cold which means no brain for anything that needs brain-ing, including blog posts. So here’s a flash fiction I wrote using random writing prompts to give me the story’s plot! 😀 It’s titled “So Came the Nightmares”.
About a year ago, one of my younger sisters used story prompt cards to make up a writing challenge! We each drew five of the cards, rearranged them, and then wrote a short story that included all those prompts in the order we had chosen.
My cards in the order I had to use them: a prophecy/prediction, a strange noise, a nightmare, a gunshot or other loud noise, an unexpected inheritance.
Here is what those random but workable story prompts turned into. 🙂
Duct tape haunts me. It should have been the street where the sun could not seem to reach that stayed with me in my nightmares. Or the fact that I was there alone. But it was the letters, bold and black against the concrete wall, that always made a tingle shoot up my spine.
The air suddenly became icy, unfriendly. The bicycle I rolled along beside me crunched to a stop, but my grip on the handlebars only tightened instead of relaxing. Someone knew when I came home from school each day and what route.
Seeming to notice everything at once, I saw the murky light posts blink on as the sky grew still darker, and heard my boots disintegrate a dry autumn leaf loud as a gunshot to my ears. I smelled the lingering breaths of a cigar, and tasted the dry, bitter taste of fear in my mouth.
But what I didn’t sense was what scared me the most. I never did touch the letters, but they touched me.
First, the bigness of them pressed down on me, smothering my lungs so that my breathing came in shallow, quick gasps. Then their meaning crawled down my throat. It made my stomach tighten.
The words, they were a prophecy.
So came the nightmares. Not right away, of course, bad dreams usually take their time in coming. They eat away at us, building up, gaining strength until they strike. Hard.
Shifting my backpack, I forced my concrete legs to trudge down the quiet street. I would ignore the words. What wacko would write an important prophecy in duct tape, anyway? This was plain silly! I coasted home with the sound of a crumbling leaf echoing in my ears.
All the lights were turned out so I stealthily climbed to the porch roof and lifted my bedroom window, slipping inside. Fumbling around in the dark, I climbed into bed. But I wasn’t to get any rest that night.
I was sweating. There was no breeze. My braid was limp, and my bangs stuck to my forehead. There was no sound. The coal black letters burned themselves into my eyes. I couldn’t read them, they didn’t make sense. My ears buzzed, only adding to my confusion and dizziness.
Suddenly a hand dropped onto my shoulder, heavy and startling. A voice croaked in my ear, and I knew in a moment that it was reading the duct tape on the wall. “It will not be expected, but it will come nonetheless.”
I moved one boot to spin around and see who had spoken. A gunshot cut through the silence; a scream stuck in my chalky throat.
I choked and my eyes flew open. My fingers were clutching a sweat-drenched blanket, and it took a while to calm my heart rate enough to uncurl them. There had been no real gunshot, I smiled, just a nightmare. But I knew that there had been a prophecy, and it was real.
“It will not be expected, but it will come nonetheless.” I repeated it over and over throughout the day and shivered despite myself. What would happen? What was “it” that would come?
All through math class my head swam with jumbled thoughts– hoping I had remembered to brush my teeth, flashes of an odd prophecy, and complicated computations spinning around. I wondered what was “coming” instead of thinking about the upcoming test. Each time I guessed I realized that they would always be wrong because now I would expect them.
Looking carefully at each face as I pushed through the crowd in the hall I tried to put my finger on anything different. Nothing was unusual.
When it did come it was like in a storybook, and rather cliche now that I think of it. But it was most definitely unexpected.
My cellphone rang during lunch break, and I moved a little away from the noisy group of high school friends to answer it. Mom’s voice, swampy with emotion, relayed the news. She didn’t give any details, not even how it had happened. Just that Dad had died that morning, and I was to receive an inheritance. Something about an envelope that held my future inside.
We got permission for me to leave school early, and I hurried home to the mourning family. As I pedaled past the concrete wall I threw a glance at it and a chill swept over me. The duct tape words were gone. In place of it, was an envelope with my name on it. And a note in my dad’s handwriting. “For my daughter, now that I am gone.” My dad is not dead.
I have yet to figure out the mystery. Until I do, those big letters will forever stay with me and strike determination in every particle of me.
I expect to find Daddy soon. He knew I would understand his duct-tape message once I saw the contents of the envelope. My unexpected inheritance was a mission.
Oookay so that was not my best writing. lol But I was on a timer and pretty limited by the prompts sooo… 😛
And yes, that is the whole thing. You get no more! 😀
Because… I literally have no. idea. what the mystery/mission is except that her dad knew someone was coming for him and so he warned her and wrote a letter that explains everything and left it in the same place as the warning so she’d see it and come to rescue him… I guess??? See, I came up with that super epic first line (*dies*) and then followed the story prompts from there with zero plan until I found the perfect cliff-hanger ending. My apologies. 😉
(aaand… i just realized i never gave the girl a name XD)
Now tell me, what do you think is going on in the story? Will you try a prompt challenge like this? It’s bunches of fun and really tested my writing creativity. You should try it!