Theme: Psychological Thriller
Character: Lost Exorcist
This is the first flash I’ve done in a very, very long time. It was… fun?
The television blares from the next room and lights a corner of the wall in a pink and yellow glare. Megan hears her mother’s voice, calling out Jeopardy! answers. She gets most wrong. She shouts and Alex Trebek corrects her.
“Oh,” mother mumbles. “Well, that’s what I meant.”
“Mom,” Megan sticks her head around the corner. “You ready to eat?”
She doesn’t answer and Megan walks to the window, straightening a fork as she passes the table. She pushes back the heavy white drapery and looks to the sky, willing the snow to come. The street is dark, the only light spreading out from two lone streetlights. She leans close to the wet glass, touching her nose to its cold surface. Her eyes dart up the street. She squints and looks toward the top of the hill.
She mistook him for a dog, the way he bent over, his body folded into two almost equal pieces. His chest nearly touches his thighs and his hands search the ground around him. His fingers run over the damp asphalt, opening and closing, blonde hair flopping around his face. Megan slides closer to the window, letting the curtain fall around her back like a child hiding. She cups her hands against the cold glass and rests her face between them, watching.
The man stands. His hands find his face and he shoves his glasses over his nose, secures them behind his ears. He spins around, arms hovering over his thighs. He looks up the street, turns his head quickly and looks behind him. His bag is large and rests by his feet.
Megan squints and wipes the window with her sweater sleeve. Her mother mumbles in the next room.
Something protrudes from the canvas bag. The man hoists the strap over his shoulder and the metal something reflects in the streetlight. He walks down the hill, slowing in front of every house. He pauses at each, checks his phone, and continues. As he approaches her driveway, Megan scoots from the behind the curtain.
“He’s here.” Her mother’s voice calls from the living room. Megan’s stomach is sick.
“Who is that?” Megan strides into the living room, pulling her hair into a ponytail. She glances at the door and waits for the knock.
“Mom!” Her voice is shrill.
Her mother shakes her head, keeping her eyes steady, locked on the game show.
“I knew he was coming.” She glances at her daughter. “The door’s locked?”
Megan looks to the door. The deadbolt is in place.
The knock comes. Three short, uneven raps. Megan stares at her mother.
“Who is it?”
Her mother stares at her hands.
“Mom.” Megan draws out the word. Her mother leans back in her chair, eyes fixed on the television. She mumbles inaudibly and her fingers play on arm rests, moving over the fabric, tapping at the green microfiber surface.
Goddamn it. Megan takes quick steps to the door. Her heart pounds and she feels it in her stomach and hears it in her ears. She sees the blood, imagines the pancaked, dimpled cells moving in time. Tunnels of plasma, a highway of crisscrossing straws. The cell swoosh forward, hesitate back as her heart rests. Her body calls out in the panic. She lifts her hands to her ears. The sound, a wet rhythmic swish, amplifies.
He can surely hear the television. Her car sits in the driveway, still warm from her trip home from work. He knows that they’re home. Meagan flips on the porch light and pretends to fumble with the lock. With exaggerated casualness, she slings open the door, plastering a confused, questioning smile on her face. She keeps the edge of the door in her left hand and braces her right against the doorframe, blocking the entry with her small body.
“Hi?” The smile fades from her face.
He hoists his black bag over his shoulder. It’s unzipped. Megan strains her eyes to see inside. A thick, hardbound book. Two bottles. Dark fabric, maybe a sweatshirt.
Shoving the book farther into the bag and zipping it up, he looks at her. He smiles and touches his glasses.
“Hi.” The man’s voice isn’t what she expected. Nothing raspy about it. Deep, melodious. “I’m looking for number eight.”
Megan shakes her head. “Two house up.”
He nods and takes a step back from the door. She stares at his bag before dragging her eyes back to his face.
His lips turn up in a small smile but his eyes remain impassive, hard. “OK. Great. Thanks.” The man takes another step backward. He lifts his hand in a half wave and turns from her. She waves back but he’s turned away. Embarrassed, she shuts the door.
She ignores her mother and runs back to the dining room, sticking her head around curtains. The man stands at the neighbor’s door. It opens. He takes a slow step into to the house, glancing back toward her before he disappears through the entrance.