Hope everyone had a productive week with high page/ word counts.
This one was inspired by a book I read where the story was told in other forms of narrative and included interviews and research papers. Thought I’d try my hand at it. It is a little longer than typical flash fiction but still, a quick read.
Please remember, these flash narratives are not perfectly edited and serve as a means to keep my imagination fresh. But please, any and all critique is welcome. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did while writing it.
Evidence Log, Case 423
Personal File of one Anabelle Lewis
Residing physician, Doctor Mass Ph.D.
Anabelle Lewis and Haley Mass declared missing on March 10th, 1983. This is the first and last interview with Anabelle Lewis, conducted by residing physician Doctor Mass Ph.D. at the Psychiatric Institute of Maryland and captured on a video recorder. Dated March 8th, 1983. After which both women disappeared from a secured and monitored facility.
“Hello, Anabelle. How are you doing today?” (Dr. Mass)
“Not good doc. I think . . . I think he found me again.”
“Can you tell me why you think this?”
The patient appears irritated. Stares at me in disbelief.
“I told them he would. He’s followed me since I was little. He’ll never let me go.”
“I understand. But please, why do you think he has found you this time.”
“It’s like a bad dream, doc. The ones where you jolt out of bed breathless. The rest of the day that nightmare peeks at you from the behind the door at the back of your mind. You feel it with you, itching for your attention, the way you know when you are being watched in a crowded room. I can tell you this . . . that door should never be opened.”
Explanation comes in eager sentences. Patient bites fingernails.
“Do you remember the first time you saw him?”
“I’ll never forget.”
“My parents bought our first home two weeks before my tenth birthday, and one week before school started. We lived in a total of six rent houses before that. So yeah, we moved a lot. You can imagine my excitement when I found out I wouldn’t have to jump schools anymore. It was a beautiful home, inside a great neighborhood.”
Patient recalls the memory fondly.
“The house was still a mess the day before school started. A maze of boxes littered our living room, my clothes were still packed, the rooms were empty, and my parents hadn’t taken me to get school supplies. I couldn’t blame them. Dad was a landscaper and mom was a nurse who worked the night shift. By the time they got home, they were beat.”
Patient smiles at the mention of her parents. The smile fades and a stony expression replaces it.
“I spent an hour after dinner- if you can call a can of spaghetti o’s dinner- digging through the boxes to find the ‘perfect outfit. Then, I decided on a hair style. Mom put up the hallway mirror. It was full length with gold trim. Perfect spot too; she hung it right outside my bathroom. I loved that mirror.”
The patient looks past me. Her eyes glaze. Seemingly seeing something that isn’t there.
“I made two tight braids.”
Patient reaches up, stroking the tips of her unwashed blonde hair.
“Was it cool enough? I hoped so.”
The patient continues to gaze at an unknown figure behind me.
“I bent over to pick up the elastic band to tie around the end of the braid. When I stood.”
Patients eyes widen.
“He was there. Standing in the center of the empty room behind me. He was black and I don’t mean his skin, I mean he was darkness incarnate. His silhouette against the white curtain was the only reason I could make him out. That and his white eyes. I thought it had to be a trick of the mirror. When I turned around, he was gone.”
Patient refocuses on me and leans in.
“Your mind fights against those thoughts that whisper monsters are real. But the truth is they are very real.”
The patient leans back and places her hands in her lap.
“When I turned back he was still there, in the mirror. Closer. Just inside of the doorframe of the empty room.”
Patient kneads her knuckles into the top of her leg.
“His body was like a shadow. His face was an empty hole. I could see the curve of his shoulders where a long black trench coat- that seemed to cover nothing- hung from. I didn’t see legs or shoes or pants. Nothing, except those ghoulish eyes.”
What did he do?
Patient stops kneading her leg and leans forward.
“He watched. That’s all he ever does is watch me.”
“How long did he stay?”
“I was frozen there for a couple minutes until mom came down the hall and he disappeared.”
“Did you tell your parents about him?”
“How long after this first meeting did he appear again”?
“Not long. It was during spring break of that year. I made a friend in our neighborhood. She invited me and a couple of her other friends to a slumber party. My mom kept telling me I needed to make friends. He showed up the morning of the party.”
Patient’s shoulders curl forward, she hunches, as if trying to compress herself into a smaller size.
“He was standing at the foot of my bed when I woke up. I remember it wasn’t light out yet. I had had a bad dream that I wet the bed at the slumber party. I sat up and came face to face with him. He towered over me, watching me. He didn’t leave me alone that day. He hovered in the dark of every corner. He followed me to my friend’s house hiding beneath the shade of every tree. That night when all the other girls were asleep in their sleeping bags, I was awake. He stood over my mat, looking down at me.”
Patient’s eyes rim with tears. She blinks them away. She looks down at her lap.
“I woke up my friend’s parents and asked them to call my mom. I was never invited to another party.”
“Let’s fast forward several years. Did he visit you throughout high school?”
“I saw him more during high school than any other time in my life. He rode in the back seat of my car. He hid in my locker.”
Patient fidgets in irritation.
“He watched me have my first kiss. He was so close, my heart almost shot out of my chest. That kiss will forever be tainted with his hollow face.”
Patient breathes heavily.
“Was there ever a time that he wasn’t there?”
Patient looks down, biting her lip, thinking. Her breathing evens.
“College wasn’t too bad.”
Patient past me again, staring at the corner of my office.
“He made an appearance at least once a week. If he was there more, I was too busy to notice. Not that I ever forgot about him. Are we done?”
“Nearly. Is he here now, Anabelle?”
Patient nods slowly, still staring into corner.
“Do you know what he wants?”
Patient looks back at me.
“To say hello to you doc.”
The video goes black but continues to pick up the noise of indistinct scuffles and a series of whimpering before being turned off.