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Mrs. Nichols? – Flash Fiction Friday

Hello, creatives!

Another flash fiction for you today.

I am working on my suspense, trying to add tension and unease to my scenes. K.M. Allan offered the perfect prompt on her Insta page to practice on. Check out her blog too. She has some great content on there. https://kmallanblog.wordpress.com/

As always, these flash fictions are meant as personal inspiration and are very rarely perfectly edited. But any and all critique is appreciated.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy!

**

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The tree limbs rose above them, spun across the sky like wooden spiderwebs waiting to catch their prey, and cast blackened shadows across the ground.

“You’re sure this is where we are supposed to meet her?”

“Yeah, this was the address. She said she would wait on the bench facing the water.”

“I don’t think I have ever been to this park. I don’t think I have ever seen it before tonight.”

“Me either.”

“Isn’t this road you take to get to work?”

The word, yes, stuck in Isacc’s throat. He refused to let Whitley know the extent of his unease. Instead, he wrapped his hand around Whitley’s sweaty palm and urged her along. It was twilight, and the sun sank quickly this time of year. The woman had said, “meet me before the sun sets. I don’t do well at night.”

Her words ran a chill down his spine for reasons beyond him. She sounded as sweet as his own grandmother over the phone but now Isacc wondered if he was dragging Whitley into an unknown trap.

Ahead, the lamp posts that lined the walkway lazily flickered to life, buzzing their electrical song overhead, but below their noise was the sound of running water in the distance.

The sun sank, and darkness cast its cloak over the park, the street lamps seemingly more illuminated in its presence.

Isacc noticed the bench before Whitley and pointed it out. The figure of a lone woman admonishing a shawl wrapped around her head sat on a wooden bench facing a small creek that cut through the park. She was unmoving, staring straight ahead.

“This place is giving me the creeps,” Whitley whispered, clutching Isacc’s hand tighter.

They moved forward, each step echoing out and announcing their presence. As they walked, the lamps began to flicker one by one, until they all burnt out. All but the one shining above the woman on the bench.

“I think I’m starting to get that bad feeling too, babe.”

They inched toward the bench and stopped several feet away, fear prickling the nape of both their necks. Isacc released Whitley’s hand and took a step closer.

“Mrs. Nichols? Um, it’s me. Isacc. We spoke on the phone?”

No reply.

Isacc glanced back at Whitley who craned her neck in every direction, inspecting her surroundings. He turned back and stepped closer.

“Mrs. Nichols?”

Isacc reached out a hand, hovering it momentarily before placing it on her shoulder. He jerked his hand back from her stiff arm and moved to face her. Only, it was no her, but an it. Sitting on the bench, dressed in a simple smock and jacket was a mannequin.

The park grew quiet, or had it always been a silent tomb? His breath caught as he stared at the lifeless dummy. Whitley was by his side now, sucking in a breath at the sight.

Together, they stepped away, staring back to the dark path they had just come down when a movement caught their eyes. There, by a lone tree, someone watched them. The person moved out from behind the trunk when they realized they had been seen.

Walking with a limp, the person made their way toward the couple standing huddled together under the light of the line lamp.

“Is that you Isaac?” Came a creaking voice, as the person stepped into the surrounding light, highlighting the wrinkled contours of her face.

“Mrs. Nichols?” Isacc asked.

“Yes, dear. And this must be the lovely lady you spoke of.”

“This is, Whitley.”

“H, Hello,” Whitley answered while exchanging a glance with Isacc.

“See you met Alice, my trusty diversion. Never can be too careful. It’s why I don’t like meeting in the dark. Bad things can happen in the dark.”

Whitley and Isacc took a collective gulp.

“Anywho, here you go.” Mrs. Nichols undid the bundle in her hands, revealing the orange face of a tabby kitten. “You take good care of her,” she said, placing the kitten in Whitley’s hands.

Whitley’s shoulders relaxed while looking down at the kitten now purring in her arms. Isacc scratched under the kitten’s chin and gave an embarrassed smile to Whitley for how foolish he felt. They both looked back at Mrs. Nichols to thank her, but she was gone, along with the dummy.

“Let’s get the hell outta this place!” Whitley said.

“I agree.”

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