Friday, September 24, 2010

741 Continued (Angela's Legacy)

Angela woke up the next morning with a start--a noise from the front of the house had brought her out of her sleepy daze. It happened again, a loud thumping sound as if someone was routinely dropping a large something on the wood floor. She crawled out of bed cautiously, digging her sweater out of the nightstand drawer. The room was still very dark from the overcast sky outside, but at least the rain had subsided for the time being. Angela struggled with her sweater for a moment before giving up; she'd just have to go adventuring in her tank top this morning. She reached for her shoes but decided the heels would make too much noise on the hardwood floors.

Instead she grabbed the lamp and switched it on, and slowly opened the bedroom door and peeked into the hallway. The door creaked a little and she paused, not wanting to alert any possible intruders. Angela managed to squeeze through the slightly open door without pushing it any further; and the lamp dimly lit the hallway around her. She noticed the walls were a deep mahogany color, darker than she remembered them being. It was possible that her uncle could have re-finished the wood stain in the whole house, but that seemed like it would have been a very daunting task.

Angela tip-toed down the hall, holding the lamp low in front of her. She didn't want to block her view and she certainly didn't want to trip. If there was any part of the inside of the house that was in as bad of shape as the outside, she wanted to know about it before she had the opportunity to trip. Angela was clumsy too, not very coordinated when it came to walking or just about anything else. Her mother had taken her to the doctor when she was a teenager, concerned that Angela wouldn't be able to have a normal life. The doctor was convinced there was nothing wrong with Angela, that she was simply prone to tripping and stubbing her toes a lot.

"It can happen to anyone," the doctor had said. "It's really nothing to worry about. Now, if she starts tripping every time she takes a step, then you should be concerned."

They left the office, her mother in a huff and Angela relieved. She was a normal teenager. Like the doctor said.

Angela realized she had paused in her journey down the hall, but also registered that the sounds she had been hearing a little while before had ceased. She stood very still, listening to the wind blow faintly outside, hearing some of the shutters on the windows creak gently. If she stood there long enough who knows what she would hear. She gave another look up and down the hallway, checking behind her. She wasn't sure what she was looking for exactly, but it never hurt to be sure.

Now that she thought about it, she probably should have tucked her phone into her jeans pocket before she left the room in case there was an emergency. She shook her head quickly, as if to expel that thought from her mind. There will be no emergency, she thought to herself. I am the only one in this house and that's that. She took a deep breath and continued down the hall. Only three more paces and she'd be in the living room, where she had found the lamp. She wondered what else she would find today as she explored the house in daylight and hopefully, electricity. She took two more steps. Only one to bring her to face the living room, with the old plaid couch with wool cushions, the crusty coffee table, and the tube television that probably didn't work anymore. She remembered tracing the permanent cup rings on the top of that coffee table when she was little. It was kind of a surprise that her uncle hadn't updated his furniture in so long. But now that she was just around the corner from all of those memories, she couldn't bring herself to face them. What was so horrible about an old outdated couch anyway? After all, she was the only one in the house. Another deep breath and she lifted her right foot to take the final step into the den. In mid-step the loud BANG resounded through the whole house. Windows rattled in their rotting panes, Angela screamed and threw the battery lamp up and behind her, she fell to the floor. Everything went topsy-turvy and she couldn't feel her legs. The batteries popped out of the lamp and landed at the end of the hall. Her eyes felt about the same. Now on the floor, she rolled to her stomach and crawled frantically toward the guest room to find her phone.

With no natural light in the hallway, it was almost pitch black. The old hardwood was starting to splinter in areas that she hadn't noticed before. But she hardly cared. Tears streamed down her pampered cheeks as she worked her way back to the room. She didn't stop to look behind her but crawled as fast as her jelly legs would allow. The thumps continued with increasing frequency until she was in her room and had slammed the door shut behind her.

(887 Words)


  1. I really like how the flashbacks actually add to the growing panic in the scene. I dig Angela as a character as well - I'd have her back :) Also, just curious, is this from the prompt from class? Well done! Now, MORE!!

  2. Actually, NOT from the prompt in class, just an idea I had--old houses have always appealed to me. And I just read a book about an old house, but there weren't any malicious characters in it (and really it was a cheesy dimestore novel anyway--not that they don't hold their own kind of literary importance but that's a rant for another entry). So I wanted my own "old house" story. And I wanted to spice it up. There is only so much in my head; I'm not planning this one out at all! Which is amazing! Because I generally plan TOO much, and then have problems later.

    So what you read is what I know. Which is cool. :D

  3. I LOVE that approach - makes it much more organic and truthful. It's never going to read as something manufactured, you know?