Saturday, October 19, 2013

Flash Fiction for Turning the Pages - "The Choice"

The wonderful folks over at Turning the Pages provided this spooky prompt below and asked for a flash fiction short for their October's Month of Fun event on Facebook. Never one to back down from a challenge, I wrote The Choice.

The Choice by Ashley Fontainne

Sweat erupted out of every pore even though the temperature was below freezing. My entire body shuddered as the terror arose deep from within. My eyes were frozen upon the choices in front of me. I was unable to blink while I stared at the ramshackle wood over each window. Ancient lumber that concealed the last room my eyes might possibly ever see. They each hung in silence. They waited for me to make my choice and enter my chosen torture chamber. The only sound other than my heavy breathing was the creak of the dilapidated wood under my captor's feet from the rickety porch.

My heartbeat thundered in my ears. My blood tore through my veins—I feared for the last time. The enormity of my situation rendered me immobile, the words to form an answer locked inside my parched throat.  Ten unknown options intended to end my life were in front of me. The horrors prepared in the abandoned farmhouse that each closed window quietly guarded were contrived by the man holding the cold, sharp steel against my throat.

“Time’s up. Choose now or I will. I know what’s behind each door and I doubt you would enjoy the one I pick. But then again, who knows? The house may guide you to the room that will be the least painful and over the quickest.”

Escape was not an option anymore. My muscles were spent from the chase when I fled through the dark woods away from my predator. My escape ended when I tripped and fell into a hole—a trap I knew now had already been set for me—and shattered my right arm and left leg. I knew only seconds of life remained.
How could one small choice to head out to the store and snag a pack of smokes go so awry? A three mile journey that I’d made hundreds of times. But, I was angry at my boyfriend when I climbed behind the wheel, and I didn’t notice when the gas light started to flash.  While I cussed him for his insensitive remark about my new haircut inside the dark confines of my car, I had been shocked when the engine sputtered and died. Left with no choice but to walk the remaining distance on the empty highway to the gas station, my anger kept my mind occupied.

That’s why I never heard the truck. Or the footsteps of my captor behind me.

Until it was too late.

I ran, pumping my arms and legs with adrenaline-infused force. The branches of the winter-dead trees stung as they smashed into my face. I thought I had the advantage of knowing these woods from years of traipsing through them on hunting trips with my Dad and that I could outrun my pursuer.

I had been wrong. Dead wrong.

When I fell into the hole and heard the sickening crunch of my bones, I went into shock and let out a blood-curdling scream into the dark night. I felt the bone protruding from the skin on my arm. The frigid air and the intense pain made moving impossible. The warmth of my blood oozed out of my arm and dripped onto my lap while the sounds of footsteps loomed closer above.

After my faceless enemy yanked me out of my earthen prison, he slung me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Pain so intense I fainted. I had no idea where, or how long, he’d been walking. I didn’t recognize the abandoned house.

The house that was about to engulf me and listen silently as my screams of agony echoed inside its walls.
How I wished I had just stayed home.

Resignation numbed me as I stared at the empty house. The boarded up, windowless eyes watched—emotionless, waiting for my choice. I had to know what brought me to this dreadful end.

“Why?” my voice was strong, unwilling to show my fear.

The tip of the blade caressed my cheek with almost loving strokes, the killer’s breath hot in my ear.

“You were tonight’s meal. Lucky you. Once you are consumed, I’ll hunt for more. The house is always hungry—and it’s my job to feed it.” 

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