Yet another challenge out of the Absolute Write community, and one that’s a little bit unusual.
You guys know my genre of writing: urban fantasy, jazz reviews, streams of consciousness. Well, the lovely people of AW have given me an assignment: horror or YA.
I’m combining the two, in a sense.
Placed behind a cut, and a disclaimer: graphic imagery, violence. So tread lightly.
Liz’s eyes snapped open at the thought, and she groaned when a glance at her bedside alarm clock told her that it was five in the morning. She wasn’t supposed to be awake this early, and she certainly wasn’t supposed to be up this early on a Saturday.
The thought stayed there. It just wouldn’t quit, and Liz couldn’t point out what it was regarding. In fact, she felt more than a fair bit ridiculous in paying attention to what was little more than a whim as she got out of bed and, without bothering to change out of her pajamas, reached for the baseball bat that was under her bed.
The baseball bat was a gift from her ex-boyfriend, who played on the school team. She played soccer, and when he left for college, he handed over the bat. “Whether or not we’re back together, at least make sure you can use it when you need to,” he said at the time. And Liz waved him off, saying that nothing was going to happen in suburban Tampa.
The morning light filtered through the house as she crept out of her room, her grip tight on the polished metal bat. Something was in the air, an odd scent that was somewhere between sweet and metallic, and the something’s wrong echoed in her head again.
The smell lingered everywhere. It was in the hallways, out of her parents’ bedroom–
“Why is the door open?” she thought aloud when she noticed that the door, normally always kept shut, was ajar.
The tip of the bat edged it open a bit more, and Liz choked back a horrified scream.
It was as though someone spray-painted the entire room in blood. Drips of it trailed from the wall and down to behind the headboard. Pools of it were on the carpet by each of the nightstands, coming from what seemed to be soft red lumps covered in blankets.
Liz stumbled backwards and flinched a little when the small of her back bumped hard against the doorknob. Reflexively, her hand reached around to massage the sore spot, and she started when she felt something sticky.
The doorknob was coated in blood as well.
Liz didn’t need to open the door. She could figure out that her brother was dead too. She didn’t want to know how. Already, the image of the master bedroom was burned into her mind.
Allie, she thought, and panic raced through her veins along with survival-instinct adrenaline. Her little sister. Not that much younger than Liz herself, but Liz was her example. Role model. The friend that lived in the next room, whom Allie could talk to about things she couldn’t talk to Mom about. It was always Liz and Allie. Kiss kiss, love my sis, that’s what they would say to each other every night.
Kiss kiss, love my sis.
Not my sis too, Liz begged inwardly as she crept towards Allie’s room. No. No. Who would do this? Why?
The door to Allie’s room was wide open, but there was no blood. There was a lump of gathered duvet on the bed, but no movement came from it. No noise. No half-breath half-snore. Nothing.
“Allie…” she whispered, and didn’t bother holding back the tears.
How did this happen? Who would do this to us?
Liz threw the bat aside and ran downstairs. Distantly, she heard someone shouting for help, asking for someone to call the cops, anything. She heard nothing else, and all sounds were coming as though she wore a pillow over each ear. She didn’t feel the floor under her bare feet shift to tile, then to concrete, then eventually to gravel as she ran outside. Only the sharp pressure-points on her feet told her to stay on the grass.
It took her some time to understand that she was the one who screamed for help. The cops arrived quickly enough, and soon the entire area was rendered inaccessible. Liz, with her flannel pajama pants and tank top, was outside and being interviewed.
“What were you doing last night?”
“I-I was with friends…” she choked out. “Last night. Like we always do on Fridays…”
“Nothing unusual happened there?” he asked anyway.
“No… It’s just us at Sandra’s on Fridays.”
The officer didn’t ask anything else; it was obvious that she didn’t know what happened. She couldn’t even breathe whenever someone mentioned her sister’s name. She had a blood smear on the back of her tank top, probably when she bumped into something. in the house.
One of the other officers walked up to them. “Found this in the house,” he said, and handed an folded piece of looseleaf paper to Liz. “Someone you know?”
Liz opened the paper. Inside was a note, typed in a strange font, but looked as though the letters were painted on. They were in a dark red, old-fashioned type of ink, and spelled out two simple words.