Friday, January 22, 2010

A Bat for Mr. Roxby -- flash fiction

Through the open window the screams were as loud as if they were on the tv two feet away. He had to imagine that the screams were coming from some fictional place like the tv or the radio or he'd go mad. He pointed the remote at the screen and increased the volume to max…. that's how most tenants dealt with the screams on hot nights.

The heat was suffocating. Closing the window wasn't an option. Helping the person screaming wasn't an option. No one went out onto the streets at night. No one but the evicted.

You could get evicted now for the smallest thing; running your disposal after eight, playing your guitar too cheerfully, tracking mud into the foyer.

There was no rhyme or reason to the evictions. And once you were evicted you had maybe one, maybe two days to live. The things that came out at night fed on the evicted.

Alan had lived in this apartment now for three months. Mr. Roxby had lived here prior. Mr. Roxby had been evicted for leaving mail in his mailbox overnight.

Mr. Roxby had only lasted the day. That night Alan had witnessed him being devoured by the things. Alan had even tried to help by throwing Mr. Roxby a baseball bat so he could whack them back and away, sometimes if someone got an opening in the pack and climbed high enough they could last another night. But the bat Alan threw down to him did little to help Mr. Roxby. He had not been able to swing it more than twice before they had him on the ground. Then no amount of noise could block the screaming. Alan had watched with his stomach churning. He felt he owed it to Mr. Roxby.

The next day Alan had gone down to the street and hosed away the stain.

Through the open window the screams were finally still. Alan muted the tv and put his face into his shaking hands. He heard a swish and looked up at the door just in time to see a slip of paper glide over the threshold and slide to a stop right next to his chair.

His first thought was good thing I retrieved the baseball bat, his second was I wonder how long I'll last.





A link to this week's 75 #fridayflash stories at Mad Utopia

45 comments:

Laurita said...

Awesome! Just enough details and a heck of an ending.

Marisa Birns said...

Uh-uh. They're on to him!

And judging from what happened to Mr. Roxby, Alan doesn't have a chance unless he runs like a bat out of hell! HAHAHA.

Ahem. Quite.

Scary awesome this story.

My neighbor upstairs keeps on DIYing every evening. I wonder...no never mind.

Laura Eno said...

I wonder if his eviction was for hosing down what was left of Mr Roxby. That's careless water useage...
Fun that you left the creatures to the reader's imagination.

estrella05azul said...

Nice one Karen!
After reading the title I was thinking of a vampire story, but this was interestingly scary too!
(I am now imagining creatures with two heads and the faces of my roommates :P oh... now I won't be able to sleep...)

~Tim said...

Note to self: If I ever learn to play guitar it must be blues guitar.

Creepy, scary!

Alan W. Davidson said...

What a strict society...perhaps they would have faired better if they had myself, Tony Sorprano and David Sedaris to help wrestle the creatures into submission...

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh I LIKE that idea Alan...you DO know that you just gave me a short story premise...giggling...but in the story the aliens won't devour you. Oh...they might rough you up a little bit and do the whirl around the head and then body slam thing...but as long as you stay in the magic circle you'll be fine.....[probably]


note: if this confused anybody...read yesterday's post and comments...then you'll be up to speed...[again...probably]

:0)

Sam said...

Great story - I can't decide between zombies or something demonic, or giant bats for the creatures. I'm just glad I don't live in such a strict building, knowing me I'd get evicted for inviting the creatures in for tea! ;)

Karen from Mentor said...

NO SAM NO! Don't invite them IN!

I almost went back in and described the "things" [with of course poison barbed tentacles] but I think it's ickier to let all of your imaginations run wild.....

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks for the creepy, scary Tim.
And thanks for showing me how to make italics you have now created a monster...oh no wait that was from yesterday too.....

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Marisa, I laughed and laughed at bat out of hell...but maybe it was just me.... oh no wait it was you too....we should join a club, or a cult...whichever would be good for you.

And you do know the difference between a friend and a best friend don't you? A friend will help you move...a best friend will help you move a body.

so if you off the upstairs neighbor....

just sayin....

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Laurita and Estrella, thanks so much for stopping in and reading and taking the time to comment guys. Glad you liked it....

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Laura "I wonder if his eviction was for hosing down what was left of Mr Roxby. That's careless water useage..."

[grins bigly]

What an evil little mind you have there ma'am....

[booming voice from the wings]

"all the better to delight you with my dear"...


See, Laura...if you missed it...I was doing both our parts....

hee hee hee

[please don't kill me with the FLAMING SWORD OF DEATH]

Laura Eno said...

I think it's getting hot in here...

Karen from Mentor said...

Well I guess I brought it on myself.....and I do need a haircut...so maybe just a little off the top?

And spare my life? I'll behave. I will.

really. cross my heart....

sotto voice: Marisa can I come hang out in the bat cave for a couple of days?

livloveslit said...

He got evicted because he put the TV up to loud! Actually, Linda, this reminded me of an apartment that I lived in. It was a horrendous place in a horrible neighborhood! This was good and scary and inexplicable, which is what makes it scariest of all!

Anton Gully said...

Interesting concept, though I'd be more inclined to use the bat on the landlord than take my chances outside.

POW is back? I checked my twitter. Hey, it's been a slow day. Why didn't you say anything here? Did you say anything here? I usually pretend to notice.

Eric J. Krause said...

Creepy cool! I, too, wonder how long he'll last. Great story!

Sulci Collective said...

Not even strikes one and two - ouch! Haven't these landlords heard of fair tenancy agreements?

marc nash

Al Bruno III said...

Just awesome.

Just perfect!

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Wonderful creepy tale! That is definitely not the neighborhood to live in! That landlord must have some deal with the things to keep feeding them so much.

Very creative and clever!

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Anne,

Johnny, tell her what's she's won!

.. I think that's what was going on as well, some sort of symbiotic relationship between the "management" and the "things" where the tenants are basically being held in a pantry.

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.....

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Al for the "perfect".... :0)


@ Eric...I'm thinking he'll last a week or so...after all Alan WAS the DH on his little league team in grade school.

Karen from Mentor said...

Well then Olivia I'm really glad you got out of that building.

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Marc and Anton, yes the landlord should have been evicted....but then another would have just [say this next part in your head with an ominous tone] risen up to take his place....

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh and Anton? I'll catch everybody up next week, but yes a streamlined version of Pow is open and has some WONDERFUL content already.

There's a link to Pow Fast Flash Fiction at the top of the page.

:0)

Melissa said...

Oh wow, at first I thought it was about living in a horrible crime-ridden neighborhood. (haha! I should've known better...) What a horrible existence to live in such a strict society--and then die that way. Personally, I wonder why they don't stock up on pills for the inevitable eviction rather than get torn apart... ;)

ganymeder said...

Your stories keep getting better and better! Great job.

G.P. Ching said...

Classic! Wow, you weave a terrificly creepy tale! Nice work.

CJ Hodges MacFarlane said...

This is excellent - just enough of all the elements needed for the perfect, short scare.
Love the idea, too. Great job!

PJ said...

Sounds a little like the place where the girl in Laura's story over at POW came from ;-) Not a place I'd like to visit. Well done!

Karen from Mentor said...

Laura and I often think alike PJ, but I don't think it has anything to do with those nightly seances I have with Mr. Fluffy.

I was so pleased that Laura contributed Mirror, Mirror to the growing collection at Pow Fast Flash.

Thanks for stopping in and also for taking the time to visit Pow.

Karen :0)

Weezel said...

Cool story . . . reminded me of a X-Files episode where Scully & Fox had to investigate killings in a gated community. I remember what THAT monster looked like so It made it easy for me to embellish about your monsters!

Carrie said...

This was a great concept.

katirra said...

Wow, creepy & yet I couldn't stop reading. I think the landlord need someone to gift him Ambien brownies & "accidently" leave him outside. I'm glad I discovered #flashfriday. An enjoyable read!

Karen from Mentor said...

Ah, there's an idea katirra, but the things would just find a new landlord to take his place. They need to keep being fed.....

[insert dramatic music]

Thanks for stopping in.

Karen :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Carrie thanks!

@ Weezel I find that offscene monsters are sometimes WAY scarier. The human imagination is pretty adept at conjuring awful things.

Thanks for stopping in guys!

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Melissa the "should have known better" made me grin...yes, here there be monsters.....

Karen from Mentor said...

@ ganymeder, GP and CJ thank you all so much for the "better & better"... "wow, terrifically creepy tale" and "perfect short scare....."

Glad you enjoyed it and very glad that you took the time to comment...

*skips happily off to make more.....*

Linda said...

Finally got here and ... eek! You are one sick puppy, Karen. :-)

mazzz in Leeds said...

oooh, nice and creepy does it!
too cheerful guitar playing - lol!

Karen from Mentor said...

That was my favorite bit too Mazz. :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Linda

Well, you provided the "through the open window...." I just imagined the rest...laughing...thanks for the starter prompt.

Karen :0)

Kris said...

Oh, wow! That was great! I wonder what he got evicted for. Maybe because he passed the bat out to Roxby!

Karen from Mentor said...

That could be Kris.

I've been noodling with a follow up story. One where Alan finds the "main" thing and knocks it's block off. Maybe once I bestow super powers upon the bat per Melissa's instructions...Yeah...that could work.

Thanks for stopping in.
Karen :0)