Friday, January 1, 2010

A Nightmare to Remember -- flash fiction


"It starts with doors. Door after door after door. The lights are on inside, but it's dark all around me on the outside. Sometimes there are noises coming out of the doors."

"What kind of noises?"

"I don't know…. spooky noises, the kind that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up."

Dr. Wilson waited while Allison gathered her thoughts and then prompted her gently.

"Just take your time Miss Crisp, try to tell it all as simply as you can and just as you remember it."

"In the newest dream I realized I wasn't alone. But I can't seem to see the person I'm with. All I can see of myself are my feet dangling in the air and I don't have any shoes on. My head feels funny. Like there's something on it weighing it down, making it heavier than usual. I'm holding something heavy in my right hand and I'm sleepy and I cry a little bit because I want to go home."

"Where do you think you are?"

"I don't know. There are a lot of people milling around in the dark nearby, and I call to them to take me home but no one does. We keep going to door after door. Scary things happen when the doors open and I'm supposed to do something but I don't understand what's required of me. So I cry more."

Allison lay on the couch and looked at the ceiling feeling mounting frustration engulfing her mind and spirit. She'd barely slept in months. The dream had started haunting her in October and now it was well after the new year. So little sleep had left her with hollow eyes and a Swiss cheese memory. The dream was spilling over into her waking life. Her coworkers had even started noticing her symptoms.

"I just feel that if I could make sense of the dream it would go away."

"Miss Crisp, this is just a theory mind you, but have you ever considered that the dream is a memory?"

"A memory?"

"Yes, maybe something that happened in your childhood. Something that traumatized you at the time."

"But why would I be carried from door to door..…and all those horrible things in the darkness……" Allison trailed off as flashes of images swirled in her brain…….smells, sights, sounds all clamored for attention……

"M&M's….the smell of m&m's that was what set me off in October. They've always made me feel ill and Julie had a big bowl on her desk the day before Halloween……"

Allison started laughing hysterically and then slid from the sofa to the floor in a slow motion crumple.

Dr. Wilson applied smelling salts and then briskly rubbed Allison's wrists.

He helped her back onto the sofa while sadly shaking his head ……the things that people put their children through just for a little free candy……



Here's a link to this week's 47 #fridayflash stories at Mad Utopia

53 comments:

Laura Eno said...

Hilarious! You need to trot this out again next October...

Marisa Birns said...

Hah!

Swiss cheese memory and M&Ms make me want to get a sandwich and dessert!

Scary in a good way. Amusing in all the best ways!

Karen from Mentor said...

I started thinking about it in October Laura.

I was driving along and there was this dad with a wee tiny baby taking her trick or treating. HE was GOBBLING candy and SHE was crying....poor little thing.

so ...Allison and her tiny tale of woe was born...

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Marisa, I wonder what a swiss cheese sandwich with m&m's on it would taste like?

I prefer mayo, but hey I'm open to food experimentation.

:0)

Michael Solender said...

Ha - I got sucked into that one! Perfect in the telling! I love the name too..Miss Crisp - woot!

Karen from Mentor said...

Ah so glad Michael...I actually marked it as humor in the collector, so there's a tip off...but I hoped people would get caught up in it and be surprised at the outcome.

I love the idea of Halloween for story fodder ..... think about all those monsters milling around in the dark for the poor little ones to process....

and not just little ones....

A six foot Jason came to my door one Halloween Night. I slammed it and then after I regrouped, opened it back up and gave him a snickers...lol

Thanks for stopping in.
I really liked your offering this week.

Chris Chartrand said...

Very clever. Did not see that one coming.

Draco Torre said...

Nice touch of humor. The early Halloween hints--spooky, others in darkness--build nicely to the carrying to each door. So many kids look uncertain about what to do.
-David G Shrock

~Tim said...

Mmmmm... m&ms! Don't be too hard on the dad. He was probably baby-sitting. His own kid. Cause he's good like that.

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh man Tim,
That's a WHOLE other social commentary. And yes I've known people like that.

They're probably being discussed in many a therapist's office even as we speak....

Karen from Mentor said...

Or really freaked out David. Although some really get into the whole thing regardless of age.

For instance....one year I had two three year olds beat my inflatable skeleton into submission with their ninja swords.... :0)

Glad you enjoyed it thanks for stopping in.

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Chris.... That's because I was wearing a blindfold while I wrote it....

lindacassidylewis said...

Excellent, Karen! You got me again. :-)

Sam said...

Oh yes, very good - you eally had me going with this one. Great story. :)

estrella05azul said...

That's funny! I loved you set up, and as I didn't see this in the collector first, I was surprised at the outcome!
Great imagination (even if it was based on that poor baby :P)

Deanna Schrayer said...

Love this Karen! The suspense is very well done, and what a great surprise ending! I'm glad you could make a story of that sight - I would've probably just beat the heck out of the dad and got arrested. :)
Great work!

Karen from Mentor said...

Wow. Lol Deanna. Um...it wasn't like she was crying in a "hey this guy is kidnapping me" kind of way.....she just looked tired and fussy and I extrapolated the rest...

...It sounds like you could be one of the scary things lurking in the dark. Hope that dad never meets you in a dark alley.
But instead of Laura's Flaming Sword of Death...you would be wielding the Well Aimed Spatula of Redemption.....

Thanks for stopping in.

I'm still laughing at Laura saying this morning that she was making your potato soup with eyeballs.... well, laughing and going ewwwwwww....

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Linda, Sam and Estrella,

Glad you liked it guys. Thanks so much for spending part of your New Year's Day reading and commenting on my Flash.

*happy sigh*

Deanna Schrayer said...

HA! Thanks for the spatula Karen - just what I need. :)
I'm a big advocate of destroying child neglect, and if a parent is ignoring their child's cries in favor of pleasing themselves...well, woe be unto them. :)

Karen from Mentor said...

Ah. Now I know where the eyeballs for the soup come from.....

Was going to try for a bunch of cooking puns like yeah, then they'd really be in hot water...things like that really get me steamed...bad parents really fry my patience...but somehow when I got to Flo saying they can just kiss my grits...it just stopped working. [so I decided against it]

:0)

Carrie said...

Whoa, my mind went all over the place with this. Evil things...this could have gone a half-dozen directions, but it was the stealing of candy from a...baby? Ha!

judy said...

Usually you lead us to the ending that is so much more devastating than we expect. This was fun, an ending so much less devastating than I was afraid of! Big fun!

Michelle said...

loved the swiss cheese line.
great suspense - made me giggle.

John Wiswell said...

I'm sorry for the little girl on the side of the road, though the Halloween herd needs thinning! Halloween is for the strong. There are candy aisles for lazy fathers.

Karen from Mentor said...

But then he'd have to BUY the candy John.

Thanks for stopping in.
:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

At three am I often have a Swiss Cheese memory...been there, done that....now if I only knew WHY I was UP at 3:00am Michelle....glad to make you giggle.

Karen from Mentor said...

HA indeed Carrie. Getting slowly to the revelation was fun. It was balancing the build up with keeping the mystery that was the hard part. Oh, and NOT killing anybody this week.

Laura almost drummed me out of #fridayflash for that. But I gave her some eyeballs to play with and she was happy again.

[hmmm...reread that last part and am deciding that it may be time for me to go to bed ]

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Hi Judy,
Glad that A) I gave you something that you enjoyed
and
B)You didn't have to read it through your fingers

[just wait til next week mwahahahaha]

ganymeder said...

Awww, poor little traumatized girl! Nicely told.

Cynthia Schuerr said...

I was so into this dream and bracing myself for the worst and then she slid from the sofa to the floor in a slow motion crumble.

You got me, Karen! :-)

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Haha, you totally got me!
Very funny :-)

At last, the real reason for trick or treating is revealed!

DarenPRakowski said...

how do u do that..................................................

Weezel said...

Well done! Bravo . . . Now can you do anything about pagent moms?

Karen from Mentor said...

lol Weezel. I seem to have opened a WORMY bowl of m&m's.

Fiction can only do so much.

but if we borrow Laura's flaming sword of death....

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

@ ganymeder and Mazz thanks for stopping in guys...free candy and monsters in the dark...the things that nightmares [and tummyaches] are made of.


@Daren....it's the voices in my head. I just listen and write down what they tell me.
:0)

Laura Eno said...

Sorry, my Flaming Sword of Death doesn't like pagent moms...all that makeup gums up the blade and the hairspray explodes and turns them into shish kebobs. Very messy...

Karen from Mentor said...

Hey Cynthia, welcome to #fridayflash.

This story could have been VERY VERY dark. You were right to be worried.

I only managed to kept it nice and light by petting a unicorn while I wrote it.

Thanks for stopping in. Come back anytime.
Karen :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Hmmm Laura....

What if you lurked in the parking lot and "took care of things" outside? Then the mess could just be hosed away....

But wait. Is it possible to "lurk" while holding a FLAMING SWORD OF DEATH?

Laura Eno said...

I don't care about the mess indoors. The SWORD doesn't want the mess. Blood and bone are fine, hairspray is...sticky.

Karen from Mentor said...

OHHHHH...Thanks for bringing me up to speed.

[didn't know the sword was such a diva] oh my G a w d ...did I type that outloud??????

G.P. Ching said...

Perfect! What a fun and entertaining story. So true too. The other one is when we tell our kids not to talk to strangers and then sit them on santa's lap at Christmas. Trauma!

Laurita said...

This is why I love #fridayflash. Little gems like this one. Love how you took us from deeply creepy to howlingly funny.

Karen from Mentor said...

But GP...SANTA'S not a stranger...he's he's ...well he's SANTA....are you dissing Santa? Don't TELL me you're dissing Santa....

[thanks for the "perfect"...come back anytime we have a lot of fun doing #fridayflash]
:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks so much Laurita for "howlingly funny"

[looks pleased with self and skips off to bed]

Chance said...

lol brilliant last line which made us spit out my coffee and great build up to the end


Good stuff

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Great ending! Love the suspense getting there, just couldn't imagine where it was going!

And, thanks to the unicorn for giving you a fun ending!

Now you can write the sequel and describe what her M & M memories were really about;))

Karen from Mentor said...

Like that idea Anne. :0) And the unicorn? He also makes really good coffee.

Karen from Mentor said...

Chance thank you for stopping in. I don't know what delighted me more, the fact that you spit out your coffee, or that you said "the last line made us spit out my coffee" which makes me wonder if (a) you were using a variation on the Royal "we" or (b) you're like Laura Eno's dragon and have more than one head.

[inquiring minds and all that....]

Mark Kerstetter said...

I guess Miss Crisp is a bagel chips kind of girl? If only her parents had known! All that suffering avoided, a shame.

peggy said...

Hmmm, makes me wonder what damage we've done to our boys. Nahh, it was in good fun, just like your story!

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Mark and Peggy. Thanks for stopping in guys.
Yes trick or treating is all good clean fun.

I just wish I still didn't sometimes wake in a cold sweat dreaming about that "dead" guy who sat up in a coffin and grabbed my arm when I was 8 and out with my friends just innocently begging candy...shudder....
[run on sentence anyone?]
:0)

Dana said...

Ha! Loved that you turned it comic at the end, rather than dark. All the tension that was building up flowed out just like it did for the MC. Well done :)

Karen from Mentor said...

lol Dana, so you were on the edge of your seat and then relaxed when the MC started laughing? Good to know that my words have that kind of power over you. :0)
Thanks for stopping in.
see you friday!