Wednesday, 11 March 2015

An exercise

After finding it hard to get into a flow with writing last week, I decided to spend half an hour working on a simple premise with no worries about plot or character, simply atmosphere. Below is the result.

Glass shatters somewhere in the house. The covers are a tangle around me but I’m out within seconds. The streetlights are out too – there must be a power cut. The night outside is starless, but I can see the moon. It bleeds a little light onto the landing through the skylight above. I walk past my study and head downwards.
Each step is slower than the last as I move into the darkness below. The blinds are drawn in the living room, and the door is open, as is the door to the kitchen. I look in and see black shapes, one long across the floor, another high against the wall, with smaller ones dotted about. They are the night images of the daytime sundries. It was I who put them in their places. I know all but one. I hear a gasp. That one is raising a hand. I turn and run, my feet slamming on the staircase, though the sound does not quite drown out the scream, or the sigh.

The lights go out. Glass shatters somewhere in the house. I wait for a moment, hoping that the lights will come back on. The night outside is starless. The streetlights are out too. It’s too dark to read anymore, so I close the book and go to push myself up out of my chair, when from across the landing I see a shadow leave the bedroom. I freeze in place, my hands on the arms. It’s gone in a moment. I go to the doorway and stare downwards to the foot of the staircase, but what little light the moon gives me is drowned in the deep. I hear a gasp. A piece of the black detaches itself and begins to move towards me, so I back away and slip behind the chair, burying my face in my hands.

Glass shatters somewhere in the house close by. I wake up and slip from the sofa onto the floor. The walls are distant memories in the dark, and all I can see is a sliver of white by the door leading to the stairs – I must have left the blinds closed. The table digs into my knee, but I know that there is a torch there, so I run my hands across the surface until I find it. Someone gasps, so I get to my feet and when I look up again I see a shape in the doorway. I raise my torch but it is gone before I turn it on. I know my way, even in the dark, and scramble over the sofa towards the kitchen. Perhaps I will get a knife.
My breath is stolen but I don’t know why, and I all I can do is sigh.

The lights go out. I fumble and drop the jar, which shatters on the tiles beneath my feet. I reach down without thinking, and my hand closes on glass. It bites into my skin and I let out a gasp. My flesh holds it in place and I cannot see enough to pull it out without risking permanent damage. I turn towards the living room, hoping to get my torch, when a shape lunges towards me. I raise my hands and feel the glass between us, cutting hand and neck, my hand and their neck. I scream, and the other gives a sigh.

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