Monday, May 8, 2017

Short Stories & Such 33: Running with a Ghost

The following short story was written with the intention of following the prompt to the letter, but as any writer would tell you: not gonna happen. The good thing is, I managed to write a story, tried my best to keep it in his perspective, and in present tense (I hope).

The Writer’s Digest prompt from Brian A. Klems’s “Writer’s Dig” March 21, 2016 post follows here:
You start training to run a marathon. Things are going well and you’ve developed a route that you like to run. One day you notice someone peeking out the window of one of the houses you pass, though you think nothing of it. But then the next day the peeper is back again. And the next day. Finally, you decide to confront the peeper and knock on the door. But when the door opens, you are shocked to find out it’s someone from your past—who you thought was dead.

Here's my attempt:

Running with a Ghost

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Those words rang in my head for the past half hour. How I got talked into running a marathon is beyond me. Dealing with architecture is more like it. Getting the right obtuse angles on designs no one has thought about gets my adrenaline going.
Though, things are going well. The route I mapped out has worked out and my stamina has gone up. Too bad I can’t say the same for the bedroom.
One more mile and its shower time. Probably the best motivator since I got that new showerhead installed.
Oh, boy. There’s that peeper again. Can women be peepers? Yesterday she was there, peeking out the window of the yellow colored house like she was searching for something. I thought nothing of it, but today, she’s gawking directly at me. So, I decide to run on the opposite side of the street and head home. Only, I couldn’t get her big eyes out of my head.
Jogging in place for the light to change, I wipe my brow and crank my neck. Shivers travel down my spine and I turn to the yellow house. The brown blinds were still open and her figure there.
Call me crazy. Call me stupid. But confronting this peeper will set my mind at ease. At least, that’s what my father used to say. It could be nothing after all.
Ignoring the light change, I keep my jog and head toward the peeper’s house. Once I turn into her driveway, which has cracks and weeds growing out of it, she closes the blinds. Hmm, maybe not the sociable type.
Using my shirt to wipe my face, I take a deep breath, and knock on the green door that may help ease the sight from all the yellow.
While I wait, I do a hamstring stretch and glance at the spider webs lined up along the four plant pots on the floor. I knock again. This time, she opens.
“Hi,” I began. The minute I saw her face, mine froze. Actually, all my body froze like I had just seen a ghost. One that should have stayed buried.
She held the door open with both hands, leaning against the frame, fluttering her heavy mascara eyelashes.
Those big blue eyes. She was supposed to be… dead.
“Hi,” she said with a smile too familiar.
She nods and giggles. Then, she leans out, turns her head from left to right.
Her hair is semi-brushed and her dress straps loose on her shoulders. She stops, looks up at me, and grabs onto my shirt, drawing me in with a strength like a dinosaur. Okay. Maybe a bear, but she held me until she pushed me down on the coffee stain brown sofa. The dark earth colors are starting to creep me out.
“Hey!” I manage to say after I clear the dust blowing out of the sofa cushions.
“You miss me?” She flirts with her hair, pulling it to her left side and tilting her head. “Say you miss me.”
“I should finish my run, Sera.” This whole scenario was a rerun of our past. I couldn’t go through that again. Not with the way she left things, and then, dying…
She took hold of my chin and spread her legs to sit on top of my thighs.
“I have to hand it to you, Beni. I get why your jerk friends tried to, but you?” She made a strange clicking sound with her tongue. It coils like a spring and I blink several times. She moves my face to the side and smells my neck.
I took hold of her hand and moved it away from my chin. “Look, let’s not do this, okay?”
“Do what?” She flutters those big eyes again. Then, bounces on top of me.
“I said, stop.” I pull her arm down. “I didn’t know what they were up to.”
“Yes you did.” She slaps me with her free hand.
Boy, did she hit hard. freight train hard. My cheek pulses like a recently gouged eye. Okay. Maybe just a cut.
“You thought yourself better and left me to rot.” She maneuvers her knee to my groin.
My heart beat like if I was high on something as I look down at what she intends to do to my privates. Shaking, I stutter, “Apparently, you didn’t rot.”
She slaps me again. This time, my lip splits open and out came the blood.
She cocks her head sideways, unblinking, and drooling from her mouth.
I look away and quickly wipe the blood.
She licks her lips and pushes her knee slightly into my groin. “Those so called friends threw dirt on me. Did you know? Huh?” She pushes further in. “Did you know?”
“No.” I caught her knee. “Geez, Sera. I didn’t know. I thought you crawled out… until I heard the report.”
“Well,” she said with distaste, “you’re the last one.”

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