Friday, January 29, 2016

Noises in the Night

I picked up a writing challenge for my Friday Flash this week, because I don't have an existing piece written and wasn't sure where to start. It asked me to find 10 first lines (from an anthology, but I'm using other Friday Flash pieces I found on twitter, and provided links to the originals) and then write a new scene, at least 200 words, using one of those as a starter. Sounds like fun, right?

  1. “Babe, could you please check outside?” (Link)
  2. The days were growing short, and the air turning chill when the visitors came.  (Link)
  3. The door wouldn’t open. (Link)
  4. Night’s candles have burnt out. (Link)
  5. It was the bunny ring on the middle finger of her left hand that caught his attention. (Link)
  6. The large oval mirror in the corner of the dusty study began to glow a brilliant light blue. (Link)
  7. Although I’ve worked as a waiter, off and on, for years, I never wanted to open a restaurant myself... (Link)
  8. The preparation was not ritualized in any manner whatsoever. (Link)
  9. Police are investigating a string of murders across London. (Link)
  10. Who the fuck is playing Joy Division? (Link
So I'm going with... the first one.

"Babe, could you please check outside?"

Mark rolled over, and grunted incoherently. He sat up from their small futon and slid the nearest slippers onto his feet. Bunnies. He grunted again, and then looked back at Jess. "What am I checking for?"

"I heard a noise," she said, "Downstairs. I think it came from the fire escape." Just as she finished, a clank outside confirmed her theory and she squeaked loudly. "Please check and make sure it is just a cat or something?" Eyes wide, sheet pulled up to her neck, Mark couldn't say no. He walked down the spiral stairs from the loft to the main floor and, stumbling across the ottoman cursed softly.
He opened the ottoman and pulled out his old knife, testing the edge quickly on his thumb. "Still sharp," he muttered.

"Mark?" Jess whispered loudly from the top of the stairs. Mark shushed her, and moved to the large window which led out to the fire escape. Even in the dark of night the city was plainly lit, streetlights and skyscrapers polluting the air with a constant glow, making it pretty easy to see outside. Nothing. Just metal. He craned his neck up to see what was above them, but still. Nothing.

"Jess, I don't see anything," he said, talking normally.

"Can you open it and check, please?" She stopped whispering, too. "I've got my phone, so if it isn't a cat we can call the police," she said, her phone illuminating her face.

Rolling his eyes as he turned back to the window, Mark said "Okay. And then we're going back to bed." He unlocked the window and looked out. He checked down below and twisted, looking up. The neighbors upstairs had put planters on their escape - a technical violation, but not one anyone worried about. Still they formed large shadows, so he couldn't see above very well. He watched for a minute, then bent back inside and closed the window.

"There's nothing, sweetheart." Just as he spoke, a resounding clang echoed from the fire escape and a fist pounded on the window.

"Who..." Mark started, but before he could get the words out, the window flung open and a man leapt through. Mark's hand rose instinctively, knife at the ready. "What do you want?"

"Whoa, Mark, fuck. Put that away!" the man yelped.

It took a second for the voice to sink in, knife already moving toward the stranger, but Mark recognized the voice and stopped the blade. "Nate?"  

Jessica's voice rose behind him, "Yes, there's a man who just broke into our house! Please send the police right away!


  1. Ah, I never thought about keeping a good ol' sharp knife at the ready in the ottoman! There's an idea.

    I'm glad my first line offered you an idea for a story!

    Best wishes, Cindy.

    1. It is one of those nifty ottomans that double's as a storage container! They are awesome.

      And your story was great! This is my first friday flash, but it was fun.

  2. I kept thinking she was setting him up!

  3. Nate is one lucky fellow that Mark's reflexes were neither faster nor slower.