Steam-Powered Pencils

03 Sep

Music?  Check.  Pencil and paper?  Check.  Laptop?  Check.

Distractions?  Also check.

The woman, dark-skinned with crooked teeth spoke in a dimly-lit room.  Her skin was coated in orange powder foundation that made her look like a fucked-up pumpkin, and her husband looked like a neanderthal.  For every tooth, there was a gap beside it the same width, and each eye pointed in a different direction.  The pair took turns describing a big black figure that was half-there, threatening them.

I yanked my eyes back to my screen.  The blinking line indicating my current position remained at the start, and below, my word count was zero.

“It felt like… It felt like, really threatening, and I was scared but my husband was sure half of it was in my head.” from the orange woman.

“I thought she was crazy, but then…”

I yanked my eyes away, but they trailed back in time for the attractive actor who played the man to get choked by a dark figure.  His flailing was clumsy, and as the actress-wife woke, she gasped like she was reading lines from a school play.  Again, I pulled my eyes away.

The blank text area mocked me.  I put in my headphones with a grunt and turned my screen away from the television, then blasted my own volume and sought a suitable song.  The metal version of What Does the Fox Say was good enough, and I switched back to my screen to start writing the continuation of a story about a princess and a priest.

Once finished, I briefly looked it over, grunted, and posted it, then removed my headphones and looked toward the television.  It was off.  The room seemed darker than before, and the others in the room were gone.

I pushed the lunch tray with my laptop away, and stood.  All was silent, save the muted sounds from my headphones of “What does the fox say!?” followed by guitar riffs.

Even the birds were gone.

I slowly walked upstairs, and found no lights on.  I couldn’t hear anyone outside, and the dogs were nowhere in sight.  Even Bristol’s snoring was absent.  Finally entering my friend’s room, I found my phone.  It had twenty-seven texts from my mother, and two missed calls, both from her.  I listened to the voicemail, asking if I was awake, and texted back that yes, I was, and sorry I didn’t get her texts.  I lied about going outside and leaving the phone in, then pocketed it and left my friend’s bedroom.

The floor didn’t even creak under my feet.  As I stepped from hardwood floor onto carpet, my toe caught, and I yelped, only to jerk my head up on the bed and send an umbrella cockatoo flying.  Two dogs ran away, a yellow-crested cockatoo laughed, and a green bird with a yellow head started shouting “I want to go!”

Nearby, my friend and her mother snickered.

“You snore.” My friend accused.

“Get out of my corner.” I absently flipped her off, a smile teasing at my face as I resisted it.

“Get out of my corner.” She repeated.

“Can you turn off your music now?” My friend’s mother grumbled. “I couldn’t find the volume.”

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Posted by on September 3, 2014 in Modern Fiction


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