Steps

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A lonely young man struggles with a persistent issue that plagues his psyche.

Submitted: March 08, 2018

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Submitted: March 08, 2018

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Tip-Tap. Tip-Tap. Tip-Tap. The constant sound of footsteps behind me. The sound rings in my ears. Growing a little louder with each step I take. I stop. I wait. Yet hear nothing. The sound has dissipated. I start my walk once more. Tip-Tap. Tip-Tap. Tip-Tap. I hear the steps again. Are they mine? No. The echo tells me otherwise. I pause once more. I dare not turn around, for the fear that dwells in me prevents it. I continue my saunter home. Tip-Tap. Tip-Tap. Tip-Tap. The sounds don’t stop. Only grow louder and louder. It feels as if spiders were crawling on my skin. The nature of my pursuer vexes me. I work up the courage. I whip my head around as fast as I can, but see nothing. My heart is ready to burst out of my chest. I back up in fear of what lurks in the night streets. As I walk backwards,  I hear the noise again and I bump into something. It feels like a person. A chilling breath embraces my neck.

I can’t turn. I’m frozen with fear. I dare not let out even the faintest gasp. Only one thought crossed my mind. Could these be the last seconds of my life? I wait for what feels like an eternity. The breath still a constant presence on my body. I can’t turn. I can’t. My fragile mind can’t bear the image of what it might be. I break into the fastest sprint of my life. I don’t look back. The steps behind me start off as they were before. A constant and slow noise. Now, whatever was chasing me, was pursuing with great haste. The full moon was my only guide as I veered off towards my home. I can’t stop. I won’t stop. Why can’t I get away? The breath still attacks my neck with its horrific iciness. Only one ray of hope shines down upon me. Home. Just a few hundred yards away. The breath gets heavier. The footsteps get louder. I’m only inches away now. Without looking back I open my door and shut it behind me, locking it and barricading it as best I can. The thing that aroused my attention the most at that moment, was my dog. He didn’t bark. He whimpered. I sink down against the barricaded door. Whatever was chasing me, must have lost its interest. There was no banging on the door. An unforeseen wave of relief crashes on my delicate psyche. My mother, hearing the commotion, rushes to my side to comfort me. As she questions me, I try to explain my experience as best I can, but now there were no sound of footsteps nor breathing on my neck. My mother, against my better judgement, unbarricaded the door. I sat, still mentally and physically exhausted. She only spoke a few words after briefly looking out the door.

“See? It’s nothing.” It was too real. This wasn’t a dream. I’m not crazy. I wave off my mother’s theories on what I “thought” I had experienced. She heads back to her room. I stand, walking towards my room. My neck gets cold and I hear the faintest noise in my ear. Tip-Tap. Tip-Tap. Tip-Tap.

No. No. No. I thought my home would be my salvation. Though now, I know that is the furthest thing from the truth. My home is breached by my persistent pursuer. I can’t shake it off. A slender and freezing finger caresses my back. I dare not move a muscle. The breathing resumes. Whatever was behind me is leaning closer to my body. It seemed to be toying with me. I have to turn around. If the creature behind me did not kill me, my curiosity would. I prepare myself for the gruesome image I know awaits me. As I start my head’s rotation, something stops me. A dark grotesque hand wraps around my ankle. I barely have time to think before my head crashes against the floor and I am being pulled out towards my front door. I lost focus on what was pulling me, my only thought was how to get away. I flail. I kick. I scream. Nothing can help me now. My fingernails begin to break and my fingers bleed as I attempt to claw my way to freedom. My resilience fails me and I accept my fate. As I begin to lose consciousness, the view of my house slowly disappears as I am being dragged further and further away.

As my eyes slowly start to open again, I realize where I have ended up. The hospital. A young nurse walks in, and says nothing. She simply smiles and walks out. I hear her out in the hallway.

“He’s awake. Let him know that-” The conversation becomes inaudible. My mother comes in. She tells me about my nasty spill onto the hard wooden floor and about my impromptu seizure that followed. I was out for about six hours. I am baffled. I explain to my mother what had happened the night I was dragged from my home. She thought I was insane. To be honest if I were her, I would think the same thing. I was on all kinds of painkillers and drugs, it’s no wonder she didn’t believe me. My mother freezes.

“Stay still.” She says to me. She is watching in disgust of something that lurks over my shoulder. “Don’t move a muscle.” After going through what I did, I was horrified at what had my mother so awestruck. I did as my mother said and froze where I was laying. My heart rate rapidly increases. My mother lunges out over my shoulder. “Ha! Got ya!” She exclaims. In her hand lies a housefly, dead of course. I am filled with shock and pure disbelief. A housefly. My mother almost caused me to have a total mental breakdown, over a housefly.

“Geez , Mom, you scared me half to death.” I said as my heart slowed its excessive beating.

“Why? It was just a fly. Anyways, I’ll be right back. I have to go wash my hands. The nurse told me that it was okay for you to try and get up and walk around. But don’t push yourself.” My mother leaves and I am left alone again. I slowly rise up and get to my weak feet. I start to walk around the room. Tip-Tap. Tip-Tap. Tip-Tap.

“That’s it. That’s all I remembered.” I said. The therapist looked on with an expression of confusion.

“That’s it?” He replied.

“That’s it.” I say with confidence. He’s never heard anything like this before. After my visit to the hospital, I had heard the footsteps again. My therapist tells me that doctors rushed into my room as I had some sort of mental breakdown. They rested me and took me to where I am now. Was it all in my head? All this time? Maybe.

“These types of issues, though I have never heard this one before, can be associated with stress. That can be the cause for these graphic hallucinations.” It felt so real. The breath on my neck. The fingers around my ankle. “I’m sorry, but it appears your time is up. I believe your mother is waiting outside.” I thank him and leave the office. I listen closely. No footsteps. Relief. Pure relief. I open the door and walk into the lonely and twilight covered parking lot. Not even a light was on. Weird. I headed back into the office to ask the doctor if I could use his phone. But he wasn’t there. That’s when I hear it again.

 


© Copyright 2019 Cameron Sperling. All rights reserved.

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