I’m ready and willing to crack on with the second of my ten minute narrative prompt writing exercises. The second prompt on my ten Narrative Prompts post is a visual prompt:
I pull up behind Mum’s Mercedes on the drive. She’s supposed to have left for the office already. If she sees the dink in my car door she’s going to flip. How was I to know the wind would whip it from my hands and into the bollard? If I promise her that I’ll save my allowance to have it fixed, I think she’ll only moan about it for a week instead of a month.
My brother, Freddie’s, little figure appears through the etched glass of the front door. He cries, pushing his hands against the glass. He’s naked apart from a nappy. He must have been sent home from nursery with the sickness bug that’s doing the rounds there. I bet Mum’s pissed, she had an important client to meet today. I’ll give her two minutes before she asks me to watch him. Well, I can use babysitting as leverage when she finally sees the dented door.
“Maddie! Maddie!” He cries in his thick, baby accent.
“Hey, little dude,” I say, side stepping into the house. His face is blotchy, and snot has dried around his nose. He screams louder, grabbing at my jeans. “Whoa, what’s up?” I lift him into my arms, trying to avoid squishing his over flowing nappy. I can’t calm him.
Mum’s bag sits on the kitchen table and the breakfast dishes are still in the sink. She couldn’t have gone out at all today. Perhaps she is sick too. Freddie thrashes in my arms as I make my way up the stairs.
“Maddie’s car,” he wails. “Freddie go in Maddie’s car.”
“Is Mummy poorly, Freddo? Let me go see, and then you can go in Maddie’s car, okay?”
He buries his snotty face into my shoulder, and his tiny body shakes in my arms. A knot tightens in my tummy, as I step onto the landing. Grandma’s vase has smashed all over the carpet. It was Mum’s favourite vase, the only thing she had of Grandma’s when she passed.
“Mum?” I call, my own voice shaking. “Mum, are you alright?”
A shuffling comes from the master bedroom. I peer through the crack of the door and see Mum standing in front of the mirror. She wears her 1960’s fancy dress costume from last Halloween. The floral flared trousers and fringed brown waistcoat are still as disgusting as I remember them.
“Why are you wearing that?” I ask, pushing open the door. She freezes, spinning around in a clumsy pirouette. “Why are you not at work? And what’s up with Freddo?”
Mum stares at me, cocking her head to the side. Freddie has curled himself into a tight ball in my arms, barely breathing, moving. Mum steps forward, her leg shaking underneath her.
“Jeez! Say something,” I say, half laughing.
A bird lands on the window sill, and we all start except Mum. She turns her head slowly, eyeing the bird as if she has never seen one before.
“Mum, stop being weird.”
She turns back to me, her head still cocking from side to side, taking in every inch of me. “Mum…” she says. Her voice is flat, as if she is learning English for the first time.
The bed is unmade, and the contents of her wardrobe are scattered across the floor. Mum is almost obsessive compulsive when it comes to tidiness, yet she stands amongst the mess without a care. Mary-Kate the housekeeper should have been here by now to start work. There is something off about this whole situation.
“You’re creeping me out. I’m going to ring Auntie Beth, and get her to come over. You’ve gone bat shit crazy. Have you been drinking?” I use the word shit to see what happens. I can’t even say damn without Mum getting on my case.
She doesn’t mention it. “Auntie Beth?”
“Yeah, you know, your sister.”
The doorbell rings, and relief washes over me. Mary- Kate will know what to do. “That’s probably Mary-Kate. Do you want her to see you dressed like that?”
Mum looks down at her outfit, and back up to my face. Her eyes are expressionless, and her movements slow.
I bend to pick up a dress from beside the bed. “Just put this on,” I say. Freddie squeals in my ear. A hand pokes out from under the bed, and I stagger away, dropping the dress. Mum looks from the hand, and back to me. She doesn’t speak, she doesn’t even look surprised.
I know the hand belongs to Mary-Kate. She always wore a large, moonstone ring, and dark nail polish. I grab Mum’s arm and shake it violently. “What have you done?”
Mum looks down at my hand, and then back to my face. I recoil from her. Her irises are black, as if her pupils have taken over her eyes.
She cocks her head again. “What have you done?” she mimics in that same flat, lifeless voice.
“What are you?”
“What are you?” she echoes.
The doorbell rings again. I clutch Freddie tightly to my chest, and sprint from the room and down the stairs. I swing the door open, and stumble into Elliott’s arms.
“Whoa, Maddie, what’s wrong?” he asks, as I cry into his shoulder.
The upstairs window opens, and Mum’s body lands upright just feet away from us. It’s not Mum, not really. Is she dead? Is she possessed? The creature looks at us for a moment before sprinting down the driveway faster than an Olympic athlete.
Elliott bundles us into his car. “Jesus Christ, it’s true,” he gasps, starting the ignition. “It’s on every T.V channel, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook.”
“What do you mean?” I sob.
And then he hands me his phone.
All excerpts are the works of K.J.Chapman
K.J.Chapman: EVO Nation