The Grim

Posted: March 12, 2012 in Short Stories

Chuck Wendig has done it again.  This flash fiction challenge has been the hardest one for me yet.  The challenge was to write a story (1000 words or less) and include 10 out of a list of 20 words.  I used a randomizer to choose my words: dinosaur, beast, tornado, research, finger, sparrow, fever, cape, flea, and scream.  This story takes place about a week after the “Roast Beef on Ciabatta” story from a few weeks ago.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lenora screamed as a sparrow crashed into her window.  “Stupid bird,” she muttered.  It had only been four days since all of her memory returned.  Every little sound and shadow convinced her of impending doom.  She turned back to her computer, determined to finish her project before the storm became too threatening.  She figured it was bound to get bad, considering how desperate the sparrow had been to leave the area.  I wonder what would happen if Superman flew into a thunderstorm, her eyes glazed over as she pictured the scene.  His red and blue outfit clashed with the black clouds.  His ridiculous cape wrapped around his head, blinding him.  She giggled.

“Forget it,” Lenora leaned back in her chair.  Dinosaur research can wait.  Who cares about ancient dead things anyway?  This was the first time Lucas and Shane had let her out of their sight since she had attempted to leave the compound and hunt down her attackers.  She hadn’t gotten far before they found her, but Lucas had lost his mind.  He had been so furious.  It’s not like she would have gotten hurt.  She was more than capable of taking care of herself now.  And he couldn’t have been mad about her plans to hurt them.  They were evil.  If anyone deserved a slow, painful death, it was them.  She shook her head, tossing a few strands of honey-brown hair into her eyes.  She had no idea what was wrong with her mentor.

A sudden chill swept over her body, raising goose bumps on her arms and forcing her teeth to chatter.  She wrapped her arms around her torso and dragged herself to the kitchen.  The fever had attacked her randomly ever since the memories had resurfaced.  The doctors thought that maybe her body was trying to make the past seem like a bad fever-dream.  She didn’t care.  All she knew was how to make it better.  She stuck water in the microwave and grabbed her favorite mug and a teabag of strong Irish tea.  While the water heated, she dumped honey and lemon juice in the mug with the teabag.  Once her tea was finally ready, she curled up on the armchair in the dark living room.  Lightning flashes lit the room like a strobe light.

She thought about picking up a book, but the idea of thinking made her head hurt more.  Instead, she just sat and drank her tea.  Absently, she scratched the fleabite behind her ear.  No one bothered to tell her how quickly fleas can attack when you’re running through a field in the summer time.  She had to learn the hard way.

She was still staring out the window a few minutes later when another flash of lightning illuminated an ambitious cloud as it tried to funnel into a tornado.  Tornadoes used to terrify her.  Now she knew that this world contained far worse things than natural disasters.  The electricity was still on, so she grabbed the TV remote and hit the power button.  One finger lazily traced the numbers until she could tell the position of each number in the darkness.  Two seconds after she turned to the weather channel, the TV went dark.  One glance outside showed that all the buildings in New Avalon had been plunged into darkness.  The rain and the dark combined into a nearly impenetrable wall of inky blackness just outside the window.

Lenora simply sat in the pitch black with her tea.  Every flash of lightning that broke through the black startled her, but what frightened her more was what she could see in the split-second that the world turned to day.  A great beast sat just across the lane from her house.  Lenora’s eyes widened.  She gulped.  The next lightning came in a burst – six flashes in quick succession.  The longer light allowed Lenora to take a better look at the creature.  It was huge, easily the size of the panther she’d seen at a zoo when she was little.  Her eyes narrowed.  That shaggy straw-colored fur and the mangled ear could only belong to one wolf.

“I can’t believe Lucas is still watching me!”

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