PRIMAL SCREAM blogfest hosted by Raquel Byrnes at Nite Writer.
Lord, I hope I got that right. I screwed up the credits on my last blogfest... yall lemme know if I'm back on the crackpipe, or in this case, the 25oz bottle of Maredsous 10.
All right then.
Hope you're wearing your diapers. You know what I mean, eh.
Oh, and how bout that LAST LINE! Good one.
The Voice by Eric Trant
Claire Brigham reached around the doorjamb and into the black silence of her four-car garage, slammed her fist into the garage door opener on the inside wall—and nothing happened except she turned a French manicured nail into a bleeding-to-the-quick monstrosity she was limited to feeling rather than seeing in the stale darkness.
"Shit!" she said.
"Shit," was the immediate response from the unlit garage.
Claire froze. She smelled a strong, sulfurous stench.
Claire was absolutely convinced she was alone. Daniel had already left for work. He had a radio on his workbench he left on sometimes, maybe that was it—but radios don't answer back, now do they? There wasn't any music either, just the echo of someone else.
"Hello," Claire whispered, more out of instinct than logic. She didn't mean to say it.
"Hello." The voice was a little girl, or someone who did a damned good impression.
Oh Jesus I'm all alone! Claire had the feeling that were she to turn around she'd see a broad man in dirty overalls (they all wear dirty overalls), reaching for her. Grabbing her. She wished she'd left her hair down—then she wouldn't feel him breathing on her neck.
Claire already had her keys out. She crammed the butt of the Mercedes key, the longest one on the chain, into her palm, and decided getting back into the house was the best thing to do. Nobody was behind her. Couldn't be. She'd just turned off the alarm for God's sake. Every window, every door—except for the garage door, but that was about to change—was wired and monitored by Brinks Security. The panic code was 999, and Claire was about to use it.
Claire Brigham backed up a few steps (nobody there, see?), slow, watching the garage for someone to come rushing out of the black hole like a spider from its cave. She had her key ready, but what good was that, really? A scrape on the cheek at best.
When she took her first step back and didn't hit anyone, the heavy fear of not seeing behind her lifted enough for Claire to grasp the door and slam it so hard the hat rack fell off the wall. She peeled another nail off twisting the deadbolt into place, felt no pain, and worked the doorknob trying to get the doorknob lock into place. The lock was one of those tricky bastards that had to be turned just right to lock.
"Oh God!" Something heavy hit the door, a solid shoulder-thump, and the door strained to stay on its hinges.
"Oh God!" was the response from the other side of the door. The same little girl. Only she sounded big when she hit the door.
The doorknob twisted out of Claire's hand. They were trying the doorknob, leaning into the door when the knob was turned open.
"Stay away oh God I'm calling the police!" Claire screamed.
"Stay away oh God I'm calling the police!"
Claire tripped over the hat rack, the goddamned ugly hat rack, hit on her tailbone, and entangled herself in her briefcase as she pushed herself backwards, away from the door screaming, "Go away please God help me!"
"Go away please God help me!" Another heavy whump on the garage door. It buckled, and the wooden trim around the deadbolt split down to the fleshy wood. Claire half-expected the pine to bleed.
Claire's shoe wrenched off as she dug her heel into the stone tile in the kitchen. She scooted away from the door as fast as she could, quickly deciding she didn't have time for the phone, for the 911 call, for the operator and the explanation and the five minute response time San Diego's finest guaranteed. She had time for the knives in the butcher block, though.
Whump! The doorframe split out of the wall the full length of the door, and the long piece balanced for an instant before toppling, and then it slapped down on the kitchen tile with a sharp crack. The door held. One more lick was all it would take.
On her feet, unbalanced by her missing heel as she rounded the kitchen island, Claire heard another whump! and felt the rush of air as the garage door crashed open. The door slammed into the wall. She was almost to the butcher block.
"He told me to find you," the little girl said.
Claire prayed to herself—"Oh God help me..."—as she threw her keys on the counter and yanked one of the knives from the butcher block. It was the carving knife, the smallest thing in the whole damned knife set, and the most useless and embarrassing knife she could have grabbed.
"He told me to find you and tell you something," the little girl said.
Claire whipped around with the knife, still muttering her prayer—as little and useless a thing as the carving knife—and sliced the knife neatly across the top of her left forearm. Small, but not a dull knife.
From her place in the kitchen, Claire saw a black and empty garage, as silent as it had been when she'd first opened the door. She couldn't see the silver of her Mercedes from here.
Panic had its claws dug too deep into Claire's mind, and she had to unhook them fast or she was in worse trouble than being raped. Claire had a knife. She had a sharp knife with blood on it, and Claire focused on the stinging incision in the top of her forearm until she had some of her wits intact.
The door leading into the garage crept away from the wall under its own weight. On the floor in front laid the splinters of the doorframe and the deadbolt housing, the goddamned ugly hat rack Daniel built, Claire's shoe, and her briefcase. No way someone could have walked over all that without making some noise. They were still in the garage, had to be.
But the doorway could have been a sheet of black velvet it was so empty.
"You fucked up," the little girl said. She stumbled on the cussword a little, just enough for Claire to sense she'd never used it, or was maybe afraid to say it. "That's what he said tell you. You fucked up, Claire."