Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Primal SCREAM: Blogfest

All right, this is for the 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."

- Eric


sarahjayne smythe said...

Excellent entry for the blogfest. Totally scary. And I did like the last line. :)

Charity Bradford said...

OMGosh! Now I'm embarrassed to post mine. This completely freaked me out. Walking into my garage at O'dark in the morning is going to be awful.

Great job!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Wow. Well, you didn't f___ up. You did a nice scary job. Congrats, Roland

Andrew Rosenberg said...

I should have less beer before I read your stuff. WTF??
I have to admit I don't get it but I also admit that I probably should get it. (I've been accused of being excessively literal). My guess is that she needs a little visit from Nurse Ratched.

BTW love the panic code. ;)

dolorah said...

Shit; how am I supposed to get to sleep without nightmares now?

Dude; this was great. Scary, mysterious. I liked the way you let the reader relax a bit in the middle with: 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.

Yeah, that would be me. Standing there about to pee myself and grab the smallest knife there.

That ending seriously gave me the creeps. Move over Mr's King and Koontz! Eric has found his label.

Ok, is that it? Do I get to finish freaking out with a bloody end? Write the full short story version for me; please.


Kierah Jane Reilly said...

Loved this! I loved the knife reference: 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. Haha! That was great!

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Oooh! This gave me chills, I tell ya! Poor little girl, having to swear at such a young age! ;)

Thanks for following my blog!

Luv your personality. ;)

Nighfala said...

this was too scary. i didn't read it. sorry.
i is a coward.

Unknown said...

OMG! That is freaking creepy, and you got my fingernails hurting. lol. Great job!

Rebecca T. said...

What on earth is that thing! Gah! It's a good thing I have all day to get over this. And that we don't have a garage like this. Heart thumping indeed!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I felt the goosebumps on my neck rise up! As Rebecca T. said above: Heart thumping indeed!

Today, I will look at my garage door a whole lot differently!

Katie said...

That's straight up creepy. Very nice. I can't do anything scary, so I'm a little envious. I'm getting flashbacks to "The Grudge" with the little girl part...and they're not good nice, happy flashbacks. lol

Mia Hayson said...

Dude, now I'm really scared. The fact it was a little girl just made it more creepy. Excellent post!

Raquel Byrnes said...

You have freaked me the he** out! Oh. My. Gosh. The repeating phrases was so creepy that I actually felt my stomach tumble. The details...it was the details that did it to me. The ripped nails, the stupid lock that wouldn't engage, the f*%@ing hat rack! The stupid little knife and the no time for 911. But you know the image that really got me?

That flipping spider out of its cave line really gve me the willies. I expected something frantic and twitchy to jump out of that blackened garage.

You are the master...I admit it. Now I need to go have a drink. Sheesh!

Nighfala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nighfala said...

It's about a garage? Phew. We don't have one.

See, I told you I didn't read it. I sort of flipped over it with my eyes, saw cursing, a little girl and a knife, followed up by "You fucked up" and said, "YIKES!"

You scared me with just those few impressions. Now that's pretty darn good.

Hart Johnson said...

*shivers* Why are little kids scarier that big people? They are, though, aren't they--at least if they don't seem quite natural. You definitely kept me at the edge of my seat!

VR Barkowski said...

Truly creepy... well done! And That last line... Let's just say I'll be parking on the driveway from now on.

Eric W. Trant said...

All, thanks for reading and commenting! I think I may've even scored a few new friends with this post. Always a good thing.

Please keep the comments coming. I love hearing from you. Critiques are always welcome.

- Eric

Raquel Byrnes said...

What do you MEAN...a few "nit picky things"?

I'm a perfectionist and will not be able to sleep trying to figure it out...plus, I need to hand this in next week.


Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Dude, I don't do scary. But you sucked me in. And I had to. Now I have this little shiver stuck on my back, trying to work its way up my spine. Ah, there it goes, gone for now. Love the last line.

That Rebel, Olivia Herrell

Eric W. Trant said...

And nobody caught that it should've been a paring knife, not carving knife.


- Eric

Tara said...

What? What! That's it? I need more, I must know...

Everything I've read of yours has been so differnt. And I've loved every piece equally. You have serious talent, my friend.

This was awesome. I held my breath through at least half, and had chills through the rest. Sweet.

Eric W. Trant said...

Thank you, Tara!

It's funny how much my voice has changed over the years. I recently got on a Cormac McCarthy binge, and I'm reading him side-by-side with Sir Doyle, McCammon, King, and DeLint.

Yes, I read multiple books, don't we all!

And my writing has taken on the precise, realistic tone of McCarthy, and I'm seeing how immature King and DeLint sound, and how much McCammon rambles.

So, with that said, the next work will be even more different-different.

I said to my brother: I can hear my voice deepen every time I start a new book.

- Eric

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Great post. I wanted to thank you for commenting on my blog. I had to chuckle. 'Writer Sally'. That's exactly what my husband said the first time he saw it. LOL.

B. Miller said...

Hooo, that was awesome. I really dug the last line too. Nice punch!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today and leaving such a nice comment! I really appreciate it. Hope to see you around there again soon!