Good afternoon, Arrowheads! This week, I am excited to say that I’m actually posting a new piece for Flash Fiction Friday! I’ve been going through a short-story slump throughout the last few weeks and have been posting old stories. However, that’s changing today! Thanks to a writing prompt from The Sarcastic Muse, I was inspired to write a Part Two to “Ember“. I hope you like it!
Ember: Part Two
How could she have shown up in the wedding picture? Ava pondered while doing her nightly routine of swishing mouthwash. She’d been dead for years when that was taken.
The question had been haunting her for hours after her granddaughter, Kenna, discovered the photograph that afternoon. The little girl she thought had been resorted to ashes had been alive and well in the background, plain as day. Remembering the chilling discovery, Ava spit the mouthwash in the sink, hurrying out of her bathroom and into her bedroom. Snuggling deep under the covers, she blew a kiss to the picture of her late husband, Robert Dean, which sat on her bedside table. He had passed away two years ago this month as a result of his tractor catching fire one early morning. She always missed him dearly around this time of year, especially on nights like this, when the wind howled and made their weathered old house shake.
Ava lied sleepless for hours, every little pop and creak of the house stealing her attention. It’s just the wind, Ava reminded herself, sitting up slightly to adjust her pillow. Upon rising, she heard a whispering sound coming from her bedroom window.
Her tired eyes grew wide, and she froze stiff, not daring to move another muscle until she located the source of the noise. Her heart pounded in her chest like a bass drum, the only sound prevalent for the next few seconds before Ava settled back down.
Ava’s breathing slowed, her eyelids on the verge of meeting, when she heard the blood-curdling words, “Let me in! Let me in, you old hag!”
Scared out of her wits, Ava attempted to convince herself that she was going crazy. Dementia ran in her family, and she was nearing seventy. Nevertheless, she figured she’d better prepare for the worst, so she snatched Robert Dean’s old pistol from the bottom drawer of the nightstand. Rising from the bed, Ava held a firm grip on the gun, easing her way to the window. The curtains acted as a thin veil for the moonlight, the room becoming more illuminated as she inched closer. At last, her hands trembling, she pulled back the curtain to reveal orange eyes glowing back at her.
Broken, jagged fingernails scratched at the window in a furious panic, causing Ava to jump backward. “You let me burn! Sizzle, sizzle!” The whispered tone rose from behind the glass, the voice of a little girl. Ava bumped into the bedframe, her gaze never leaving the window.
“Sizzle, sizzle right to the ground,” the little girl continued, pressing her face into the glass. Ava stared upon the face in horror, the light of the moon revealing the girl with singed hair and ashes dusting her face and clothes. There stood Ember, her chief nightmare.
“But I got him. I got ol’ Robert Dean,” Ember cackled wildly, throwing her head back. Ava’s eyes began to sting at the revelation. Her husband’s death had been no accident, but a plot of cold murder.
“And now!” Ember grinned, pulling out a match. “Now, I’ll get ol’ Ava, too.” Ember opened her mouth and blew, igniting the match with fire breath.
Ava’s knees collapsed beneath her, fear restricting her from stopping the maniac from allowing the flames to engulf the walls, until her fingers found the gun on the floor. Ava curled her aged hands around the handle, index finger pausing at the trigger. Feelings for justice overwhelmed her; she had to do this for Robert Dean. Yet, as she brought herself to her feet, as she approached the window and unlocked the hatch, the most ominous of realizations came to mind. How on earth, she thought, bringing the pistol to Ember’s temple, can I kill someone who’s already dead?
©Allyson Kennedy, 2017. All rights reserved.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment to let me know what you think, or leave some suggestions for future Flash Fiction Friday posts!