Writing Prompt: What was that?

It’s 3am, the house is dark and all of the shadows in the room have stretched themselves into irregular shapes of something frightening. Even the garment bag hanging on the hook on the back of my bedroom door has morphed into something sinister. I curled up in the middle of the bed with my cat and held my breath. Every sound in the house is amplified and suddenly, I’m careful to make sure that none of my limbs, nor those of my disinterested cat are hanging over the edge.

 These should be the thoughts of a young person, not of a grown woman, but insomnia coupled with being alone in the house on a windy night has brought out the worst of my imagination and I suddenly wish I still had flatmates to either explain away the noise or join me in a cup of cocoa in the living-room.

 Today’s Prompt: What was that?

Put yourself in a big empty house, add a few scary noises, go investigate and see what you find lurking in the corner.

2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: What was that?

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  1. I didn’t want to go and check it out. Seriously, there hadn’t been a noise; she was just making it up.

    Probably something outside, I said.

    No, it’s best if you check, she said.

    There was no noise and the house creaks all over the place. Anyway, all the doors were locked. I’d only just checked. Nobody could have broken in silently, especially in a matter of about two minutes.

    Let’s just go to sleep, I said.

    I can’t go to sleep if I don’t know everything’s alright, she said.

    Me, a grown man, fully aware that nothing was wrong. A total non-believer in any kind of ghouls, ghosts and monsters. But something stabbed away at me and I had to look strong.

    I’m so comfortable now, I said.

    You’ll be back in no time, she said.

    I couldn’t tell her to check for herself. Cautiously, I eased my leg past the security of the duvet cover and let my toe reach down to touch the bedroom floor. As if I was performing a choreographed routine, my other leg made a very similar movement to the first. I finally had both feet placed on the floor and had no excuses. Turning back would just look weird.

    It’s hardly worth it, I said.

    Be careful, she said.

    Oh, thanks. Be careful. That’s going to fill me with confidence. I sat up, considering how best to ‘be careful’. I thought, maybe I could pillow fight any intruders to death. Or how about throw a stuffed toy straight for the baddie’s eyes, in a real David and Goliath situation?

    I don’t need to be careful when I have a loaded pillow, I said.

    Don’t mess about, it could be anything, she said.

    Even when I try to inject some humour it gets deflected. I was on my own here. I moved in forced strides toward the landing, pretending to be confident, but looking more like a poor imitation of John Wayne. From here, the darkness formed spiking shapes and neon flickers in my eyes. My own feet creaking upon the floorboards felt like someone else’s movements.

    I can’t see anything, I said.

    Put the light on, she said.

    The light switch was right across the other side of the landing. Five or six steps away. I didn’t want to bother and the cold air was beginning to push my arms and shoulders as if I had no control over them. Goosebumps formed in prickles of danger all around my body. And I still had to walk over to the light switch.

    There’s nothing here, I said.

    But you’ve not even…

    Before she could say anything else, I tripped over a huge lump of hairy darkness and screamed. My arms and legs lashed out in every direction and I wished the duvet covers were there to protect me.

    Aaaaaaaarrrgh, I said.

    Aaaaaaaarrrgh, she said.

    After what felt like several minutes, I regained coordination, picked my body up off the floor and rushed for the light switch. A final determined lunge and I flicked it on.

    What the…, I said.

    Nibbles, she said.

    Meow, it said.

    A little kitten stood before me, looking up in wonder. It was probably just as surprised as I was, and a bit miffed that I’d disturbed it. The huge lump of hairy darkness was no bigger than my two hands…

    It’s a cat, I said.

    His name is Nibbles, she said.

    Meow, it said.

    She bounced out of bed and ran over to sweep the kitten up in her hands. Apparently, this was Nibbles the kitten and he had found a way out of his cat box. I was meant to be surprised by Nibbles in the morning. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been quite as big a surprise as it had been now.

    Okay, so you’ve got us a cat, I said.

    I got YOU a cat, she said. In fact, I knew you’d love Nibbles as much as I do. He can be our guard-cat! No need to worry about all those scary noises in the night now!

    Meow, it said.

  2. Ha! Martin, that’s brilliant! I like the suspense and the build up to the punchline at the end. Meow!

    Lovely! Eliza

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