The Frightening – Short Story

The lightning snaked across the sky as Rose pulled the curtains and looked out. Looked out at the world she hadn’t accessed for three years.

Rose had been imprisoned from the outside world by her own head.

Every time she neared the door the panic started. Her heart started to skip a beat as if she was about to be attacked. The shakes would come next and her heart would race. The adrenaline would then flow through her body. She would then fight for breath as her chest became tight. The feeling of running out of oxygen takes over her body. Then the walls would start to close in, even if she was only stood in the corridor leading to her flat. The pulse in her head would match the pulsing of the walls around her. When the fear became so bad she would step back into her flat. Closing the door to her safe sanctuary was the only thing to stop the attack.

The lightening snaked again, causing Rose to jump despite herself. As the lightning hit the ground, the building opposite was again illuminated. Like a camera shutter displaying a picture piece, by piece.

Rose looked and saw that Joe and Gina were at home having a late dinner. Rose had no idea what the couples names were, she had never met them. She lived through her neighbours, she had given them all names and occupations.

There was Bob. He was the guy three windows on from Joe and Gina, he was an executive producer on a big budget film. He was hardly ever home and spent much of his time away.

There was Glenda, who was a famous model. She always had the best makeup and clothes. There was always a different man who spent the night with her.

Rose was again drawn to the window as the flash lit up the street. She gasped in horror, who was that she had seen standing in the room with Joe and Gina. Behind them in the shadows. No, she had imagined it. There was no one there.

She held her breath, counting in her head waiting for the next flash. Within a count of 20, the flash occurred. Rose watched as the knife struck Joe between the shoulder blades. Rose saw the blood spurt, or at least she thought she did. The lightning may have been too quick and she imagined it.

Another count, this time 22 and the lightning flashed. Joe slumped on the table, no Gina.

24 seconds later, Gina against the bedroom window, she appeared to be screaming.

26 seconds later, a face at the window that Rose didn’t recognise, looking straight at her. There was no sign of Gina.

An agonising 30 seconds later, Rose saw the man again. This time he held up a sign, with two simple words.

Rose fell away from the window. She must have been dreaming. She peered around the curtain, waiting for the next lightning flash. 45 seconds later it came and there was no sign of anyone in the apartment.

Rose fell away from the window.

“Great now your imaginary world has turned into an imaginary horror.”

Five minutes later, Rose’s heart had returned to a normal speed. She chuckled to herself when she thought of the scene she had imagined opposite.

That’s when there was a knock at the door.

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