Monday June 12th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: a fear of heights.

Another busy day, filled with selling the strawberries we picked yesterday (found them all good homes, so hurray for that) and taking care of the boys while Kat got some work done.

U-Pick day number two is tomorrow afternoon from 3 to 6. I'll be at work, so Kat, her dad, and Max will be running the show.

Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly and a whole lotta berries get picked.


"You doing okay?"

"I'm fine."

"You sure? We can go back down if you w-"

"I said I'm fine."

"Okay. You want to wait here for a bit or go up another step?"

"Let's just keep moving. The less time I have to think about this the better."

"Sounds good. Okay, here we go..."

"Oh god... why am I doing this to myself?"

"Because you really want to overcome your fear of heights? Because you've been telling me for years that it holds you back from doing things you want to do and going places you want to go?"

"Right... right. That was stupid talk. Why did you listen to me?"

"Actually, we're doing this because I was quite tired of listening to you. Come on, let's keep moving."

"I hate you."

"Uh huh. Here we go..."


Greg said...

I like the gentle persuasion and determination that runs through this piece today: the primary narrator, despite claiming to be doing this to make their own life easier shows definite signs of concern for the secondary narrator, who is also being quite courageous. It's a very nice little back-and-forth that quietly describes the scene that's otherwise invisible. Really great work!

Fear of Heights
The residents were supposed to have all moved out seven months ago, but there had been the usual hold-outs, and one fatality that had resulted in a court-case, so in fact the last of them had only actually left seven days ago. The concrete tower-block, astonishingly called Fimbulwinter Heights, was now quiet. Water dripped patiently in odd corners; green and brown stains spread across the concrete walls and floor like lithic cancer, and the occasional squirrel bounded by on the balcony walls, practising parkour.
Damian sighed and unlocked the door at the foot of the building with the key provided by the security company. There were two doors now: the original wooden door, the lock broken, and a steel outer door to stop the residents from returning or kids getting in and potentially hurting themselves. Despite these measures there had been reports of people moving around in here at night, and his job was to find out how they were getting in. He went in, and locked the door behind him. No point in letting people in by accident.
The electricity had been turned off for nearly a month, part of the strategy to force people to leave ("workers nearby cut through a cable... months to fix...") so the lift was now just a smelly metal box with doors permanently open. He peered inside, but the stench of old urine made him recoil. That left him with the cold, concrete stairwell for the next eighteen floors. And then coming all the way back down again. His hand reflexively rubbed the small of his back; maybe he shouldn't have given up playing football last year.
On the fifth floor he heard running footsteps and his bad mood settled in for good. Definitely kids, the steps were light and fast. The little monsters were vicious, feral like cats brought up fighting for their life amongst rats. He headed towards the footsteps, his hand loosening his baton at his belt. As he walked out on the main balcony that the front doors of the flats let out onto he saw a flash of colour disappearing at the far end and realised that they must be going up a floor. Rather than run all that way he turned back and ran up the stairs at his end, getting sweaty and out of breath in the process. As he turned the corner again, little spots of light flashing in his vision, he was rewarded with seeing two teenagers piling in through the door of one of the flats.

Greg said...

He took his time, getting his breath back and listening around him. There were still footsteps but below him now, not a problem. No-one came back out of the flat, so he pulled the baton out and headed to the door as confidently as he could manage. It was closed, but the lock was smashed out; splinters and a big hole showing where it should have been. Residual politeness forced him to knock.
To his surprise the door opened and a pale face looked at him. There was something odd about it, but when a hand gestured for him to come inside he was so startled that he lost his train of thought. He took a step backwards as getting into a confined space with an unknown number of people was just stupid, and nearly screamed when hands gripped his shoulders.
He found himself pushed inside the flat, trying to resist but caught by firm, cold hands. The person inside the flat retreated before him, and finally he worked out what was wrong about the face: the eyes, nose and mouth all seemed haphazardly placed, and none of them matched. He'd never thought about a face as needing harmony before, but it he'd been asked to guess he'd have said that each feature had come from someone different. His feet slipped then, and the chill of the flat struck him, and he looked around: the walls, floor and ceiling were coated, impossibly, with thick, greenish ice.
He tried to twist, to see his imprisoner, and the hands let him. He half-turned, squinting in the gloom with the light from the door now breaking his night-vision, but the person behind him had a smooth, featureless head, like an eggshell.
Something nearby skittered.

[Sorry about the double-post; hopefully you enjoyed this enough to forgive me]

Marc said...

Greg - thank you :D

As I read this a feeling of wariness grew steadily. Rightly so, as it turned out.

Delightfully horrible. As per usual with your nightmare creatures...