THE GAME

midnight-008

The Game

maltesers-wrapper-smallImogen popped one more Malteser in her mouth, cracking the honeycomb between her teeth. One of her front teeth wobbled precariously before slotting back into place.

‘I can pull that for you,’ said Layla, rubbing her fingers in anticipation. ‘Look,’ she continued, pointing to a gap, ‘I yanked this out last week. You should have seen the blood – everywhere it was.’

‘No, leave it,’ replied Imogen, edging backwards. ‘Let’s leave this too. The game is stupid. It’s for kids.’

‘God, Imogen, you’re such a loser. Just say the spell, then the word and that’s it. What’s written on these pieces of paper will appear. I promise.’

‘As if.’

‘Well, it worked with the Maltesers, didn’t it?’ retorted Layla.

‘Very funny. I heard the rustling as you pulled them out of your pocket,’ said Imogen.

‘Didn’t.’ 

‘Did.’

Layla scrambled off the rough floorboards.

‘Well, I’m off then,’ she said, pocketing the scraps of folded paper which rested in the chipped bowl. One of Mum’s favourites but she wouldn’t notice it gone. Since her new boyfriend, she never noticed anything.The television was permanently on as was the tablet on Mum’s lap. Being ignored wasn’t the worst, it was their yelling that did her head in. This was her retreat; her Dad’s old shed. It felt safe amongst the cobwebs and spades. Breathing in the musty damp air, Layla reached for the latch.

‘Wait,’ said Imogen. ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’

Layla tipped the papers back into the bowl.

‘But,’ she added, ‘we don’t have to say the spell aloud. We’ll just think it. Right?’

Biting her nails, Layla was silent for a moment.

‘That should work, but you have to say the word aloud.’

Imogen took a paper and unfolded it and frowning she closed her eyes. Real tight, with the balls of her hands rubbing against her eyelids, the paper dangling between her fingers. She muttered and then shouted out.

‘MUD!’

mud2Layla rolled back in shock, knocking against the tool table which sent a trowel flying into the air, the slimy sloppy brown mud on it trailing messily on the floor and landing by her side.

‘Where did that come from?’ exclaimed Imogen, gaping at the mud and the trowel partially buried in it.

‘Yeah, it really does work!’ laughed Layla, ignoring her friend and grabbing a paper. She mumbled the spell quickly, then whispered, ‘mask’. The girls glanced around expectantly, then frantically. Nothing. With sighs of disappointment, they took a paper each and nonchalantly went through the motions with the two remaining words.

‘Midnight,’ said Imogen.

Sunlight shimmered through the grimy perspex window. More like midday, thought Imogen.

‘Murder,’ droned Layla.

‘I could murder this game,’ said Imogen, as she stood to leave. ‘Like I said, bloody stupid.’ The door clattered shut behind her, rattling the tiny hinges. Within seconds it flew open again and Imogen loomed over her, clutching a black wooden mask.

‘Look! This was on the tree. Just hanging there. I can’t believe it. I’m taking this home.’

african-mask-ebony-woodLayla followed Imogen down the path to the house, shaking her head in wonder. How did her mother’s mask from Gambia end up outside?

Heading inside, Layla snatched some biscuits and crisps from the cupboard before going up to her room, slamming her door to the fighting downstairs.

‘Layla! Layla! Get help!’ screamed her mother.

imagemidnightLayla woke with a start and reached for her phone. 00.00. Midnight. Scrambling out of bed she ran to the door when she suddenly heard an ear-piercing screech. Her mother. Then silence followed by a cough becoming louder and she edged away from the door as the footsteps came closer. Stumbling, she reached the wardrobe and lunged inside, tapping at her phone screen.

‘Police! Help! My mother’s been murdered!’

The End

© Annika Perry

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63 thoughts on “THE GAME

    • Annika Perry says:

      So glad you enjoyed this short suspenseful story, Johanna. I know, for me a short short story…although technically too long for flash fiction! I think the calm and wisdom of Pooh was needed at the end!😀

  1. Dina says:

    This is wonderful writing, Annika, spooky and bit frightening, shiver. What a relief to find our beloved Pooh at end. 🙂
    It finally snows in Norway! 🙂 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Yeah, another Pooh fan…the books are perfect throughout life and always full of wisdom! I thought something calming was needed after the story…so glad you liked it.😀 Have a great time with the snow – at least you know the country will continue to run as normal unlike here in the UK when everything stops at the first flake!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Andrea and glad you feel the midnight part works well. 😃 Building the suspense is an art of teasing the reader, giving a hint but never too much…fun to write!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great post Annika. So much conveyed in so few words – and pretty scary too. I’m not really one for horror stories but this one got me from the start. I did partake of the Ouija board at school and vowed never again.

    Mike

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you, David!😀 Guess what, since writing this I haven’t actually had Maltesers…I think sub-consciously aware of this story! Weird, eh? It was whilst eating a packet one day that the story came to me.

  3. reocochran says:

    I liked this short story which holds magical spells, a game and words on paper. The game “Jumanji” and the “children’s” book came to mind for its adventures started on an elaborate board game.
    I feel there is power in our thoughts, believe there are psychics and also ones who have visions that help solve crimes and find dead people. Only because when my Dad who rarely hit or spanked us, took his belt off to give my rebellious brother a spanking. My Grandmother in Florida asked her husband, my Grandpa to call us in Ohio. The message was: “Tell Bob (my Dad) to not be so hard on Randy.” We all were spooked with her vision! Hope you write a book about this and keep on going, Annika. Beautifully written spooky story!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Robin, I learn something every day! 😀 So Jumanji is a real game!! I thought it was made for the film (which I loved and was the first film my husband and I saw together). The sense of magic is intense and the mingling this with the real superbly crafted.

      Spooky about your grandmother ‘knowing’ about the event with your brother – but I honestly believe in that physic ability and particularly between close relatives and friends. So often my mother and I will pick up the phone at the same time and end up with the busy signal! Also when far away we would just ‘know’ when something was wrong.

      I’m so glad you liked the story and that you found it spooky, Robin although I don’t know if I could take it all the way to a book…however….now I’ll get distracted thinking about this – which I love!

      • reocochran says:

        Thank you for sharing about your husband and you watching this film, Annika. I can imagine grabbing his hand during the riveting scenes! 🙂
        I looked up that the game board was in the book first. The year my brother bought the game was in 1995, after the movie had been filmed. Annika, the date was so close I didn’t realize the order in which came first! My grandchildren all like playing this complicated game which takes concentration! Their Uncle Randy has the patience to follow all the rules and look up the processes. Sorry, it took me awhile to get back to you on this subject. Smiles, Robin

  4. Julie Holmes, author says:

    Well done, Annika! Nicely suspenseful, spooky, and dark for flash fiction. Another reason to not play with magic 😉 ! Way too creepy. The most I can handle is Poe. I don’t even read Stephen King (although I have read some of his stuff: Firestarter, Eye of the Dragon, and I tried to read the Gunslinger). Thank you for sharing!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Julie, thank you so much! 😀♥️ I think this just about comes under the heading flash fiction – a lot seems to be 200-500 words so this is just over! A fun one to write and oddly not creepy to compose but reading it afterwards is another matter! Yikes! I’ve only read Cujo by Stephen King in his scary books but will take a look at the others you mention – he sure is a prolific novelist!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you, Terri! 😀 Wow, the Magicians sounds terrific and yeah, I like the sound of that ‘usual!’ Just as long as it’s not too scary! I found it on the internet and it premiers in the UK in May, I’ll watch out for the show.

  5. maryannniemczura says:

    Intriguing story. I love the British words biscuits and crisps. Hope your weekend is enjoyable. Our weather was almost like spring but snow is in the forecast in a couple days. That’s the story of our winter it seems. ^__^

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Mary Ann. It’s odd that the British words you notice I write without thought but then react similarly to American words and phrases! The wonderful global aspects of sharing on WP and beyond! Almost Spring!! Yeah! Winter finally arrived last week albeit with stunning scenery in the cold icy sunshine, minus eight at night. To keeping snug and warm this winter. 😀♥️

      • maryannniemczura says:

        In Germany and in the UK I noticed what I describe as “damp cold” which went right to my bones. I enjoy viewing British television and often notice the different words such as someone was going to “pop over” and while my brain understands that, I can’t use the term without having someone looking odd at me. We would say to someone that we’ll “drop by” someday for example. I love the accents and different vocabulary. Stay warm.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Me neither, Jo – my imagination was just too vivid and real creating all the possible scary scenarios! As for Pooh, the gentle bear never fails to lighten the day, lift the spirits! I love the sentiment of this quote! ♥️😀

  6. Jacqui Murray says:

    Well that’s delightful. Such great details that made this short story a ‘page-turner’.

    That’s funny–that you were too frightened to play Ouija board and yet you write this. There must be a story behind the story.

  7. JC says:

    Well, Annika very bloody well done, you had me going, I couldn’ stop reading. If this would have been a novel, I’d be up all night.

  8. K E Garland says:

    Wow Annika! This was really well written. The suspense was just right, even though it’s a short story. I kept hoping (in such a short span of time) that no one would really be murdered. Loved this.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Well, Kathy, I’ve left the ending deliberately vague…although I was erring towards the mother being murdered just haven’t confirmed it. Thank you so much for your great comment and so glad you liked the story. Wishing you a brilliant weekend! 😀

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you, Lana and glad you liked the mix of the chocolates and supernatural!!😀 The story actually came to me as I was eating a packet of Maltesers and my mind wandered…As for the Bloody Mary game, I got scared just reading about it!! At first, I thought it was a drinking game but no, google comes up with the mirror and candle and all the possible repercussions – Yikes! What happened in your games??

  9. delphini510 says:

    You certainly don’t waste words Annika. Every charachter so strong, the pace of the story perfect and the whole setting as if I were there.
    Great work⭐️
    To finish with this pic and quote of Poh and Piglet just takes the darkness away.
    Mirja

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Mirja and thank you for the star! 😀 I was actually aiming for the story to be even shorter at 500 words but it ran over by a 100 – so glad you felt I captured the characters and location. I’m glad you weren’t there though…too scary!😀 The final quotation was to bring lightness following the story and this is becoming one of my top quotations – today should always be ones favourite day! How succinct and self-evident! Wishing you a restful and joyful weekend. ❤️

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you, Jill! 😀 As for the end quote, I thought a bit of lightness was required after that story and I just love the idea of today being the favourite day – isn’t that as it should be?!❤️ Have a lovely weekend!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Diana, why am I not surprised that you used to play with the Ouija board as a teen?!😀😃 You stories definitely have that magical surreal fantasy leaning – I used to get scared just watching my friends play! Even writing this gives me the shivers a bit…as you can tell I’ve never watched a horror film or read such a book in all my life (apart from Cujo!)

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