69 comments

Nov 14, 2020

Suspense Thriller

The banging on the door thundered in the room. The receptionist bounded out of her chair and ran to the door. A woman tumbled in, soaking wet from the rain and covered in mud. Tripping and slipping, she hurtled herself to the desk and cowered against it. The receptionist closed the door and slowly approached her.

 “It’s alright, you’re safe now.” She extended her hands in a pacifying and soothing manner. “Can you tell me your name?”

“M-m-Mary.” She shivered and curled in on herself. “Mary Burns.”

“My name is Abbie. Would you like some water?”

Mary nodded and began to relax. She accepted the plastic cup then held it with both hands as she stared into its depths. Abbie waited for her to gather her composure before speaking again.

“Can you tell me what happened, Ms. Burns?”

* * *

Mary had just finished putting her house together for the new season when she saw two teen girls slipping into the woods. They were already in disarray, one clutching her stomach as though nauseous, and both seemed less than happy. Mary felt a sinking sensation deep in her gut. She grabbed a light jacket and dashed across the street to follow them.

Branches crackled as she forced her way forward. The trees were so dense that even the light of the afternoon sun was unable to pierce through them. She moved forward and listened for any sound as quietly as she could. 

“…stake your claim…”

“…what you know…”

Mary pressed up against a tree and tried to focus on the faint whispers.

“…by the due date…”

“…can’t find out…”

Mary stepped forward. A branch snapped. She froze.

“Did you hear something?”

The girls’ pace quickened, and silence fell before Mary moved forward. She was taking too long, and she knew they must have gotten very far away from her. It was several minutes before she heard any sound other than the cicadas. Someone screamed.

Mary went rigid. It came from the edge of the river, just two trees away. She steeled herself and crawled to a nearby tree. One of the girls stumbled back, a red stain spreading on her shirt. Mary pressed her hands to her mouth. Her silent scream pierced through her brain. She turned away and forced herself to breathe evenly. The bark of the tree stabbed into her. The pain it caused reminded her that this was real. Something wet dripped onto her cheek. At first she thought she was crying, but the drops on the crown of her head announced rain. 

A gasp cut into the air. A low voice grunted. There was a splash as something heavy hit the water. Mary ran. Her panting caused a seizing pain in her chest. Her foot caught in the newly created mud and she fell head first. Wiping the mud off her face with her sleeves, she heaved herself up. Her feet pounded the ground. Her heart pounded in her ears. She was through the trees now. Not pausing to see if anyone followed her, she ran to the police station and banged her fists on the door. 

* * *

Abbie went around her desk and put her phone to her ear. “Officer Rogers, officer Harman, we have a possible homicide witness.”

Moments later, two officers came around the corner. One, with obviously more experience, approached Mary. 

“Can you tell us what happened?”

“I just told her.” She gestured at Abbie in annoyance. Having gathered herself together, she was impatient. “We should go back right now, they might still be there.”

“Are you sure you can handle that?” Officer Rogers, the younger one, asked politely. 

“Yes. We have to hurry.”

The three of them rushed outside and leapt in a cruiser. The road was slick and the window was being assaulted by the excessive rain of a flash flood. Two miles down the road, she stopped them with a shout. 

She lead them through the woods, but their progress was slow. The rain blurring her vision made it difficult for her to see where to go. They slipped on the mud as it sloshed into their shoes. Rogers groaned in exasperation. Harman silenced him with a look. 

“This is where I was.” She whispered, gesturing to a tree. “There doesn’t seem to be anyone here now.”

She turned on her phone light and the officers pulled out their flashlights. There was nothing there. Staring at the place she had just seen a body fall, her brain tried to reconcile the lack of a print with what she had seen. She searched frantically for any sign of what had happened, but she couldn’t find any evidence of a scuffle. The officers seemed to have as little luck as she did. Kneeling in the mud, and examining every rock, they scoured the area with growing frustration.

“There’s nothing here.” Rogers looked to Harman, a hint of annoyance in his voice. “Not even a broken twig.”

“He’s right.” Harman shrugged, as Mary looked at them like a deer in the headlights.

“But there was.” Her voice squeaked. “T-they were fighting, a-a-and I think she got s-s-stabbed. They w-went on that bridge, and t-threw her in the r-r-river.”

She ran onto the bridge as though it would be her saving grace. There was no blood, muddy footprints, or chipped areas to vindicate her. Harman followed her.

“Take some deep breaths for me.” He placed his hands on her shoulders. “Try to calm down.”

She took some shaky breaths, and tried to steady herself.

“Look,” Rogers approached her and spoke quietly. “Why don’t we walk you home, and call you if we do find something?”

She nodded and they made their way back through the woods. The sun was almost set by the time they came out, and the dusk light was weakly illuminating the way. She said goodbye to the officers and made her way across the street. The lights were still on from when she’d rushed out earlier. Not bothering to turn them off, she settled into her chair by the window. 

She was nervous, but not nearly as much as before. It felt like a dream now. A surreal feeling enveloped her, and she pulled her curtains shut. Moving to the kitchen, she heated up some leftovers and noticed her unfinished book on the table. A murder mystery. Flipping it over in her hands, she contemplated the day’s events. The microwave’s harsh beeping yanked her from her reverie. She read while she ate. 

Perhaps she had just gotten lost in the story. No footprints. No blood. No body. No evidence. Maybe that meant there was no crime. She always did have a tendency to let her imagination run wild.

She walked up the stairs. In her bedroom she slipped on a matching nightgown and robe. Meticulously completing all ten steps to her nighttime routine, she calmed herself down. Alone in her home, with all the lights out, her heart raced. She closed her eyes. It was when she was slipping into bed that reality struck with three sharp bangs.

Knock.

Knock.

Knock.

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69 comments

LOVE this story Eliza! Great job! :)

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Anna Elizabeth
21:28 Nov 14, 2020

Thank you so much!! :)

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My pleasure! =)

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Philip Clayberg
20:37 Nov 14, 2020

Thank you for writing this story. I liked the spooky ending. I can imagine Mary asking, "Who's there?" And a voice saying, "You know who's here. They threw me in the river. You saw it." "But why are you here?" Mary asks. "My death must be avenged or I have to be a ghost forever," the voice says. "And I choose you to do it." "I can't!" Mary protests. "Would you rather I came in there?" the voice asks. "N-n-no," Mary stammers. "But how do I find your murderers?" A piece of 8x11 paper slides under her bedroom door. "What you nee...

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Anna Elizabeth
21:04 Nov 14, 2020

Thank you so much! I really like your rendition of what happens next! And I love that you enjoyed it so much that you left this comment for me to enjoy!

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Philip Clayberg
00:34 Nov 15, 2020

You're very welcome. Sometimes the end of a story will suggest something that might happen next. I usually just make it up off the top of my head. I'm glad that you liked what I added. Btw, you can change any of what I added; I won't mind.

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Anna Mosqueda
15:08 Nov 19, 2020

So I think my comment erased lol, so just to make sure, I'm commenting again! I LOVED this story sooo much! The creativity that was put into it was exceptional and the detailed wording made it even better! I was hooked into this story from the very first sentence:)) Great job!!

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Anna Elizabeth
19:02 Nov 19, 2020

Your other comment wasn't erased but thanks for writing this one! You're so sweet! Thanks for reading and commenting, and for making sure I knew how much you liked it!

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Anna Mosqueda
02:00 Nov 20, 2020

Oh alright haha! No problem:))

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Bill Cipher
09:19 Nov 19, 2020

Loved the way this was written. I found my way here after I saw a like on my story, I'm really glad I have got to seen your work. I also think in the ending (and possibly for a part 2), when it says "reality struck her with three sharp bangs" and then the "Knock, Knock, Knock", it could be her realising that she is reliving a bad memory of her sister or daughter (or even her best friend) getting killed many years ago and she was watching on, unable to do anything. So every day she finds herself in the same spot running through the woods ...

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Anna Elizabeth
19:07 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you! That is a very interesting idea, it follows the psychological thriller idea very well, but I'm still deciding whether or not I'll go mystery or thriller for the part two. This story was a little genre confused, so when/if I write a part two, and if I decide to go thriller, this is something I'll definitely keep in mind.

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Bill Cipher
21:01 Nov 19, 2020

Honestly, which ever genre you decide to pick (if you decide to write a part 2) I think it will turn out so well, you're an amazing writer, and I get absolutely hooked! :)

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Kat Bador
17:44 Nov 18, 2020

Really well done. I liked the flow of it, and the ratcheting up of suspense that concluded at the end. Only thing I would say is that the ending seemed a little rushed. You wrote that she calmed herself down, but a sentence later, her heart raced? If that was a little more coherent, that would make it a bit better. But I liked the rest of it, and you've got a really great writing style!

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Anna Elizabeth
21:51 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you! This is a story that I ran out of time on, and there are several places that I would have elaborated on and/or cleared up if I hadn’t ran out of time. I appreciate you calling me out on that, though.

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Amelia Bowen
14:13 Nov 18, 2020

Great story! The opening scene was especially intriguing and along with all the wonderful suspense you built up at the murder scene, it made for quite an ominous ending. I love stories that end on an uncertain note like this. Keep writing, Amelia

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Anna Elizabeth
21:52 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Akshaya Sutrave
09:34 Nov 18, 2020

Hello Eliza! Your story was amazing, especially the descriptive language and the flow. I could imagine the sequence of events really well. I loved the twist in the end and the way you ended it in a mysterious and suspenseful tone!

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Anna Elizabeth
21:53 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you!

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Beth Connor
06:23 Nov 16, 2020

I really loved the ending of this story. The balance of suspense and simplicity was well done.

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Anna Elizabeth
06:25 Nov 16, 2020

Thank you!

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Rachel Macmorran
20:06 Nov 14, 2020

Nicely done! I would be interested in playing with the perspective a bit to avoid a flashback and keep it all in moving continuously. That is, after the cops ask for her story, the story turns to a first person POV as she relates what she saw, I think that might help in terms of explaining her inner dialogue as she decided to follow the girls, and the horror of what she saw. Then you can resume the narrator POV as the cops accompany her back to the scene of the crime. And while you are clear it’s raining and muddy, I think a simple “we’re n...

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Anna Elizabeth
20:11 Nov 14, 2020

Thank you! A change in POV would've been really interesting for this story, I wish I'd thought of that. I wanted the question of whether or not it was her imagination that's why I wrote those kinds of details the way I did.

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Rachel Macmorran
22:53 Nov 14, 2020

Of course!

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Maya Emerson
18:44 Nov 14, 2020

Amazing story! You built up suspense so well. Nice job!

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Anna Elizabeth
18:46 Nov 14, 2020

Thank you!

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Megan Wallace
04:33 Dec 16, 2020

Really enjoyed reading this! :oD

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Anna Elizabeth
04:38 Dec 16, 2020

Thank you!

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Ken Coomes
22:27 Dec 10, 2020

Great story! Hooked me in from the first sentence, kept me hooked to the end, and left me wanting more. I almost don't want to offer any nit-picky comments, but I believe feedback is valuable and helps me (us?) grow to the next level. One very minor thing that I noticed: "rushed outside and leapt in a cruiser" Grammatically, this means (I think?) that they were in the cruiser and leaped. "leapt into cruiser" would be more grammatically correct, I think. Again, this is very minor, and would easily be caught by an editor or proofreader. Even m...

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Anna Elizabeth
01:17 Dec 11, 2020

Thank you so much! I think you're probably right, I'll be more aware of that in the future. I agree that it's these comments that really help with writing.

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02:48 Dec 09, 2020

This was wonderful. Your imagery was amazing.

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Anna Elizabeth
04:52 Dec 09, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Beverly Riddle
20:32 Dec 06, 2020

AMAZING STORY!!! It's so eerie! It gave me shivers.

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Anna Elizabeth
21:15 Dec 06, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Ray Dyer
02:37 Nov 21, 2020

I'm sorry I'm late to comment on this one - I really like the way this one is laid out, with the intro, then the backstory, followed by the resolution. The ending is great, including the details of her bedtime routine leading up to it. Thank you for sharing this story!

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Anna Elizabeth
02:43 Nov 21, 2020

Thank you!

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Anna Mosqueda
15:03 Nov 19, 2020

Woahhhh! This was such a cool story!!! I loved the ending and your use of descriptive words made it even more surreal!! Great job, I'm on my way to read more:)

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Anna Elizabeth
19:00 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you!

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05:24 Nov 19, 2020

Woahh!! The ending was great!!!

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Anna Elizabeth
05:48 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you!

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06:22 Nov 19, 2020

My Pleasure! :)

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Matthew Eubanks
04:29 Nov 19, 2020

Hi! Enjoyed your writing! I think the ambiguity at the end is good, as others have mentioned. I like having unresolved tension and I’m glad you don’t try to explain who is knocking. Two things I’d be interested in. First, what motivates someone to follow two teenage girls without simply calling out to them. I’d like to know the mindset of why she does that. Second, I felt like the tension at the end might be increased if there was a reason for the knocks to be threatening. Do you know what I mean? Like, if there was a cause for the main ...

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Anna Elizabeth
05:48 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you! This is a story I ran out of time on and I would've liked to flesh out those kinds of details. It was a little genre confused and I think that added to any reader confusion. But thanks for reading and point that out.

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Grace Larson
03:00 Nov 19, 2020

Amazing story! The suspense really carried this piece the whole way through, and the ending was deliciously creepy:) You should totally consider writing a part 2 though - I would love to see who's knocking!

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Anna Elizabeth
03:02 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Great work! I loved the suspense and the way you used words! I would love to know what happens next

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Anna Elizabeth
01:35 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you!

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Also do check out my stories and let me know what you think!

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