Horror Fiction

“The food in the fridge wont die will it Dad?”

“Course not, we’ll keep the door closed. It’ll be fine. Though you may need to eat lots of ice cream if it continues” Sam grinned, ruffling Tommys unruly hair. “Now try and get some sleep. I’ll keep the lamp on for as long as I can, but snuggle down and keep warm. Then when you wake up, the power will be back on. Promise.”

Shadows from the light projected large across the wall of the boys bedroom. Tommy stared at his Batman and Star Wars figures seemingly in mid battle. He waited until he couldnt hear his Dad across the hall, and then slipped out of bed to stare out of the window, standing tippy toe on a pile of books.

Outside the estate was pitch black, the only small spots of light from flickering candles or lamps in windows far below their high rise. The darkness stretched out across the city, an eerie sight to see. The light of the full moon reflected from window panes, disappearing now and then behind clouds. The traffic still continued though, edging along in a stream of taillights and full beams, and as Tommy gently opened the window he could hear a cacophony of horns, impatient drivers annoyed at one another at dead traffic lights.

There was a slight chill, but Tommy liked the window being open. The smell of their flat was musty and filled his lungs, making the boy cough. His dad said he would get it fixed, but Tommy had watched the black patch spread across his ceiling since Christmas Eve and the day mum had left. It was nearly Easter and Tommy still hadn't seen her.

He snuggled into bed under the duvet as Dad had told him, twisting slightly to watch the stars, waiting for one to shoot across the sky for him to wish upon. No stars were moving though. A plane flew over, the flashing red and white of its landing lights close as it began the final descent. Tommy knew the timings of the planes by heart, he watched them most nights. He was sure Mum had been a flight attendant, with a bright orange shirt under her jacket, and Tommy told himself she must have gone on a plane somewhere and had to stay, otherwise she would have called him. He had looked for her orange plane ever since, but they seemed to have stopped flying.

He could hear Sam walk past his door, and Tommy pretended to breathe heavily, thinking he sounded asleep. It must have worked, as in a waft of thick, sweet smoke, Sam went back to the living room. The door slammed shut, and Tommy could hear muffled moans and groans from whatever adult show Sam was watching on his phone. He pulled the duvet tight.

His walkie talkie beeped under his pillow. Tommys friend had the same one, and they talked before bed. 

“Hello” whispered Tommy.

“Hi Tommy” crackled the voice at the other end. “Is it dark at yours?”

“Yes” Tommy replied. “Dad says the power has gone out. He says it will be back tomorrow”.

“Can you see the stars Tommy?”

“Yes, they are bright. And a plane. It just landed, did you see?”

“No Tommy. I was watching the stars. They are shining. Do you want to play a game Tommy?”

“Yes. But I have to be quiet. Dad is awake.”

“He wont hear us Tommy. We will be quiet. Lets play I spy”

“OK. I’ll start. I spy with my little eye, something beginning with M”

“Is it the Moon, Tommy?”

“It is. Your go”

“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with S”

“Is it Stairs?”

“No Tommy. Its outside”

“Oh, is it Space?”

“No Tommy. Come on, you know this”

“Is it …” Tommy thought hard. “Is it Stars?”

“Yes Tommy, well done. Its stars. How did you not guess it first?”

“I dont know, I thought, I dont know”

“We always watch the stars Tommy”

“I know, but I forgot. I’m sorry”

“Thats OK Tommy. I’m looking outside now. Its very dark. Can you see the road?”

“Yes, the cars looked very small”

“They are closer for me. I can see them very clearly. Are you watching them now?”

Tommy looked around and quietly climbed out of bed, the walkie talkie to his ear.

“I can see them if I stand on my football books. I can lean forward and see out the window”

“Thats clever Tommy. On your tippey toes?”

“Yes. I can reach all the way up to the window”

Tommy reached up to the window sill, moving some toys to pull himself up.

“I can see the cars at the bottom” he said, watching the lights far below him.

“Did you see that one. He was fast Tommy”

“I saw. Quick look, theres a plane coming in”

The plane was so close that Tommy could see the writing on its tail.

“The letters are a call sign”

“So they know who it is, right Tommy?”

“Yeah. Then they can talk to the plane from the ground”

“Is that what your mum did?”

“Yeah. She’ll be back soon though, I now she will”

”I bet you wish you could fly like her Tommy”

The air from outside was becoming chiller, and Tommy stepped back to climb under his duvet again. His foot found the stack of books, and Tommy started to lower himself off the window sill.

“What about that plane Tommy?”

Tommy stopped, and looked out of the window.

“I cant see it”

“There, I think it is taking off”

Tommy pulled himself back up again.

“I still cant see it?”

“To the right there Tommy. Its a big orange plane”

“Orange?” Tommy pulled himself back to the window sill. He could just see out of the right from here, and leant forward a little more.

“Its coming Tommy. Just look, its so big. Is that your mums plane? Maybe shes come back for you.”

Tommy sat right against the window pane, and pressed his nose against the glass to see. The window moved slightly, the aging catch not quite up to the job.

“It must be. Maybe shes come back”

“Keep looking Tommy. Its flying really closely. I can almost touch it”

Tommy instinctively reached out, pushing against the window a little more.

“I think it is Tommy, here it comes.”

Tommy put down the walkie, and pushed his head under the gap from the window, feeling a rush of cold air. He still couldn't quite see the plane. A little bit more maybe.

The catch snapped, the window swinging open. Tommy lost his balance, and grabbed for the window frame, but his small fingers couldn't get the right grip, and he fell the five stories from the window. Behind him the window bounced back from its fully open position, and clicked shut on the latch, leaving just a small gap.

“Is it your mum Tommy? I bet she is there. Talk to you later”

Sam went to turn off the lamp in his sons room before bed. The power was now back on, and down below he could hear sirens wailing. His sons walkie was on the window sill, and Sam picked it up. He had had to use the batteries from this in the lamp earlier, and he now reinserted them, checking the cover was back on correctly and the walkie turned on. 

February 07, 2023 06:33

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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