Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October Flash Fiction #10

Jenny Twist

Elsie was going down the stairs, slowly and carefully, holding onto the bannister and watching her feet. She had a horror of falling downstairs, imagining herself tumbling over and over, out of control, hitting the bottom and breaking her neck.  It didn’t bear thinking about.

She thought she saw a movement out of the corner of her eye and looked up.

Somebody was standing at the foot of the stairs! A tall, dark, hooded figure. She felt her heart clench in her chest and a wave of dizziness swept over her. She held on tight to the bannister and closed her eyes until the feeling had passed.  And when she opened them again it had gone. There was just her good winter coat hanging on a peg by the front door.

She shook her head and continued on down the stairs rather more carefully than before.

She probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it – after all, everyone had that experience from time to time, the brain wrongly interpreting something half-seen. She still saw her old cat Beamish occasionally, curled up on a chair, or sitting by the stove. Then, when she looked again, it was a cushion, or a log that had fallen from the basket. She might have thought she was seeing his ghost, except it used to happen when he was alive.

But this was different, somehow. There had been something horribly real about that figure. Something frightening.

She saw it again that evening in the living room. One of her balls of wool escaped and when she bent to pick it up, she looked up and saw it standing by the curtains. She was so upset she lost interest in the programme she was watching and went into her bedroom to work on the computer.

She had been frightened of the computer at first. Her daughter had bought it for her after Fred died. “You can Skype us,” she had said, “and follow us on Facebook.”

Elsie had no idea what she was talking about, but once Lizzie had shown her how it all worked, she was entranced. It was a godsend now Lizzie was living in America. She looked on Facebook every day to see how they were getting on, and at the weekend they spoke on Skype and she could see and speak to her grandsons. It was like a miracle! They were so many thousands of miles away, but it was as if they were in the same room.

She briefly considered Skyping Lizzie now, telling her about the hooded figure. But she dismissed the thought. Lizzie would think she was going senile and worry about her.
Lizzie had also set her up on something called Twitter but that was much less interesting. They only let you say a tiny amount, so you couldn’t have a proper conversation. The only one she ever looked for was Stephen Fry. She loved Stephen Fry.

She didn’t bother with Twitter now. She went into Facebook to see what her friends were doing and then she opened her diary and wrote what was to prove one of the most interesting passages in the whole document.


She saw the Dark Man all the time after that. That’s what she called him, ‘The Dark Man’. She never saw his face. It was always in the shadow of the hood. But she had a very good idea of what his face looked like and she didn’t really want to see it.

He was getting nearer. Every day when she saw him he was nearer to her and she had the impression he was following her around. There was no question now whether he was an optical illusion. He was so close she could see the pattern of the weave in his black cloak.
But he didn’t touch her. And for that she was grateful.

But what did he want? He must want something from her, surely?

Eventually she could stand it no longer. They were sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table and she suddenly found herself saying in a surprisingly strong and confident voice, “ I know who you are.”

The hooded head moved upwards. She had the distinct impression he was surprised.

“What do you want? What do you want from me?”

And then he spoke. His voice was of rusty nails and old tombs, “I want you to follow me.”

Elsie stood up from the table, gripped by a terrible panic. “No. No,” she said. “I’m not ready.”

The figure lifted his hand from under his cloak and it was just as she feared. It was the hand of a skeleton.

Her heart clenched again, but this time it didn’t relax. It remained held in an iron grip as her lungs folded in upon themselves and her breath gave out.

Death stood over her, looking down at her face, convulsed in its final terror. Then he gave a long sigh, walked over to the bedroom and logged into the computer.

His page came up, @Death666, and he scrolled down, looking for someone else to follow.

Bio: Jenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and an escapologist's assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.

In 2001 she and her husband moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat.


  1. Thank you, Mysti. Such a pleasure to be on your lovely site. And I LOVE the pictures xxxxx

  2. Spooky, gave me the shivers! Nicely done.

  3. Nice story, Jenny :) You did great on this! Happy Writing!

  4. Thanks Debbie & Leila. Nice to meet you. Love Jenny xxxx

  5. This was so good! A lovely twist by Twist! Hurrah! :)

  6. A good bit of fun, Jenny. Perhaps you ought to check out my sort 'The Ghost at the Foot of the Stairs' - only in that one it's going up the stairs that is the perilous bit!

  7. Reminds me of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life in a way. The story was creepy but I knew what was coming.

  8. Delightful,I'm going to show my wife.

    1. Pleased to meet you, David. Thanks for your lovely comment. Hope your wife likes it.

  9. Super creepy! Yes, I need to take some cookies to the freezer in my basement...but no way am I going down there after reading this. lol Great job!

    1. Nora, you've made me very happy. Thank you, Darling

  10. Love it! I know they've all said it above, but it's so creepy! Brilliant!

  11. I love this....i have been searching for the video of it.....i used to have it it was like five or six frames of him creeping up the stairs....awesome.....please if you can send me the full version...not just the still frame or know where i can find it please let me know...thank you


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