Friday, May 24, 2013

FFF: The Breckenridge

Every Friday Kurt posts a new piece of flash fiction. This week...

The Breckenridge
Word Count: 600

Sheri turned another corner to find another long, deserted corridor. She shined her flashlight on the nearest door, which bore the number “235”. She was back where she’d started, and no closer to finding a way out.

It was a matter of some debate whether the Breckinridge Hotel was haunted or just deadly. It had closed down decades ago—the land was too far from the highway and too old to be repaired. A handful of firms had bought it up with the hopes of razing the structure and developing condos or a strip mall, but the plans always fell through. So it stood abandoned, accumulating dust.

Sheri had heard the stories. Children playing nearby heard strange noises, and occasionally someone would go missing. On her fourteenth birthday, she’d decided to brave it alone. Initially, she’d meant to prove her courage to herself and her friends. Now, she just wanted to leave.

“Dammit,” she said. “I’ve already come this way.”

A lock of blond hair had fallen into her eyes, and she brushed it back behind her ear. She wiped her clammy hands on her cargo shorts and clipped her flashlight to her belt. She’d been down every hall and couldn’t find any way off this floor. No stairs, no elevator, nothing. But there had been an elevator, hadn’t there? That was how she’d gotten up onto this floor, wasn’t it?

Wasn’t it?

The past was getting fuzzy. She needed to get out, and fast.

Sheri heard a noise coming from farther down the hall. “Hello!” she called, but no one answered. “Hello!” she shouted again. “I’m trying to find a way out.”

A faint wisp of… something… floated at the far end. She ran after it and shined her light on it, but the specter faded as soon as she approached. “Where are you?” shouted Sheri. “I need to find a way out.”

A ghostly echo—barely a shadow of a voice—sounded behind her. “This way…” it said.

“Oh, thank you,” said Sheri, running towards it. She stopped at the end of the hall, out of breath. She’d been running for hours, it seemed.

“The way out…” The voice was behind her again. She walked this time, not wanting to lose the voice.

“Hello,” said the voice. It sounded so distant, but Sheri forced herself to move slowly. This noise was her only hope of escaping. About twenty feet ahead of her, she thought she could see shadows converging into a shape.

“Hello,” said Sheri.

“Where are you?”

“I’m here!” said Sheri. “Where are you?”

She neared the shape forming in the hallway. It looked like a person, almost, but it drifted in and out of focus as she walked. The voice faded in and out. It was talking, but Sheri couldn’t understand the words. “Hello,” she said.

“This way.”

“I’m trying to find my way out,” said Sheri. “Whatever you are, can you help me?”

“Can you help me?” pleaded the voice.

Sheri froze. She raised her light. The specter turned around and looked at her—only it didn’t look at her, it was looking behind her, through her. “I’m trying to find the way out,” it said.

The specter was an old woman. An old woman with blond hair that fell into her eyes, and a flashlight clipped to her cargo shorts. Underneath the years and wrinkles, Sheri discerned a face that looked very much like… her own.

“Dammit,” said the specter. “I’ve already been this way.”

Sheri raised a hand to touch her face and saw lines and veins.

The flashlight fell to the floor.

Edited by Carolyn "I'm Trying To Be Creeped Out" Abram.

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