Card Challenge: Day 12
Confession: I left home without drawing a card today, and will not return home until after 8:00pm tonight! Fortunately, I had written descriptions of many of the cards already generated (to save me an extra step of procrastination), so I used a random number generator to select one of those. And I have a good memory of the card that was randomly selected! So, here goes!
Card Day 12: In an open dollhouse, a blonde doll sits on the edge of the second story bedroom looking out.
Brenda sat and stared out the window, a hint of trepidation in her otherwise steady gaze. She watched as her parent’s car, its brake lights glowing a red into the ruddy sunset, pulled down the long driveway. It had taken weeks of begging, pleading, and good behavior to achieve this monumental milestone, and now her hard work was paying off. Only, there was a part of her that felt suddenly unprepared.
“You are twelve,” she snapped at herself. “Margie has been staying home all year!” She imagined Margie hearing the story of how Brenda chickened out and called her mom and dad before they even got on the road, how her ugly face would pucker up and laugh at her. She could see those crooked teeth smiling with a wide grin, the smell of lunch wafting over her as Margie bellowed. Resolved, Brenda stood from the window and marched down to the family room.
The house was very dark, but Brenda assured herself she was brave. Only babies were afraid of the dark. Her courage stoke, she then turned on the television, her thumb flipping the channels up and down reflexively. She had, of course, promised not to watch anything on the channels her parents banned from the house, but she found her thumb eagerly scrolling towards those upper numbers, specifically the scary movie channel that had been forbidden since that time she saw the clip of a demon possession and had nightmares for three months. She was surprised to find her eyes playing over the familiar, if slightly feared, logo.
As if expecting her parents to burst through the door at any moment to catch her, Brenda scanned the room, craning her neck towards the front door. It remained still as the channel’s promo blared, and did not budge an inch as the opening riffs of a movie title began drumming in the background. Margie would never be able to top this, especially if Brenda could say she watched an especially gory movie. It was all fake, right? So what could possibly go wrong?
Evening shuffled in as she settled in for the movie, the dinner her mother had carefully left—with instructions—warm in her hands. The shadows intruded into the house, draping themselves along the walls and floor as Brenda munched her way through the chicken breast and plate of macaroni. On the screen before her, she watched as zombies shambled from their graves. The full moon rose over the cinema city, much like the one smiling trough the big picture window at her now. As it did, the graveyard awoke, spilling its denizens into the street. Brenda watched flashes of red fly across the screen as zombie and civilian alike fell into the chaos. Somewhere, an arm became suddenly and irreparably detached from its body, flying across the screen with a spurt of bright red. There were people screaming, and people disappearing between the gnashing teeth of shambling zombie police officers.
Brenda sunk deep into the cushions of the couch, her eyes wide. It was all a movie, she reminded herself, even as her eyes stole out the window. The survivors trudged forward on the screen, cutting their way through hordes of zombies towards their goal. Suddenly, Maria, the tough female lead, let out a scream. A zombie’s face filled the screen, it’s hand a warped claw wrapped around her foot. Maria screamed again, kicking and fighting, as the creature dug its rotten teeth into her calf. Blood gushed from the wound as the zombie pulled back, revealing a patchwork of blood, tissue, and bone.
Brenda hit the power button as quickly as possible, ridding the room of the primary light source. It was suddenly silent in the heavy darkness of the room. Brenda noticed she was breathing heavily, her arms wrapped tightly around the pillow. In the silence, the clock on the mantle roared at a deafening pitch, counting each second off on at a time. It was 9:15. Her parents said they would be home around 10. Only forty-five minutes, she counted, relaxing her grip on the pillow.
She set the remote aside and stood from the couch, stretching out the tension and fear. It was all a movie, she reminded herself again, trying not to think about the gory images of dismemberment and cannibalism. All special effects.
Something thumped against the bay window, a heavy and dull sound that echoed towards her. Reflexively, Brenda leapt into the air, spinning to face the window. She could see nothing but the dark night, their empty driveway, and the trees tossing off in the distance. Nevertheless, she had the distinct feeling something sinister was moving out there. Her ears strained to hear any additional sound as her eyes scoured the glass, praying for some answer. Outside, the wind picked up, flinging a leafy twig towards the window with a familiar thump. It was the wind, she reasoned, calming just in time for the stairs behind her to creak.
Caught off guard, a tiny scream escaped her as she whirled about towards the stairs. There was nothing there. Nothing, she laughed, other than the pair of shoes her mother had asked her to put away. Brenda breathed a heavy sigh, turning the lamp on beside her. The room was suddenly aglow with the pale yellow light, casting new shadows and banishing others. The large window turned into a mirror, tossing her reflection in the living room back at her. While the light was welcome, it was unsettling being blinded to anything going on outside. She was suddenly aware of how vulnerable she was to anyone looking in.
Unable to shake the feeling of someone leering in at her beyond the lamp’s light, she stomped her way to the stairs and climbed up, feeling her skin prickle as the stairs groaned under each step. It was just the sounds of the house, she reminded herself, sounds she had heard for seven years. There was nothing to be scared of, and zombies weren’t even real!
Suddenly, from outside, came a heavy, hollow crash. Her mind flashed to cinematic memories of zombies flinging their bodies against wooden siding, their arms snaking through windows to the victims waiting inside. Light on her feet, she took the stairs two at a time, darting in her room to close the door. She waited silently, listening for the follow-up attack sure to assail her country home.
Instead, she heard the creak of the door. Her eyes flew to her nightstand, noting that it was only 9:30. Who was breaking in? Zombies did not open doors, but someone was creeping in, tearing through the safety of her childhood home. Brenda felt her heart rate increase, blood pounding in her ears as she imagined some masked figure sneaking past the heavy oak door.
From downstairs came a voice. “Brenda? We’re home!”
She collapsed against the door, sighing and laughing at her wild imagination. Her fear melted at her mother’s voice, her mind turning to more important matters.
She couldn’t wait to tell her friends at school about her bravery while home all alone with a scary movie. Margie wouldn’t be able to top this.
This work by Katherine C is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.