Christine picked the topic for this round (Thanks a lot, Christine) and here it is:
Since we are all writers, I thought it was about time for us to stretch our creative muscles and do a little writing. So, take the following topic and go crazy! Show us what you've got. Your story can be as long or as short as you choice.
The topic: A dark and stormy night.
I'm just going to dive in, so here goes.
The biggest thing I ever set fire to was a house. But the house deserved it. I promise. I swear. On the life of my best friend. Not that you'll believe me. No one ever does.
But I gotta tell someone what happened and it might as well be you.
Theo and I rode our bikes down the steep hill with our hands in the air and the wind blowing across our sweaty noses like there wasn't nothing else in the whole universe that was worth doing. Truthfully, there wasn't. I mean, sure if you asked my mom, she'd have told you that I should have been mowing the grass or cleaning the wet leaves out of the gutter or doing my homework even. But moms have to think like that. They're hardwired to put everything practical over all the best parts of life. Sometimes I wondered if having babies made moms forget how to have fun at all. Just thinking about it made me never want to have a kid.
"Jones!" shouted Theo as he kicked on his brakes and skidded to a stop at the bottom of the hill. I flew right by him and just about crashed into Mr. and Mrs. Pond's mailbox on account of I was looking at what Theo was pointing at.
It was a house. On the corner of Song and Canterbury. There hadn't been a house there the day before. Or the day before that. I'd lived in Pascal my entire life--fifteen years--and there'd never been anything on the corner of that street but the occasional lemonade stand. I should know. I had one there myself when I was eight. Made four dollars.
Except there it was, plain as the fear in Theo's eyes.
The house itself wasn't much to look at. Two stories. The paint falling off of it in patchy bits here and there like a dog with mange. But, and you can call me a liar if you want or tell me I need to get my head examined--don't think I haven't already thought it--I swear that the windows watched me, that the walls breathed. I forgot I was on my bike and I turned to run. Damn near busted my front teeth in when I fell and hit the pavement. Not that I felt it. The primeval part of my brain, the part left over from when every day was life or death, was screaming at me to run. Run fast. Run far. Run and don't stop running until I reached safety or collapsed from exhaustion. Just run.
"Theo?" I'd known Theo Parker my whole darn life. He didn't talk much and repelled girls like he was surrounded by an anti-girl field, but he was my best friend. The kind of friend my dad told me I'd look back on when I was ancient like him and be thankful I'd had. And in all the time I'd known him, I'd never seen that look on his face. Not ever.
I wished I hadn't seen it then.
"Stop it, Theo, you're freaking me out." I got up and winced when I brushed my hands off on my jeans. They were scraped and bleeding and there were bits of gravel and sand buried in the cuts. It stung like fire ants but I had to get to Theo. He was taking slow, deliberate steps toward the house on the corner of the street. But that wasn't what scared me. Even as his feet moved, he resisted. That's what was on his face. The fear. The terror. The absolute certainty that he didn't want to go near that house, didn't want to go in it. That doing so would be death.
"Jones?" called Theo. "You gotta help me. I…I don't know what's going on. C'mon, Jones."
I ran to Theo and grabbed him by the wrist, pulling him as hard as I could. Tear ran down his cheeks and dripped onto his shirt. I couldn't budge him. "This isn't funny," I said.
"I'm not playing," said Theo. He reached the sidewalk in front of the house. "Jesus, Jones, what's going on?" Theo was screaming for help. I figured that any moment Mrs. Pond was gonna come running out of her house in that yellow dress she was always wearing, and tell us to shut up so she could watch TV, but no one came. In fact, there wasn't a single sound. Not a bird, not a car, not even the wind. It was like everything had been put on mute.
"Hold on, Theo," I said. Without thinking, I took a run at Theo and tackled him to the ground. We went down in a tangle of arms and legs and, at one point, I lost one of my sneakers. Theo fought me, he bit me, but I refused to let him go.
But the house was stronger than I was.
Theo punched me so hard in the nose that my eyes burned and I couldn't see or swallow or breathe. Hot blood poured into my mouth as I groaned and fell backward. That's when Theo got up and turned back to the house. One foot in front of the other, he walked up the weedy path until he was standing at the front door.
"Theo!" I yelled and tried to stand. Vertigo rushed through me and I teetered to the side. I thought I was going to throw up but I gritted my teeth and straightened up. "Theo, come back!"
The front door of the house opened up. The hinges creaked as it swung inward. Despite the sun and the heat, I was cold. Theo screamed. It was raw and tore from his throat like no sound I'd ever heard in my entire life. A stain of urine spread across the front of his pants and down his leg.
And then it stopped. The scream.
I blinked and Theo was gone. The door was closed.
The house remained.
Truthfully, I don't know how long I was standing there in the middle of the road. I might have stood there all night long if a car hadn't come down the hill and nearly run me down. It was Mr. Goodman. He honked his horn and yelled something foul at me as he jerked the steering wheel and went around me.
Maybe it was my imagination--though I'm pretty certain it wasn't--but I could have sworn I saw Theo standing in the window, looking at me like he was the house's eyes. Like he was the house.
That's when I knew I needed to save my best friend and get rid of that house forever.
As I picked up my bike and got on it, my hands screaming with pain, my nose stuffed full of dried blood, and bruised like an overripe plum, lightning arced across the sky and thunder followed shortly. It began to rain. I hoped I had enough gasoline.
Annnnnnnd done. Sorry for the suckage. I thought I was posting tomorrow so I didn't have time to come up with something more fun. Anyway, if I haven't put you to sleep, go check out Tere's awesome space adventure, and then head over to Margie's blog tomorrow to find out what kind of story she's going to spin. Until next time!