Genre – open
Length – 700 words
Topic – look at the photo, look into the child’s eyes.
Deadline – Wednesday September 7th at Midnight EST. The stories post will go up Thursday morning.
Mommy is Still Sleeping
The voice was barely a whisper hanging on an unlikely breeze in a windowless space.
The flickering florescent light hummed overhead. Nina stared into the shadows that obscured the end of the long corridor. She began to walk slowly towards the void that seemed to call out to her.
Her patent leather shoes clicked against the cracked linoleum floor and the walls acted as a conduit for the ricochet of sound. Abandoned wheelchairs were scattered on both sides of her, as were empty gurneys and deflated I.V. drips.
Nina wasn’t scared. It all felt familiar.
The shadows softened as she approached an open doorway at the end of the hall. She peeked into room with caution. A woman lay limp in a hospital bed, her head tilted to one side and slightly propped up by pillows. Her arms were at her side and covered with black soars and purple strands of veins and sinew. Nina stepped closer.
“Mommy,” Nina said softly, “are you sleeping?”
With her mouth slightly agape, the woman parted her eyes slowly.
Without warning, the door slammed shut, locking Nina out into the hallway. Frantically, she began pounding on the door with both hands.
“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy open the door!”
Nina was suddenly grabbed from behind. A large hand reached around her face and covered her mouth, causing her screams to be muffled. She tried to struggle but she was pulled forcefully away from the door until it disappeared back into shadow. After that, all she could hear was his voice:
“Nina shut-up! Nina shut-up! Nina wake-up!”
Nina opened her eyes. She looked down when she felt carpet between her toes. Still out of breath from screaming, she began to choke behind the hand that still covered her mouth. Nina looked up into the scowling eyes of her brother, Adam, who towered over her.
“What the hell is wrong with you”? His whispered words were laced with contempt. “Mom just got to sleep an hour ago and you’re screaming at her door!”
Nina began to nervously shift her eyes from her brother’s glare when she felt her lips begin to tremble; she didn’t want to make it worse by crying.
“What is going on up here?”
Nina looked up from where she crouched on the floor, and saw her sister, Nadia, coming up the staircase.
“She had another fucking night terror”, Adam exclaimed.
“Adam – language; she’s nine”.
“I don’t give a shit”.
Nadia came up behind him and punched him on the shoulder. She smiled at Nina, impatiently. “Nina, go wash up and get ready for school. Your breakfast is on the counter”.
Nina silently rose from the floor and wiped the sweat from her forehead with the sleeve of her shirt. She reached the bathroom door and heard Adam laughing behind Nadia as they walked down the stairs
“I mean it; you should send her to Aunt Teri’s like the counselor said. There are five of us and she’s the only one making problems…”
Everyone had finished clearing their breakfast plates, while Nina frowned at the flakes of cereal that had turned to paste in her bowl. Aidan and Aubrey were fighting each other for the last bag of cookies. Nadia, donning a red raincoat, hurriedly loaded the dishwasher, cursing under her breath when she looked at the clock.
Through the kitchen window, Nina could see the rain spray across the windshield of the van parked out front. She could see Adam turning the ignition, and then lay on the horn with his elbows, repeatedly.
“That’s the two-minute warning, guys. Come on! I’m already late for class!” Nadia snapped.
Aidan and Aubrey ran outside. When Nadia disappeared into the other room, Nina sprinted upstairs to grab her knapsack.
When Nina returned to the front of the house, her eyes widened in panic.
The van was gone.
Nina looked back through the opened door and saw no movement at all.
It wasn’t on purpose. Adam would come back. She would wake up Mommy and he knew that. He would come back
Nina sat at the top of the stairs, with the bag in her lap, and let her head fall against the damp railing. She would just wait.