Hiding/The Change. Flash Fiction.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine went pretty well, went out for my friends birthday, which was pretty fun. Not much else happened, still looking after the puppy, but it’s only for a few more days, huzzah!

On with the show!

________________________________________________________

Hiding.

Jacob sat in the darkness. Waiting. Above he could hear the steady march of boots. Despite knowing they wouldn’t be able to hear him, he forced his breathing to be quiet, shallow. It was cold in the darkness, occasionally a fit of shivers would take over until he could force himself to be still once more. The noise went on for hours, then it seemed like days. Finally, it faded. Jacob didn’t move from his sitting position, what if the silence was a trick? After a few more hours, he carefully crept across the room. He had food and now that he wasn’t too afraid to move, he could get blankets for warmth.

He had been hiding in the place for three weeks now, and there was enough food to last for another three. He had been stockpiling for a while before it had happened, not that anyone believed it really would happen. He was sure there was others like him out there, ones who prepared. Some of them must have survived, but still, it felt like he was the only one left. There would have been ones who were caught outside when it happened. Or they were in work when it all started. He was lucky. He had just gotten home from his night shift. He had heard reports of unease on the radio and decided it would be best to sleep here for the night, just in case. He remembered how paranoid he had felt. He had a radio, that kept him updated on all that was happening. It was wind up so it didn’t need batteries, but he stopped listening four days ago, when the announcers stopped and looped tapes were played, promising amnesty to those who gave themselves up freely.

The tensions had been rising for a long, long time. It all had seemed so inevitable, and perhaps that made things worse. Jacob, like many others, had never really believed it would happen, even when he was preparing for it. He told himself it was just a last resort plan that would never get used. He could tell his grandchildren about it and they’d all laugh. Not that he’d have any grandchildren now. There had been a woman he had been trying to court but, well, it wouldn’t happen now. He didn’t like to think of things like that. It reminded him of before.

It had been days since the marching had passed, he was starting to think that maybe it was safe to go scavenge some food, or perhaps look for water, he had plenty of both, but he’d run out soon. Then he heard it. Faint, but someone was up there, walking around.

The noise stayed for two days, sometimes stopping but never going away.  On the eve of the second day the walking finally stopped. He could hear scraping, digging. Someone was at the entrance. Banging, pulling. Jacob stayed huddled in the corner, there were no weapons here, he could use a can to try and bludgeon someone, but what good would that do if there was more than one?

The entrance opened, torchlight flooded the room, blinding him.

___________________________________

 The Change.

Danny leaned down and splashed some water on his face, he was tired, it was too early, but he agreed to do this. Showers normally woke him up, but there was no time, he had pressed the snooze button on his alarm, twice. He dried his face with the towel, then squinted into the mirror. He frowned. There was something wrong, something off, but he couldn’t figure out what. He yawned, then froze. Someone was staring at him in the mirror, someone was yawning in the mirror, but it wasn’t him. It looked kind of like him, in a distant cousin sort of way, but it definitely wasn’t him. Danny reached up, so did the person in the mirror, he scratched at his face, the mirror copied him. He lowered his hand and just stared. After a minute, he stepped back, he was obviously just too tired, that was all it was. He was too tired and his mind was playing tricks. He went back into his room and turned on his laptop. Once it was on, he turned on the webcam feature. It was the same face as in the mirror. Ok. Ok, something was happening here. It wasn’t just his eyes, the computer was all messed up too. He went back into the bathroom and turned on the light above the mirror. He poked and prodded at the skin, stretching it out, making sure it was real. It felt real, it stretched realistically and, if he pinched it, he felt pain.

Maybe it was just some kind of weird brain thing. Maybe he always looked like this? He went back to his computer and brought up old photographs, in everyone one he appeared how he remembered. Ok. So past him still looked the same, how could he look so different now? There had been no pain in the middle of the night, he wasn’t on any medications, there was no swelling or redness to his new face. It looked like a regular face, just not his. He couldn’t go to work like this, could he? Would they let him in? Would his badge still work? They’d wonder who the hell he was and why he’d stolen someone’s ID card. No. He went to the phone and dialled. He’d just have to say he was sick, he was, in a way. At the very least something was seriously wrong with him, either physically or mentally.

He hung up, his boss would no doubt spend an hour yelling at him the next time he went in, but for now he was safe. Danny went back into the bathroom, just to double check. He had to do something about this, but how could he prove it was still him? That he had changed? Would doctors believe him or just send him off to a mental hospital? Hell, would anyone believe him? If someone came up to him, talking about how their face changed, he’d just think they were crazy. Maybe if he was calm about it all, rational, he could bring a list of bullet points and some old pictures. Show them it wasn’t him. It might take a while but he’d have to be able to convince them. He wanted his old face back.

Danny went back into his room and started to gather up evidence.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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