Shift. Flash Fiction.

“Just come out and we can discuss this, ok?”
Delilah didn’t move, she kept her breathing steady and shallow. He hadn’t found her yet, maybe he wouldn’t. She flinched as something banged downstairs. What was he doing? There was another crash. He was tearing the house apart. She needed to do something. Her phone was downstairs in the kitchen, though it was probably destroyed. He was moving all around the house, so she would have to wait for the right time if she was going to make a break for it. If he went into the attic she might be able to get to the front door first. Assuming he hadn’t locked or barricaded them. The neighbours were in work and would be for hours yet. She had no weapons, no way of overpowering him.

Everything had been normal when she woke up. Steven was downstairs making them breakfast, it was his turn and she could already smell the French toast and bacon. She stretched, yawned then got out of bed, throwing on a pair of pyjamas. They had agreed to have an easy day today, maybe clean up a little but nothing too stressful. She had gone into the kitchen, kissed him good morning, then sat down at the table with her coffee.

Delilah jumped as the pan fell, Steven was standing still, staring straight ahead. He didn’t seem to notice that anything had happened at all. “Are you ok?” Delilah got up from the table to help him tidy up, he had said he was feeling a little off the day before and she thought maybe he was just getting a bit sick. He didn’t respond to her at all, she bent to pick the pan off the floor and when she stood he backhanded her. The pain was bright and intense, she fell back to the floor, dropping the pan again. “What the fuck?” he didn’t answer. Delilah got up from the floor, leaving the pan where it was, she wanted something cold for her face. “What the hell was that about?” she grabbed out a pack of peas and wrapped them in a towel. “Are…are you ok Steven?” he hadn’t moved since he hit her, she moved closer to him, what if he was having some kind of seizure? She put her hand on his shoulder and gently shook him, he turned his head, she pulled her hand back. He looked angrier than she had even seen him, his face was twisted up, his cheeks red. “It’s always you’re goddamned fault, why can things never be easy around here?” each word was punctuated by a hard poke to her chest as he moved closer, each time he took a step forward she took one back. Delilah couldn’t move away, she was pressed against the wall, he swung for her again, she shoved him and ran into the hall slamming the door behind herself. He howled in rage, the front door wasn’t opening she was shaking so badly her fingers couldn’t undo the chain, the kept slipping and scrabbling at the metal. Something slammed into the door behind her, she abandoned the front door and ran upstairs, halfway up she realised her phone was in the kitchen, as she reached the landing he burst into the hall. Delilah had hid, and he had thundered around the house, shouting, screaming, breaking things. She wasn’t sure how he hadn’t found her yet, the house wasn’t that big, nor was she in a particularly clever hiding spot. He seemed to be confused, searching the same rooms over and over again. So far he hadn’t entered the bedroom.

Delilah looked around, why was it dark? The it couldn’t be too much later than midday. The house was silent. He hadn’t been quiet since the whole thing started. Had he slipped out of the house at some point? Delilah carefully started to move, her arms and legs were numb. She straightened herself out and started to tense and release her muscles. When the feeling came back and the pins and needles faded she stood and went to the window. It was dark outside, the streetlights were on. Delilah looked at the clock on the bedside table, it was half nine. What had happened to her? Had she passed out? She gently probed at her eye, wincing at the pain. It was definitely swollen and no doubt badly bruised.

Moving slowly and as quietly as possible, Delilah moved onto the landing, the front door was wide open. Was he still in the house? Was this a trap? She stopped at the top of the stairs, should she try and grab her phone? Make sure he was gone? No. That was stupid, what if he was hiding, waiting. The front door was right there, but he could be waiting for her to run out. Delilah took a breath then started running down the stairs. She made it out the front door and into the garden, she didn’t stop. Her mother lived nearby, she could make it there in a few minutes, if he was still in the house there was no point in banging on the neighbours doors, he’d hear her.

Barefoot and in pyjamas, Delilah ran down the road.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 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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