Shrinking World. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend! Mine was a mixed bag, went over to my cousins for a few drinks which was really fun, was great chatting and catching up. I also got a migraine so ended up having to leave but it was fairly late at that point anyway so I just went home and straight to bed. I made buttered noodles for the first time today, it was really good, I’ve never had it before and I figured I might as well load up on calories seeing as I lost some weight last week. Ridiculously easy to make too.

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Shrinking World.

Luke plodded along, his head down against the cold rain. In each hand he carried a heavy bag filled with the weeks shopping. He hadn’t brought an umbrella with him when he went out thinking he’d beat the rain. He didn’t even grab his waterproof jacket and now the one he wore was heavy and sodden, clinging and sticking to his body. He was shivering slightly but he was almost home and he was looking forward to a hot shower, Siobhan could take care of putting away the shopping. A breeze picked up, driving the rain against him. He reached the end of his road and started walking a little faster, drops of rain dripped from his hair and nose, he no longer bothered trying to wipe them away. He reached the driveway and hurried up it, dropping a bag at the door to fish his key from his pocket. Normally Siobhan would keep an eye out for him when the weather turned bad so he wouldn’t be fumbling with his keys at the door. He unlocked the door, grabbed the bag from the ground and rushed inside, closing the door behind himself. “I’m back!” he was greeted by silence, he shrugged out of his jacket and dropped his keys into the bowl by the door, she must have popped out somewhere, he’d check the kitchen for a note after his shower. He started up the stairs then paused, he needed to get the meat into the fridge. Sighing he stepped back into the hall and grabbed the bags, lugging them into the kitchen. He scanned the counter quickly for a note and not seeing one started putting away the shopping.

Luke stripped off quickly and stepped into the shower, letting the warm water wash over him. He sighed, absolute bliss. Twenty minutes later he was out of the shower and dressed in a warm pair of pyjamas. It was a little early but he’d no plans to leave the house for the rest of the day. Once he was dressed he went down to the kitchen and flicked on the kettle, a hot cup of tea was just what the doctor ordered. He paused at the window, outside the sun was shining down, not a cloud in the sky, he rolled his eyes, of course the rain stopped now that he was home. He opened the cupboard to grab out a mug then paused, the cupboard was empty. Were all the mugs in the dishwasher? He didn’t think they’d used that many of them. He went to the smaller cupboard where they kept mostly junk and grabbed out one of the novelty mugs Siobhan’s parents got them last Christmas. The mug was made in the shape of Santa’s head, but it looked as though the face had started melting. Since then the mugs had resided in the cupboard, only brought out briefly when ever Siobhan’s parents visited. Luke dropped a teabag into the mug and poured over the hot water, while it was brewing he went to the fridge to get out the milk. He pulled open the door and grabbed the milk, as the door was about to close he grabbed it and pulled it open wider, the fridge looked emptier than before, had Siobhan cleaned it out while he was shopping? He hadn’t noticed it earlier but then he had been distracted. He closed the fridge and added milk to his tea. Luke took a sip then sighed, he’d grab a few biscuits from the drawer then go into the sitting room and put his feet up. He pulled open the drawer they kept their sweet stash in and found it empty. What the hell? Luke pulled open the drawer underneath it and found that one empty too. He started pulling open cabinets and drawers at random, each one was empty. He could feel a deep, sinking sensation in his stomach, this wasn’t right. He reached into his pocket for his phone then realised he left it upstairs.

Luke grabbed his phone from the bed and tried ringing Siobhan, but it just rang out. He hung up and sent her a quick text asking that she ring him as soon as she saw it. As he texted he walked from his room and downstairs again. There had to be an explanation for the empty presses, he pushed open the kitchen door, as he passed by the kitchen table he reached out for his mug, but there was nothing there. He stopped and looked up from his phone the kitchen table was gone, as was the fridge and the cooker. What the fuck? He’d only been gone two minutes at best and the house was silent, there was no way anyone could have moved the fridge, cooker and kitchen table without him hearing. He backed out of the kitchen and started ringing Siobhan again, something was seriously wrong. Luke went to the front door and tried to pull it open but it wouldn’t budge, the bowl where he had thrown his keys earlier was gone, as was the small side table they had in the hall. He looked down to where he had taken his shoes off, they were gone too. He opened the door to the sitting room, it was empty, not even the carpet was left. His head felt funny, his heart was beating too fast and the thundering beat of it filled his head. He turned from the sitting room, intending to go upstairs but the staircase was gone, in its place was a smooth floor and ceiling. Luke turned to go back into the sitting room but the door was gone, the wall was smooth, he looked over towards the kitchen door, then the front door, both were gone. Luke leaned against the wall, it was hard to breathe, it felt like there was no oxygen getting into his lungs. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, when he opened them the hall was smaller, now he could reach out either side of himself and touch the walls. He pushed against them but they were solid, he swung back his arm and punched, expecting his fist to go through plasterboard. His fist hit the wall and he felt a bolt of pain through his knuckles and fingers, the wall itself was undamaged. Luke cradled his hand, he could see it, the walls closing in. every time he blinked they jumped closer until the walls were pressing in on him from all sides, he could only stand and even then it was getting difficult to breathe. Then it happened, he couldn’t breathe, the pressure on his chest was too much, he blinked one final time and the small space he stood in collapsed.

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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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