The first assignment I needed to complete at the beginning of the Narrative Unit was the Flash Fiction. In my English class, we were instructed to create a short story without dialogue, and no longer than 750 words. This assignment was extremely challenging for me at first, because I have never written a story with a word limit. When creating my first draft, I wrote a very complicated story, and eventually found that it could not be told in under 750 words. In my second attempt, I decided to truly challenge myself by exploring the thriller/horror genre. After making this decision, my sister helped me brainstorm new ideas, and eventually came up with an initial prompt: a story surrounding a pair of headphones that allow a person to hear the thoughts of other people, and the main character can hear someone plotting to kill them. This was an intriguing idea, however one major setback was that the story could not include dialogue. This meant that if a person was plotting to kill the main character, I would have to describe how the killer thought. I then realized that I can show the thoughts of the killer by shifting the story into his perspective, and create a truly interesting twist to my Flash Fiction.
I woke to the sound of wind relentlessly pushing rain against the window of my apartment building. They definitely weren’t lying when they called this the windy city. I groaned, reluctantly pulling myself out of my warm bed to get ready. Soon I found myself standing at the front door, grabbing my umbrella and briefly pausing in front of a large mirror on the wall. I quickly pulled my brown hair into a ponytail, studying the growing dark circles beneath my emerald eyes. I sighed, shaking my head as I recalled waking up in a panic the past few nights, night terrors leaving me shaken at 2am, not being able to differentiate reality and my dreams.
As I walked down the street towards the bus stop, I struggled to untangle the white cords of my headphones, before finally plugging the cord in and pressing play on my favorite song. A frown instantly made its way onto my face as I saw that the song was playing, but I heard nothing in my ears. I turned the volume up, twisted the cord around, unplugged and then plugged the cord back in. Finally, I gave up, sighing. These earbuds had lasted me almost 5 months, and they finally broke today. Dropping the headphones into the nearest trash can, I waited for the bus in silence, the sound of passing cars and people becoming my temporary song.
Before arriving at my office building, I made sure to stop by the thrift shop to pick up new earbuds, because there was no way I could make it through a whole day without my music. Searching the store, I eventually found a promising pair of black headphones, and quickly made my way out and walked the rest of the way to work.
Once I sat down at my desk, I plugged my new headphones in to finally listen to my music. I put my earbuds in and pressed play once again, waiting when a rush of noise filled my ears. But it wasn’t my music. It was voices, whispers. I pulled one earbud out, listening. No one in the office was speaking, let alone whispering. Figuring it must have been a glitch, I moved to unplug them, but stopped when heard a faint voice say my name. I paused. There was no one else in this building named Blair. I put both headphones back in and listened closely for the voice. The whispering returned to my earbuds once again, getting louder, yet I no longer heard coherent words.
Suddenly darkness enveloped my vision, causing ice cold fear to run through my veins, my heart pounding in my chest. I lifted my hand, trying desperately to pinch myself in hopes of waking up from whatever horrible night terror this was. The darkness quickly disappeared, however, and I found myself walking outside of my apartment. Much like most of my recent night terrors, I could no longer control any part of my body.
I watched the door open and quickly stole a glance at my mirror, when I realized I was not watching from my perspective. The person standing in the mirror was a man, wearing thick black clothes and a black ski mask, bright blue eyes gazing back at the mirror. I continued scanning the stranger, when my heart immediately dropped to my stomach. This person was wielding a knife. Feeling so utterly helpless and weak, I stared in pure terror as he began walking through my apartment. My brows furrowed as I watched him pass multiple electronics and other expensive items worth stealing. What was he looking for? The sound of a door creak brought my attention back once again to the intruder, who was now walking into my room.
My breathing hitched as I realized I was asleep in my bed.
The stranger moved slowly, knife facing down in his fist as he made his way toward my sleeping form. Tears blurred my vision as I tried desperately to scream, yell, anything to stop this person, but no sound escaped as I watched his blade raise from the corner of my eye, reflecting the light of the moon as it came down.
Suddenly, I ripped the earbuds from my ears and collapsed on the ground, gasping for air as I tried to take in what had just happened. Through my daze, I saw a hand offering to help me up. I gratefully took the person's hand and regained my balance once again, sitting in my chair. Right as I was about to thank the stranger, my eyes met his bright blue ones.