If you are reading this letter, then that means that I am no longer of this world.
It also means that I’m going to have to have to bring you up to speed fairly quickly.
I know that growing up, you and I were not on the best of terms. I know that you’d probably rather be on vacation than dealing with my unfinished business, but for your safety, and for our legacy, I ask that you please take what I am about to tell you very seriously.
By now, I am sure you’ve come back here and started sorting through my things. I am sure you’ve shuffled through my tarot cards at least once as well as found the talisman in the envelope that contained this letter.
I put down my glass of wine, pinched the bridge of my nose, and rubbed my eyes. Was the talisman she referred to the pewter-colored coin that came with the letter? Was it a talisman because of its markings? I knew that my mother believed in tarot readings, but how did she know all of that? How did she know what I would do before she died? None of it could be true. I wasn’t reading it right. It must have been the wine, the grief, the emotions that I was so desperate to numb, the revelation that the father that I grew up with was not my actual father.
But the more I read it, the more I couldn’t ignore her words. I took another sip of the wine, let its sweetness coat my tongue, and continued.
The cards will warn you of dangers to come. The talisman, if kept close to you, will keep you from harm. Keep them with you at all times.
If you do not, your father — your real father — will find you at your most vulnerable and consume your soul without hesitation like the demon he is.
I blinked sleepily. This was too much. He? An opening? Consuming my soul? Why did I bother opening this tonight? Why couldn’t I have just turned on the TV and drank my wine instead?
I thought I could outsmart him. Move away. Start a new life. But no matter where I headed, he would arrive before me. I have kept him at bay for decades and can no longer. But I know that you will find the strength within to send him away for good this time, because like me, you are a descendant of the highest order of witc–
I drank the last of my wine and crumpled up the letter. I’d had enough, and I could not tell if my head was spinning from the wine or the nonsense of my mother’s words. This must have been her way of reasoning through the trauma of how I was conceived, whether by rape of a souring relationship.
I turned on a sitcom and let bad jokes drown my thoughts. I picked up the strange coin she called a talisman and smoothed my thumb over its ridged face. I contemplated throwing it away.
But like the tarot cards I left in the filing cabinet at her house, I didn’t have the heart to throw it away either.
I kept it in my fist, turned off the television, and climbed upstairs to my bedroom. I swapped my clothes for pajamas and placed the talisman on my dresser.
So much for my vacation.
My alarm clock read “2:16 AM” when I woke up to canned laughter coming from the TV downstairs. I guessed that I had forgotten to turn off the TV. Dry eyes blinking opening, I groan out of bed and went downstairs.
Interchanging between static and sitcom, the TV blinked on and off. I reached for the remote and hit the power button.
The TV still flickered.
I flipped the remote on its back and popped open the battery case. I rotated one battery to check the year: 2020. They still seemed good. I tried turning it off again.
The TV did not respond.
But out of the corner of my eye, I saw it briefly flash two red letters.
My heartbeat quickened. I clenched the remote in my hand.
More letters flashed by.
H O W
Then the static washed out, leaving a plain blood-red screen with three black words.
M I S S
I looked around the living room and called my brothers’ names. “Dale? Randy? If this is your idea of some kind of joke, I’m not having any fun.”
The three words disappeared, and new ones reappeared.
W A N T
I shook my head. Where in the world had TV shows ran off to these days? Who stayed up at 2 in the morning to watch something like this?
Tossing my remote on to the couch, I reasoned that the only way to turn off the TV was to do it manually. I stepped past the couch and squatted in front of the screen.
But rather than the low hum of the TV, someone’s warm, steady breath coated my face.
Followed by old family photos of my father, my mother, Dale, Randy…
And a man with shadows for eyes.
A clammy hand reached out from the TV, grabbed my face, and yanked hard.
I shrieked and wrenched myself away. I ran upstairs, watching a white hand with black nails find purchase on the living room carpet and bring the rest of its limbs out onto the floor.
Locking my bedroom door behind me, I turned on the light to my room and rushed to my cell phone. With trembling hands, I dialed 911.
An officer picked up on the first ring. “Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?”
I swallowed hard. “There’s this man that’s somehow gotten inside my house and messed with my TV, and I think he wants to kill me. Please hurry!”
The door split apart, sending burning wood chips to the floor.
Hand outstretched, burning with flames, the man with shadows for eyes stood before me.
Omg, this was the fastest I ever had to write a flash fiction @-@. Literally writing this the night before it has to go up. Anyway, as promised, I’m continuing the scary story of another Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge participant by the name of Runner Skye. I recommend you read Part 1 and then read Part 2, but… if you got this far you might have read my part already, and been like, “Er…”
And also, there are two others writers who continued the story, soooo… it’s almost like a choose your own adventure at this point.