"47 Steps" photo by Angie Hedman
by Monica Kagan
A sharp noise slices into Megan's consciousness. She jerks awake. Wipes her eyes.
Skin itching, she switches on the lamp. Nothing stirs, save for the dust motes infiltrating her pores.
Agreeing to do the repairs in this ramshackle house is one thing, but sleeping over… What was she thinking?
She reaches for her mobile. No, it's probably nothing. Just my imagination. She clutches the baseball bat. Insurance.
Scrape... Scrape... A howl.
She looks outside the window. A dog? No.
A shout. Droplets of perspiration erupt on her palms.
Upstairs? She flips the light switch at the bottom of the staircase.
The globe's blown again. She retrieves her torch. Amorphous shapes shift in the darkness shrouding the halogen light.
A prickle on the nape of her neck. Blood rushes to her brain. She jumps.
Just a spider. She brushes it off. It scuttles away.
She grips her baseball bat and edges up the stairs.
She stops. Goosebumps ripple across her arms.
She continues up the spiral staircase.
Reaches the attic door. She twists the handle. It doesn't budge. No key. She knocks.
Squealing. Flapping of wings.
She shakes her head. Steady now.
"Anybody in there?"
She moves away.
A penetrating scream. Her pupils dilate, her insides congeal.
She almost drops the bat.
"Hello? Is… Is anybody there?"
She swings the bat at the door, pieces of wood splitting with each blow.
A rush of stale, musty air. She coughs.
Drops the flash light. Thud. Thud. Crouches down, gropes around in the dark.
Feels something metallic.
Switches the torch on. An enormous freezer stands against the wall.
In spite of herself, she wrenches open the lid.
She chokes, a freezing, suffocating odour penetrates her nose, burns the back of her throat.
Her eyes narrow, peering into the bowels of the beast:
Sinews, blood vessels trail from the severed head like bruised tentacles in the liquid.
A man's mouth. Twisted:
Frozen in a silent scream…
Monica Kagan lives by the sea in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa with her wonderful cat. She enjoys bewitching words. Her work appears inFourth & Sycamore (USA), Slim Volume: This Body I Live In anthology of poetry and flash fiction (Pankhearst, UK), Bonnie's Crew webzine (UK), and at FICTION on the WEB (UK), among others. Twitter: @MonicaOFAH
Angie Hedman is an artist, writer, gallery director/curator, and high school art educator who resides in Muncie, IN. She holds degrees from Ball State University in the areas of Fine Arts (Metals), and Art Education. Her art has been recently published or is forthcoming in Gravel, The Broken Plate, Drunk Monkeys, Montana Mouthful, 805 Lit+Art, and Pidgeonholes. Her poetry can be found in Ink to Paper, Three Line Poetry, and Celestial Musings: Poems Inspired by the Night Sky.