How very fitting that the same week I set up my new blog is the same week that Chuck Wendig over at terribleminds.com decides to use psychic powers as the subject for his flash fiction challenge. Although I’m late with this (later than I hoped, anyway), here is the short story I whipped up for the challenge.
PS, this is my first attempt at a flash fiction challenge, so be gentle with me!
She walked through the house quietly, making sure to keep her pace slow enough to admire the artwork and sculptures that littered the hallways and rooms.
It was a great old house with lots of history and even more controversy. She had heard too many rumours, too many stories to know what to believe, and so she took in her surroundings without even a single thought of the things she had been told.
Breathing in the musty air of the estate, she closed her eyes, leaning on the railing of the massive staircase that led to the grand entrance below. It would be a job for her to sell the place, as beautiful as it was. The cleaning alone would take days, if not weeks, and she got the impression that the house was hiding more than cobwebs.
She opened her eyes once more and began descending the stairs. Her stomach felt strange, and she wanted nothing more than to take a nap. She wondered why, as she had eaten a big meal only an hour before, and she had felt fine then.
Suddenly overcome by dizziness, her vision went dark, causing her to lose her balance. She barely maintained consciousness as she tumbled down the marble stairs, hearing a snap but unsure of where from.
Realizing she was on the cold floor of the foyer, she tried to reach into her coat pocket for her cell phone. A sharp pain shot through her arm as she did so, and she could see blood on her suit.
Taking a moment to breathe, she tried to focus on sitting up. After a few long minutes, she had forced herself into a sitting position on the floor, cradling her badly broken arm.
“Miss, are you alright?” asked a quiet voice from beside her, startling her.
She turned to see a young man crouching next to her, his blue eyes staring at her arm.
“Can you call an ambulance for me? I fell on the stairs, and I can’t dial my phone myself,” she explained as calmly as she could.
Before she could protest, the boy, no older than eighteen with wild blonde hair, was reaching for her injured arm. His other hand touched her cheek gently as he whispered comforting words to her.
“What are you doing?” she asked angrily, trying to back away from him.
“I’m trying to help you, but you need to stay still. If you move, it might now work.” He still stared at her arm, his brows furrowed in concentration.
Confused and intrigued, she remained still, watching the intensity of his face mingle with the strange calm he seemed to radiate.
Her arm began to feel warm then, and it seemed to tingle as if it had been asleep and the sensation was returning. Fighting the urge to pull away from the boy, she tried to stay calm. She felt almost as though her arm was burning, and she made a small sound of panic involuntarily.
The boy glanced up at her and placed a hand on her cheek to soothe her, giving her a quick and sweet smile before turning his attention back to her arm.
He seemed much older now as she looked closer at his face, although the signs of youth were still very much present. There was a feeling of wisdom she was sensing, unlike anything she had felt before.
As she observed the boy at work, she thought she could see a strange energy passing through his hands to her arm, almost like heat rising from the asphalt on a summer day. There was a distortion in the air around them, and it seemed to take on strange rays of colour for brief seconds only to disappear completely.
“Do you feel okay?” the boy asked quietly, not looking up.
“I feel strange. But my arm doesn’t hurt so much anymore.” She wanted to ask questions. What was happening? What was she seeing? What was the odd sensation she felt through her entire arm? But she couldn’t seem to make herself put those questions into words.
“Only a couple more minutes,” he whispered more to himself than to her.
The heat in her arm intensified a moment later, and she cried out, but just as quickly as it had worsened, it was gone. All that remained was the tingling, the pins and needles, and even that was quickly fading.
Her head was light, and she felt almost drunk then. The boy released her arm and looked her in the eye curiously.
“Is that better?” He stared at her, waiting for her answer.
She pulled up the sleeve of her jacket gingerly, finding blood smeared on her arm, but no source for the red liquid. Touching the flesh, it didn’t feel bruised. There was no sign of any injuries at all aside from the blood.
Wiggling her fingers, she turned her arm about looking for the location of the break but finding nothing. Her heart raced as she searched, but she could feel no pain in her forearm.
She looked up frantically at the boy as he go to his feet before her.
“What did you do?”
He smiled and offered her his hand, pulling her to her feet a little less gracefully than she would have liked.
“I stopped the pain. It’s in my nature to help those who are hurt.”
“It doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you’re alright now.” He gave her another quick smile and bowed his head, then turned to leave the manor.
“Wait! What were you doing here?”
Stopping as he opened the large double doors of the entrance, he turned to face her once more.
“I was walking by and heard a scream. You should go get cleaned up.” The doors closed loudly behind him as he left her standing in the cavernous room.