Fiction Friday: [Sterling Farms]

A couple of weeks ago I posted a story about a writer's creepy visit to a graveyard. It was based on a prompt by Scene Stealers, but I'd exceeded the word count and never submitted it. Boo! Well, I decided to take another stab at it and this piece of flash comes in at 350 words on the dot.

[This week's Fiction Friday is my submission for Scene Stealers #21. Scene Stealers is a fun writing prompt from Write to Done where they provide the first two--or in this case three--sentences and limit your word count to 350. Enjoy!]


She looked up from her writing. Was that a creak? But she'd oiled the hinges just yesterday.  

Another creak. She felt her muscles tighten. Her ears perked, straining for a clue.

This is why a city girl shouldn't visit the country, she thought.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Goosebumps stood her hairs on end and her breathing grew shallow. She looked down at her fingers, frozen over the keyboard, and realized they were shaking.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Closing her eyes, she tried to fold into herself, but knew she had to get in control of the situation. She slowly made her way toward the vicinity of the tapping. Her ear touched the wall and she was startled by its iciness. Regardless, she pressed it tighter and listened. She didn't have to wait long.

The sound of clawing screamed in her ear from the other side. Long, deliberate strokes escalating to desperate scrapes. She couldn't breathe as the fear sat heavily on her chest.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

The sound echoed and amplified in her ear. She shot from the wall. Grabbing her laptop, she shoved it into its case. As she was about to gather the rest of her things:

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Racing out of the house and into the car, she drove blindly until she came across a hotel. Although it was thirty minutes away, it still didn't feel far enough. Settled in, she opened her laptop, launching the search engine.

"Sterling Farms, Middleburg VA"

She read article after article about how, in 1992, during renovations, a body had been found buried within a bedroom wall of the farmhouse. They'd determined the body to be that of Margaret Sterling, who had gone missing in 1832. Forensic evidence proved she'd been buried alive. Evidence such as scratch marks and divots dug out with her finger.

An hour later, she was still in front of the computer, knees pulled up to her chin as she hugged herself tightly. Wide, unblinking eyes sat over her tear stained cheeks. She would never return to that house again. Not when she knew that Margaret was still there.