Fiction Friday: [A Change of Scenery]

[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. Unfortunately this time I blew past the word limit. Enjoy!]


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

Sallie’s fingers froze over the keyboard. She held her breath and listened intently in hopes of dissipating the fear. As the sound of her heart pounded in her ears, she really started to regret leaving the city.

Go to the country, her agent suggested, get a change of scenery.

A sense of dread, lurking just below the surface, had struck her from the moment she arrived. She’d attributed it to her overblown imagination and gone for a walk, hoping to combat her anxiety. Strolling along the quiet dirt road, she was drawn in by the hypnotic flow of the rolling hills and the graceful beauty of the grazing horses. In her trance-like state, she felt a sense of calm wash over her.

Then she came upon the sign. Spotted with rust and partly covered by vines, it should have been easy to miss, but she’d seen it, clear as day.

Friendship Cemetery 1773

Suddenly, she was standing on an overgrown path with no recollection of how she’d gotten there. At her feet, weeds snaked their way through cracked pieces of stone. In front of her, a short, stone stacked wall surrounded long forgotten tombstones. Her mind told her to run, but her body had other ideas.

The pebbles crunched beneath her feet—screaming through the quiet—as she breached the entrance to the cemetery. Her panic growing with each step. Her desperation to turn around growing even faster.

She finally stopped in front of an arched tombstone that had broken in two. It was weathered, but she could just make out the inscription across the bottom piece: April 1778 – Dec 1862. Her breathing grew shallow as she looked down and found her toes touching the top half that lay face down, on the ground. Reaching out to pick it up, her mind screamed in protest. She read the inscription and her blood ran cold. Her hands shook as the stone slipped through her fingers, breaking in two as it hit the ground.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

The banging brought her back and she jumped at the sound.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

It was coming from beneath her feet. It was coming from the grave.

She scrambled out of the cemetery, jumping over the wall. Too afraid to look back at the broken tombstone that lay on a bed of dead leaves. The tombstone that bore the name Sallie Fleming.

Her name.

Now, sitting at her laptop in the quaint little farmhouse, Sallie clasped her hands over her mouth to hold in a blood curdling scream. She could taste the saltiness of the tears that seeped their way to her palms. Closing her eyes, the sound that had followed the creaking felt even closer.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

As she opened her eyes, a scream ripped from her throat right before her heart stopped.