It’s the cheapest flat in the building: a basement-level studio apartment constantly infested by mildew, mould and small creatures which thrive in the darkness. You’ve hated it since you moved in, the way the floorboards shift under your feet, the gentle scraping noises from the wall behind your bed, the slow spread of damp across the ceiling, a hideous taupe against the white paint. It’s the damp which kills the light. You’re at your desk, rammed between wardrobe and wall, your back to the room, when the bulb blows.

Instinctively, you push away from the desk, almost tripping in shock at the sudden, invasive darkness. For several long, tense moments, you can’t tell the difference between closing and opening your eyes until you grow aware, slowly, of a blinking light in the sliver of window high above your head. A passing car throws through just enough light to guide you to the scented candle you keep in your kitchenette. You mentally curse your landlord as you navigate back to your desk, guided by flickering candlelight.

There’s no point continuing with the book you’d been reading, so you gear up your laptop instead. You’ve needed an upgrade for about a year, and it shows as your laptop takes almost a full minute to load, and another to successfully open a browser. It automatically reloads the last page you visited, a cheesy horror site in which alleged murderers post photos of their next ‘victims’. Most of it’s silly and a little sad, pictures of pretty girls and people’s weedy bosses accompanied with graphic captions. Nothing you’re likely to take seriously. Until, that is, you see the latest post, captioned only ‘tonight’.

The shot is dark and indistinct, so blurry you can barely make it out. As your eyes adjust to the picture, however, you can pick out familiar furniture, a tiny kitchen and your own face, lit only by candlelight.

Behind you, the door opens.

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Hi Lauren, I loved the way this story flows, carrying the reader along with observations – the passing car, I think everyone will relate to their bedroom being lit up this way, the slow lap top warming up too. The familiarity draws the reader in, and then comes the big ? I like this story Lauren.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

I love the way you’ve put the reader into the story as the protagonist,Lauren. I really did feel that I was in that dark little flat. Your words really pull the reader in, the pacing throughout is great, with the nice little twist at the end, which definitely sent a shiver down my spine.

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
1 year ago

Don’t do this to me. We are getting intermittent power cuts at the moment and I will be on my own tonight!

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
1 year ago

Great story, Lauren! I love it. Excellent build up from the seemingly simple light bulb blowing to the laptop that needs to be upgraded, then almost accidentally opening on that page. Very well done 🙂

Alan Kemister
Alan Kemister (@alan-kemister)
1 year ago

Interesting story. Don’t often see second person stories. This one does a great job focusing on the mundane until the creepy ending. Will it be the lover playing a joke, or a psychopath?

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Honestly, you make me pull out my chair and look at my back. I love how you build it. I didn’t expect that last part. Congrats.

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