Short stories are my typical go-to when it comes to writing, most of the time what I end up doing is jotting down the beginning of a story or an idea and then pushing it off to the side. This particular piece I found tucked away on a hard drive simply labeled as “Attempt” with a date of creation from late 2016. Giving it a read-over myself, I can sort of guess where I was wanting to head with it; but I could use some help navigating where it goes, or even some tips on better constructing the story/improving my writing. If you have the time, please give it a read and leave your suggestions or ideas below. Any comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated.
The buckets are still littering about the ground, stuck to dried brushes dripping the midnight blue. After having watched them, toiling by day after day, the act of painting the barn was the only activity they had done that baffled me. What was the purpose? Why such a shade? I liked the way it was before, even as aged as it had seemed… at least it blended in with the scenery. Now it’s new coat only camouflaged it with the night sky, the new nails in the door glimmering like new stars in the moonlight. Were they meaning to mock me?
Every day is the same; the eldest son woke first before his siblings, cared and catered to their needs, then shortly after their rising the father rose and went out to care for the land’s demands. If it was sunny he was in the fields on the tractor or managing by foot. The daughter tended to the garden of flowers that encircled the house’s foundation while the youngest ran amuck in the yard and the eldest made homely repair endeavors. If it rained, the father was in the barn servicing old projects or livestock. The eldest would clean the house. The youngest would read or torment the family cat. Inside by 6, dinner at 7, snoring by 10; they had never made a move I had not seen coming –never even spoken a single word I had not assumed they might say.
Yet, this barn… in its new deep hue, disturbed me. In fact, in made me quite angry. And I was in no sense above showing my residents that they had displeased me. After all, this was still my home.
“You know that’s dangerous, what if the Evan had played with it!?” The oldest son had scolded his father, standing and pointing at the table between them in their dining room where his rifle lay fully loaded.
“I swear I didn’t even bring it out!” He insisted, throwing his arms up in defense.
I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as they deepened into their quarrel. This was a game we played. Small disturbances here and there, haunting their dreams with ghoulish images, escalating slowly over the years… With the irritation of this newness, how far would I go this time?
They still cannot see me. Doesn’t even matter where I am, dodging in the shadows or lingering in the middle of the room, their minds cannot fathom me. I wonder if they’ve ever suspected me. The bumps in the night, the misplaced objects, the little tugs and shoves. They shiver whenever I come near, but they know nothing about my presence. They know nothing of my past, of the villain they live with, nor of how I was robbed of everything.
Thunder was rolling in from the distance, across the withering fields and disturbing the quiet peace of the country. The wind carried the smell of rain… as well as something else. Something that made the house shutter differently than before. Different from even when my family had roamed these halls, and that was decades ago.
I can recall everything about myself, about my family, about how everything I had was taken from me… About whom had taken it from me. Sometimes I find myself with this want to weep and wail, other times it quiets within me, and every so often do I get this overwhelming urge to rip the walls apart.
“Help!” The daughter cries out the screen door towards the barn, “Come quick!”
The father sprints out from the twilight through the door into the dimly lit kitchen.
“What is it?” He asked, panting fiercely and soaked from the heavy rain.
“I- I don’t know, something’s wrong with Evan!” She frantically leads him into the living room, “He was doing something strange and I went to ask him what it was then he just flew up!” The father ignored her proclaims, regarding them as early defenses for her innocence, and he rushed past her through the threshold into their small ranch home. There, in the living room, was the 12 year-old body was pushed up 6 feet high onto the wall, held up by the force they could not see.
“What the h-” The father gasped and rushed over to his gasping son, grabbing ahold of his foot and attempting to pull him down. The daughter ran to her older brother where he shielded her eyes but allowed his own to gaze at the horror.
Grunting as he strained, the father continued to pull, the appliances began to flicker, and the surfaces began to quake. The boy writhed against the floral wall paper, the color of his face beginning to blend in with faded patterns of lilac.
The daughter catches a glimpse and begins to hyperventilate involuntarily, her breaths drowned out by the gathering loudness of wind that I brought to spin into the room, bursting through doors and shattering windows. The boy falls from the wall, tumbling over his father and passing out to the floor.
“Evan!” He cradles his son close to him, tears filling his eyes. The whole house was whirling with torment around the family as the cowered near one another, holding each other out of the way of the tornado that ravaged the inside of their home.
“Make it stop!” The daughter shrieked and pleaded while clasping to her father and brother.
Did they know I was standing with them when she said that?
Objects hit the floor all at once as I ceased all movements. A brief silence charged the atmosphere.
Adam… my voice carried out to him, dissipating into a whisper from a shout as it bled into the ears of the living.
“Adam.” A deep voice now, I had pulled them closer to my realm. The entire house groaned and the children cried out when I collided along the walls.
They all screamed, jumping at the nearness of my calling.
“Mom?” The oldest questioned. I watched the father’s lips tremble.
“J-Jude?” He muttered.
I threw the photos off the walls, each one containing my photo, letting the glass crash into the floorboards like raging waterfalls. The last photo, the final one of me with my son, landed right at the father’s feet.
My son was the first to see me, and the first to call the others to my presence. He faintly muttered “Mom?” which carried throughout the room. Something felt different this time.
There I stood, seen for the first time in 10 years by human eyes. I could tell I was noticed, and given this newfound discovery, I dared to be heard. I looked at my children, then at my widowed husband.