Joan McHugh is currently enrolled in the Bachelor program, Creative Writing for Entertainment, at Fullsail University. She has written several flash fiction stories. Her aspirations include, writing her own horror screenplay. Please contact Joan via email JEMchugh@student.fullsail.com
Jackson tossed his lucky coin up into the air. You can never be too careful on a day like the 13th, he thought. He plopped down on his blue microfiber couch, and flipped through television channels. Black and white figures danced across the screen. His mind was set on one thing, where was Julia? She worked nights at a piano bar, and soothed lonely souls with her sultry voice.
The clock laughed in his face, as the hands ticked by. Butterflies fluttered around Jackson’s stomach. Julia always called around the same time, every night after the end of her shift. She would stay on the phone with Jackson, with pepper spray in hand until she arrived at her car. The employees parked in a back parking lot that had only one street light.
He rose from the couch, and dragged his feet behind him to the kitchen. He opened the fridge and found a six pack. Alcohol coarsed it’s way through Jackson’s veins. His nerves calmed, Jackson let out a sigh.
Jingling keys grazed along the bronze door handle. Lock mechanisms shifted back and forth. The handle of the door turned. Combat boots shuffled along the painted concrete floor. A leopard printed figure appeared against the beige and tan wallpaper. Jade eyes conjured tears that flowed down porcelain cheeks.
“Jackson?” whispered Julia.
“Julia! Thank god your home,” said Jackson. “What took you so long?”
“Shush, keep your voice down.”
“There are two masked men near the elevator and they have a gun.”
Pop! Shots fired near the hallway. Jackson and Julia crouched down on the floor. They crawled to the bedroom, and shut the door behind them. The front door pounded, as the gunmen forced their feet against it. Julia’s heart jumped with each kick. Jackson held her close to comfort her.The hinges wore and the door flew open.
“Get in the closet,” said Jackson.
Julia crawled into the closet and shut the door in front of her. She peered through the wooden panels. Her hands rustled around, feeling for an object she could defend herself with. Jackson glanced around the room. A lamp, with a round brushed nickel bottom caught his eye. Darkness filled the room.
Doors flung open and slammed around the apartment. Metal clamored around the kitchen. Shoes tip toed toward Jackson and Julia’s bedroom. Jackson waited, his arms held high behind the bedroom door. The handle turned and the door creaked open. A dark figure creeped into the room.
Jackson forced the lamp against the gunman’s head. The gunman fell to the floor. Blood poured from his skull. Julia shrieked, and flung open the closet door. She skated across the room to Jackson, slipping in the gunman’s blood. A shadow loomed in the corridor. With an elevated sense of caution, Jackson raised the lamp above his head. Julia grasped a beer bottle she found in the closet.
The shadow approached the bedroom. The chamber of his gun smacked against the door. He waved his gun around the dark room. Building her courage, Julia crept up behind the gunman. She bashed his head with the beer bottle. Concussed, the gunman aimed his gun toward Julia.
Jackson loomed over the intruder. The argent moon glowed across his face. He raised the lamp above his head, and slammed it down on the gunman’s face. The second gunman fell to the floor. Blood spewed from the gunman’s nose. Jackson grunted, as the lamp crashed down on the gunman once more. Blood poured from his skull. Vermillion dripped down the lamp stand. Jackson hyperventilated, the thought of Julia’s close demise brought tears to his eyes. Julia wrapped her arms around Jackson’s waist. She never wanted to let go, she thought if she did the nightmare would continue.
“We are safe now,” whispered Jackson. Sweat dripped from his forehead and splashed onto the floor. Thoughts raced through Jackson’s mind as he clutched his lucky coin.
If Julia had called earlier, would this have happened? He blocked the negative thoughts from his mind. Soft fingers entwined Jackson’s, and the couple met each others gaze. Overwhelmed, they both looked down at the pool of blood on the concrete floor.
“I think we need to move,” said Julia.