While carrying his new wife over the threshold of the honeymoon suite, Doug’s eyes lit up at the size of the massive bed in front of him.
Those pillows were big enough to suffocate his new wife for cheating on him.
Landing on the bed, Sophie looked at her new husband and wondered how long it would be before the spiked drink she had made him consume, would knock him out cold so she could spend the night with Mike, Doug’s best friend.
Two floors below, Mike wondered which of the newlyweds would be joining him in bed tonight. “It’s not fair,” he protested as he paced up and down his hotel room. “One of them should have been here by now.”
He hated the thought of the newlyweds sleeping together.
Two floors above, while holding an oversized pillow in his hands, Doug angrily protested to his new wife that she had probably cheated on him. “It’s not fair; how can you have wanted to sleep with somebody else and not me?”
“It’s not fair,” Sophie quietly protested to herself, while looking somewhat worryingly up at her husband. “That spiked drink I gave you should have worked by now. She wished she still had the knife she had used to inscribe their names on the park bench where she and Doug had first met.
Doug’s mind wandered back to their first date. It was a bunch of flowers he had held in his hands at 15:30 that day. Now, here he was holding an oversized bed pillow in front of Sophie. He wondered if their names were still inscribed on the park bench.
Two floors below, Mike thought about the park bench where he and Sophie had first made love at the stroke of midnight. Putting his right hand into the trouser pocket of his postal carrier uniform, he felt the outline of the handle of a revolver. He knew his jealousy was forcing an extreme situation to develop.
Two floors above, Sophie wished she could wish herself back to the postal depot where she and Mike worked, so she could escape the extreme situation Doug was putting her in.
Just before deciding now was the right time to smother Sophie’s face with the pillow, Doug’s vision became a little blurry. Why had Sophie put them both in this extreme situation?
Sophie’s face wasn’t the last thing he saw as his heavy eyelids succumbed to the spiked drink Sophie had given him. As he fell to the floor, it was the picture hanging on the wall, of a dog sitting in a daisy field, that was his final vision. It spoke to him.
Two floors below, after removing the revolver from his trouser pocket, Mike’s eyes became transfixed on the same picture of a dog sitting in a field of daisies. It spoke to him.
Having escaped Doug, Sophie hesitated before knocking on Mike’s hotel room door. Was she doing the right thing? Shouldn’t she go back and check on Doug?
The first words that entered Mike’s head when looking at the picture of the dog in the field of daisies were ‘I love you.’ He wished he’d kept the sugar letter he’d received while on duty in Iraq.
Torn by love and lust, Sophie suddenly remembered the reply she’d got from a sugar letter she’d sent. Had he meant what he had said? Was now the right time to find out?
Two floors above, Doug dreamt about a tall stranger dressed in military uniform stood in a field of daisies, and who held an unopened letter towards him. “Not everything is as it seems,” whispered the stranger. He watched as the dog next to the stranger turned into a cat named Rainbow. Holding a library book in its mouth, Rainbow jumped out of the picture and disappeared.
Two floors below, Sophie decided it was time to find out the answer. However, the ‘ping’ of the elevator doors opening stopped her from knocking on Mike’s door. She watched in disbelief as a cat exited the lift.
Aiming the revolver at the door of his hotel room, Mike made the sound of a gunshot before sneezing loudly. Only cats made him sneeze. Hotels didn’t have cats, did they? Thank goodness nobody else was in the room. Putting the gun back into his trouser pocket, the sound of meowing from the other side of his hotel room door startled him. He hesitated before moving towards it.
Having decided to follow the meowing cat, Sophie was shocked by what she saw as she turned the corner of the hotel corridor. In front of her, an open road with a cat running towards the horizon. Where was she, and should she follow the cat?
Two floors above, Doug’s dream continued. Rainbow, the cat, reappeared, only this time somebody was following the feline down an open road. “Don’t follow,” he murmured.
Having decided to follow the cat, Sophie came to a grinding halt when it suddenly stopped and turned around to face her. “Clarice isn’t who you think she is,” echoed a voice in Sophie’s head. But who was Clarice?
Turing the handle of his hotel room door, Mike let out another almighty sneeze. “Clarice, are you in there?” came a voice from the other side of the door.
Two floors above, Doug’s eyes flickered before suddenly opening. The familiar face of a woman peered down at him. “Hello, Doug. I’m Clarice. How can I help you?” asked the woman.
Doug watched as Clarice tapped her long fingernails onto the cover of a hardback book she carried. He could tell she grew impatient with him while waiting for his response.
Two floors below, Mike froze to the spot. He’d not heard the name Clarice mentioned for years. The faint sound of tapping broke his concentration.
While Sophie wondered who Clarice was, a tapping noise behind her forced her to spin around. Her eyes met the rear view of a woman who tapped her fingers on a book while standing over the body of a man Sophie thought she recognised. As she walked towards the figure, she noticed the front cover of the book in the woman’s hand. On it, a black rabbit whose nose seemed to be twitching.
As Mike looked up at the ceiling of his hotel room, the tapping noise he heard reminded him of a rabbit he’d once seen hopping along a newly tiled roof. Particles of paint dust falling from the ceiling forced his eyes to twitch uncontrollably.
Two floors above, Doug’s eyes twitched as they focused on Clarice’s face. “Run rabbit, run,” she sang. “Doug, did you know there’s a gun?”
“A gun? Who’s got a gun?” murmured Doug, as he tried to take control of his body which felt like a block of concrete. “And where’s Sophie?”
Two floors below, Sophie’s eyes moved from the twitching nose of the rabbit to the back of the mysterious woman’s head. “You’re not as in control as you think you are, Sophie,” giggled the woman.
Forced to close his eyes, to protect them from the paint dust, the tapping noise Mike heard suddenly stopped. Opening his eyes slowly, he was stunned to see the face of a woman looking down at him.
“I know what you did, Clarice,” giggled the face looking down at Mike. “You tampered with the pizza, didn’t you?” As alarm bells rang in his head, pains raced across Mike’s chest and down his arms.
As the woman turned around slowly to reveal her face, Sophie’s heartbeat increased. Horrified, she watched as the book in the woman’s hand turned into a slice of pizza.
“Now, I’m in control,” screamed the woman.
Two floors above, Doug became more and more terrified at the way Clarice looked at him.
“Sophie? The one who poisoned the pizza you ate?” she asked.
As the screaming woman continued yelling, the head on the body besides her rose and turned towards Sophie.
“Shield your face,” it yelled, “don’t allow her to take control.”
Two floors above, Doug was stunned by Clarice’s words. “Sophie poisoned me?” he asked. Tears formed in the corner of his eyes, forcing him to shield his face from Clarice.
Two floors below, having collapsed to the floor, the shooting pains Mike experienced abruptly stopped. As he continued to look up, he watched as a bright light took the place of the woman’s face, forcing him to shield his eyes.
His army service time in Iraq made Mike think an explosion would follow, but nothing materialised.
Opening his eyes, he was gobsmacked by a crazy situation unfolding in front of him. Now, Mike found himself looking down at himself.
Thinking she recognised the warning voice; Sophie couldn’t help but keep her eyes on the crazy situation going on in front of her.
“Time to die. But who?” yelled the woman.
Two floors above, Doug moved his hands away from his face and found he was alone again.
“That’s crazy. People don’t just disappear into thin air,” he insisted.
Rolling his heavy body towards the spot where Clarice had disappeared, Doug rubbed his hand over the long, bare floorboards. A crackling sound of static made the hairs on the back of his hand tingle.
Two floors below, Mike looked down at himself and took a deep breath. Pushing out the air hard, he aimed it towards the longboards just below where his other-self lay.
He watched as the boards started cracking.
Terrified by what the woman had yelled at her, Sophie’s shielded her face as the floorboards underneath the woman began to make a cracking sound.
As the sound of cracking floorboards got louder, Sophie remembered what Doug had told her if she ever found herself in danger. Run for your life.
As Mike felt the foul-smelling breath of his other self hit his body, he put his army training into good use. Rolling his body away from the cracking floorboards, he watched, stunned, as the floorboards rose, instead of falling.
Two floors above, a strange feeling of being in danger germinated in Doug’s head. He had to get up and run for his life, but something or somebody seemed to be holding down his legs.
If he still had feelings in his legs, why could he not see what was holding them down?
Doug’s attention was then diverted to the picture that had fallen off the wall earlier. It rang like a telephone.
Two floors below, Mike watched in astonishment as floorboards rose towards the face of his other-self.
“I wonder if the floorboards taste better with ketchup on them?” asked the face on the ceiling as it began to mutate.
Before turning to run from danger, the floorboards beneath the woman began to rise. Gasping, Sophie watched as a bathtub and a toaster came up through the floor.
“What the hell is going on?” screamed Mike, as he watched a cat, dog and a picture that made the sound of a ringing telephone come through the hole in the floor. He watched in amazement as they rose towards the mutated face on the ceiling.
Two floors above, Doug watched in horror as his legs began to fade. It was as if somebody was using an eraser to make them disappear. Then the screaming started as the erasing moved past his legs and towards the upper part of his body.
Not being able to move, Doug stood no chance of surviving his fate. Within a minute, the honeymoon suite was empty of human life.
Having decided that now was the best time to run away from danger, Sophie struggled to move her legs. It was as if somebody had stuck her shoes to the floor.
Bending down, she hurriedly untied the laces while her ears focused on the cracking sound of the floorboards around her. As her fumbling fingers tried untying the knot on her left shoe, Sophie glanced towards the woman who had terrified her. But she had gone.
Looking up in terror, Mike watched as his the mutated face, now a monster consumed everything that rose towards it. Then it turned it’s attention to Mike, exhaled its grotesque breath and stated to suck Mike up towards it.
Not even trying to claw at the floorboards prevented Mike’s body being pulled up towards the ceiling. As the mouth of the creature opened wide, it revealed black, pointed teeth that dripped with a vile, yellowish, semi-thick liquid. The only person that heard Mike scream was Sophie.
As the terrifying scream of Mike pierced Sophie’s eardrums, she struggled to get her feet free from her shoes. As the cracks in the floorboards grew longer, she started to panic. But it was too late for the newlywed. As her body fell through the breaking floorboards, Sophie never got to find out her fate.
Looking at the clock on her desk, Clarice knew it was way past her bedtime. Although she had been given the challenge by the producers to include herself in a new show for a demanding science-fiction audience at Netflix, she didn’t want to play the villain.
The production team at Netflix had loved reading her short stories on her blog and contacted her to offer her the chance to write for them. At first, all Clarice could see were pound signs pouring into her overdrawn bank account. The ‘powers-to-be’ at Netflix had even sent her an advance, hoping it would encourage her to write the pilot for the show quickly.
Picking up the ball of paper that contained the storyboard for the pilot episode of the show, called ‘The Newlyweds,’ Clarice wished she had cast herself as Sophie.
Perhaps the ‘powers-to-be’ would extend the deadline for her?
The Newlyweds is a story written as part of the weekly 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at The Carrot Ranch.
The object of the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction from a prompt using only 99 words (no more or no less).
There may be slight differences in the above version compared to the episodes published on my blog.
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