The Playground – Flash Fiction
The only noise that I hear is the swing creaking, and as I turn around to see this little girl, pale, with long auburn hair, that seems unwashed, hanging around her face in disarray. Her expression is distant. Her clothes ragged as if she has just come out from under something grave. Torn here and there, stained.
“Are you lost?” I ask, with a gentle voice; whether I use it for her or me, I’m not entirely sure.
“No.” she answers, but she keeps swinging, expressionless, her little feet working away at it. Her voice is bleak. Uninterested.
Nothing else seems to move around her. I feel like I can’t even move.
I feel her little eyes fixed on me and I see that she stopped swinging and just stares at me. There is no curiosity in the eyes as there would be for any other child, it’s something else. It’s something weird. It’s something that gives you goosebumps after you hear a voice in a room when there is no one there, you’d swear. It’s entirely unnatural. I notice that the eyes are black, like a hole, that’s too deep to decide where it might be going or whether it has an ending. Can it actually be that black and deep?
I want to ask her another question, but her scrutinising eyes stop me; they compel me to stay unmoved and as quiet as she is. I feel bound, like a pile of rock washed up by the sea, light and heavy all at once. I notice that the skin of her small figure is discoloured, ash-like, and there is some sickeningly sweet odour in the air vividly entering my nostrils. It makes me nauseous.
Suddenly I hear this high-pitched tone, like an echo backwards, at first like a distant memory of a kettle boiling. Then it becomes louder and louder and louder. Finally, it seems unbearable. I can feel my eyes stuck on the vision in front of me, as the creature starts moving towards me. Then, as a relief, I realise that I can close my eyes if nothing else to shut out the sight if I couldn’t shut out the sound.
I hear my scream mixing in with the enclosed darkness I find myself in.
It hurts. It hurts.
Then it is gone, and I force my eyes open. No sharp sound, no devilish child, just me staring at the swing creaking.
Written in 2018