I’m going to keep doing these as the mood takes me and they’re kind of snippets or starts or ideas and mostly just done to see how they feel when I press ‘publish’. I think one will stick then I will carry on with it.
Avalon sat on the old porch swing kicking her legs playfully and singing to her favourite doll. The night air fell cool on her skin and as the swing creaked in time with the song of the crickets she watched the sun set slowly behind the mountains.
“Bed soon Avalon” shouted her mother from inside. “We have a long trip tomorrow and need to be on the road to Picayune before seven.”
“Yes mom” said Avalon as the last rays of light sank below the towering peaks and the feint ribbon of fire on the horizon gave way to darkness. “Can I have just five minutes more, I want to watch the stars with Ophelia?”
“Okay sure” her mother replied over the clink of the dinner dishes “but no longer. I don’t want you to be tired when we see grandma.”
Avalon squeezed her doll tight and pointed out across the dark fields into the moonless sky, the silhouette of the barns and water tower now barely visible as night fell. “Ophelia, that’s Sirius, the brightest star in the sky” she said knowledgably.
The family farm was huge, and with barely a light to be seen for miles the milky way blazed a trail across the night sky. Avalon loved nothing more than to sit out, and though she was only nine already knew most of the major constellations by sight.
“Look there” Avalon said excitedly pointing to the west just above the tops of the mountains. A meteor blazed and then fizzled to nothing in the atmosphere. “There will be more if mother let’s us stay up.”
She kicked her legs and pushed off on the swing, the squeaking quickening. Another meteor burnt up on the horizon and her mother called again.
“Come on now you two, time to come and get ready for bed” she said popping her head around the screen door. Avalon considered asking to stay up later but the look on her mother’s face already told her it wasn’t going to happen.
“Yes Mom, coming” she said hopping down, and with Ophelia hanging by the arm she skipped across the porch singing quietly under her breath. On the other side of the door she could see her mother wiping dishes in the kitchen, but before she could get inside there was a flash of light as bright as day and a loud bang filled the air.
Avalon instinctively fell to the floor clasping Ophelia tight and tried to cover her ears to block out the noise. She heard her mother shouting from inside the house and hurried footsteps on the wooden floors but everything was shaking, and unable to move she stayed curled up in a ball in front of the door.
“Honey, move, I can’t open the door” she heard her mother shout over the sound of breaking glass. Heart pounding she peered through her fingers as the bang was replaced with a roar that sounded like a thousand waterfalls crashing down together and a bright green light lit up the yard in front of the house.
Her mother screamed and Avalon felt the door dig into her side as her mother forced it open. “Avalon, come on” her mother shouted lifting her from the floor and into her arms.
“Wait, Ophelia…” she said panicked reaching for the doll that had fallen from her grasp, but her mother was already running across the porch with her.
“No, there’s no time” she said as she took the steps two at a time and stumbled out onto the wide grassed area in front of the house “we need to get to the car now.”
The car was at the other side of the house, and she regained her feet she set off across the lawn. The noise grew louder with every step and the light began to pulse and flicker obscuring everything and making it difficult to make out the way. She felt her mother’s hand pull her head tight to her chest as a violent wind whipped up dust all around them until there was no way they could see which way was forward.
“Take my hand” she shouted putting her down on the ground.
The wind rocked her and unable to see anything but the dust and bright green light she fell to the floor. “Mom I’m scared” she cried as her mother reached out a hand to try and locate the house to get her bearings.
“This way” she shouted and dragged her by the hand through the swirling dust and wind. Avalon covered her eyes as they ran and there was a familiar crunch of the gravelled drive underfoot and as she stumbled again she felt the cold metal of the truck against her shoulder. “Quick, get in” he mother said and there was a click-thunk as her mother forced the truck door open against the wind as it grew in intensity.
Avalon scrambled into the footwell and turned to watch her mother clamber in but as she reached inside there was a roar as the wind pulled her from the vehicle and screaming she was thrown beyond Avalon’s view and the vehicle door slammed closed.
“Mom” she screamed as she pulled the handle and pushed against the door – but the wind was now too fierce and it slammed back each time she attempted to open it. She pressed her hands against the glass and stared out into the night desperate to see the shape of her mother heading back to her, but there was only the bright green light and the swirling dust carried on the wind that buffeted the truck.
Staring out into the night she waited, tears cutting through the dust that covered her from head to toe. She brushed her hair from her face as the roar of the wind grew louder and louder and the light brighter until quite suddenly, without warning, it stopped. Darkness returned and as the dust slowly began to settle she saw a shape walking towards her through.
“Mom” she shouted pulling at the door handle and pushing against it with everything she had. This time it gave way and she scrambled down, the gravel crunching beneath her feet. “Mom, mom over here” she continued and ran arms flung wide as her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness.
“Hello Avalon” came an unfamiliar voice and she stopped in her tracks. It was deep and rasping and as the dust cleared, her heart racing, she stared at the shadow as it emerged from the settling dust. It was like nothing she had ever seen, taller than any adult – dressed all in grey – and skin grey like that of a shark. It was vaguely human in appearance with large eyes set wide in a broad head. There was no nose, only small nostrils and a wide lipless mouth stretched across the face.
Avalon tried to scream, tried to run, but her legs would not move and nothing came out when she opened her mouth.
“Come now” the creature said scooping her up in his arms, “there are people waiting to see you.”