A215 Creative Writing – Assignment 5 ‘Number Thirty’

Going through my A215 folder (looking for inspiration for my fifth A363 advanced creative writing assignment!), I found the story I wrote for my 5th A215 assignment and figured I’d post it for fun.

Number Thirty

They thought it was a misprint when the estate agent emailed them with the details of a large one bedroom property within easy walking distance from a mainline station and a garden. When the agent replied that no, the price was correct they were sceptical. The asking price was almost £30,000 cheaper than anything else they had looked at and their dream of a garden had been abandoned as it simply didn’t exist in their budget.

It’s a repossession.” The estate agent explained as he searched for the right key to open the security door. “Been empty for about two years.”

The metal shutters on the windows let in grimy slimmers of light which caught the floating dust particles. The carpets had been removed leaving stained hardwood floorboards and the peeling paint on the walls completed the neglect.

Sam shivered slightly, bringing her arms up to cup her body. Her partner, Christine touched her shoulder as she walked past her and into the large galley-style kitchen. The counters were thick with dust and mouse droppings, one cupboard hanging preciously off the wall.

She ran her hand along the flaking wall, a soft vibration of energy ran along her arm making her feel an energy she hadn’t felt before. It unnerved and enthralled her. Her fingers traced the edge of a jagged piece of paint, feeling the sharp points break under her fingertips. She jumped as Christine touched her elbow.

OK?” She asked, concern in her eyes.

Yeah.”

Come see this.” She took her hand and led her into the living room. The room was large, spacious with a grimy fly speckled bay window looking out onto an overgrown garden.

They examined the rest of the flat before bidding the estate agent goodbye and returning to their car. They momentarily sat in a comfortable silence before Christine asked what Sam had thought of the flat.

I think we should put in an offer.”

So do I. It’s already nearly £30K below the budget and the estate agent said that he thinks they’ll accept an offer ten grand under the asking price.”

Don’t you think it’s a bit…” she searched for the right word, “suspicious?”

Maybe. Maybe not. It’s been empty for two years and I guess the bank just want rid of it.” Christine started the engine. “For what it is, we’re not going to find anything like it at this price and it needs a lot of work doing but we’ll have the money, and more.”

As the car began to turn the corner, Sam caught sight of a shadowy figure standing at the kitchen window. She gasped, craning her neck to see but the figure had vanished.

Sam?”

I thought…I….nothing.”

They discussed the flat again once they arrived back at their tiny one bedroom flat, agreeing that they should at least put an offer in as it would be a shame to miss out on a such a fantastic opportunity. Their offer was subsequently accepted and a mere two months after the date of their first visit they stood outside their new flat with a packed van.

Sam stood in the centre of the bare living room. Electricity swirled around her body, making the hairs on her arms stand to attention. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, feeling the energy sweep across her body. She felt a hand brush across her neck before settling at her back, eyes still closed she smiled and leaned back into the solid form swaying gently.

Hey, can you give me a hand with this?”

Her eyes snapped open and she spun around to see that the room was empty. Her blood froze as the energy shifted and the atmosphere grew threatening. Cold hands touched her body, gripping her roughly around the upper arm.

So I’m doing all heavy lifting?”

The hands left her and the atmosphere lifted.

Moving from rented accommodation to their own place meant they had few pieces of furniture, for the time being the bed was a borrowed camping bed, rickety and uncomfortable. Sam stretched, her arms and back aching from moving boxes.

I’ll get onto the plumber tomorrow, hot water is a definite must.” Christine said as she climbed awkwardly onto the camping bed. “That looks sore, want some cream?”

Sam glanced down at her arm, four purple bruises encircled her upper arm. She stared at them, frowning. “No, no…it’s fine.”

That night she dreamed. The soft white and gentle beige of the room were unfamiliar, yet the room was. A dark wooden framed bed stood in the centre of the room. Dark blue bedding reflected in the large mirror hung above the bed.

Her dream-self approached the bed, pulled back the sheets and climbed in. A second figure of indeterminable age and gender approached the other side of the bed before sliding in next to her. An almost overpowering smell of peppermint filled the air before the dream slowly faded away.

When she awake she was lying on the hard camp bed, sleeping bag bunched around her body. Christine stirred next to her, bright sunlight seeping through the sheet they’d hung in place of a curtain. She blinked, trying to clear her head of the dream as the smell of peppermint lingered.

The radio screeched before static filled the room. Sam scanned the FM bandwidth, searching for a viable signal but there was nothing but static. She switched the radio to digital, staring at the display as it flashed “no signal”. She huffed in frustration, resigning herself to working in silence. Christine hadn’t been able to arrange for more time off work but Sam didn’t really mind, she enjoyed DIY and had been looking forward to getting started with the flat.

She tried again with the radio before pushing up her sleeves.

Sam stood back, brushing her hair from her eyes with the back of her hand. She was paint smeared and grubby from the hours she had spent stripping the old paint from the walls of the living room. She had cleaned one wall, stripping back the years of old paint, exposing the colourful flecks of past history.

On the windowsill, her phone beeped indicating that she had a voicemail. Rubbing her hands on her jeans she reached over to it, wondering why she hadn’t heard the phone ringing. She hit dial and accessed the message.

There was a brief silence before a male voice whispered “I can see you.”

She froze, almost dropping the phone.

I’m watching you.” The voice continued.

She spun around beginning to panic. Shaking she crossed to the window, glancing out scanning the overgrown garden looking for the unknown speaker.

I’m coming for you.”

A burst of static almost made her drop the phone. The voicemail ended, shaking she hit the ‘return call’ option but only got a message telling her that the number she had dialled had not been recognised. She quickly checked the call log and saw the last caller had been Christine two days ago.

The room became cold, the threatening atmosphere from the day before returning. Her breath misted in the air. She backed slowly against the wall, eyes darting from corner to corner as room began to grow dark.

The radio suddenly came to life, static screaming. Voices began to whisper, filling the room slowly growing louder and louder until it was a crescendo of noise. She flung her arms up, covering her ears and closing her eyes. She wanted to scream, wanted to run but she couldn’t move. A hand gripped her arm, closing tightly around it fingers digging into her, peppermint filling her nostrils.

Finding her voice she screamed. Instantly the atmosphere retreated, the tightness around her arm was gone and the radio stilled to silence. Breathing hard she dropped to her knees, trying not to sob and forcing herself to calm down. She jumped as her phone started to ring. Scrabbling forward on her knees she grabbed the phone and shakily hit the ‘answer call’ button.

Hello?” She asked into the silence, aware that her voice was shaking and tense.

Sam? Are you okay?” Christine sounded concerned.

She wanted to tell Christine everything, about the strange dream, the presence in the flat but she couldn’t. Things hadn’t been going well between them until they had bought the flat, she wasn’t about to turn back the clock or let her imagination drive them apart because really, that’s what it was. Her imagination. She was letting the tension between her and Christine become real.

Fine. I’m fine. Almost about to put the first coat on.”

Sounds fun.”

Yeah, you should see the layers of paint I had to remove.”

They made small talk for a bit before Christine had to sign off. As the call ended, Sam saw that her voicemail alert was flashing. She decided to ignore it, dropping the phone back onto the windowsill.

Taking a moment to calm herself she rolled her shoulders, picked up a screw driver and prised the lid of the first tin of paint. She wrinkled her noise at the fresh smell as she poured it into the tray and picked up the roller.

Half an hour later she had most of the far wall done. Stepping back to admire her handiwork she noticed that an imprint of a hand in the fresh paint. Frowning she looked down at her hands, they were clean. She leaned forward to inspect the print, it was large, man size. She reached out and touched the imprint, her fingers smudging the wet paint. Shivering, she brushed the print out.

She stood in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil. They still didn’t have any hot water so she was having to repeatedly boil the kettle in order to wash the brushes and paint roller. The hand print had reappeared several times during the afternoon, each time she’d painted it out refusing to give in to the desire to leave and never return. She had felt eyes on her all day, goosebumps covering her body. She heard the rattle of the chain as Christine unlocked the front door, stepping into the hallway. The kettle clicked as she put her head around the kitchen door.

Tea?” Sam asked, setting out two mugs.

Let me, you’ve been working all day.” Christine replied with a smile, opening a box to find the tea.

Sam leaned back against the counter as Christine prepared the mugs. “Chris, did you do some research into this flat?”

No, why?”

Just wondering about the people who were here before us.” She lied. Christine held out a mug and smiled at her.

The smell of peppermint woke her. She couldn’t remember getting into bed. She tried to clear the fog clouding her brain but it wouldn’t move. Groggily she tried to sit up but something metallic clanged against the side of bed. Confused she tried to move again but this time she felt the resistance pulling on her wrists. Beginning to panic she tried to lift her arms but handcuffs held her fast to the bed.

CHRIS!” She yelled, pulling harder at the cuffs.

The door creaked open, moonlight framing a figure standing in the doorway. Sam’s eyes went wide as she realised it was Christine.

Chris?” She whispered, tears threatening.

Christine stepped into the room, her face was blank and vacant, her eyes white. Slowly she turned her head to face Sam, raising her arm.

Sam screamed as she saw the knife glinting in the light, pulling hard on the cuffs and kicking out with her legs. She twisted and pulled trying to get away but she was unable to move. She watched as Christine began to walk towards her, knife raised.

The last thing Sam saw was an evil smile.

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