Dead Flies

I've been working on fiction for a while and this week I took an old piece and transformed it. The original piece was 800 words, this time it's longer but retains the essence of the original story. I'm never very good at coming up with titles though so you'll have to excuse that! Take a minute to read Dead Flies and I'd love to hear what you think - let me know in the comments.

Dead Flies

Dead Flies | Another story excerpt for you.

Her eyes flew open as the slamming door jarred her from her nightmare. She breathed heavily and listened. Her heart pounded. She dare not move. 

A car door closed outside and a moment later the car roared to life. She kept her body still, rooted to her makeshift bed. The car engine whined as it was put into gear and as the car drove away she listened to the rumble fade. Her own breathing was all she could hear now, but she chose to stay rooted to her bed.

A shaft of daylight came in through the small window and motes of dust danced in the light. Sunlight filtered into the room through cracks in the eaves highlighting spiderwebs drifting from large wooden beams. As her eyes adjusted to the daylight she scanned her room. She recognised the exposed wooden beams, visible pipes and wiring, and loose floorboards. She sighed. She tried to calm her breathing so she could listen for movement beneath her. 

After what felt like a lifetime she pushed herself up from her lying position. The chain, secured with a padlock around her waist, clanged and banged against the floorboards as she adjusted her position and she froze in place. Again she listened… Nothing.

Holding on to the wooden beam to her right she pulled herself up onto her bare feet, shifted the chain out of her way, and walked into the shaft of light coming in through the small window. Despite the sun being unable to burst through the cloud cover the daylight was still warm and she closed her eyes as she stood in the light. 

A moment later she opened her eyes, walked closer to the window and stood on tip toes to peer outside. Even on her tip toes she could only see the distant fields, fog lingering on the hills blurring the scraggly trees. Birds flew high in the sky and she wished she was free like them. Branches scraped the house outside and a cold breeze blew through the attic howling as it squeezed through the small gaps in the roof. She shivered. She rubbed her upper arms and looked down at her bare legs. They’d given her a man’s old shirt to wear, it reached mid-thigh but wasn’t anywhere near long enough, or thick enough, to keep her warm, and there were just three buttons at her tummy, the rest gaped. Her wrists were red and grazed and covered in grime. Deep gashes in her arms had bled during the night leaving trails of dried blood on her skin. Her knees were cut and dirt and grime covered her body. She had no idea how long she’d been kept in the attic but it felt like years. 

Looking up at the window again she gripped the windowsill, disturbing the layer of dust and dead flies. A dead fly fell to the floor by her feet as she clung to the windowsill and pulled herself up. She peered out of the window, straining her neck to see further, but she couldn’t see below the distant fields. Behind the scraggly trees atop the hill she spied cars flying along what must’ve been a busy road. They sped by, one after the other, like they were heading somewhere important. She prayed they could see her.

Maybe Dad is driving one of those cars…

The trees and fields blurred as tears welled in her eyes. She let go of the windowsill and backed away from the window. Her heart ached. Her chest tightened. Tears filled her eyes and she pushed her right hand into her chest trying to ease the pain. A sob escaped and echoed around her dark prison.

She crumpled to the floor and let the sobs come. No one could hear her - for now. As she tried to lay on the floor the chain tugged at her waist and she pulled on it for the millionth time. It clanged but didn’t budge. It was secured at both ends by large padlocks, there was no way she could get out of it with just her hands but she tried anyway, yanking on the chain again and again. She stood up and leaned her body into the chain at her waist. She pushed as hard as she could. The chain dug in and she flinched as her skin tore, the shirt soaking up her blood. She dropped the chain and her shoulders sagged as she stumbled back to her bed, defeated. Her bed. Ha! A couple of sheets laid out on the floor in between two large wooden beams was not her idea of a bed. She’d pulled the sheets from a pile of old boxes in the corner of the attic. They were dusty and old, but better than nothing.

She crawled onto her bed and hugged her knees, praying someone would find her soon. She rested her head on her knees and closed her eyes.

A loud crash echoed through the house. The walls shook and her head snapped up. Wide eyed she stared. The attic door across the other side of the room was out of reach but she stared in its direction, expecting it to open. Her body shook uncontrollably and she hugged herself tighter.

Muffled voices came from below and she shuffled back, trying to get as close to the wall as she could. She held her breath to listen but her heartbeat pounded in her ears. The stairs creaked and she flinched. Someone’s coming up the stairs! The banister cracked. Her breaths came quicker as she stared at the attic door. The thud of footsteps moving closer made her heart skip a beat. She scrunched her eyes closed.

There was a click as the attic door released and metal scraped against metal, sounding like chalk on a chalkboard, as the ladder slid down to her captors. Tears trickled over her cheeks and dripped onto her thighs. Heavy boots landed on metal rungs and she had to stop herself from screaming out. She lifted her head and peeked from behind her hair to see a head rise through the open attic door. The silhouette turned its head. It peered into the darkest corners of the attic. She held her breath.

The silhouette moved up the ladder, their bulk evident even in the darkness. As their heavy boots landed on the attic floor she jumped making the chain bang against the beams again.


They had never called her that before.

“Lou? Are you here honey?”

Honey? Since when did they call her honey? There was only one…

She didn’t move but watched the hulk of a man inch closer. He stepped into the shaft of light coming in through the window and she stared at him. His black wavy hair, dripping with sweat, was stuck to his forehead. His deep brown eyes searched the darkness. He held something heavy looking in his hand.

“Lou? Honey?”

“Do you see her Stu?” someone whispered from below.

“Not yet! Shush!” the hulk said, “Where’s my Honey Bee?”

Honey Bee? She remembered that name. Wait… 

“Da- dad?” she whispered.

“Lou! Honey bee! Let me see you!”

The chain dragged and banged as she slowly crept off her bed and his head spun to look at her. He watched as she crept into the light. His eyes welled with tears and he tried to smile.

“Honey Bee!”

He hurried to her side but she stumbled back. He stopped dead.

“Honey Bee? It’s me… it’s Dad.” he said.

She didn’t move. He lifted the big heavy thing in his hand and moved towards the beam where the chain was secured. Something metallic snapped and the chain dropped to the floor with a heavy bang. Her dad inched closer and showed her the metal cutter in his hand.

“May I?” he said, pointing the metal cutter at her waist.

She nodded. 

He cut through the chain circling her. It thudded to the floor and for a moment she was stunned and stared at him. Her knees buckled and she would’ve fallen to the floor but her father caught her. The world swam, she felt like she was floating as he carried her to the attic door.

“Don’t worry Honey Bee, we’ve got you now.” he said, kissing her forehead, as she drifted out of consciousness.

A shaft of daylight came in through the small window and motes of dust danced in the light...

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