Inkster of the Week: Charles Reid

Thursday 4th May 2023

This piece, created for the Year 10 Creative Writing Assessment, builds in tension beautifully. And what a great final line! Well done Charles!

Large droplets of rain clattered on the roof as the fading sun shone through the grey clouds and green curtains of Eddie's home in the near-ghost town of New Rockford, Illinois. The house had warm yellow wallpaper, and photos of him and his friends on their trip to Spain hung on the walls. But where were they?

Eddie looked for his mug, systematically checking every room from the highest point down to the lowest. All he found was that more things had mysteriously disappeared. He knew the mug like the back of his hand - green, blue, yellow, red in that order, coming down in diagonal stripes over a pearly white background.

Since this morning, several things had gone missing: a photograph of his great grandparents from the 1930s, a lightbulb already due for replacement, and of course, the mug that he had received from his dad for his 26th birthday. A stray dog barked sleepily in the setting sun, and trees rustled in the wind, all the while the rain battered the corrugated roof.

The house was immaculate; every surface shone. When his parents, Joe and Eliza, owned the house, they didn't care for storage, and those same surfaces couldn't be seen under a mountain of stuff. Losing things meant never seeing them again. Eddie had learned from their mistakes.

"Things go missing all the time," Eddie thought. But in addition to the cleanliness of the house, he had a perfect memory. Losing things would be normal if he didn't live alone. He did. He had checked every single dark recess, even the frightful closet that he had feared since childhood. He started anxiously pacing.

His stomach rumbled; he hadn't eaten since last night. He strolled to the kitchen and opened the fridge. Like a man possessed, and almost forgetting his predicament, he devoured a bowl of Coco Pops. His favorite cereal never failed to satiate his hunger, but at the present moment, it had no effect.

His eyes pierced the overcoming darkness outside; people clad in raincoats were loading boxes of stuff into an unmarked truck across the street, but he made nothing of it.

"Was that a footstep I heard?" he wondered, looking behind him. But nothing was there. When he turned back, his dining table and half-finished bowl of cereal were gone without a trace. Growing frightened, Eddie started for the phone; but it too was gone.

"Hello?" a voice that seemed awfully far away called. Eddie never believed in paranormal occurrences; they seemed too unbelievable. But his doubts quickly became his fears. In a fervor, Eddie ran for the door, but some force stopped him from getting past the frame. He was unable to leave.

"Hello?!?" he whimpered. Nothing responded.

A while later, he heard the truck outside start its engine and depart, spraying water out of the gutters, knocking him out of the fugue he was in. The room seemed awfully cold, and the cozy yellow wallpaper seemed to have an ominous hue. Compulsively, he ran to the mirror, he saw a face akin to his but ghostly and fatigued, almost translucent. He needed a lie down.

He stared again at the mahogany door, knowing in some deep recess of his brain that he would never walk through it again. The realization dawned on him - the room wasn't cold; he was. The rain stopped.