What about the bells?

Where is your reality? Do you know where you are?” 

Limit: 450 words

Writing prompt from: https://lucysworks.com/2020/06/20/horror-house-wednesday-flash-fiction-contest-2/

They tell me I must not speak, which is fine because I don’t want to speak.

I want to scream.

But I can’t, of course. Their drugs made sure of that.

“None of that, Sarah,” they’d said. My name is not Sarah. It is Clint, but they wouldn’t listen to me when I told them that. They laughed in one of those professional we’re-not-really-laughing-but-we’ll-humor-you laughs. “We’ve been over this before Sarah, you’ve never been a Clint. Please calm down.”

But what about the bells? I scream.

Then came the injections and I found I couldn’t scream.

My name is Clint. I insist on it, even though I’m told I’m confused after the accident.

There was no accident. None that I can remember, anyway.

I remember the door behind the wall in the house I was looking to renovate and flip. This was the third house I’d bought for the expressed purpose and was getting so I was doing more than breaking even this time around.

It was an absurd door — opening to another brick wall with strange diagrams that seemed to bend geometries all wrong, painted with something the color of dried blood, but no amount of scrubbing would remove the signs, no matter the solvent. I tried to measure the angles, but never got the same measurement twice. I’d thrown up my arms in disgust and decided that I’d frame it with a couple of studs and cover the damn thing back up, though the brick was more in tune with the decor than gypsum board. I went to bed that night with those exact plans in mind for the following morning.

But then… the bells started.

It was a little after two a.m. when the bells began. I tossed and turned at the discordance they sang into the night, but became obsessed with the source to the point I couldn’t slip back into much-needed sleep. After determining the source was not outside the house, I search each room, thinking I’d left a radio on, but found nothing until I came upon the room with the useless door.

It was there the bells were loudest and seemed to come from the place the door had hung behind the walls.

The glyph the refused to be removed was aglow and, as I walked closer the bells rang louder and more discordant to the point of pain.

I reached out to touch the painted symbol and…

…Woke strapped to this bed. And they call me Sarah. I am Clint.

I ask time and time again, but they ignore me when I do:

What about the bells?

One thought on “What about the bells?

  1. So: What about the bells?
    Not to ruin anything about the story, but it is a line of lyrics that is stuck in my head, penned by Rozz Williams in a song about Elektra for a band best left nameless. I hadn’t intended on using it for this story, but it came in my mind as I was re-thinking some edits I wanted to do, and the line fit with what I was trying to accomplish — a sense of dread.
    But not an explicit source of dread.
    I was borrowing from Lovecraft’s advice in his “Supernatural Horror in Literature” and avoiding being too revealing about the source of the horror, assuming that the protagonist’s horror would suffice. This eldritch. Think cosmic. Beyond good and evil.
    That’s it.


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