*Today's #fridayflash was inspired by a dream I had over a year ago. Edited: Now that I think of it, I had the dream much longer than a year ago. It was probably more like five years ago. I wrote this flash piece a year ago.*
“Three Smirnoff Ices.” Melitta leaned against the counter and tapped her foot to the low, thumping beat emitting from the speakers. On the dance floor, her two friends writhed with the music.
“This is the last call, sweetheart.” The bartender set the beer bottles down. “It’ll be six dollars.”
She paid him and weaved toward her friends.
“You son of a—”
The punch struck the man’s face. The crunch of his nose breaking sounded like Rice Krispies in milk. Snap, Crackle, Pop! Someone shoved her from behind, and she stumbled forward, dropping a bottle. It shattered and sprayed alcohol over her black pumps.
Then, a woman pushed her, and she fell to the ground. Her knees and hands ground glass pieces into them. She winced in pain as the second bottle broke and the third rolled away from her. She struggled to her feet while a full-out brawl erupted in the club.
Fists flew. Someone kicked her in the leg, and she cried out in pain. The overhead lights turned on.
Melitta lifted a bloody hand up to shield her eyes from the blaring white lights. Her head pounded with each thump from the speakers. Perhaps she’d had a little too much to drink.
“Stop it!” A burly bouncer dragged a man away.
The lights flickered and then the club plunged into darkness.
Bodies pressed against Melitta. They were too close. Her chest tightened as if she had weights collapsing down on her. She attempted to shove away from the crowd, but they surrounded her on all sides.
“Allison? Sami?” She couldn’t hear her friends. Something slithered over her foot. “Sami,” she said louder.
Dim, red emergency lights filled the room.
A shadow glided along a section of the black-and-white floor. It fluttered like a sheet over the man with the broken nose. The darkness bulged and flattened. When it moved away, the man had disappeared.
People bolted for the exits.
Melitta struggled to get to the wall and cowered beside it. The shade swooped and swallowed another person. She lost sight of Sami and Allison, but she hoped they left.
She screamed when a person grabbed her hand.
“You’ve gotta get out,” the bartender said and dragged her through the back of the club.
They entered an alley, and he took off running. Several more people passed by her.
Silence settled around her.
Melitta looked both ways in the darkened passageway. The scent of garbage and urine made her gag. She took a few steps when her heel broke and she tumbled into the brick wall.
“Damn.” She pushed herself from the wall and limped down the alley.
What was that thing? Where were Allison and Sami?
She ran her fingers through her hair and cringed as glass shards entangled in her hair.
She jumped when something soft and velvety brushed against her arm. Darkness yawned before her and wrapped around her head. She couldn’t breathe or see, and she stumbled along the alley. Her nails ripped at her head as she yanked the shadow off her. It shook like a wet dog and pursued her.
She staggered into the empty street and kicked off her shoes, so she could run.
“Help, please help me.” She screamed and half-ran, half-limped away. No one answered while the shadow fluttered toward her.
When she spotted the church, she sprinted toward the door and banged on it. “Please, open up.”
She tried the handle—who keeps a church locked—and pounded her fists against it again. Her eyes darted behind her into the forbidding darkness.
Chills, stealing her breath and moisture from her mouth, flowed over her body. A light peeked from around the back of the building. Hope blossomed in the midst of terror. She ran, found the iron gate unlocked, and entered the church’s backyard.
Melitta weaved around gravestones. Leaves crunched underfoot and an earthy, slightly decaying musk wafted toward her. A man’s silhouette shifted inside from an upstairs window.
“Let me in. Please.” Her voice rose in pitch with each step that drew closer to the backdoor.
Footsteps tapped along the stone walkway, and Melitta turned around.
A beautiful woman stood near a grave. Her hair glimmered in the moonlight. A breeze fluttered the ends of her black dress. The woman’s dark eyes focused upon Melitta, and her red lips puckered before she smiled.
The grin revealed no teeth. Her mouth opened wider and wider, a dark and bottomless abyss. She would swallow her whole.
Melitta screamed and bolted from the door. The church couldn’t save her. Nothing would. The stones cut into her bare feet, leaving bloody footprints, but she didn’t stop.
The other woman floated behind her in pursuit.
Melitta glanced back when she left the cemetery. The woman was right there, but as soon as her foot crossed the church’s threshold, she vanished into the shadow. Melitta shrieked at the sight.
She tripped and her body skidded across the asphalt. The pain barely registered in her mind when darkness cloaked her. A hot, blanket-like feeling coated her completely. She couldn’t take a breath. Her heart slowed as she tried to shove away the dark. Her movements grew slower...slower. She was suffocating as the shadow bulged, flattened, and searched for its next prey.