Today's #fridayflash is inspired by "Nightmare at the Freak Show" in The Nightmare Collection. Here is what happened to Gretchen.
Gretchen pressed the candle’s wick against the dying embers in the fire.
Come on, burn.
After a moment, the flame snatched the wick. She cupped her palm around the flickering light and skirted toward the window. The fire illuminated her three fingers and thumb, the one finger lost in an accident when she was a child.
A chill seeped through the window. Darkness had settled over the cabin, and she cocked her head to listen for her husband. Soft snoring continued from the bedroom. She lowered the candle to the nearby table and pressed her hands against the cold glass.
Trees loomed in the distance. Starlight peeped through the inky black blanket of sky. Was he still out there? Her David. She waited for word of his capture for many years. He’d bitten off her finger—by accident, of course—and then killed her father and several other men—not by accident. She didn’t blame him. He’d been cruelly captured and chained up for years by her own father. She wanted to understand his pain, his fear. She wanted to trust him to find his humanity.
He wasn’t a monster. She would never believe what they called him. Her eyes closed, and tears burned behind her eyelids.
The snoring had stopped.
Oh, David, why?
“My sweet, what are you doing out of bed? You’ll catch your death of cold.” Her husband padded over to her, his strong arms embracing her.
She leaned against him and sucked in a shuddering breath. The tears remained unshed. “I couldn’t sleep.”
He pressed his lips against her earlobe, hot and wet. A shiver raced along her spine. His hands ran over her cotton nightgown. “Come back to bed.”
Nothing was outside. David was gone, as was her father.
She reached over to the candle and blew it out. The smoke twirled and ticked her nose. She took her husband’s hand and kissed it. “It’s cold out. Warm me.”