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19 May 2010

"Beneath the Stairs" Short Story

"BENEATH THE STAIRS"
A SHORT STORY
BY
JJ PATTON


I’ve been here for weeks—waiting. My mother told me to wait beneath the stairs, so I did. I’m still here, huddled to myself and shivering. Though the cold air has long numbed my skin, my stupid body shivers and my bones rattle. I’m not even sure if it’s still cold or if it’s day or night. But I know that I’m terrified.

I’d gotten home from my date with Gregg past curfew, and I knew my step-father would have a real red face about it, so I snuck up the stairs carrying my sling backs in one hand and my pair of flowers in the other. My doorknob squeaked the way it always does, and the door jammed at the top. I skillfully lifted it and broke it free without any significant sound. I thought I’d just lay in my bed a while—above the covers, the way I lay with Gregg when we’re alone—then I’d spring for the kitchen to at least grab a snack bag of chips. For some reason, my stomach was really pinching, a kind of cramped ache.

My bedspread stuck to my back, static creating a bond between us. I hated the fabric, but the color had been gorgeous when I picked it out. My eyes closed, filled with thoughts of the vibrant blue bedspread, as my skin picked from the sticky silk. I was in the middle of cursing the god-forbidden shit when I heard the rattling downstairs.

"The Stolen Mansion" Short Story

"THE STOLEN MANSION"
A SHORT STORY
BY
JJ PATTON


Thick patches of fog settled across the darkened streets on the shores of a river running through London. Stunning quiet had befallen the sleeping city as the two o’clock hour rang from the clock tower. A single light in the distance burned with intense enthusiasm, fighting valiantly to stay alive in the blistering cold.

Protected by a thin sheet of glass, the candle flickered earnestly in a window of the largest house on the east side of the river. Every other house from the river to the horizon sat dark and quiet, alone. Tiny signs of life appeared amid the harsh winter silence as a shadow sauntered through the glowing window of the three-story mansion.

A woman’s hand took hold of the light, grabbing the tarnished silver base of the candlestick. Things from her childhood came into focus. A worn rag doll with blonde hair and brown eyes caught her attention. It was nestled on the side of a familiar music box.