Author: BlueStrawberryIII PM
Amy wakes up in the middle of the night to her mother calling her downstairs. Short story written for a school application; in need of some serious critiquing.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Suspense/Horror - Words: 1,455 - Published: 12-27-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3086577
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Amy was just drifting off to sleep when she heard her name. It was her mother, from the downstairs kitchen it sounded, yelling "Amy! Amy, come down here!" She couldn't tell quite tell what that tone in her voice was—fear? Anger? She couldn't remember doing anything wrong. Then again, that didn't mean she hadn't. Remembering just one out of the tens of thousands of things she did wrong in a day was not her strong suit.
So, rather grudgingly, Amy pulled herself out of bed, grumbling as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. The grouching increased when Amy glanced at her clock (it was a bit after one in the morning! Was the woman insane?). Just in case her mom was mad, she called back down to her. "In a minute, Mom!" No sense in drawing her ire, after all.
With a final push, Amy stumbled out into the hallway, shivering in her thin pajamas, and bumped dazedly into the wall opposite her bedroom door. At the end of the hall, right outside the master bedroom, stood Amy's mother in her nightgown. Usually a tan woman, her complexion now almost perfectly matched the pure white of the fabric. Amy blinked in confusion; wasn't her mom supposed to be downstairs? Maybe she had been mistaken, and there was nobody down there...
"You hear her, too?" Amy's mom asked, arms wrapped tightly around herself.
What? "Yeah..." Amy answered slowly, sleep-muddled mind still trying to wrap itself around the situation. Her mom was upstairs… listening to her mom downstairs? This was kind of like that movie she and her family had watched last night, where people got plastic surgery to look like a member of a family. They'd sneak into the house in the middle of the night and slaughter whoever they were impersonating, then bide their time until they could murder the rest of the family. Amy looked to her mom.
"This is a bit like 'Mom Snatchers', don't you think?" she whispered to Amy, obviously thinking along the same lines as her daughter. Amy nodded nervously.
"What did the characters do at the end?" she whispered back, moving closer to her mom for comfort. Amy had been too sleepy by the end of the movie to remember any of the events, only that it had scared her more than most other movies. She had actually been tempted to crawl into bed with her parents afterwards.
"They followed the sound of the imposter's voice," her mom answered slowly, "It was really just an insane stroke of luck that they survived, though."
From downstairs, not-Mom called again: "Amy! I need you down here immediately!"
"Why's she calling me, then? If her job is to kill you…"
A strange look crossed her mother's face, though in the dim lighting, Amy couldn't quite make it out. Turning, the woman started making her way down towards the kitchen, where the only light in the house was coming from. Amy trailed after her, holding onto the back of her mother's nightgown. "Hey," she hissed into her ear, "You just said they only survived because they got lucky. Shouldn't we be staying up here?"
"They didn't know what they were up against. We do."
Amy was about to argue that point, considering they actually knew nothing about whatever was down there—what were the odds that this was the exact same scenario as 'Mom Snatchers'?—but her mom was already halfway down the stairs. If she had said anything that close to the bottom of the stairwell, whoever was in the kitchen would hear it, too, and know they were coming. So, instead, she padded cautiously after the woman in front of her.
They reached the last step. Amy peered slowly around her mother's shoulder: the kitchen, which was right across the hall, was empty. But the voice was even louder now, coming from the living room, directly to the right of the foot of the stairs: "Amy! Come here!" Amy stiffened, but her mom remained loose and seemingly calm. With a bit less hesitation than Amy thought appropriate, she stepped down onto the floor and made her way towards the living room. Amy contemplated staying on the stairs, but soon found herself trailing after, not wanting to be left behind. She turned the corner and walked down the short hall, expecting to see her mother in front of her any second.
A few steps from the living room, Amy heard a scream. Forgetting any of her previous doubts about rushing in, she sprinted the remaining few feet into the darkened room.
It was empty. Amy swung her head to the left, to the right, searched the dark corners in front of her. Nothing. She started to back up, when a hand grabbed her wrist. With a shriek, she swung towards the body attached to the hand. It was her mom—Not-Mom, she corrected herself—holding aloft a giant bloodstained cleaver, much like the one Amy had used for her Halloween costume five months ago. Amy cringed and held a hand up in a weak attempt to save herself. She closed her eyes, but she could still feel the woman preparing to strike, ready to bring down the cleaver.
I'm going to die, I'm going to die, I'm going to die… She thought, trying to prepare herself. It would be any second now, her head would split open, and—"Boop!"
Amy flinched as something lightly touched her head: the flat of the cleaver. Carefully, she opened her eyes. Not-Mom was smiling down at her, shoulders shaking with silent giggles. Amy's wrist was released, and the woman stepped back a bit, flicking on the living room lights as she did so. She stared at not-Mom in confusion.
"Happy April Fool's Day, hon!" The lady grinned, ruffling Amy's hair playfully. The smile seemed genuine, but the lighting still made her face appear ghastly, like it was a wax sculpture or mannequin instead of actual flesh.
Amy gawped in confusion. "But… There was… You're not going to… It's April?"
"Yes, Amy," she explained patiently. "It's been April for…"—she checked her watch—"About two hours now."
She grabbed not-Mom/Mom's hand and pried away the cleaver. In the light from the living room lamp, Amy could see that it wasn't like the plastic blade she had used for Halloween; it was the exact same one! "So… if you're not some murderer dressed as my mom, how'd you get your voice down here? There can't be two of you."
A voice recorder was produced from the couch from inside a nest of clean clothes waiting to be folded. "Am—!" It began, but her mom pressed stop and it fell silent.
"I know you like a good scare," she explained, "And you didn't seem all that frightened by the movie last night, so I decided it would make for a good prank." Amy frowned. Had she forgotten how her daughter had practically clung to her and her father throughout the rest of the night? Maybe Amy had just been more subtle about it than she thought she had been.
She had to admit, though: "It was really well thought-out, I'll give you that." Amy put on a bright smile, hoping to hide the fact that she had actually been scared out of her skin by her mom's prank.
Her mom chuckled and patted Amy on the back. "Come on," she turned her daughter back toward the staircase, "You still need your sleep. I don't want you all grouchy in the morning."
Now that the adrenaline was wearing off, Amy realized that she was, indeed, still in need of quite a bit of sleep. Yawning, she thumped her way back up the stairs, mother trailing behind her, nudging Amy all the way to the bedroom door. "Do you want me to tuck you in?" she asked once Amy had crawled onto the bed.
Amy shot her a confused look. "Mom, I'm fifteen. You stopped tucking me in when I was twelve."
Her mother looked equally confused. "Oh? Oh, yes, I remember. Sorry, dear," she smiled, and Amy was once again reminded of the statues in the local wax museum. "I'll try to remember next time." She turned and left for her own room, leaving Amy in the comforting embrace of her blankets.
Amy was nodding off when she was, once again, awoken by her mother's voice. This time, she was screaming her name, instead of simply yelling it. Interspersed within the screams were pockets of laughter. The screaming only lasted a few seconds, though, and soon enough the house was silent again. Amy shifted her position on the bed and drowsily contemplated her mother's ridiculous dedication to the joke, before she dropped off entirely.