Candelabra

by - 1:21 PM

I love the internet. I love how it gets me in touch with awesome people from all over the world, I love how it lets me speak my mind, but most of all, I love the opportunities it gives me.

Recently I found out about a flash fiction writing contest. I'd never written flash fiction before, but the theme was right up my alley: write whatever you want as long as it's at least slightly creepy. 
On New Year's Eve, with still a month to go until the deadline, I started writing. It was a lot harder than I expected: because it was a flash fiction competition, I couldn't use more than 750 words to tell my story. It was a challenge, a huge challenge. To keep myself going, I asked my best friend if he could read it for me before I submitted it. I thought that would keep me motivated, but it had the opposite effect. By asking him to read it first, I put a lot of pressure on myself since his opinion is one of the few opinions I really care about.
For a while I let my piece of flash fiction rest. I'd hit a dead end and the pressure made me nervous. Then one day in early February I found the right words to continue my story - and found out I'd missed my deadline... Yes, I know. Not very smart. In the end, I do want to share my stories with the world, so I present you: my non-submitted entry


Candelabra


‘Tamara?’
The shadow of a tall figure fell on Tamara’s book. She looked up into the bright sunlight. It almost blinded her. The person in front of her was barely more than a shadow in the bright light. She had to squint to see their face.
‘Wanna hang out after school?’
She recognized the hum of Nicolas’ deep voice. It surprised her; Nicolas rarely spoke to anyone.
‘Sure,’ she said with a smile. ‘I’d love to.’

After school Tamara walked home with Nicolas. She almost had to run to keep up with his long strides and he barely seemed to notice her. She started to wonder why he’d asked her to hang out if he wasn’t going to talk to her.
After a ten-minute walk that seemed to be an eternity spent in awkward silence, Nicolas nodded toward a house on the corner of the street. ‘Over there,’ was all he said. Then, after a short silence, he added: ‘My parents aren’t home.’
Tamara fiddled with her necklace as she followed Nicolas up to the front door. The situation made her nervous. Her heart was beating at full speed. It felt like it was about to explode. She stayed outside as Nicolas entered the house. It was one of the tiny old houses on the outskirts of Pendant Pond. She’d always liked these houses. Her grandparents lived in one and their house was always warm and welcoming. This house was different. All the curtains were drawn. It didn’t look like people were living in it. The house gave off all the wrong kinds of vibes.
‘Come in,’ Nicolas said. He smiled a smile that made Tamara’s knees go weak. She pushed her doubts aside and followed Nicolas into the house, up the stairs, to his room.

Nicolas’ room was up in the attic. It took a while for Tamara’s eyes to adjust, but when they finally did, she wished they hadn’t.
Tamara found herself in a room that hadn’t seen sunlight in ages, a room with dark red walls devoid of any decoration, a room full of skulls. Their empty eye sockets followed her wherever she went in the cramped space. Nicolas used them as candle holders: there was a dripping candle on each of them. A shiver went down Tamara’s as spine as Nicolas lit the candles one by one.
‘Do you like them?’ he asked with his back turned to her. ‘I make them myself.’
Tamara didn’t know what to say. The flickering candlelight made her even more uncomfortable. The skulls seemed to have come to life in the dim-lit room.
‘I’m hoping to make a candelabra soon,’ Nicholas continued. ‘But it’ll take a while. First I need to find the perfect skulls. Get them dry, make sure there’s no skin or tissue left on the bone…’ He turned back to Tamara, who hadn’t been able to keep a straight face anymore. ‘Sorry, did that gross you out?’
‘A little,’ Tamara admitted.
He came closer, reached out for her hand. ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.’
‘It’s okay,’ she wanted to say, but he’d softly kissed her before she could. She noticed his right hand moving through her hair, his fingers softly tracing the line of her head. His left hand trailed over her cheekbones, then down to her chin. ‘You have a beautiful bone structure.’
Tamara’s stomach did a back-flip. But to her surprise, it wasn’t a back-flip of joy. She’d always liked Nicholas. She’d thought this was what she wanted, but now that she had it, it felt all wrong. Very wrong. She pushed Nicholas away a little. ‘So…’ she said, grasping at straws for something to say. ‘These candleholders… How do you make them exactly?’
Nicolas eyes twinkled, as if he’d been waiting for her to ask. ‘Like this.’ He produced a butcher’s knife out of thin air.
Tamara’s eyes went wide. ‘Nicolas, n-‘
Nicolas didn’t listen. He put the knife against her throat and slit it with one swift movement. Blood splattered against the wall, where it became one with the paint, while Nicolas separated Tamara’s head from her neck. It was all over before her final scream left her lips.


A full story in under 750 words. It's far from easy, but I'll never regret accepting the challenge.

Stay Awesome!

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6 Fellow Ramblers

  1. Envyyyyy!! Creepy and dark stories are what I live for! This is the main reason my head is full of psychological thrillers! Loved reading it! Makes sense why we should have a crush on the weirdest guy in the class *wink*
    PS: It could be a start of a thriller or horror film tbvh!

    xo,
    Not Your Type Blog

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    Replies
    1. I hadn't even thought of it as the start of a thriller, but now that you've mentioned it, it totally makes sense. Have you ever read a book by Tess Gerritsen? She usually starts her books with a chapter that tells some kind of story like this one. Not that I'd be able to write an entire thriller around this, but the idea is cool

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  2. This is really nice! Although now that you don't have to stay within 750 words, you could improve it a bit! Like, again, constructive criticism, the first scene was an abrupt change- from the book reading to after school, so you could mention there that the rest of the day went really slow for Tamara or she waited anxiously for the end of the day and also mention that she liked Nicholas before. Cause I found it a liiitttlleee weird that Tamara was trusting the guy who barely talks until you mention at the end that "She’d always liked Nicholas" so while that did explain all the things happening before, you could mention that earlier ^^.
    Plus, no word limit means you can tell us how he makes the candelabra xD

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    1. I know I could've ignored the word limit and at some point I really wanted to (because of some of the things you mentioned), but it still felt like cheating :P
      I hadn't thought of the whole 'rest of the day', but I wanted to include a part on how Tamara felt and I'm not really happy with the the end scene, like you said, it's not exactly clear from the story how he makes those things. It's clear in my head, but I couldn't put it into words. Well, I could, but then I would've had more than 750 words XD
      I'm kind of writing more of these stories (but without the word limit) about the same place, so I'll add some stuff to this one. There are some things missing from it that I had worked out in my head, I'd written it down and then backspaced all the way to get it all within 750 words :P

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