Double Helix – Short Story Parts VII & VIII

Another two parts in the short story, Double Helix.
In case you’d like to catch up:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Parts V & VI

PART VII
The squat guy, Moses, spots me. He waddles across the broken asphalt of a now dysfunctional basketball court. Even though it is half two in the afternoon, the entire place is cast in cold shadow by the tall buildings around us. The squat guy clicks his tongue and shakes his head as he walks past me. I follow him through a doorway into the maze.
He moves confidently. He has been here before. It is does not take him long to find the apartment.
“Here it is,” he whispers. “Count to twenty, then knock on the door. If nobody answers, use the key. You got the key, right?”
I show the key to him.
“One, two, three…” I start to count.
The squat guy races down the windowless hallway. I stop counting. I look at the door. It is like the others I saw earlier. I peer up and down the hallway. Empty. Raise my fist and knock on the door. Wait. Footsteps? No, my imagination. I knock again. Was that a flash of light under the door. No. My imagination again.
I look at the key in my hand. I slip it into the lock and try turn it. It does not move. I turn it in the opposite direction and its slides full circle with a click. My empty hand presses the door handle down and pushes.
Nothing. Stuck? Locked.
I turn the key in the opposite direction and retry the door. It opens.

Part VIII
The door swings into the apartment. I stay outside.
There he is.
At the end of the short, bare hallway lined with a worn nylon carpet. I am startled. He must be too. Neither of us move. We stare at each other. At the precise moment I step into the apartment, he comes toward me. I panic, then realise it is a reflection of myself in a large mirror bolted to a wall at the end of the corridor.
My phone rings. I jump, curse.
“What?”
“You in?”
“Yes.”
“He there?”
“No. I mean, I don’t think so. I mean, I don’t know.”
“Jerry. Calm down, okay. Calm down.”
“Okay, I’m cool.”
“Have you checked the place out?”
“No.”
“Do it.”
“Okay. There’s nothing in this place. I can see a kitchen and dining room. They’re empty.”
“Empty?”
“Yeah.”
“Go to the bedroom.”
“Wait. Shhhhh. Shhhh. I hear something. He’s here.”
“He’s there?”
“Shhhhh.”
I stand in an empty, curtainless bedroom. A hiss comes out of one of the built-in cupboards that rises from floor to ceiling. And smoke. Odourless smoke that wafts through the slits of the cupboard door.
Gas.
I run out of the room, hand over mouth. The hiss stops. I stop. Wait. In silence.
“Jerry. What’s happening?” Lyle’s voice comes from the phone. I switch it off and pocket it.
Then turn around and tiptoe back to the room. It is empty. Silent. I hold a deep breath, step in and walk to the cupboard door. As I’m about to open it, the door swings at me. I sidestep it.
Standing on the other side of the doorway is a brunette, fresh from a shower, wrapped in a blue towel.
“Paul,” she exclaims as I splutter the air from my lungs.

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22 thoughts on “Double Helix – Short Story Parts VII & VIII

  1. Pingback: Double Helix Part XII | Scribbla

  2. Pingback: Double Helix – Short Story Part XI | Scribbla

  3. Pingback: Double Helix – Short Story Part X | Scribbla

  4. ekcarmel

    Interesting story so far. Like others have commented, the short sentences really keep the energy up. I’m curious to see where this is going.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Double Helix – Short Story Part IX | Scribbla

  6. Madison Woods

    My curiosity is definitely making me want to know the rest of the story. Looking forward to reading the next installment 🙂

    Reply
    1. scribbla Post author

      Thank you Madison. I appreciate your reading and commenting.
      Hope you are okay this week. Thoughts are still with you.

      Reply
  7. Dave "Noobcake" Farmer

    Like others have said your short tense sentences really made me sit on the edge of my seat, eyes scanning the lines faster and faster! As the story unfolds there is always another mystery around the corner, can’t wait to find out what happens next!

    Reply
    1. scribbla Post author

      I’m working quite hard on rhythm in this short. Not only the usual rythms of storytelling arcs, valleys and peaks etc. but also within the sentences and words themselves. It helps keep me focussed and that way I’m able to pick up the voice after stepping away from it for a few days. I’ve always struggled with that – maintaining a consistent voice for more than a few days.

      Reply
  8. Jools

    It’s been fun, reading all the parts to this fascinating story up to the current one, and checking out all the comments from keen but frustrated readers, impatient for the next episode. But now I’m one of them…. Gah!

    Reply
  9. Mike

    This just gets better and better.
    The short sentences and great dialogue keep the suspense heightened throughout.
    I’m left with a mixture of wanting to know what happens next but not wanting the story to end.
    A great read. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. scribbla Post author

      Thank you. I’m mixing it up in this one. Trying to keep it minimalistic and bare, but rich at the same time. Not easy.

      Reply
  10. Indigo Spider

    The short, staccato sentences really adds to the anxious, urgent feel of this story. Do you have a ‘plan’ in mind for this story or is it just unfolding on its own? The various characters and twists are unfolding nicely, looking forward to more of it!

    Reply
    1. scribbla Post author

      I do have a plan in mind. I have created a basic structure within which I work, but am very open to the characters doing their own thing too. Sometimes they do, and I love them for it because they make me look good.

      Reply

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