Prompted

Here is the #flashfiction I wrote from the prompt yesterday. Enjoy 🙂

Blessed to Death

by AJ Mullican

It was an otherwise ordinary night: me, home alone, watching a horror movie that I knew would scare the pants off of me. I don’t know why I preferred this method of self-torture, but there was just something about the eerie music and the suspense that made the terror worth it.

Just as the film was reaching its horrific climax—the cheerleader was about to get stabbed by the undead killer—my allergies started acting up. It was normal for me to sneeze frequently around this time of year. Autumn was the bane of my nasal existence, and I sneezed just as the cheerleader screamed.

My cell phone rang, making me jump clear out of my chair. With a shaking hand, I picked it up and looked at the screen. I didn’t recognize the number, but something made me answer anyway.

“H-hello?” I felt silly for stammering, but I was still wound up from the film.

An unfamiliar child’s voice answered me, soft and serious. “Bless you.”

I didn’t have time to ask who the child was before the call ended. I found myself staring at the screen, as though it could answer the questions I had.

Who had my number? Was it possible that one of my friends who had children was playing a prank? If so, were they waiting outside, about to knock on my door and yell “Boo!” when I answered? Or did they just know me so well that they knew I would be home alone on a Saturday night, scaring myself senseless?

Before I had the chance to call any of my friends to find out who was messing with me, my eyes caught movement in my peripheral vision. The window was open, curtains dancing in the slight breeze.

I always, always closed and locked all my doors and windows before watching a scary movie. Always.

I crept to the window, expecting to see one of my friends crouching outside with their child, hands covering their mouths to suppress giggles. Just as I reached the window, a fresh gust of wind blew in, carrying with it the allergens that had sparked the sneeze from before. I sneezed again, covering my nose and mouth with my sleeve to contain the mucous spray, when the phone in my hand rang again.

By this point I was trembling so hard I could barely press the button on the screen to answer. Again, I didn’t recognize the number.

“Bless you.” Click. Silence.

Walking back to my chair, I reached for a tissue to wipe my nose. I noticed blood on my sleeve. Crap. Now on top of my rising paranoia I had a bloody nose. There was an unusually large amount of blood, and I soon realized that mere tissues would not contain it.

I inched into the kitchen, looking around every corner and behind every door along the way. Still no one in the house but me. I took the dish towel from its place hanging on the refrigerator handle when something else caught my eye.

The kitchen window was open as well.

Pressing the towel to my nose, I felt another sneeze coming on. I tried to fight it, but once again I sneezed copious amounts of blood. I was unable to contain it all in the towel, and the fridge, counter, and floor were splattered with the coppery liquid. The phone rang again.

“Who the hell is thi—“ I shouted into the phone. I was cut off by the same child’s voice, this time with a sinister taunting tone.

“Bless you.”

The call ended. By now my nose was gushing blood, and my shirt front was soaked. I heard a high-pitched giggling behind me, and I whirled around.

Standing in the kitchen door was a small child of about five or six years old. His clothing appeared to be from decades long gone. I know I locked the doors.

“Who—“ I began, but another violent sneeze overtook me. There was entirely too much blood for a bloody nose, and I was starting to feel faint.

“Bless you.”

I backed up a few steps, sneezing all the way. The child didn’t move, but his blessing followed each spray of blood.

Falling to my knees, I pinched the tip of my nose in an attempt to stave off the sneezing. The room spun in my vision, but the boy stayed still.

I gave one final, racking sneeze before my vision went black.

The last thing I remember is a sinister child’s voice saying “Bless you.”

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