89.5 WNIJ recently invited listeners to participate in Three-Minute Fiction, a “very short story” contest inspired by an NPR series of the same name. GK Wuori, a DeKalb native, Pushcart Prize-winning author and Illinois Arts Council Fellow, wrote the story prompt and selected five winners and five honorable mention commendations.
Author Brenna Parson was a runner-up in the Three-Minute Fiction competition with Three Months Later.
“Three Months Later” by Brenna Parson
I’m a curious person.
No, I’m a nosey person.
No, I’m a snoop, and it’s finally gotten me into trouble.
Ever since my dad left three months ago, strange things have been happening.
Doors opening randomly, the microwave turning on and beeping at random hours, and the food I swear was there – gone. But when I ask my mom, she brushes it off, saying, “it’s just PTSD.”
“But I’ve never been in anything traumatic,” I argue back. Again, she brushes it off and leaves.
So here’s where the snooping comes in. Since she wasn’t going to give me answers, I snuck into her room while she’s making dinner. Her bed is made up nice, her clothes are put away, and nothing’s out of the ordinary. Suddenly, I hear her coming, and I charge into the closet. She comes into the room, silent. I open the door a crack and peek out. She’s sitting on the bed, weeping.
Then the weird stuff happens.
See, I wouldn’t have seen anything had I not been snooping around my mom’s stuff. But here I am, in this compromising position, forced with the reality of my actions.
Anyways, here’s what I saw: a flash of light pops through my vision, and two people appear, laying in the bed. It’s a man and a woman, their faces marked with horror.
I nearly scream. Ghosts. There are ghosts in my house. At least it makes sense now. My mom doesn’t even notice the people, though, she just keeps crying. Then she, wipes her eyes, gets up, and goes to the bathroom. I burst out of the closet and run to the hallway, refusing to look at the ghosts. I run to my room, close the door, and lock it. I take deep breaths, turn around, and wonder how I never noticed the ghosts till now.
And how I never noticed the one on my bed.
This one I get a good look at, considering he’s sitting right in front of me. He’s sort of blue, and see-through, but I can still tell he has shaggy blonde hair, brown eyes, and he’s wearing a green jacket and jeans. He stares at me in horror, just like the other two in Mom’s room.
“What do you want?” I ask, but it comes out as more of a wail.
He swallows, his eyes still wide. “I want you to leave my house,” he says in a watery voice. I guess he’s in like another dimension or something, and our connection sucks. Maybe he drowned in the tub. Or a pool. With his parents. Could this get any weirder?
“Your house? Excuse you, but I’ve lived here my whole life,” I snap. “Why don’t you go find another house?”
“Have you been the one moving all our furniture?” he demands.
I stare at him. “Have you been the one eating all our food?”
He raises an eyebrow. “Your food? You don’t have any food. You’re non-corporeal.”
“Excuse me? You’re the ghost.”
“No, you’re a ghost. We moved here three months ago after this guy murdered his family and got arrested. He went berserk, apparently, killing his wife and then his daughter while she was asleep.”
And that’s when I realized – my feet weren’t touching the floor.
For more information on the Three-Minute Fiction “very short story” competition, please visit wnij.org.