Chapter 5

Written by: Sumanda Maritz

Closing the front door behind her, Gretchen pushed Brent’s pram into the living room. The funeral was draining even if hardly anyone was there. Neither she nor Matt had much in the way of family. The few friends they had didn’t know how to react to her loss and the shock of Matt's death made her feel numb. She had been kept busy making the arrangements and funeral decisions. What was she going to do now?

Gretchen knew that she would have to think about their future, but tomorrow was soon enough. She left Brent asleep in the pram and went to the kitchen for a cup of tea.

Before the kettle started to boil, she heard the baby crying. Walking back to the living room she was shocked to find the pram empty. Beside herself she started searching the house. She found him fast asleep in his bouncer in the master bedroom. Did Grandma Whitaker move him?

She brushed away tears as she gently touched him, just to hear the crying start again, the sound now coming from the kitchen. But this time it sounded like a toddler, not a small baby. It was a high pitched scream followed by heart rending cries.

Not wanting to leave Brent again, Gretchen picked him up and followed the sound to the kitchen. The crying cut off the moment she stepped into the kitchen. She caught a glimpse of someone going down the basement stairs.

‘Alfred?’ She called but only silence greeted her.

A sudden piercing whistle started behind her on the stove, making her jump. The loud noise woke Brent up and he started crying. There was a loud crash in the back yard. Her heart pounded. Gretchen tried to calm Brent while she took the kettle off the stove. Only then did she look through the window to see a broken roof tile on the ground.

‘Stop panicking, we’re alone in the house,’ she told herself.

From the spy hole in the kitchen cupboard, Albert watched Gretchen pouring tea. He was not supposed to be here. He had promised Grandma Whitaker that he’d leave the young couple alone. But Gretchen was alone now, he had to look after her! He couldn't let the dark ones get to her or the baby. Why did Matt have to die? The dark ones had been whispering again. He knew what they wanted to do. This time he had to stop them. If they would just stop the whispering!

The next morning Gretchen sat down at Matt’s desk. It was time to make some decisions about their future. She made sure that Brent was still comfortable in his bouncer before pulling the file marked ‘Important Documents’ towards her. She was expecting the insurance papers, what she found confused her.  The file contained old newspaper articles on the house and institutional release papers for Albert. The words Paranoid Schizophrenia in bold letters were on the form.


Sumanda Maritz (SA)


Here's some stuff to get things interesting! Is Alfred really paranoid - is he right to be? Nice work, Sumanda! I always know I'm going to enjoy your chapters.
I like the fact that you stay with Gretchen's POV and then insert Albert in a small cameo paragraph. Lovely job. We seem to have changed Albert into Alfred for the last two chapters. Para 5 I found "The crying cut off.." could be better phrased - The crying stopped. Para 6 I found "but only silence greeted her.." could be - but no-one answered. Para 7 I found "A sudden piercing whistle started behind her on the stove, making her jump. A whistle would start to sing gently so she wouldn't jump here. The whistle would not come from the stove but from the kettle sitting on it. These are mistakes I have been making and sometimes they can only be picked up by another pair of eyes. I too, look forward to reading more of your work.  
Ack! You're right. I got so excited that things were moving that I got sucked right into that one. Continuity faeries will hopefully fix it. I disagree with the "cut off" to "stopped." I see your point, but stopped doesn't quite have the alarm that cut off has, as if someone or something has interfered.
Your comment shows an artistic flair - right or wrong - you are in control. Good for you. Now you can have a go at mine  - Please!
Albert!  I completely missed that one.  And I was so proud of not making continuation errors.  Will go sit in the naughty corner for a bit. LOL  Thanks for the help on phrasing.  The whistle I'm going to have to write off on new technology/spooky factor or something otherwise I think that paragraph would loose the shock value for Gretchen.
I think the first five paragraphs are very well done .  I can feel her exhaustion and depression from the funeral.  I can also feel her tension and fear and the attempt to stay calm.  This is a good contrast that makes both feeling real.  I think you may have just a little too much action as far as the paranormal goes.  It becomes a bit confusing. You might want to pick two events and explore them more in depth.  It is confusing with the child screaming and the roof tile falling both almost together.  But I like the tea kettle scaring her--it shows how on edge she is.