Prompt Story: Nelle

Nelle

(WIP, Untitled supernatural murder mystery)

by

Lee Hulme

[All stories in this series:
1: Drew     2: Vicky     3: Egs     4: Danson     5: Egs & Danson     6: Nelle]

Nelle

by

Lee Hulme

Nelle looked frantically behind her, tripping over the bottom step to the front door of the house she had been sent to. The sound of padding feet echoed in the darkness of the street, lights flickering out as the Thing approached. A snarl reached her ears as she hammered on the door, drowning the sound out with her cries, “Please, please let me in, please, it’s after me, please!”

The door opened and she fell into a pair of arms, who pulled her quickly inside and closed the door.

Released, she fell to the floor, curling into a ball as the stranger checked through the side windows.

Only when the stranger knelt by her, placing a reassuring hand on her brow, did she stop whimpering long enough to hear what they said.

“It’s OK, it’s OK. It’s gone, the lights are back, you’re safe. Come on, let’s get you somewhere more comfortable. I’ll make some hot chocolate, and you can tell me what’s going on.”

“Y-you’ll never believe me,” Nelle sobbed, allowing herself to be led to a sofa ad bundled into a soft blanket. Looking up at the stranger for the first time, she saw a sad and knowing smile on a light brown face, dark eyes reflecting the light from a soft lamp, a dressing gown tied hastily around her waist.

“I think you’ll be surprised what I believe these days,” she said softly, padding to the kitchen in pair of bunny slippers, “I’m Tamara Egerton, but call me Egs, everyone does.”

Nelle nodded silently and watched as Egs prepared hot chocolate and brought it over, sitting across from her on an armchair.

“Okay, first up, can you tell me your name?”

“Nelle,” she said quietly. “I’m Nelle.”

“Alright Nelle, thank you. Now just take your time, tell me what brought you here, and how I can help.”

Nelle gazed into her hot chocolate, letting the steam warm her face. She closed her eyes, remembering the morning before, and took herself back there, starting to speak.

“I woke up yesterday morning, same as usual, time for lectures – I’m part-time at Uni. Got up, made coffee, toast. Looked at my phone and there was this new icon there, no name, just a symbol.

“Figured it was something new on android or whatever, some new Google thing, but it didn’t open. So I left it, went in to Uni, did some stuff at the library, saw some friends. There’s this guy in the group keeps flirting with me, doesn’t really like me telling him I’m not interested in anyone like that, so he gets bit pestery and I have to deal with him. So I asked if anyone else had this app thing, but nobody did, and I didn’t think much else about it between him and studying and the usual stuff. Today was the same, normal, Uni then work – I do delivery for the Asda in town – then home, food, some stuff for an essay, went to bed. Got woke up, I guess an hour ago now, phone went mental – buzzing, alarm, ringtones, music, all going off.

“Turns out it’s this app, really wants me to come to this address. I’ll show you the thing but it just popped up this notification, filled the whole screen, wouldn’t let me dismiss it or close it. Restarted the fucking thing and everything, still just got this message. Go to this address, go to this address, go to this address, all flashing in big letters. Tried to go back to sleep and it went mental again – said ‘Go now or else!’

“So I’m thinking it’s like a prank or something, some prick from Uni got hold of my phone or it got hacked or something and someone’s having me on, right? Before I get chance to try anything else to fix it, there’s this noise, like a snorting, breathing sound, from my wardrobe. Like there’s a monster in there, like I’m a scared kid having a bad dream, but I’m awake. I wasn’t gonna go open that, but I didn’t know what to do, then it started opening the door itself, and I saw eyes, two eyes, right at the top, like fucking tall, all yellow and shit, staring at me. Then this fucking hand, this hairy fucking hand, all claws and shit came out, and that was fucking enough.

“So I ran the fuck out, and I know this street so I run to here, and it followed me the whole way, I heard it, running and breathing and growling, right til you got me inside. And that’s it. I don’t know who you are, lady, or what that thing was, but I think…I think maybe…maybe it’s a thing I did to myself. Cos look, before I got here I looked at my phone one last time, and look…”

Nelle trailed off and showed her phone to Egs. In large, bright, flashing letters, a fullscreen notification read

YOU SUMMONED ME CHILD. RUN. RUN TO HER. YOUR DOOM IS CLOSE

Egs sat back and looked thoughtfully at Nelle, as they both sipped their drinks.

“So Nelle, you have no idea who I am, what I do?”

Nelle shook her head.

“Okay. Do you know what this…whatever it is means, about you summoning it?”

Nelle nodded, cringing down into herself, “Some people I know, a few weeks back, we were hanging out and we did this thing, this ritual. One of them’s studying occult rituals or some weird shit, and they had this book, and we did this thing. It was mean to be a laugh, I dunno, we were off our heads, but it worked. Like, this tear opened and this beast came out and we all ran and then Cal disappeared, he’s been reported missing and everything, then Ang was gone to but nobody cares but us cos she’s just a junkie as far as the cops are concerned, and then that other woman from the bar died and I think that was the guy with the book, Ed, cos it had protection stuff in it – I read some of it and it said it had to be carved on a person, but I don’t think it worked cos I’ve not seen him since either. I think it’s getting us one at a time and it’s me next. But I don’t know why it sent me here.” Nelle trailed off, energy failing her.

“I have an idea,” Egs said softly. “Let me tell you a little about myself. I’m a police detective, me and my partner are working on that case – the murder of the young lady from the bar. And it seems that when we were younger, our parents knew each other, and promised us to this thing. Why, we don’t know and whatever it is, isn’t telling us – but then the circle managed to banish the thing back before it could collect. And it seems you and your friends are the reason it could come back. Now, it doesn’t seem to be able to get to me and Danson easily, for some reason, and it may think that sending you here will open a door for it. We have an expert on this type of stuff helping us figure things out and I think it would benefit us all to get her and my partner here, if you’re willing. Perhaps we can get some way to understanding, and stopping, this.”

Nelle nodded, eyes lowered, “If I can’t take it back, I can help fix it.”

Egs nodded, “Exactly. You stay right here, hon, maybe lie down, get some rest. I’ll get on the phone.”

Egs left the room, closing the door to her bedroom quietly behind her as she dialled first Danson, who grumbled his way into wakefulness and promised to be there asap, and then Erin Yates, who was surprisingly chipper for being woken and assured Egs that she would be there immediately.

Egs went to the bathroom next, splashing water across her face and taking a number of measured breaths. This was a step closer to figuring out how to make this thing go away, so why did she feel even more trapped?

The bathroom light flickered and she looked at it suspiciously.

As it flickered again, a weight pressed into her chest and she gasped a breath, looking into the mirror.

A beast stood to one side of her, more shadow than solid. Tall, it was covered in coarse hair, yellow eyes staring as it’s fangs glimmered in the faint light from the streetlamp outside. A single, enormous, clawed fist, pressed against her chest, threatening to stop her heart even as it pounded in fear, as she gasped again for breath.

The bathroom door slammed open and Nelle was there, a hand on Egs shoulder, brandishing a kitchen knife, her expression almost as fierce as the beast. The reflection blinked once, snarled, and withdrew, fading as the bathroom light flickered back on.

Egs turned, sagged onto the toilet seat, and looked up at Nelle, “Thank you.”

Nelle nodded, the fierceness leaving her face, replaced again with fear as she sank to the floor next to Egs, knife still gripped tight in her hand.

Writing prompt used:

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And if you really enjoy them, please check out my Patreon, or the tip jar on the sidebar to the right, and consider helping me do more and better things!
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Prompt Short Story: Egs & Danson

Egs & Danson

(WIP, Untitled supernatural murder mystery)

by

Lee Hulme

[All stories in this series:
1: Drew     2: Vicky     3: Egs     4: Danson     5: Egs & Danson    6: Nelle     ]

The two detectives sat down over a meal cooked by Jase, who had given Danson a kiss, winked at Egs, and waltzed out of the front door in his leather and satin finery, leaaving them in peace to discuss the case.

They ate in near silence, Egs in particular enjoying the food after the nights of takeout and easy-cook meals. Towards the end, as Danson brought homemade cheesecake from the kitchen along with another couple of bottles of wine, they settled more comfortably in the living room armchairs, spreading files out on the coffee table.

“Alright, let’s get down to it,” Egs said finally, “We know how she died. We have some witnesses but no solid leads on even a description of the killer – who might actually be multiple killers, based on the occult side of things.”

Danson nodded, “We discounted Drew, unofficially at least, neither of us think they’re involved with the murder, but they might have also been targeted in a failed attempt, so we’re keeping an eye on them just in case.”

“So in short, and before we waste our time some more going through every line we’ve pursued so far, we have nothing. At least, nothing we can tell anyone,” Egs continued. “But we do have Alison’s ghost asking us to free her, and your ma telling us bad shit is coming and it’s related somehow to your childhood and her death, but no specifics on any of this, and we can’t tell anyone else.”

They thumbed through the useless files quietly, looking in vain for anything they might have missed the previous thousand times.

Danson felt it first. The hair on the back of his neck rose, sending a shiver down his spine, raising goosebumps along his arms. He was on his feet in a second, scanning the room.

Egs stood up, instinctively protecting her partner, “Dude, what?”

Danson kept looking around, “You don’t feel that?”

“Feel wh- oh…” Egs’ hackles rose as the room filled with something like static electricity.

Outside, the warm night vanished, the wind sang through the woods at the back of the property and the trees whispered a warning of the approaching forces.

Facing the back windows, both Egs and Danson waited, tense, ready to act.

A voice boomed around them, bouncing off the walls into their ears, creating its own echo. “Here you stand, such good and brave humans, no idea what you really are.”

They both started, exchanging a glance that confirmed they both heard the voice.

“Do not stand against me. Your fate was written at your birth, and belongs only to me.

Danson opened his mouth to answer, but Egs’ hand on his arm stopped his retort.

“I was summoned again by fool who thought they could control me. I played with them while I waited for you to seek me out, but nothing. You are ignorant of me, of your purpose. I wait no longer. You will come to me and you will kneel, and you will obey.”

The voice faded, the wind died, and room fell still.

Adrenaline still coursing, Egs and Danson checked the house, the garden, even the woods, with guns at the ready and inner coils drawn tight. Nothing.

Back inside, as their hearts stopped pumping, as their brains recovered, both of them lost the abiity to stand and collapsed back into their chairs. Danson’s ruddy face was grey but for two white spots on his cheeks, his eyes narrowed to slits. Egs’ light brown skin was pale, sheened with sweat, and her eyes darted around the room. Without thinking, they both reached out and held each others’ hand as Egs poured them both new glasses of wine.

“Do you want to what the fuck first, or should I?” she asked him, trying to ground them both.

Danson looked at her and squeezed her hand gratefully, before letting it go to pick up his glass. “What. The. Fuck?” he croaked.

Egs clinked his glass with hers, hand trembling, “What the fuck…”

Writing Prompt used:

32

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Prompt Short Story: Danson

Danson

(WIP, Untitled supernatural murder mystery)

by

Lee Hulme

[All stories in this series:
1: Drew     2: Vicky     3: Egs     4: Danson     5: Egs & Danson    6: Nelle     ]

Danson rested his head on his desk for a moment, relishing the cool of the plastic on his burning face. Being sick during an investigation was a nightmare, but here he was, bunged up and phlegmy and even more red-faced than usual.

Jase had sent him to work with a flask of broth and crusty bread rolls, and a small box of drugs to combat the cough and sinus headache, but as the day wore on it was slowly dragging him down.

Egs, on the other side of the desk, leaned over, “You need to go home. Sleep. Rest a couple of days. I’ll keep you updated and you won’t make yourself even more sick.”

Danson hauled himself upright, wincing at the sharp stab of pain through his skull, “I’m good, just need more of those pills is all. Besides, what’re you gonna do without me here?”

Egs rolled her eyes, “Without a giant, hawking, dripping slab of beef hovering around to infect everyone? What could I possibly do?”

Danson chuckled a little, then coughed loudly and deeply, “I’ll knock off soon as we’ve seen that woman you looked up.”

Egs sighed, “Aright, let’s go do that now, then.”

After the ghost sighting the night before, Egs had made discreet, and somewhat embarassed, enquiries, and had found Dr Erin Yates, a PhD in Paranormal Studies, nearby. On speaking to her over the phone, Egs had been impressed by the warmth of her tone, and interest in helping – despite not knowing what help she could be – and she had invited them to her home office. She had further impressed Egs by saying she didn’t mind her partner being sick, she had a very strong constitution, just ask him to bring tissues as she had very delicate equipment that could do without being sneezed on.

On hearing this Danson had grunted once, “Normally that’d be the weirdest thing that’d happened in the last day or two, but not anymore.”

Now, heaving his bulk up from the desk even more ponderously than usual, he shuffled his jacket on, reaching in to unruck his sleeves, check his holstered weapon, and confirm his badge was in the inside pocket.

Egs likewise dressed herself for the outside, grabbing a file of carefully chosen information to show to the Doctor in order to seek her help.

Together, they left the station and Egs drove them to the Doctor’s address, a large, pleasantly-kept, detached house on a nondescript street on the outskirts of the city.

The woman who answered was short and plump, with a messy ponytail and a cheerful smile. Inviting them in, they saw the ground floor of the house was crowded with equipment they couldn’t even begin to guess the purpose of.

Seeing them looking, Erin – they must call her Erin, she told them – began to explain some of them. Getting only blank looks in return, she grinned merrily, “I suppose it is all a foreign languge to anyone not in the way of it. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what any of it does, here’s my office, do sit down.”

The office was surprisingly tidy, given the rest of the downstairs. Situated at the back of the house, looking out into a neatly tended garden, the room housed a desk, a leather office chair, three comfortable armchairs on casters scattered around the room, easily moveable across the polished, hardwood floorin, and a comfortable-looking pullout sofa with a blanket folded at one end, and pillows on top. In the far corner was a mini fridge and various hot drinks equipment, with coffee percolating on a machine as they entered.

“Coffee? I promise it’s better than whatever you’re used to at the police station,” she smiled at their eager nods and poured both a cup, adding milk and sugar on request. “Also, for you,” she presented Danson with a bottle of pills, “Herbal only so they won’t affect anything else you take, but they might help with the cold.”

Danson accepted a dose, and the rest of the bottle when pushed, and closed his eyes in pleasure at the taste of the coffee.

Erin sat on the third of the armchairs, bringing it around to face them, and her smile dropped as she got down to business, “So you said on the phone I may be able to help with a murder? Of course, if I can help at all I will, do tell me what you need.”

Egs handed her the file, “This is what I’m able to release to you, on the understanding of it’s privacy.”

Erin nodded, “Of course, of course,” she began looking through. “Oh, how terrible, this poor young woman.”

“In there is what we know, the technical details and all, but if you’ll allow me to give you a brief precis so we can get to what we need?”

Erin nodded, following along in the file to register the finer points.

“The victim was Janice Copperton, killed as she left work. We first assumed she was killed by the blow to the head, but after the examination it seems she remained alive after this, which means the symbols we found carved into her in various places were begun as she remained alive, though we believe she did die during this process. We arrested a suspicious person, and questioned some witnesses, and so far haven’t found any solid leads, just lots of grey area – but you’ll find abridged versions of the interviews in there so show you that.

“Drew was a solid suspect, until the drug tests came back and we found traces of rohypnol in their system. It’s possible someone tried to frame them and we got to their bloods a bit earlier than expected, because according to character references we took, they have never showed signs of violence – quite the opposite in fact, they avoid conflict even to the point of allowing injury to themselves rather than fight back. So while they technically remain a suspect, we don’t really suspect them anymore, and it’s always possible the drugging was simply a coincidence.

“You can catch up on that information, though. What we came to you for is something more along the lines of your specialist interests.”

Erin looked up and closed the folder, “I suspect I won’t find any of this in here, please, go on, and I can assure you of my discretion.”

“Well…” Egs hedged for a moment, then took the plunge, “The victim’s ghost came to visit me. Danson saw her, too.”

Erin nodded, and leaned forwards, her brown eyes intense, “Tell me everything, every detail, no matter how small.”

***

Finally home, Danson gladly divested himself of clothing, made strong tea, used it to take more pills, and took himself to bed. Feeling foolish, even by himself, he took one of Jase’s pillows and cuddled it, enjoying the comforting scent of his boyfriend – musing on the previous night’s conversation where that had become their official status – as he drifted off to sleep.

Later, as the sun set, he started awake from strange, dark dreams that reminded him of his childhood though, as they faded, he couldn’t recall why.

He sat up and shook his head to clear it.

“You look rough, my dear,” said voice, both familiar and yet not.

He looked up to see his mother, long dead and barely remembered, sitting at the edge of the bed, looking concerned.

Unlike Egs’ ghost, this woman was solid-looking, real-looking. He reached to touch her, and his hand felt the cotton of her clothing, a solid arm beneath.

“I’m hallucinating,” he whispered. One of his reccent dreams returned briefly to mind, something about the day his mother died. He shook it away, “No, you can’t be real.”

She smiled softly, “I’m real, in a way. I came to warn you. This murder you investigate – yes, I know about it, I’m your mother, I keep an eye on you – is more dangerous for you than you know.”

“What? Ma, how can you be here? If you can do this, why never til now, and what do you mean dangerous?”

“Oh I’m often with you son, don’t you hear me in your head when you try to make the right decision? When you don’t know which way to turn?”

“I-maybe? But that’s just me, making your voice into the voice of reason. Ma, you died, you stopped being able to tell me how to live my life.”

“My beautiful boy, I’m your conscience, since I died and couldn’t be a mother to you that’s been my one job.”

Danson shook his head in frustration, “What?”

“Oh not like you’re thinking, I’m no Jiminy Cricket – I can only try to help when you’re lost, when something inside you cries out for me, for a moment I get a chance to help. But this is different, son you have to listen to me, please, put your confusion aside, and just know I’m here to help, I don’t have much longer.”

Danson closed his eyes for a moment and summoned his strength, “OK ma, I’m listening.”

“I can’t pinpoint anything but I sense the danger, something from your past and mine that I thought was over has returned, and you’re caught up in it. I never wanted that. I made a mistake and I didn’t mind paying for it, but never you, my dear son, never you. They’ll come for you, and for Egs, once they realise who you are. I’ll try to protect you but you must believe in the things you see.”

The figure reached out and stroked his cheek, flickering and fading away.

As Danson wept, trying to cling to the sight of her, the front door opened and closed, and a moment later, Jase entered the room.”Hey big fella, hey – hey…”

Jase dropped the bags he was carrying and climbed on the bed with Danson, wrapping himself around him as well as possible and pulling him down, “I’m here, love. I’m here,” he whispered, “Everything’s ok. I’m here.”

Danson curled as much of his bulk as he could into Jase’s arms and shuddered through his tears, hearing one last echo of his mother, “This one is good for you, son. Keep him safe, and he’ll keep you safe, too.”

Writing prompt used:

20

If you enjoy the stories and blogs on my site, please share them, every one of those helps.
And if you really enjoy them, please check out my Patreon, or the tip jar on the sidebar to the right, and consider helping me do more and better things!
Thanks for reading!

Posted in LGBT, LGBTQ, Prompt Stories, Short Stories, Stories, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment