Writing prompt: The old house …

Today’s writing prompt and my response.

The old house, with its wildly overgrown garden, was silent, secretive

Jamie didn’t like it, not one bit. No one would find him here.

It was so far from anywhere that She had allowed him to ‘escape’ outside. He was sure She watched him, from the peeling door or through the cracked dirt-streaked glass of a downstairs window.

large old house in overgrown garden

Watched or not, perhaps there was a way out. He explored the grounds as far as the high brick wall which surrounded the garden and house, followed the wall all the way around without discovering a door or a gate.

How had She got him in here at all? Hauled him over the wall?

He remembered he and Susie in his front yard, at dusk, his mother screaming at him to come inside, and he didn’t want to go inside, to be yelled at and beaten. And the stranger appearing at the gate, lifting the latch …

And waking this morning in a bare-walled room with a cobwebbed window and floorboards littered with dust balls. He was wrapped in musty sheets, lying on a rusted iron bed, a tattered blanket over him. His shoes sat neatly by the side of the bed.

His heart had hammered. Where? How? He’d been kidnapped, but why? It wasn’t as if his mother had money, and even if she did he doubted she’d waste it on him, her useless, youngest son.

He had slipped his feet into his shoes and tiptoed to the door, yanking at the handle, expecting it to be locked. It swung inwards, silently. As silent as the house itself. He sneaked along a wide landing hung with cobwebs and peeling stained wallpaper. Down the stairs to the hall, where he stopped.

She was there, where she hadn’t been a moment before. Jamie startled, set a foot back on the stairs, ready to turn and run … his feet froze in place.

‘I hope you slept well.’ Said unsmilingly.

Jamie stared. He opened his mouth to ask where he was, what did She want with him, could he go home. Please. Nothing came out to disturb the overbearing silence of the house.

He blinked, and when he opened his eyes, She was gone. His feet unfroze. His voice returned.

He ran to the door, tugged it open, and fled into the overgrown garden.


His shouted plea fell to the weedy gravel, was sucked away by the secretive quiet.

Follow the daily writing prompt on Facebook or Instagram.

Find Cheryl’s flash fiction and short stories here!