100-Word Story: A Quiet Ending

A Quiet Ending

The sound of dripping water filled the whole building, every drip amplified by the silence outside.

Droplets of water glided slowly through the air, eventually splattering in the growing puddle on the floor.

Dirty water rolled into the cracks between the floor tiles, soaking through the rotten wood below and dripping into the space underneath the building.

A brown rat looked up just in time to see a droplet of the dirty water splash on to his face. The water seeped into his skin, infecting his tiny body with a virus that no human would live long enough to identify.


© Natalie Mansfield

Previously published on The Drabble

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75-Word Story: That Thing

That Thing

That thing, when you wake up in the middle of the night, and see a shadow that shouldn’t be there.

You blink your eyes, and then it’s gone. Just your mind playing tricks again.

But you know, deep down, there are no tricks.

He’s still there, hiding in the other shadows. Watching your every move.

You sense him lurking in the darkness. You can almost hear him breathing.

He’s waiting for you to fall asleep.


© Natalie Mansfield

Previously published on Paragraph Planet

100-Word Story: The Guy That’s Made Of Ghost

The Guy That’s Made of Ghost

We shared a taxi once, you and I. Your kindness reminded me to breathe. I see you now, walking past my window; your skin so grey, clinging to your cheekbones like the last traces of flesh on a decaying skull.

I watch as you mouth silent words, imaginary conversations with people only you can see. I watch as you laugh at jokes that no one else hears. And I can’t help but wonder if there was ever a moment, all those years ago, when I could’ve still reached you. A moment before you became the guy that’s made of ghost.


© Natalie Mansfield

Previously published on The Drabble

75-Word Story: Patterns

Patterns

The patterns on her skin disturb him. They might be scars; they might be moles. But he thinks he sees numbers. Sixes. Three of them.

She knows he sees them; she wants him to see them. She wants to plant a seed in his mind. Just the smallest suggestion.

She doesn’t want to scare him. Not yet. It’s too soon; he’s not ready. She’ll reveal herself slowly, shedding her skin one layer at a time.


© Natalie Mansfield

Previously published on The Drabble

100-Word Story: The Measure Of a Man

The Measure of a Man

Eight men stand around a butcher’s table, their faces obscured by the flickering candlelight. Shadows dance across the ceiling as they carve and slice and tear meat away from the bone. Teeth, nails and strands of hair lie discarded on the blood-stained floor.

On the table, a fleshless young man stares out into a space he no longer sees. The skin that once covered his ample frame lies next to his bones, ready to be repurposed. When a world’s food supply runs out, the value of a man is measured by the amount of meat on his bones.


© Natalie Mansfield

100-Word Story: Endless Ending

Endless Ending

Old Luke lies in a hospital bed, staring out from a body that no longer works – a body that will never work again. He watches the hazy figure that stalks the ward each night, touching the chosen ones lightly on the shoulder and releasing them from their flesh-covered prisons.

Luke longs to feel the figure’s hazy hand on his shoulder. Some nights he tries to move, tries to shout, tries to blink his eyes – anything to get the figure’s attention. But it never even looks in his direction. It just walks on by and saves its gifts for younger men.


© Natalie Mansfield

75-Word Story: Gone

The emptiness was the worst thing. Sitting in the middle of the floor, staring at the bare walls, immersed in guilt and shame – scratching, cutting, tearing – clawing chunks of flesh from his mutilated body. Trying to find something real below the surface. He ripped at the raw meat that used to be his arm, looking for some hint of humanity, but found nothing underneath. The man he used to be was long gone.


© Natalie Mansfield