31 Days of Art Day 2: Winchester

So, as mentioned, I’m currently using Lynne Hansen’s #31DaysofArt2020 as a series of flash fiction writing prompts. Yesterday’s was a bit of a long piece of flash fiction. This was an image that came to me as I was falling asleep last night (albeit after binge-watching half of Season Four of Van Helsing.) It’s not as in depth as yesterday’s, but it was a fun chance to play around with words.

I can’t remember which writer I was reading, but they had posted a blog article about submitting to themed anthologies. One of the main takeaways was, let your first idea settle, and then put it aside and keep thinking. Chances are, the first thing you think about will be the same thing that everyone else reading the submission call is thinking about. That stuck with me, and when my brain was mulling over what “Winchester” meant as a prompt, I thought, of course, of Winchester house, and Mary Winchester, and Sam and Dean Winchester (oh yes, I thought quite a bit about them, and Charlie, and Sheriff Jody… Ahem! Where was I?)

Anyway, I thought a lot about all the Winchester references out there, and decided to go old school. Winchester is also a brand–of rifles, of really sturdy gun safes. How sturdy? Good question.

Day 2: Winchester

“Are they coming?”

Kayleigh and Mackenzie’s parents didn’t know they knew how to get into the gun safe. Kayleigh had cautioned her little sister against giving away the secret. They liked playing safecrackers, slowly turning the shiny metal spokes until the tumblers clicked, and the door with the embossed picture of the cowboy opened for them.

They were less concerned with the contents. There was Grandpa’s old rifle that no one ever used, the one with the fancy etching on the metal, and their mom had a pistol that was never loaded. At ten years old, Kayleigh knew you didn’t play with firearms, and she made sure her sister didn’t touch them. And she didn’t know how many times she’d cautioned her sister against even pretending to close the door while they were inside.

“Can you hear them?” Mackenzie whispered again, the tears on her cheeks wet on Kayleigh’s arm.

Kayleigh mutely shook her head. Her sister was only two years younger, but Kayleigh suddenly felt much older than her.


“No.” Kayleigh whispered the word harshly. Of course, Mackenzie couldn’t see her in the total dark. She softened her tone, still whispering. “No, Kenz. I can’t hear anything. Shh.”

Mackenzie whimpered and clung to Kayleigh, who felt a wet warmth soak the bottom of her shorts. The pungent smell of Kenz’s pee stunk up the inside of the safe.

“They’re coming, they’re coming, they’re coming,” Kenz whispered to herself.

Kayleigh clenched her teeth so hard her braces hurt. The door had locked behind them, at least she thought it did. She couldn’t open it from inside. She’d never been in darkness so complete.

“They’re coming, I know they’re coming.”

Her sister wasn’t getting louder. In fact, she whispered softer and softer, rocking back and forth, lowering her voice until Kayleigh could barely hear her.

Something in the room outside fell with the a thump and a smash. Kenz jumped and screamed, but it was only a half-choked squeal as she buried her face in Kayleigh’s shirt.

In. Out. In. Out. Kayleigh panted as if she’d been running the two-hundred-meter dash in P.E. with Mrs. Dodds. The Winchester gun safe was solidly built, and heavy, and she thought it would keep them safe.

But she’d seen those teeth and their claws and what they’d done to Mom and to Dad, and she closed her eyes tightly and hoped the wheel with its shiny metal spokes would not start to turn.

* * *

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