Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Doorbell

I've started a new short story about a haunted doorbell. Not sure if its a good idea or a terrible one.
Here's a preview.

It started as a bit of a joke. Emma was going to bed one night when she looked up at the bell that hung on the wall high up to the right of the front door. The main light was off and the hallway was lit only by the glow of the TV her boyfriend was watching in the living room. The dimness made the tiny red light stand out more. The tiny red light staring down at her from box on the wall.
It seemed...wrong. Was it normally on? She didn't think so. She thought it only lit up when someone pressed that button outside and the doorbell rang. A visual cue to go along with the sound. A bit pointless really because you'd have to be looking at it to see it and when would you stand there staring at the doorbell waiting for it to ring?
She was sure it wasn't always lit though, because if it was, why was she noticing it now. It was creepy that red light, threatening somehow. Red was the colour of danger wasn't it, the colour of stop signs and warnings. She turned round and walked back to the living room.
"Come and look at this," she said. Her boyfriend sighed from the sofa.
"Look at what?"
"The doorbell.
"The light on it is on. It's not normally on is it?" She was sure it wasn't but she wanted his reasurrance that she wasn't going nuts.
He didn't get up. "Don't worry. It probably just means that the batteries are running down. I'll change them tomorrow."
She opened her mouth to say something back but couldn't think of anything. What he said made perfect sense. So she kissed him goodnight and walked back out into the hallway again. Just as she was leaving the room he laughed and said, "Either that or something is constantly ringing the bell and we just can't hear it." He put on a corny Bela Lugosi accent, "Something trying to get through from the other side...."
She laughed back. "Batteries tomorrow, don't fucking forget."
She looked up at it as she walked back through the hallway to the stairs. The thing on the wall...what did you call it? Not a doorbell because wasn't that the thing on the outside of the house? Besides, it wasn't a bell at all, not anymore. It would have been when she was a kid, a proper bell that got struck somehow and chimed. Now though it was a little speaker with circuit boards and wires inside it that received a wireless signal when the button on the outside of the house was pressed. All very clever but lacking in soul somehow. There was something so simple and pure about a proper bell.
She looked up at the box on the wall again, wishing pointlessly for a simpler time. The box stared back at her with its one red eye. She knew in her head that it was an inanimate object. Just another collection of plastic and wiring that performed a simple task that made he life easier. In that moment though it felt like maybe it wasn't souless after all. It felt as if it had a soul all of its own, a particularly malevolent soul that wished her no good at all.
She shooked her head and yawned, god she must to be thinking up this nonsense. Bed now for sure, and a stern telling off for him on the sofa if he didn't sort out the batteries tomorrow.

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