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Attack of the Wardrobe

by on March 12, 2018

Celeste never meant for any of it to happen.

She had purchased the wardrobe entirely on a whim. She did that sort of thing a lot; her small house was chock-a-block with various yard sale finds, random pieces of furniture, books she might one day possibly read, and paintings she didn’t understand but found lovely. Her bank account suffered mightily on account of her constant whimsical purchases, but she managed to get by.

The wardrobe she had purchased because it reminded her of a story she had read as a child. Celeste was sadly disappointed to find that there was no magical land hiding behind the wardrobe, but even so, she consoled herself by the fact that it was quite roomy, and had plenty of space for her ugly Christmas sweater collection. So she stuck it in her upstairs room and forgot about it.

This was a mistake.

One wet Tuesday, she had invited three of her friends over for a binge-watching of an HBO series they were all fond of. They were into the second episode when suddenly Celeste heard a distant bump from the upstairs room. She ignored it at first. Then the bump came again, louder, and this time the others heard it too.

“From ghosties and ghoulies and long-leggedy beasties…” her friend Miranda quoted, giggling. Miranda was very well read and liked to quote lines.

Celeste rolled her eyes. “So go see what it is, why don’tcha?”

Miranda giggled again. “It’s probably that stupid wardrobe. Maybe someone from Narnia got in!”

“Only one way to find out,” Celeste said, and now she was laughing a little as well.

Miranda started for the staircase. “Fine, I will. Send someone if I’m not back in five!” she called, before disappearing up the staircase into the second floor.

They had paused the show to wait for Miranda. Several minutes passed. There was another bump.

“Miranda?” Celeste called. She wasn’t really concerned. Not yet. Miranda was probably having a little fun up there. She was hiding. That was it. Celeste had stopped laughing, though.

“Jerkface,” Rhonda muttered. Rhonda was the bluntest member of the group, and had a distinct lack of filter. “You know what? This is boring. I’m going after her.”

She marched up the staircase before anyone could stop her. Now it was only Celeste and Shelby alone in the living room.

They waited. Shelby was the quiet one of the bunch; she hesitated to venture her opinion even when directly asked. She wasn’t about to call attention to the increasingly distressing fact that neither Rhonda nor Miranda had returned.

Bump. 

Maybe,” Celeste ventured, “we should both go. Together. See what’s happening.”

A short pause followed.

Bump. 

“I’d rather not,” Shelby whispered.

They waited several more minutes. There were no sounds from upstairs.

“They’re playing a game,” Celeste said, trying to sound reassuring. “They both decided to play hide and seek and they want us to find them.”

“Or it’s something else,” said Shelby.

Quite suddenly the lights went out.

Bump. 

“Shelby?”

Silence.

“Shel?”

More silence.

Bump. 

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13 Comments
  1. I loved that I was able to get a sense of Celeste as a person, even in such a short story.

    • Thanks! I may bring Celeste and her friends back for another story, although that will be tricky to do under the circumstances. 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed this. I could see where it was going, but that in no way detracted from the chill. The sparse ending was wonderful. ‘And then there were none’ feeling.

    • Thanks! I was going for exactly that feeling, so I’m glad it came across like I wanted.

  3. I like that this Narnia wardrobe turned nefarious! The line about two of them playing hide-and-seek confused me a little about their ages. I do like the mirroring of the poem and the wardrobe going ‘bump’ in the night.

    • Thanks! I can see where that’d be confusing; I was picturing them as college-age maybe, but I should’ve clarified that the hide-and-seek reference was really more tongue-in-cheek. Celeste knows they’re not really playing hide-and-seek. 🙂

  4. MM Schreier permalink

    I like your little references to regular life – ugly Xmas sweaters & binge watching TV – it made the whole story more relevant.

    A tiny nitpick, I visualized that the 1st 2 women disappeared into the wardrobe, so I wanted to know how the second 2 did. Did something escape the wardrobe and come downstairs? A few steps on the stairs or a creaking floorboard in the dark would have tidied that up for me…

    I agree with anusrini20 about your character building in such a short work – more so, all 4 characters were distinct. Nicely done.

    • Thanks for the comment! In my head it was the wardrobe coming downstairs and eating them, or them getting sucked into it, or something to that effect, but I should’ve added a creak or two on the floor. 🙂

  5. I liked all the down to earth references in such an outrageous story.
    You captured the atmosphere of a fun evening before it all goes wrong.

  6. I loved the Narnia aspect of this. And there was a Sex and the CIty vibe with Celeste and her friends that was a fun contrast. I wanted to know why the wardrobe stayed quiet until that moment. It seemed like she’d had it for a while?

  7. You should have written the finale to Sex and the City.

  8. Hah! Celeste was sadly disappointed to find that there was no magical land hiding behind the wardrobe,
    I haven’t read Narnia in years but it /is/ disappointing that you can’t travel to another world via wardrobe. Lovd the little nods to HBO too and the era of the ugly sweater. That’s what happens when you buy creepy furniture and invites your friends over with no supervision. 😛

  9. I like how you changed the mood so well, from fanciful to creepy horror, one bump at a time. But even after one bump, no *way* would I ever go up there alone, or let anyone go either! Come on folks, it was a BUMP. When is that ever innocent? 😉

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