Inspired by a post on reddit where I was introduced to the concept of FEGHOOTS. This was originally a series I posted to ficly.com, but I’ve decided to stop referencing back to the site at the end of the posts with a bunch of links. Too time consuming.
Alice crept silently into the tree outside Jane’s window for the third time in a week – the first two times had ended in lectures and the threat of grounding. She was sure the hooded flashlight and rubber-soled shoes would make the difference this time.
Perched on the thickest branch, just outside Jane’s room, Alice pointed the flashlight at the window and thumbed it on and off three times, as fast as she could. A moment later, Jane’s blonde hair shown in the moonlight a heartbeat before her pale blue eyes appeared in the window. She lifted the heavy wooden frame, an audible scrape making them both cringe.
“What are you doing?” whispered Jane, the corner of her mouth turned up in a grin. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“I had to – tonight is the last chance before we graduate.”
Jane disappeared into the darkness of her room and emerged dressed in black pants and a dark grey hoodie, a wisp of hair poking out from underneath.
As Jane climbed up onto the sill, she whispered, “Alright. Let’s go shoot that son of a bitch.”
Jane and Alice slipped down from the tree and slid between the cars and shrubs that littered the nondescript, suburban neighborhood. Even though they had to crab-walk, it only took six minutes to get from Jane’s house to the old Thompsons place. As they crossed the last intersection and sidled up to the low, brick wall in front of the deserted home, Alice asked, “Did you bring your dad’s camera? My phone died just before I left.”
“Yeah. He even showed me how to shoot with it last week.” She flipped the point-and-shoot out of her back pocket and handed it to Alice. “Twist the button on top until you see the icon with the star; that’s low-light for night time.”
“Shit Jay, I’m scared. I hate this house. It give me the willies.”
Jane wiped her mouth with the back of her sleeve, then tucked the wisp of blonde hair back under her hood. “Me too, but I swore I’d get a picture before I left this shit hole.”
She set her hands on the brick cap and vaulted up, onto the top of the wall. “Let’s go.”
Fifteen paces into her run, Jane flopped onto her stomach and army crawled the last six feet to the edge of the round-about driveway in the center of the Thompsons abandoned front yard. Alice flopped down beside Jane, panting and wheezing, “What are you doing? You couldn’t wait for me.”
“Sorry, I just want to get this over with.”
Alice turned on the camera and tucked it into her sleeve and huddled up with Jane in an effort to keep them both warm. On any other dark, starry night they might sneak a few moments for a kiss or two, but Jane was all business. Plus, it was hard to get into the mood when you knew that eight years ago a man had died, his blood spilled into the gravel from a gunshot wound, only a few feet away from where you were laying.
Thirty minutes ticked away. Alice yawned and began to say something, but then Jane gasped and turned, mouthing, there. A ghostly image of a man riding a bicycle around the roundabout.
Alice pulled the camera out of her sleeve and held it up to take a photo, but the battery symbol was flashing. The battery was nearly dead.
“Jay, the battery! It’s almost dead.”
“Hurry up and take a picture!” said Jane, exasperated.
Alice took one photo, then the camera screen went blank and the lens retracted back into the camera. The ghost of the dead man on a bicycle turned, saw them in the shrubs, then vanished.
The girls stood abruptly and ran back to Jane’s house, any worries about being caught completely forgotten, to look at the photo on her laptop. The photo was badly underexposed and only a faint outline, barely recognizable as a person on a bicycle, could be seen.
Jane sighed and rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands, the stress of the last two hours floating away. “Well that figures. The spirit is wheeling, but the flash is weak.”
word count: 706
The feghoot (or story pun) part of this is the phrase: The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. It comes from the bible, Matthew 26:41 (which I had to look up online…) and preceded by “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation…” I thought that made it all the more fun to have a story about giving into temptation and being woken up from sleeping…plus, I had to throw in the bit about Alice and Jane being an item. It’s the small things that bring me joy.