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Free Short Story - Josey

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Flash fiction piece inspired by art from @naughty_dog_inc. Click here to view the image.

Josey wrapped her trembling hand around the neck of the guitar. Her heart pulsed rhythmically from what she’d come into these haunted woods to do. Josey had to know if what she saw in the reflection was really there. When the vision first came to her, while she played her sister’s guitar, Josey didn’t touch the damn thing for six months afterword. The emotional wound of what had happened to her twin was still too fresh. Too much of a reality for Josey to come to terms with. The vison was too real. When Josey played Naya’s guitar again, she forced herself to watch. Her sister hid behind a tree in the night, with a machete clutched tightly in her hands. Naya held perfectly still while the three armed strangers approached with lit torches.

The scene was so clear; it was like Josey was with her sister again. Josey tried to grab hold of her sister and bring her back from whatever twisted fate she’d succumb to. When Josey stopped playing Naya’s guitar, however, the visual disappeared and the wood grain of her living room floor returned. Josey played her sister’s guitar until her fingers bled, but with each song, she couldn’t bear to watch as long as she had the first time. Josey had seen the murder in the three men’s eyes as they surrounded Naya. She’d seen the fear in her sisters’ when they found Naya. Josey tried everything she could think of to get Naya’s attention, but Josey never could bring her sister out of the nightmare.

As the weeks went by, Josey became increasingly confident that what she saw happening to her sister when she played the guitar was a reality. It was always the same vision. What Josey saw was more than just her imagination. Josey knew of the place she was seeing in the vision. It was in the neighborhood of the abandoned town across the harbor. Among the photos in Naya’s case file, the nook of the tree where Josey kept seeing her sister in the vision was the same spot where the police found her guitar.

Josey came to that tree to find out exactly what happened to her sister over a year ago. Taking a seat and folding one leg under the other, Josey sat in the same place and position as Naya. The same spot where, in the vision, Naya held a machete in the night. Josey situated the guitar. With shaky hands, Josey placed her fingers on the cord and started playing.

The image came into existence as it always did. Josey sat, mirroring her sister as she appeared in the vision on the forest floor before her. As she strummed her fingers on the strings, Josey saw the light of the torches blazing in the night. From among the abandoned cars lining the forested neighborhood street, men wearing dark coats stalked nearer. Two held blades like Naya did. The third carried an ax. Their hoods darkened their faces, but not their intent. Naya held firm in her position, back against the tree, and clutching the machete at the ready.

Josey strummed her guitar, holding her breath as she nervously shifted her fingers into a new cord. The men were bearing down on her sister now. They were going to find her in a matter of moments. Josey forced herself to look away, pressing her right hand on the strings and stopping the music. She closed her eyes, unable to see what the men would do to Naya when they found her. As Josey held her eyes shut, she hoped the image was going to be gone when she opened them. That’s the way it always happened.

From the forest floor behind her, Josey heard a twig snap. She heard the light crackle of fire burning and people approaching. She opened her eyes. The light of day was gone. Josey sat in the tree's crook, clutching the machete, just as she’d seen her twin doing in the vision. The guitar was not there anymore. Only the cold steel of the machete in her hands. Her heart sped as adrenaline surged through her. Josey knew what was about to happen. The footsteps stopped, like they did the first time Josey played her sister’s guitar. She knew then they’d found her. Josey had one option. She had to find her sister. In the breath before they rushed her, Josey made the first move. She attacked.

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