Sunday, March 13, 2011

Patient #110313: Laurita Miller

Welcome, everyone to "Madness in March". Each day this week, I'll be bringing you a new story of madness. Each day will bring a new voice, and a new examination of the horrors within the human mind. 

Leading off the week is Laurita Miller. Not only is she a fellow Canadian, (and winner of best Canadian blog for 2010), but yesterday, she "Shaved for the Brave" fundraising drive to benefit Young Adult cancer research.

Laurita's fiction has a style that is uniquely hers. It is evocative, and rich with imagery.  She is adept at spinning a reader into a wonderful, homey sense of comfort, and then depositing them squarely on their ass with a surgical twist of the plot.

Settle in. 

The music is gone for the week. I want you to be alone with these stories, and the thoughts they give you.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce Laurita's story, "Paranoia".

Laurita Miller

It was moving.

He could hear it, the soft shuffling, the creaking of the floorboards.

Creak. Creak.

He scratched his ear, turned back to the fire, and poked at the logs until the sparks flew out onto the rug. The warmth felt good. The fire was good.

He tapped the poker against the floor. Tap, tap. He stopped, listened. It was moving. Still moving.

Creak. Creak.

Did he lock the door? Yes, it was locked. Locked in. Tap, tap. It couldn’t get out. The door was locked.

Was it?

He walked across the room, using the poker as a walking stick, and stopped at the bottom of the stairs.  He heard it shuffle to the door. His heart pounded.

Did he lock the door?

Above, the doorknob rattled violently, the sound echoed down the stairs. He scratched his ear and scuttled back to the fireplace, to the light. He smiled.

Yes, it was locked. Locked in.


It was moving.

She crouched in the shadows, knees pulled close to her chest, eyes on the door. She was safe in the dark. The dark was good.

She could hear it pacing the floor, waiting.

Tap, tap.

She rocked faster, focused on the creaking of the old floorboards. It couldn’t get in. Couldn’t get in. Creak, creak. The door was locked.

Was the door locked?

She listened. It was moving. She heard it move.

Tap, tap. Tap, tap.

Heard it stop at the stairs.

She scrambled across the room and grabbed the door knob. She shook it with all her strength, the sound echoed down the stairs. Locked. Still locked.

She listened for footsteps, listened to the stairs. They said nothing. Then tap, tap. Back across the room.

She scurried into the darkness, hugged her knees to her chest, and rocked. She smiled.

Yes, it was locked. Locked out.

Laurita Miller lives on a rocky island in the North Atlantic. To survive it, you’d need to be mad. Which luckily, she is.

Laurita can be found online at her recently revamped blog, Calling Shotgun.


  1. Kind of a twisted humor to it. I liked it.

  2. A great parallel and mischief between the two characters. Highly atmospheric - especially with Chris's Madness template. This made me feel as though I were peaking, uninvited into a nightmarish fairytale.

  3. Both perspectives are frightening.

  4. A fine start to the week! Who's the victim? A well written and disturbing piece, Laurita.

  5. Very cool tale that reminded me of a great mix of the Tell Tale Heart and The Golden Hand, but with your unique spin on it. Some great imagery and build up of suspense in there too.

  6. Two suspenseful tales that paralles each other nicely. They intersect perfectly at the door. Patient #110313 has long been one of my favourites.

    BTW Chris, the blog has a great look for March Madness.

  7. Excellent suspense in this one, Laurita. You seem to have tried a new style here and it works! Really enjoyed the double take of this too - illness vs. nightmares.
    Fine penning.

  8. I loved the tension that each part builds on its own, but when the two are set against each other, the fear and suspense are palpable, and take this story to the next level.

  9. What an excellent start to the festivities! Laurita, clever and sharp, and I loved the parallel stories. You didn't tell too much, allowing us to imagine as we will. Excellent!

  10. Yikes. Who is the dreamer or the paranoid? Upstairs or downstairs? Interesting that one rocks and is helpless. While the other is assertive, aggressive even and carries a poker. A split part of a whole perhaps trying to decide which action/personality to take and yet both doors are locked. This is awesome, Laurita.

  11. This is the kind of story that scares me most - the not knowing, the repetitive noise... ya feel like saying 'just hit me with the poker and get it over with!'
    And your awesome story is even scarier with Chris' ink-splattered blog design.

  12. Talk about two sides of a door! This one kind of makes those little hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

  13. Thanks for the comments, and thank you Chris for finding me a padded room for March Madness. It was such a fun topic to play with. And the new look is wickedly good. You rock.

  14. A deliciously story, building the tension with every word. Thank you, Laurita and Chris.