Friday 1 November 2013

#FridayFlash - Halloween

"Mom, why don't we have a pumpkin?"

Michael looked out the window at the houses across the street. Each one boasted a lit jack o'lantern by the front door, the flickering candlelight throwing jagged faces across their front lawns.

"I don't want any of the dead finding their way back here," said Nancy.

"What about Dad?" asked Michael.

"Especially your dad." Nancy muttered as she turned back to the kitchen counter where dinner lay in various parts across an array of plates.

Michael and his brother Jason clambered onto the sofa, Michael dressed as Woody the Cowboy and Jason as Buzz Lightyear. Their cousin Freddie would be over soon to take them trick or treating. She didn't agree with the commercialism that had crept into the holiday, as the tradition of the poor offering to say prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes from richer households was perverted into children begging for candy. Still, the boys being out of the house would give Nancy time to make her preparations.

The doorbell rang. Jason leapt off the sofa and ran across the room. He yanked on the handle and pulled the front door open.

"Honey, I'm hoooooome."

Jason squealed and Nancy whirled around to see Patrick framed in the doorway. Dirt clung to the tattered remains of his burial suit, and grass stuck to the patches of skin worn away through the rotting process. A gnarled hand reached out for Jason, but the boy ducked out of his grasp and threw himself across the room to join his elder brother.

"You didn't leave a light out, honey." Air rasped across decayed vocal chords in a ghastly imitation of speech.

"Boys, go fetch your buckets from the laundry room." Nancy backed slowly across the kitchen.

"Aw, don't you wanna see your dad?" Patrick turned his dead gaze to Michael and Jason, but they dashed towards the laundry room before he could lurch two steps across the carpet. They passed Nancy and dived into the small laundry room next to the kitchen. Nancy had stashed their candy collection buckets in there anyway, so the ruse wasn't a complete lie. She just didn't want them to see what she was about to do next.

"You can't keep your kids from their dad, Nance. It isn't healthy." Patrick continued to rasp as he forced his feet forward two more steps.

Nancy darted forward and snatched up the shotgun from its resting place against the door jamb, kicking closed the door to the laundry room as she did so. Patrick's dead eyes lit up with a terrible understanding as she raised the shotgun and pulled the trigger.

The boys cried out in the laundry room, but they left the door closed. The blast sent shards of bone and tattered scraps of cloth and flesh out of the open front door and across the front path. Nancy glared at the corpse as it swayed, before landing with a wet thump on the carpet. Patrick had never been a tidy husband, but now he'd left a dirty great stain on her living room floor.

She heard voices at the back door, and realised Freddie had arrived. His back yard backed onto hers, and he preferred to cut across the lawn instead of going the long way around. She opened the back window and called out to her nephew.

"Could you take the boys out now? Just cut around the side of the house." Nancy gave him her biggest smile. The teenager, dressed as Wyatt Earp, gave his lop-sided grin, and led the boys across the garden.

Nancy ducked back inside and pulled what was left of Patrick into the house, closing the front door so the boys wouldn't see. Their father would be gone by the time they got back - and this time, he'd be gone for good.


Anonymous said...

Ha, this was awesome. Curious how he died the first time, too... Great story! :-)

Tony Noland said...

Yowza. Calm and cool in such a situation - makes me wonder what the guy was like when he was alive.

Unknown said...

Nancy, well prepared and remaining calm for her kids, is a strong mother. I like the untidy husband once again leaving a mess for Nancy to clean up. :)

Claudia H. Blanton said...

very nicely done - I also wondered how he died the first time - did she have to kill him before? He seemed like a menacing figure, terrorizing his family in life and death. Blessings!

Larry Kollar said...

And not one comment about brains! Well done!

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Well, it's obvious that Patrick loved Nancy for her brains. [Sorry, Larry and Icy. I just couldn't resist.]

Icy Sedgwick said...

I wouldn't necessarily say that Patrick is a zombie, he's just something that Should Not Be. I know plenty of people like that >.<

John Wiswell said...

Haha, I prefer "Should Not Be" over zombie. Nicely executed, Icy.

Steve Green said...

It's a shame he wasn't a more "Fun Dad", he could have taken the kids round the neighbourhood, he would have made an awesome Trick-or-treater.

The reference to the mess he made did give me a smile too.

Anonymous said...

I too like the line about him making another mess for her to clean up. Seems she's had to do so far too often. But no more! Great story Icy!

KjM said...

"Still, the boys being out of the house would give Nancy time to make her preparations."

One has to wonder what Nancy was preparing for. Did she suspect Patrick was likely to come back, and was preparing to ensure he couldn't? She was already prepared for pretty much anything. But it sounds like there was something specific she had in mind.

Nice work, Icy. As always.

Helen A. Howell said...

Well that's one walking dead that won't be walking anymore - think of the candy he could of got if he'd gone trick or treating instead. ^_^

Katherine Hajer said...

This one's definitely a tight package -- there's a lot put in here without any overt hand-wringing or back stories. Very well done. I hope she liquidises him.

Post a Comment