Monday, July 24, 2006
scary bad: short fic
My pal gwennie told me about a dream she had the other day. She said that the two of us were being stalked by some sort of demon, toy cat. This in itself is sufficiently freakish. Of course, I had to push it one step farther into what can easily be called "demented." I had to write the whole thing into a short story.
The hazard of being friends with a writer is that we put our whole lives on the page. Any writer that tells you different is totally blowing smoke.
So this is my scary-bad story re: her dream. Be afraid. Very afraid.
A Disturbing, if not Horrifying, Series of Sort-of Scary Something’s
leslie joan linder
(Who should not admit to it)
For every litterbox left unchanged, there shall be vengeance.
Gwen and Leslie each tried to act calm, but the shaking beam of the flash-light that they waved across the attic was not giving them much peace of mind.
For every hairball left ungroomed, there shall be vengeance.
“I don’t see anything,” Leslie insisted. “It must have been squirrels.”
“Only if there were about fifty of them,” Gwen said. “Let’s at least look around.”
Leslie sighed. “Whatever. Why are we doing this, again?”
“Because I lost my third realtor and I’m poor,” Gwen said. “I have to be able to explain this or exorcize it or something.”
“We’re the only one’s getting any goddamned exercise. And it’s hot up here.”
“Just a couple more minutes,” Gwen promised.
They split up – each carrying a dollar store flash-light that put out a dollar’s worth of light.
They were in an attic bedroom that had not been in use for several years. The bed was stacked with cardboard boxes and the corners were full of spider webs. A few grains of petrified cat chow were still packed into the gray-painted floorboards.
For every can of ashy horseguts that you called our "num-nums," there shall be vengeance.
“I know why we’re really here. Gwen, the guy was out of his mind,” Leslie said. She spoke too loud, as if trying to convince herself. “That’s what you get from sideshow bullshit like that. Psychic fair, my ass.”
Gwen shrugged – a gesture Leslie could not appreciate in the pitch black room. “He was right about my car needing a new battery.”
“Whatever,” Leslie said again. She was allergic to dust and her itchy eyes were making her grumpier than ever.
For picking up the mice before we can eat them, there shall be vengeance.
“What about the dead mice and birds we found all over the stairs?”
“I don’t know. Stray cats?”
“Or the missing meter-reader?”
“Like anybody cares.”
For putting plants in our windowsill, there shall be vengeance. Yes – especially for that.
Both women stopped talking and screamed when a sharp rattle emitted from the corner behind the bed.
“A squirrel!” Leslie shrieked hopefully.
“More like a terrier,” Gwen said. “Come on; put your light over here.”
They each moved to the bed and shined two dollar’s worth of light under the edge. There was nothing visible save a clear Tupperware that appeared to be full of old dresses.
Leslie’s voice shook, but she tried to sound calm. “What did that asshole say, again? I mean – exactly.”
For calling the pet psychic an asshole, there shall be vengeance.
Gwen sighed. “That the stuffed cat was under a voodoo curse and it would kill everyone in the house.”
“Yep. That’s all he got time to say. I was kind of running away, at the time.”
“That’s pretty specific, all right. Specifically ridiculous. You don’t have any stuffed cats around here. Your folks hated taxidermy.”
“What about toy cats?” Gwen asked. “He didn’t say anything about taxidermy.”
“What the Hell is an inanimate, toy cat going to be pissed about?” Leslie demanded. “Like – both its eyes are sewed to one side of its fucking head?”
“I did hear a story once,” Gwen said, “about a toy that was cursed because it was made by slave labor. Or, you know – the Parker Brother gameboard factory in Salem is totally cursed because all the kids that worked there got burned up in a fire.”
For buying catnip that is all stem and no leaf, there shall be vengeance.
“So which is it – a possessed plushy or a demon-Yahtzee board?”
“Hey, Parker Brothers made Ouija Boards. Or it could be a voodoo toy from Haiti, or something – have a monkey paw sewed into it, or some shit.”
"Monkey paw? Are you high?"
For disbelieving voodoo’s dark queen, Marie LeVeaux, there shall be vengeance.
“I don’t care,” Leslie said. “I’m going down….”
She had just clicked off her flash-light when both women screamed again. The room was filled with a thunderous noise. It seemed to be coming from everywhere and nowhere.
“Run!” Gwen screamed. Her own flash-light fell to the ground and rolled into a corner before flickering into darkness.
The sounds in the room were truly horrible. Screams and scuffles were combined with a sickening, squelching noise. The room was filled with a busy rumble long after the screams died away. Yet the morning came upon a silent, grisly sight.
The police that responded to the abandoned building had arrived in the attic last. When the got there, a part-time deputy quickly vomited and then ran down the stairs.
The detective in charge put a glove over his nose and mouth while fiddling with his radio. When he was able to speak into it, he said, “Affirmative on the Route 15 call. It’s a double.”
For refusing to get cats out of trees, there shall be vengeance.
He stepped outside the doorway and waited for the sound of the ambulance. Not that there was any hurry.
For telling your wife to “get that hairy thing off the goddamned couch,” there shall be vengeance.
In twenty years on the job, he had never seen a scene like this. When the paramedics came, he walked them through the room – the glove over his face, again.
The room was baffling. Two adult women were eviscerated and then sewn back together. They were posed in separate corners of the room like bloody mannequins.
One woman was posed as if she were scratching her ear with her right foot. The other was licking the back of her hand. This was some of the strangest shit the detective had seen or heard of. Ever.
There was very little blood over the rest of the room. This was a mystery, since the women were clearly butchered right there. The only other item that was covered in gore was a small, stuffed toy – a cat posed on the foot of the bed as if it were sleeping in its favorite spot.
The flat cat was black, with a red and white checked lining in its ears and tail. The tag that stuck out of the seam on its rear said only, “made in Haiti.”
“Careful, guys,” he said to the EMT’s. “We got some kind of crazy cat freak out there.”
Ah, you dog-rubbing infidel – I shall lap up your blood like warm milk.
The detective shrugged. None of it made any sense. Yet, as he turned away from the bed and faced the corpses in the corners, he could have sworn that he heard the faintest purr.
His men screamed as, in broad daylight, the bloody darkness descended again.