Spillwords – Starry Night

Greetings!

Special thanks go out to Dagmara for featuring my story today. Here’s the link:

Starry Night

Here’s the story if you don’t want to use the link:

Starry Night

I was five when my parents were killed in a car crash. My closest relative was Mom’s older sister, Aunt Sally, who was unmarried and considered by many to be “Nothing but an old lesbian.”  I had no idea what they were talking about, she’d always be kind to me, so when she offered to take me in and raise me on the day after the crash I was as happy as I could be, given the circumstances.

Soon after I moved in, one night in her backyard I asked, “Aunt Sally, where do you think my mom and dad are right now?”

Sally and her friend April and I were sitting on lawn chairs. It was July and my aunt was off work from her teaching job at the University of Minnesota. I was drinking some lemonade and Sally and April, a nurse at the Hennepin County Medical Center, were sharing a bottle of white wine.  She set her glass aside and turned to face me. She had long, prematurely grey hair she wore in a thick braid and the biggest blue-green eyes I’d ever seen; eyes that seemed to look right into my soul. “Jerry, your parents will always be right here,” she patted her chest, “right here in your heart.”

Tears welled up in my eyes, “But they’re gone, Aunt Sally, and I miss them so much.” I realized right then and there that I’d never, ever, see my mom and dad again. The thought was hard to image but true. Living In my heart? For a five year old, that seemed like an incredible stretch of the imagination.

April picked up on my sudden sadness and switched gears, trying to help. “You have photographs, you know,” she said, reaching over to brush a mosquito from my arm. “You can look at them. That’s always a good thing.”

April was a kind person, but trying to make sense of death to someone was always hard, let alone that I was just a five year old kid. “But it’s not the same,” I whined. Then I lost what little dignity I had left and collapsed in tears that I couldn’t control. I’d never cried so much in my life.

Sally left her chair, knelt in front me and took my hands, “You know,” she said, her voice soft and full of compassion, “Your mom and dad were wonderful people, and they loved you very much. They were with you your entire life and I know how much it hurts that they are gone. I’ll bet if they could, they’d tell you that whenever you’re lonely and you miss them, they will be anywhere you want them to be.”

My ears perked up. “Really?” I forced myself to stop crying, which took a while. But I have say that it was nice to have something to hang my hopes on. April handed me a Kleenex so I could wipe my eyes and blow my nose.

“Sure,” Sally said. “Anywhere. Just choose. Then you can see them anytime you want to.”

I thought about for a moment and then it finally made sense to me. All I had to do was pick. So I did.

I pointed to the sky. “That’s where I want them to be.”

Aunt Sally looked, her beautiful eyes following my outstretched arm. “Up there by that constellation?”

She saw the questioning look in my eyes. “Constellation?”

“Yes, that group of stars up there.”

“Yeah. Up there,” I pointed again.

She smiled. “That’s called Orion. The Hunter. See, it has three stars for a belt.”

I smiled and repeated the name, “Orion. That’s a great name,” I said. ” It’s cool. I love it.”

Sally stood up and pulled me to my feet and gave me an all encompassing hug. “I think I even see your mom and dad up there,” she told me. “They seem really happy.”

“I see them, too,” April added. “They look great.”

I hadn’t been this happy since the car crash. It felt good have a feeling in my body other than sorrow; like life was going to go on and not always be so sad.

We watched the night sky for a long time that night. Sally and April talked to me about stars and constellations and it was fun. In fact, it even made me forget about my loneliness for a while.

Finally, it was time to go inside. We stood up and walked to the back door, but before we went inside I turned and waved one last time, saying, “By Mom. Goodnight Dad. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

And you know what? The next night they were still there and have been ever since. I was never lonely for them again.

 

Trembling With Fear – Payback Time

Hi Everyone!

Special thanks go out to Stephanie for featuring my drabble in this issue of Trembling With Fear. I hope you enjoy it. The link takes you to the issue, then scroll down to the story.

https://horrortree.com/trembling-with-fear-05-24-20/#more-564100

Here’s the drabble if you don’t want to use the link:

Payback Time

She leaned over his naked body handcuffed to the bed and made the first cut, whispering, “One.”

He screamed. “One? What are you talking about?”

She put her finger to his lips. “Hush.”

She’d kept track of his lies over the years, his infidelities. Now he was all hers and it was payback time.

She sliced him lightly, enjoying the blooding running over his chest. “Two.”

He screamed.

She loved the sound.

She cut him more and more until his screams turned to tears, “Please, no more.”

She kissed his trembling lips, “I’ve only just begun.”

And cut him again.

 

The Drabble – Amaryllis

Greetings!!

I’m thrilled to share my drabble, Amaryllis, with you. Here’s the link:

https://thedrabble.wordpress.com/2020/05/23/amaryllis/

Here’s the drabble if you don’t want to use the link:

Amaryllis

They grow tall in a pot on a sunny window sill. Four soft pink flowers tinged with swirls of red set against a winter background of white. He touches the petals wistfully, thinking of spring and working in the garden. Mood uplifted, he puts on his warm clothes, heads outside and tramps through knee high drifts to the shed. He pulls it open against an icy wind and gazes longingly at his gardening tools. Just then he notices more snow beginning to fall and sadly reaches for his shovel. Spring’s just around the corner, he tells himself. But not today.

The Terror House – The Folksinger

Hi Everyone!

Here’s special shout to Matt for featuring my story today. Thank you so much!!

The Folksinger

Here’s the story if you don’t want to use the link:

The Folksinger

Right off the bat, the first time she saw him, Bethany knew she had a thing for the folksinger. Not just because he was handsome with those long curly locks and dark brooding eyes. No, there was something about his voice. And the way he sang. She’d never heard anything like it. It was not only sensual but mystical, like she was being put under a spell.

She a waitperson at Club 813 and the first time he played there she went nuts. His name was Caleb and he sang songs like Sweet Baby James and Girl From the North Country and she just swooned. Good looking and a poet to boot, what more could more could a single, twenty-nine year old woman who lived with her invalid mother ask for? She’d never heard a singer like him before in her life. The fact that he was local made him even more attractive.

During his break she stopped by his table. With a smoldering countenance and surly attitude he was sitting alone and she could tell he preferred it that way. “Hi,” she said, giving him her sexiest smile, “Can I get you anything?”

He shrugged, “Sure. A beer. Any kind.”

He acted kind of rude so why she was attracted to him? She had no clue, but when she brought his beer, she asked, “How about if I join you after when I’m done here? If you’re going to stick around that is.”

He shrugged again.”That’d be cool.”

So she did.

They slept together that first night and dated a few times after but things never moved any further. Being with him just wasn’t all that great. After about a month she broke it off after an especially violent night of sex where he had actually hurt her. She got out of his little house in the country fast, thinking, what was wrong with that guy? She’d even bought a razor sharp, quick opening pocket knife the next day, just to be on the safe side. But she didn’t need it. She never heard from him again and then pretty much forgot about him, spending her time working and taking care of her mother.

So imagine her surprise, now, five months later, when he showed up again at the club, looking just as long and lean and sultry as he had when she’d first fallen for him. While he was tuning up on stage, she watched as one of the new servers, Randi, came under his spell.

Bethany liked the young, nineteen year old server, and felt a sort of motherly affection for her. “What out for that guy, Randi,” she said while they were standing side by side at the bar, waiting for drink orders. “He’s bad news.”

Randi laughed and blew her off. “I can handle myself, Mom,” she said, joking. “No problem.”

That night the cafe was packed, every table was filled and the servers were kept on their toes. Caleb had become quite popular in the intervening months and tonight drew a large crowd. Bethany was busier than ever waiting tables. So busy, in fact, she forgot all about Randi.

But when she didn’t show up for work the next day, Bethany was concerned.

She approached Jocelyn the manager, “We should call Randi. See if she’s all right.”

“Why? She’s probably just sick. Or hung over. I saw her leave with Caleb last night. Maybe she’s with him.”

Against her better judgment, Bethany said, “Okay, I guess. But let’s only give it one more day.”

The next day Bethany had a scheduled day off. She called Randi’s phone at ten in the morning but only got her voice mail. Then she called every hour during the day until six at night. No answer. She called work and talked to Jocelyn. “Any word on Randi?”

“No. She was supposed to come in for the lunch shift today and never showed.”

“That’s not like her.”

“No.”

Both of them were quiet for a moment. Bethany could hear noise in the background, people talking, dishes rattling, piped in music in the background.

“Sounds like it’s getting busy.”

“Yeah, the group that was going to play cancelled. We’ve got that folksinger guy Caleb coming to fill in. We’ll be busy. You want to work? I know you had a thing for him.”

Bethany involuntarily cringed. “Ah, no. I don’t need to see him again. And thanks for the offer on working, I could use the money but I think I’ll pass.”

“Suit yourself. Look, it’s getting busy. I better go.”

“See ya’.”

Bethany hung up. While talking to Jocelyn she’d formulated a plan. With Caleb at the club tonight, she would have time to check out his house. She’d had a bad feeling about him ever since that last night with him and now Randi had gone missing. Maybe she was in trouble and needed help. There was only one way to find out.

She nervously waited until nine that night, when Caleb’s set started. Then she drove from her apartment near the University of Minnesota campus past the exit to Club 813 and west to Orchard Lake, a small town located in the rolling hills and farmland thirty miles from Minneapolis. Caleb lived off a little used county road in a small house that had been left to him when his parents had died in a tragic car accident. At least that’s the story he’d told Bethany the few times he’d talked about his past. But the more she thought about it, the more she wondered if he had been telling the truth. He was one of those guys who developed a mythology about himself and then sold that myth to the world: the lonely misunderstood poet who sang about loss and heartache because he couldn’t find true love.

What a crock. Bethany had seen his true colors and they weren’t pretty. The bruises from that last night with him had taken over a month to heal. How she ever could have liked the guy in the first place was beyond her. After that last violent night with him, she’d had the good sense to get rid of him forever. Too bad she hadn’t been able to convince Randi. Now, she felt like she owed it to the young girl to make it up to her. Hopefully her instincts were wrong. She’d soon find out.

Bethany drove carefully down the county road until she saw the mailbox at the end of Caleb’s driveway. She turned in. The quarter mile road was rutted after recent rains and there was a pungent aroma in the air like something had died. She pulled up to the front of the house. All the lights inside were off, but a bright halogen outdoor flood light was on, illuminating the entire yard along with a couple of old, falling apart outbuildings. Caleb’s dog was staked to the ground off to the right near one of them, a big German Shepard that began barking madly when Bethany drove up.

She got out of the car and waved to the lunging animal. “Hi, Buck,” she said, smiling and being friendly, despite her fears for Randi. “How’s the fella’?”

She reached in her pocket and took out a packet of beer jerky she’d thought to purchase at a Quik-Stop on the way. “Here you go, boy,” she said, tossing the huge animal the food.

Buck immediately quieted down and started in on the jerky, looking at her with suddenly friendly eyes. He remembered her and why not? She’d always been kind to him. “That’s a good boy,” she said, and then went to check on the house.

The front door was locked and so was the back, but Bethany gave out a sigh of relief when she looked and found that the key was still under a stone beneath the back steps like it used to be. She used it to let herself  in. Even though the lights were off, there was enough glow from the yard light for her to make her way through the small home. She checked the entire first floor, concentrating on the two bedrooms, but there was nothing suspicious, only the stale scent of unwashed sheets and recent sex. All Bethany could think about was Randi. Had she been here? Probably. Was she still here? It didn’t look like it, but if she wasn’t here where was she?

The only place left to check was the basement. She turned on the light and made her way downstairs and that’s where she found the poor girl. Alive, but in bad shape. She’d been beaten and was laying on the floor, gagged and tied to a water pipe.

Bethany ran to her and tugged the gag down, “Randi. My god what did he do to you?”

The poor girl was terrified but able to talk through bruised lips, “He said he was going to kill me after he was done with me,” she broke down in tears. “Please! Get me out of here before he comes back. Hurry.”

Bethany took out her knife and in one quick swipe cut the rope binding Randi to the pipe. “Let me help you up.”

Randi got to her feet and leaned again Bethany. “Thank you. You saved me. I’m positive he was going to kill me.”

“You’re safe with me. I’ll get you out of here.” Bethany’s hatred for the creep Caleb had reached a new high. She took out her phone. “I’m calling the police. Then we’re getting out of here.”

But right then things got worse. First, there was no signal for her phone so she couldn’t call for help. Second, there the sound of a door slamming and then sudden footsteps above them followed by a voice at the top of the stairs. It was Caleb.

Bethany acted on instinct, opened her knife and held it hidden against her leg.

“Well, well, well,” he said as he started down the stairs, “Bethany. Nice to see you girl. Two for the price of one, I see.” He licked his lips as he hit the bottom step. “I can’t wait to get to know you again.”

He smiled and took a step closer. A step too close, it turned out. Bethany lunged at him with her knife and slashed him across the chest. He staggered backwards and looked at her in amazement as blood spurted out, flowing down his chest like a river. Enraged he leaped for her. This time Bethany stabbed him in the neck, in his voice box, plunging her knife deep and twisting it before she pulled it out. At first Caleb had a surprised look on his face, then horror as blood gushed from the gaping wound. He sank to the floor writhing in agony, screaming, “You bitch. You fucking bitch.” Except only mumbled words came out. She had severed his vocal chords.

Randi had fallen to the floor during the attack. Bethany helped her to her feet and propped her against her side as they slowly made their way past the bleeding man. She kicked Caleb a satisfying kick in the groin on the way past, saying, “Die, sucker. Die a long slow death.”

Outside, Bethany called the police. While they waited, she got a couple of bottles of water from her car which the two of them drank while they kept Buck company. He’d taken an immediate liking to Randi, who, all things considered, was holding up pretty well.

“How did you think to come here?” she asked, scratching Buck behind the ears. He sank to the ground and rolled on his back with his feet pawing the air in ecstasy.

Bethany shrugged, “I just had a feeling. Like I told you the other night, I’d dated the jerk once before. I knew he was bad news.”

“I should have listened to you.”

“Well, at least you’re safe.”

In the background they could her sirens approaching. The police would be there shortly. On the phone they said they were bringing an ambulance.

Randi pointed to house. “Should we go check on him?”

Bethany shook her head. “What for? He deserves everything coming to him.”

“He might bleed to death.”

“Do you care, after what he did to you?”

Randi didn’t hesitate, “No. Not at all.”

Bethany agreed, “Me neither.”

And the two of them sat waiting, talking quietly together, both of them looking forward to a world where there was one less jerk like the guy in the basement in it. When the cops showed up, both women were smiling. The police didn’t even bother to ask why.

The next day Bethany took Randi to the store to buy a knife. Just to be on the safe side. Randi was all for it. She bought one just like Bethany’s.