Campy Horror Tales
Campy Horror Tales
Copyright 2017 Lizzi Cruz & Royce Steele
Title: Campy Horror Tales
Author: Lizzi Cruz and Royce Steele
Publisher: Shakespir, Inc.
Private Editor: Ann Anson
All rights reserved. No part of this novel may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This book is a complete work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons – living or dead, or to actual events is entirely coincidental.
Authored by Lizzi Cruz & Royce Steele
First Edition Print 2017
Cover created and designed by Royce Steele. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.
For the reader
Campy Horror Tales
Missy and the Beast
“That ole durty bitch, she ain’t what she used ta be. Ain’t what she used ta be. That ole durty bitch, she ain’t what she used ta be.”
Sam Bo Rex sang the last line way out of key. When the end note came out, he slapped his hand on the dash board of his faded-red 69 GMC truck.
Big red, he called it.
Ain’t no doubt, it was the ugliest pickup this side of East Tennessee, but ole Sam Bo Rex, he didn’t mind the ugly. He looked in the rearview and smiled as big as he could, showing nothing but gum, and a few rotted lower nubs barely hanging on. But blessed be! Ole Sam Bo Rex still had all his hair, and after all these years, he still had big red.
He made his way down the one-lane dirt road, took a left turn, and slowed big red way down to a slow crawl. He hung his head out the window and turned the wheel so his face was aimed right at the old road sign – Toad Road.
“That old sign has been in the same spot for pert near thirty-years,” he reckoned.
The old sign si-goggled in a perfect angle to catch those flying loogies. If anyone happened to ask, most folks would say, ole Sam Bo Rex happened to be the best dog-gone spit man around. He hacked the phlegm up real good from the back of his throat and rolled it around in his mouth until he got it good and thick. Then he readied the spit wad to lunge out like a speeding bullet. He damn sure hit the target every time – bullseye!
“There you go!” he yelled as he watched the phlegm splat against the wood and slowly ooze its way down. He pushed his foot down on the accelerator. Big red went on chugging down Toad Road with Sam Bo Rex bouncing in the seat as the wheels rode over every bump and ridge along the way.
A little over a mile down the Toad Road…
Ole Sam Bo Rex drifted his eyes over to the left and mashed his foot down on the brake. Big red sputtered, chugged, and made an awful clang before it came to a squeaking stop smack in the middle of the road.
He jumped out and left his door wide open. He moved over to the edge and stared. “Land-o-melon-alive,” he said, rubbing the grey scruff on his face. He sure hadn’t seen anything better than that on the edge of the road in years. He reached out, put his hands on the arms, and pushed down. Rocking it back and forth, he tested the sturdiness. “That’s a tough one there,” he mumbled. He walked in circles around it, wondering why someone would toss out such a great recliner chair. He scratched his head. Ole Sam Bo Rex didn’t have the slightest idea but, he loved its blue color, and there were no holes or rips in the fabric. It’s a dream come true! Yes, indeed, a fine, fine, fine chair.
He glanced over at big red. For a few moments, he tossed the idea around in his head that maybe a furniture truck lost it out the backend, and it just so happened to land upright at the side of the road. Yeah! That has to be it.
With all the strength, he could muster, he done his best to drag the chair from the side of the road over to the tailgate. It took a few tries and breaking a hell of a sweat but, he managed to get the recliner up and into the back of big red.
He slid back into the front seat and shut the door. Easing down on the accelerator, he looked in his rearview to check and make sure the recliner was staying put. Ole Sam Bo Rex couldn’t have been happier. “Finders keepers,” he chuckled with a big grin.
He turned the wheel, and for the first time in months, he backed big red into the driveway. He got out, shut the door, and jumped up onto the back. He wiggled the recliner to the edge of the tailgate and hopped down. “Son-of-a-bitch,” he mumbled as he lifted the recliner and lowered it to the ground. Surprised he didn’t pull or stretch a muscle in that weak back of his, he happily pulled it along into his four-room shanty home.
His place wasn’t much to look at. It was small, dingy, and reeked of some unrecognizable stench. The walls were covered in a faded floral pattern that was peeling down from the top corners and in the center, it bulged and bubbled here and there.
A black and white picture tube sat on a painted crate. Another crate sat against the wall with a pillow on top for sitting. He moved the blue recliner in and set it smack in front of the picture tube in the middle of the room. He gladly tossed the pillow off the crate, stood it up on its side, and slid it over next to the recliner. Ole Sam Bo Rex took a seat and looked around the room. He was blessed, all right. God had done set him up with a dandy recliner, and, boy, was he every bit of grateful. A fine, fine, fine piece of furniture. Yes, indeed!
Between the kitchen doorway and sitting room, the attic entrance hung overhead. If he pulled the chain, the hatch opened and the narrow steps dropped down. Ole Sam Bo Rex always done his best to keep the door shut. He hated it up there. It was a dark and musky space and something about it irked the shit plumb out of him. He had gone as far as asking the land-lady, Mrs. Lucie, if he could nail the damn thing shut. She wouldn’t hear of it. So, ole Sam Bo Rex done the next best thing and taped it shut with the duct tape. It wasn’t pretty, not by any means but that was okay, it worked for ole Sam Bo Rex.
The kitchen was ever bit smaller than the sitting room. It had only a tiny bit of counter space, a sink, a dinky half-fridge, and one electric hot plate to cook on. A yellow Formica table sat against the wall, and piled on it were a few plastic dishes, a cup, a pot, and one black iron skillet. A doorway off to the side of the kitchen door led to a small bedroom that was no bigger than a king-sized bed. Ole Sam Bo Rex slept on a military cot left there by one of the previous tenants. Under it sat a trusty bat with bob-wire wrapped around it.
Another crate stacked on top of two others held three changes of clothes, underwear, and socks. A door next to the crates went into a dinky closet bathroom that was just big enough for a sink, toilet, and step-in shower. A medicine cabinet hung above the sink with a cracked mirror.
“Seven-years bad luck,” Grandma Rex always said. “Seven-years, no more, and no less.”
One common thing in every room was a long, sticky strip that hung from the ceiling, decorated with the corpses of flies and small flying pests. It wasn’t a pretty sight to see, but it did the job, and ole Sam Bo Rex couldn’t have been more pleased.
Ole Sam Bo Rex flicked his eyes open. Funny, he didn’t remember falling asleep, but it wasn’t no surprise. It was a fine, fine, fine, chair and a man could doze off in it and sleep till the cows came home. He sat for a few minutes then got up. He meandered slowly past the attic door into the kitchen, where he scrambled a mess of eggs in the iron skillet on the single old hot plate. He turned on the picture tube in time to catch an episode of Gilligan’s Island. A fine show, yes, indeed!
He got up, took his plate to the sink, and cleaned up his egg mess. He sat back down in his recliner – his fine, fine, fine, blue chair. Sam Bo couldn’t have been any prouder sitting there as if he were the king of a castle.
“Holy Jaysus!” he yelled, and his pulse lunged as he jumped to his feet. He looked at the arm and bent down closer. “What in the jingling-blue-blazes is that?”
He pressed his thumb down on a small dark bug and lifted it up to take a gander beneath. He saw nothing but blood. The bug exploded, leaving nothing of itself but bits of dark pieces in red. Puzzled and curious, ole Sam Bo Rex had never seen something like that before. So, easy to kill. A little slight pressure and kaboom!
He went into the bathroom and scrubbed his hands with the lye soap. Must’ve been some kind of night bugga. Could have flew in when I had the door open, bringing in that fine, fine, fine chair.
He changed the channel and leaned back in the recliner. No more night bugga, he thought, and he fell fast asleep in front of the picture tube. No worries!
Three-o’clock and something jarred Sam Bo Rex from his sleep. He flicked open his eyes. He hadn’t been dreaming. He rubbed his eyes and looked around the room. Everything seemed normal as normal usually was. He starred at the picture tube. The old classics were playing that he loved. Casablanca with two of his favorite actors: Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Somewhere in the middle of the movie he dozed. Soon enough, he was flipping from one side to the other. He flicked open his eyes just in time to see three small black buggas near his face.
He smacked his hand over the top and obliterated them. When he lifted it to look, he saw nothing but red and a few dark pieces. Damn, more night buggas. The thought ran through his head.
He got up and flicked on the light.
“Holy Jaysus!” he gasped. He watched in fear at the little tiny black specks running here and there all over the recliner. He shook his head. Those ain’t no night buggas I’ve ever seen. He got down on his knees and looked closer. Running his finger over the black specks, a trail of blood was left across the fabric. He got up, moved the crate, and flipped the recliner over. The bottom was loaded with little round clingy white specks. He ran his finger over the top… nothing. No red trail.
Suddenly, his mental alarm rang loud and clear. Eggs! the word rushed through his head. Goddamn eggs!
“Not my fine, fine, fine, chair,” he cried. “Oh, Jaysus! Tell me it ain’t so!”
He darted into the kitchen and fell to his knees as he reached under the sink. Way in the back was a full can of bug spray. He read the front: Kills on contact.
“Okay, you little sons-of-bitches, I got all of you, now,” he whispered with a slight devious grin. He went back into the living room, determined to get the job done.
He sprayed, sprayed, and sprayed again until the full can was plumb empty. He shook the can, getting every last bit out he could. “That ought to do it,” he said with a relieved tone in his voice. He grabbed the broom from the corner and swept the recliner clean. “No more of them nasty buggas,” he said with a big smile and happily tossed the empty can in the trash-bin.
A few hours later…
Whistling the tune of Row, Row, Row, Your Boat, ole Sam Bo Rex walked in the front door with his social security check in his hand. He looked over at his recliner. “It’s still a fine, fine, fine chair,” he said.
He laid his check on the crate and went to the bathroom. In the mirror, he saw a red mark on his neck. He looked closer and noticed another right below it… then another.
Ole Sam Bo Rex lifted up his shirt. A trail of small, tiny bite marks ran from his neck all the way down his side. His eyes widened as big as silver dollars. “Holy crap cakes!” he gasped. “Blood suckers.” He lowered his shirt and walked back to the recliner. He stood still and stared, making sure the buggas were gone.
Satisfied he didn’t see one running, he walked into the kitchen, filled a plastic cup half full of tea. Thirsty, he drank it down at the sink.
That’s when he noticed more bites on his hands.
He touched the sores and meandered into the bathroom. He pulled off all his clothes and hopped in the shower with the lye soap. He scrubbed down every inch of his body in the hottest water he could stand. He even scrubbed his head until his fingers were sore. He turned off the water and stepped out clean and naked as a jay-bird. Quickly, he dashed into the bedroom, grabbed some clothes, and threw them on.
He walked back where the blue recliner set. He took a seat and leaned back. “I’m calling this fine, fine, fine chair clean,” he whispered and shut his eyes.
Ten minutes later, he opened them to find a bug sitting on his hand. “Oh no, oh no, oh nooooo!” He panicked and jumped up. “I killed you sons-of-bitches, all of you-uns. I know I done did.” He slapped his hand and smashed the bug. Nothing but blood and bits of dark pieces. He pushed down on the seat cushion. Little moving black specs everywhere. “Buggas!” he whispered.
He grabbed his social security check, headed straight out the door and hopped into big red. He fired up the engine and peeled out of the driveway onto the road, leaving a cloud dust behind him. He knew where he was headed. Into town. He hit his hands against the steering wheel. “I’ll get them sons-of-bitches this time.”
Big red rolled on down the road until it came to the outskirts of town where a big superstore sat. “I betcha… them folk in there… they’ll have just what we need.” He pulled big red into the parking lot, shut her off, and meandered his way inside to the insect and bug aisle.
“Excuse me there, young fellow,” he asked a young stock boy busy loading the shelf with chemical sprays and powders.
“Young fellow,” he said and cleared his throat.
The young man looked up and stood to his feet. Before he opened his mouth to speak he noticed the sores on Sam Bo Rex’s neck and hand. He stepped back a couple of feet. “Can I help you with something, sir?”
“I brought home a fine, fine, fine, blue chair, and it has these little black, tiny buggas crawling on it. I sprayed, but the little sons-of-bitches… they’re back. Look at me.” He showed his hand to him. “They bite and when I go to smack them, they’re full of blood.”
The young man knew right away. “Bed bugs,” he whispered and leaned a little closer. “You have bed bugs.”
Ole Sam Bo Rex widened his eyes. “I have what?”
“Bed bugs, sir.”
Sam Bo Rex scratched the sores on his neck. “Now how do you reckon a person gets bed buggas?”
The young man stood speechless as if the cat done came and snitched out his tongue. After a few seconds, he shrugged and said,
“They like to be in furniture, sir.”
“Like a blue recliner?” he asked.
The young man nodded. “They like mattresses too.”
Ole Sam Bo Rex shook his head. “Don’t got one of those. I got an army cot. Ain’t no buggas been on that.”
“If they’re in the recliner, and you ain’t never had them before, sir, that’s probably where they came from.”
“How do you reckon I can kill the little sons-of-bitches?”
The young man reached for a can of Dead Bug. “This is the best spray we have, sir. Kills on contact.”
Sam Bo Rex took the can and arched his brow as if he were studying the words. “Maybe I’ll take two cans.” He was confident the spray would do the trick.
He took it to the pay out, waited in line, and paid by cashing his social security check at the register.
The girl glanced at his hand and neck. She tried not letting it show that she was repulsed by the bites and the spray. She certainly knew how to keep her distance, not wanting to catch whatever it was he had. She counted out his change and laid it down in front of him. “Have a nice day, sir,” she said respectfully and with a big meaningless smile.
Ole Sam Bo Rex smiled, showing his toothless grin, and took his two cans out the door with him.
The girl waited till the man was out of sight. She bent down, grabbed the cleaner, and hurried wiping her station down.
Ole Sam Bo Rex pulled into the driveway and shut big red off. She sputtered and chugged before she died down. He got out smiling as if he were a proud peacock, just in case anyone was watching. When he opened his front-door and shut it behind him his smile fell to a frown, and a look of determination took over.
“Okay, you sons-of-bitches, I know you’re there, and I got just the thing to take care of you.” He looked at the can and pointed to the words. “Dead Bug,” he said. “You hear me… I got the Dead Bug, and you’re all gonna die.”
He walked over to his blue recliner and stood in front of it, scanning his eyes over the fabric. He couldn’t see anything, but he knew the little buggas were there. He turned the recliner on its side and sprayed every inch of it, flipped it back, and sprayed again, over and over. He coughed and gagged, inhaling the residue permeating the air.
The cans emptied out, and he stood up. “There, ain’t nothin’ gonna live through that.” He stood staring at the blue recliner. “It’s still a fine, fine, fine chair.”
He walked in the kitchen and tossed the cans, confident he got every one of them little buggas. He made a half of a sandwich and downed a glass of tea.
He went into the bathroom and stepped over his dirty clothes. As he was relieving himself over the toilet, he glanced down at the floor and noticed those little black specs moving. “No, no, noooo!” he whispered. He quickly shoved himself back into his britches. He grabbed the clothes as he swiped the black specs up. He tossed them into the shower and turned the water on scalding hot. He closed the sliding door.
He walked into his bedroom and sat down on the cot. Frustrated and unsure of what to do next, ole Sam Bo Rex laid down in a fetal position and mumbled over and over, “Die you sons-of-bitches.” After a few minutes, he got up, walked through the steam, and turned the water off. Bet that gotcha, you, sorry vampire suckers.
After the steam cleared, he looked over every inch of the bathroom, sitting room, bedroom, hallway, and kitchen. He found nothing… no black little specs.
No more buggas!
He turned on the picture tube and leaned back in his fine, fine, fine chair. Everything is just fine, fine, fine, he thought as he drifted to sleep.
Ole Sam Bo Rex flicked his eyes open, terrified. He jumped up, swiping his arms as if he had the buggas running over him. When he came to his senses, he realized it had been a bad dream. He searched over the blue recliner. Everything was dandy! No sign of those buggas, not one.
And then… his eyes widened as he moved closer to the wall. White round specs clung to the wallpaper. “I’ll be damned,” he whispered. “If that ain’t more eggs!”
He needed more spray. He needed something more than that. He headed out the front-door and slid into big red. Another trip to the superstore. This time he was bringing the army back with him.
“Them sons-of-bitches,” he yelled. “They’re not winning, no sir-ree. No-n-how.”
He turned big red into the parking lot and parked near the front door. He went straight to the bug isle with a push-cart. Ten cans of Dead Bug – Extra Strength, sat on the shelf. He grabbed every one of them. He looked over the products. Sprays for ants, bees, roaches, and even lice buggas. He spotted the powder – Bug Gone – Kills Bugs Dead in Their Path.
“That’s what I need,” he mumbled and grabbed the last three bottles. Before he left the aisle, he found a mask to cover his nose and mouth, a scrubber, and a bucket. He made his way over to the cleaning aisle and bought a half a gallon of bleach. Bleach, no, they won’t like that, he thought. No bugga survives bleach.
The same girl was at the counter. She was the type of girl who never forgot a face, particularly a face like ole Sam Bo Rex She scanned the ten cans of Dead Bug, three bottles of Bug Gone, and the mask. “Ninety-seven dollars,” she said, keeping her distance and without her pleasant and warm smile.
On the ride home in big red, ole Sam Bo Rex started thinking Maybe it wasn’t such a fine, fine, fine chair.
He walked in with the bag in his hand and ready for war. He scrubbed the walls with hot bleach water and washed down everything thing he could with the bleach. The whole place was bleached spotless. He gathered up his clothes, soaked them in spray, and put them in a trash bag. He set the bag in the back of big red. He put the mask on and sprayed the walls, the counter, the floor, the crates, the cot, and even the blue recliner.
Exhausted, he grabbed a bite to eat and fell asleep in front of the picture tube in his recliner. “Damned Buggas! Damn, damn, damn them all!”
Several hours later, he flicked open his eyes. He saw something bigger than a small black spec run across his hand.
“Sons of bitches,” he cried and yelled at the top of his lungs. He grabbed the last can of spray and sprayed the bug until it didn’t move. “That’ll teach you,” he said, flicking the bug out the door. “That’ll teach every one of you fuckers.” His eyes widened. “You’ll be dead alright – kills on contact.” he yelled, shaking the can in the air. “Ain’t nothin’ gonna mess with ole Sam Bo Rex.”
He sat down and laughed at himself.
He laughed at the spray.
And he laughed even harder at the buggas.
He laughed and laughed until he couldn’t laugh anymore.
Every day after that, for a month, ole Sam Bo Rex got up and walked through his place. He examined every wall, using a flashlight to check for those white specs. He searched every crate, the cot, the recliner. He looked at everything over and over.
Ole Sam Bo Rex had gone over the deep edge, only he didn’t know it. The buggas had pushed his sanity until there was no comprehension between what was real and what was not. When he saw a dust speck, he panicked, thinking the buggas had returned. He scrubbed himself four times a day, and, at night, he kept the lights burning so he could see if one of the sons-of-bitches were sneaking up on him.
He sat down in his blue recliner. “I’m okay,” he whispered. “Everything is just dandy!”
“No more buggas!”
He shut his eyes.
A few minutes later, a strange scratching noise woke him.
He flicked his eyes open and listened. There it was again. “What’s that?” he whispered. He looked up. It was coming from the ceiling. – The attic!
Not rats! he thought. “Noooo!”
He darted to his bedroom and grabbed his bat from underneath the cot. In the kitchen, he grabbed the flashlight. He walked over and stood at the attic door. Shaking, he put his hand on the knob. He stood there, struggling with himself not to open the door.
A louder noise, a shuffle.
He had no choice but to open the door.
He turned the knob and pushed.
The light from the kitchen lit the way to the stairs. He walked down the narrow corridor. He could barely breathe. The walls are closing in. He clicked on the light bulb and started up the steps. What am I doing? He hated this attic. I shouldn’t be here.
He slowly opened the door with one hand as he clenched the flashlight with the other. He kept the bat under his arm and stepped over to the middle of the room. He waved his flashlight in the air. “I got my bat here with me, you damn rats! You hear me?”
He clicked the flashlight on. “I’ll kill you sons-of-bitches too!”
His eyes widened bigger than they had ever widened before. He let out a gasp, as he watched the walls appearing to move while thousands of black specs ran up and down. “Holy shit on a shingle,” he said as he looked around with the flashlight. In the corner was an egg sack the size of a watermelon. “I think I’m gonna need a bugga man.”
He turned around to the sound. Ole Sam Bo Rex let out a loud blood curdling scream that he was sure could be heard around the world.
A humongous bed bug stared him in the face.
He tried to scream again. It was too late. Blood splashed and ran everywhere. It even dripped from the ceiling like red rain.
A month later…
A 1974 green Ford Pickup turned down Toad Road. It passed the si-goggled sign, paying little attention to it.
A little over a mile down the road…
“Virgil, stop” Pull over,” Milly Millicent said, sticking her head out the window.
Virgil Millicent stepped on the brake and looked over to the side as Milly jumped out and ran over to the edge of the road. “Isn’t that just the finest blue recliner you ever seen?”
He got out and ran over beside her. He sure hadn’t seen anything better than that on the edge of the road in years. He reached out, put his hands on the arms, and pushed down. Rocking it back and forth, he checked the sturdiness. He walked circles around it, wondering why someone would toss out such a great recliner. He scratched his head. Virgil didn’t have the slightest idea, but he loved the color – blue, and there were no holes or slits in the fabric. When he finished, he looked up at her with the biggest damn smile he ever made.
It’s a dream come true! Yes, indeed! A fine, fine, fine, chair.
“I invited you all. I would never think of leaving any of you out. After all, it is our tenth anniversary together.”
“Now, let me see,” I said, pecking my finger quickly against my chin. It’s a nervous habit and one that I tend to do quite often.
I am standing at the table looking everything over: the plates, the silverware, the glasses, and the napkins. Everything sat in its proper place… the way it should be. Nothing was out of place, nothing.
And the family.
They were seated perfectly, I thought.
Debra and Faye was sitting on one side, and of course, Ross and Ben were seated on the other side.
I put mom at the head of the table, as always, she has the chair of honor. I am, after all, a most gracious and thoughtful host. I believe that I tend to give proper credit to where credit is due, and in mom’s case, she deserves all the credit and so much more.
My seat is at the far end of the table. I have set things to allow space between the family and I. It is the way it has always been… the space between us. There is nothing wrong with the space; it is perfect this way. I don’t like it when the space gets mucked with. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth… like rusted metal.
I raise my glass in the air and stand to my feet to toast such a wonderful occasion. “You all look so wonderful tonight. Just glowing,” I said with a big wide PR smile. “Here’s to each and every one of you and here’s to ten years.” I take a sip and allow the wine to slowly run down the back of my throat. It tickles, so I clear my throat and put the glass on the table. Then, I take my seat.
Dinner is on the table. Well almost everything but the main course. It is sitting to the side on the cart. But what a spread we have before us. I almost feel like the richest dad in the world staring at this gorgeous banquet, yet as luck would have it, I am not. In fact, I never claimed to have money. The family just always assumed I had more money than I knew what to do with. That was another one of their grand lies drummed up by mom of course.
I keep the grin up on my face because you never want to let family know what you’re up too. But in this case, I think they have finally figured it out.
“What’s that mom, did you say something?” I asked. “Here, allow me to help you.” I get up and walk around the table. I bend down… just a little, and rip off the duct tape across her mouth.
The top layer of skin peels back and rips away from her face.
There is no blood – just flakes and gouges of skin.
“Would you like to say something to the family, mom?”
Her eyes are wide as quarters and the expression on her face… a priceless mishmash of fear and sheer panic.
I do have to confess that pulling the duct tape off like that looked like it hurt. Of course, I said those very words to her. “That looks like it hurt.”
Mom just looks at me and I get the distinct feeling that if she could, she would take the steak knife lying in front of her, and she would use it on me. But the truth is, it’s a little impossible. Being as how her hands have been confined to the table by seven inch nails. Each carefully, and yet, so strategically placed in a perfect center into her hand and through the table.
“We wouldn’t want any of us grabbing for our steak knives, and making a mess, now would we,” I said, looking around at all my lovely step-children, and of course, mom.
Maybe I am being rude. It was never my intention to do so. “Here allow me,” I said. I go around the table yanking the duct tape off each of them. The reaction was all the same to peeling back and ripping away the skin – wide eyed and the same priceless expression.
My family. “It’s so wonderful that we’re all together,” I said as I glanced around the table at everyone. “Well, mom, this is what you wanted… your family with you.” I walk over the banquet table and roll the cart over to the table. A fine covered silver platter sat on the cart. I lift it up and put it in the center of the table. It’s the main course we have all patiently been waiting for.
Suddenly, Debra and Faye begin to crying. “There’s no crying at the table,” I yell. I leave the main dish to sit and get cold while I have to do my fatherly duty and wipe their eyes with the napkins. “Now, now,” I say to them. “Don’t cry. It’s not good manners.”
I scan around at the hands nailed to the table and I realize that I have neglected cleaning them up. “I take a napkin and double dip it into a glass of water. I wipe around the nail where the blood is seeping from.
I finish and go back to the main course. I lean over and remove the cover top. I hear gasps and moans from the family.
“I know isn’t it gorgeous… isn’t it? It’s quite the delicacy… steamed Tongue!”
Five tongues in a bed of cooked yellow rice.
“I believe they are the most tender I have ever cooked. One has to wonder, if perhaps by chance, I missed my profession.”
I took a tongue, a scoop of rice, and put it on Debra’s plate. Then a tongue and a scoop of rice on Faye’s plate. Ross and Ben are next, and then, finally I serve mom. “If I am not mistaken, you will be eating the tongue you brought with you. You must know that’s an extra delicacy… your own tongue! Who would know that it is a fine piece of meat better than yourselves.
Ross kicks his feet against the table and makes everything wobble. “Have you any respect!” I yell. I take a deep breath. I need to make sure that my delicate balance is not disturbed by such rude children.
“You should be ashamed of yourself. Acting this way at this beautiful banquet. What is your mom, your brother, and your sisters to think?”
He mumbles something inaudible.
“I can’t think. Shut the fuck up!” I yell again.
I see mom looking at him shaking her head.
“Pay attention to your mom, Ross. She’s trying to help you out.”
Suddenly, the moaning and the cries bellow out from everyone. “Shut the fuck up!” I scream. About right now, I feel that agitation level growing in me.
I think I am losing it. I bang my fist hard against the table to silence them. “Now, that you have angered the banquet party. What am I to do with you, Ross?” I look around the room and spot the plastic bags. I go over, grab one, and the duct tape. I put the bag over his head and duct tape around his neck. He kicks and moans for a few minutes, and then, he falls silent.
Ross tilts his head forward.
“Lights out,” I laugh as the entire family is giving me glaring looks to kill.
I shrug it off. Family gets angry sometimes, but they will calm down. They always do.
Being the gracious host I am. I single handily fed everyone their tongue, bite by bite. I will admit it took a while and a bit of persuasion, but we got there. I never watched someone eat without their tongue. It’s not easy.
“I so enjoyed our little banquet here today, and yet, I’m afraid I must quickly be bidding you all a farewell.”
Faye glance at Debra and over at Ben, then the three of them looked at their mom as if they were waiting on some sort of sign from her.
I don’t see any sign given. The eyes say a lot and there were a lot of looks back and forth between them, but no sign.
So, I get up and take three bags. I start with Ben and place the bag over his head. I tape it and watch as he struggles the same way his brother did. It must be a natural reaction trying to breathe through plastic and fighting with every last bit of strength in you for just one more breath… just one. I put the bags over the girls and tape them. Believe it or not, it was less of a fight. I am a little disappointed. I thought my girls would have a better fight in them than that.
I decided not to let mom get a bag. Something just didn’t feel right about that. I prefer her to watch. After all, parents should watch their children. Shouldn’t they?
Oh, well, I sit back down in my chair.
Mom is not looking to good. That scares me. Maybe candlelight will make her feel at peace. I reach over and light the two candles. “Gee, it sure is quite around here,” I say with a big smile.
I get up and walk over to mom. I kiss her on the top of the head and bid her goodnight. She doesn’t say a word. Then again how could she… right?
As always, it’s up to the man to do everything or so I presume. I go to the shed and grab the two large containers of gasoline. I pour it over everything.
Mom is still silent. No moans, no groans, no nothing.
I light the match and walk quickly out the door. I slide into my blue 2016 PT Cruiser and drive away while everything burns to the ground.
Three years later…
I am standing beside the most beautiful woman in the world. She looks like a goddess, with her long red flowing hair, and her flowing lace gown.
The preacher tells me to put the ring on her finger.
And she puts a ring on my finger.
We both say “I do,” and he pronounces us as husband and wife.
I give her a gentle but classy kiss and she kisses me back. It is nice to be in the company of family again.
I look over at two precious little girls and their brother standing together at the altar. I smile as big as I can. You know as a step-dad I should smile.
Now mom has the family she’s always wanted.
As I stare into my new wife’s eyes, I am thinking about the future.
It will be such a great tenth anniversary.
We will have a grand banquet. Yes, indeed, a grand banquet.
Missy and the Beast
Missy and the Beast
Missy Jones laid still in bed staring up into the dark at the ceiling. She had woken fifteen-minutes before she heard what she thought was the wind brush the side of the house.
She had almost convinced herself it was the wind, then she remembered the weather man’s forecast being nothing about wind. She pushed the covers away from her thin, frail body and sat up on the edge of the bed.
Harold Jones lay next to her with his mouth gaping open. Out of it came that god-forsaken noise that she hated so much. No wonder she couldn’t sleep. He sounded like a freight train running down the track with sporadic whistle blows. Missy couldn’t stand the snoring. She had been with Harold for over thirty-years, and not once could she remember getting a good, solid night’s sleep. What she would give for a night of uninterrupted rest.
All you need Missy is a pillow and guts.
She put both feet into her pink fuzzy slippers and stood up. She walked around to the other side of the bed, unaware she was clutching her hands tight around her pillow.
The nightlight from the hallway was casting enough light into the room to where she could see the drool running from the corner of his mouth.
What’s the matter, Missy, no guts?
She stared down at Harold as if she were in some sort of morning daze. When she realized, she was clutching the pillow in her hands, she bent down, and gently pressed her lips to his forehead.
She turned about and slowly meandered across the floor into the hallway, scuffling her feet along. She held on to the pillow, flicked on the kitchen light, and slid a chair out from the yellow Formica table. She put the pillow on the seat for extra cushion beneath her sore buttocks.
She stepped over to the sink, quietly turned on the faucet, and filled the kettle. She lit the match for the burner and set the kettle on. She parked her butt on the pillow and waited for the whistle to blow.
The Good Book laid on the table still open to Second Chronicles. She stared at the words, slowly moving her lips along. “The fathers shall not die for their children, neither shall the children die for their fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin.” The whistle startled her. She jumped up and grabbed the kettle before it shrilled louder. She turned off the burner and grabbed a cup.
The house sat one-hundred feet from the edge of the thicket and exactly fifty-feet from the road. The place was dark and gloomy on the outside and on the inside. It was reminiscent of a morgue. Outside, the yard was overgrown and unkempt. Harold wasn’t much in the up-keep, in or out, but he did manage to keep a pathway cleared from the porch to the ‘74 black Dodge Dart.
Missy set her cup down. A loud scratching sound came from the backdoor. She rushed over. Her heart pounded against her chest. She unlatched the bolt and snatched the door open.
A soft meow.
She looked down at her feet. A short grey and white striped cat brushed against her leg. “Mr. Noodles,” she said, bending over to pick him up. “What are you doing out there by your lonesome?” She cuddled him in her arms as she stroked the top of his head. “I thought you were in,” she said and shut the door. She put him gently down on the floor.
Mr. Noodles scurried out of the kitchen with a loud meow and disappeared into the dark of the house.
Missy yawned. Crazy cat, she thought. She sat back down to finish her coffee and flip back and forth through the Good Book.
More scratching noise from the backdoor. She got up and walked across the floor. She put her ear up to the center. She opened the door, realizing she had forgotten to latch it back. To her surprise, “Mr. Noodles,” she said. She bent down to pick him up. “How in tar-nation did you get out there again?”
The cat hissed and raked its claws into her flesh as it jumped from her arms. Mr. Noodles hit the floor, scurried under the table, and hunkered down as if it had been frightened.
“What the hell is wrong with you? Have you gone plumb bonkers?”
She saw the backdoor was open behind her. Before she stepped over to close it, she walked to the kitchen doorway and glanced around the sitting room, wondering what window she had left open.
From the dark of the house a disturbing and coarse whisper came, “Missy.”
“Harold,” she whispered. “Are you up?”
Another loud whisper. This time it seemed as if the voice was coming from all around and even from the back of her.
The beast stepped out of the dark and into the light of the kitchen.
Missy stood frozen in the stench of death, unable to move or scream. Her heart was beating so fast it felt as if it were pounding from the back of her throat. She could barely breathe.
The beast stood tall and in front of her.
The voice in her head told her to RUN. She wanted to, but her feet wouldn’t move. She was in shock, helpless and terrified. All she could do was stare into the black of its eyes. Face to face with death, she saw and felt her end.
The beast reached out and gripped its long cold fingers around her throat. Its razor claws pressed into her skin. The warm trickle of blood ran down the sides of her neck. The beast gripped tighter, squeezing her airway completely off.
Spots floated before her eyes, and the room turned into a yellow, dingy haze. Everything seemed surreal and she felt… far away from reality. What’s happening? The thing was killing her.
By the throat, the beast lifted her so that her feet dangled in the air. In a harsh and coarse whisper, it said, “What’s the matter Missy, no guts?”
Her eyes widened in fear. Suddenly, she could move her feet. She shuffled them back and forth. She tried kicking, swinging her arms, anything she could to fight for her life. She even grabbed its arm and scratched at its skin as she tried to break free from its grip.
The beast glared under the table at the cat.
Mr. Noodles ran out from beneath and hurried out the backdoor. He jumped off the porch and scurried behind the lattice, hunkering down as low as he could to the ground.
The beast moved across the floor and out the backdoor, carrying Missy by the throat. It slammed her body to the ground and released its fingers.
Missy put her hands around her throat gasping for air. Still unable to scream she whimpered as if she were a small pup.
The beast reached down, and, with no mercy, it grabbed her legs, flipped her over, and dragged her across the yard into the thicket.
Missy grabbed hysterically at the ground with her fingers leaving finger trails here and there. The tears rolled down her cheeks as she watched the kitchen light fade from sight.
Deep into the thicket, the beast flipped her over and onto her back. With one finger, it bent down over her frail body and ran its claw lightly down the jawline of her face. The beast raised its arm and slashed through her nightgown, ripping its razor claws deep into her flesh. The blood poured from her soaking her white gown red.
She watched in horror as it plunged its sharp teeth into her chest, tearing through the open tissue and bone.
As the beast tore her heart from her; she felt her body go numb and cold at the same time. The last breath quietly faded from her as she slipped into the black.
This short story is a scene of Missy and the Beast taken out of the novel “Boone Holler,” written by Lizzi Cruz and Royce Steele.