Thursday, September 23, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
The old colonial had remained empty for a year, and you couldn’t blame the bad housing market. The stories had traveled far enough. The real estate agents couldn’t protect the value of the property. Most potential buyers get turned off by the idea of replacing the floorboards beneath blood-stained carpets.
But my curiosity got the better of me. Leaning over the back of my La-Z-Boy, I pulled the curtain back, barely an inch of glass visible to my eye. The movers were pulling couches and desks from the van, and lugging them up the steep lawn. Nothing seemed abnormal. Even the new neighbor—standing by the front steps, telling the movers where to take each piece of furniture—gave off an air of normalcy.
Until his eyes turned and stared directly at me.
I screamed, jumped, and dropped the curtain. “Josh!”
He rolled his eyes. “You were spying on the new neighbors, weren’t you?”
“Sis, you’re full of crap. Why are you being so weird?”
I rubbed my shoulder, feeling the tingle of my scar beneath my sleeve. I’d never told anyone about my “date” with the previous neighbors’ son—or at least beyond what they expected. Movie and dinner.
I just hadn’t known I was on the menu.
“I’m not being weird!”
“Oh, whatever,” he replied. “First, you try to tell me the Franklins are cannibals. Then you start rumors that keep the house from selling. And now you’re spying on the new neighbors. What do you think? They bought it because of your childish lies?”
He punched my shoulder, barely missing the scar he didn’t know was there. “You’re a sucky liar.” He spun around and dashed upstairs.
I sunk into my chair. Was I overreacting? Was it unreasonable for me to worry that the new neighbors might have a son my age? And he might act normal? And I might like him? And he might ask me out? And he might invite me in after the date when his parents were gone for the weekend?
And he might try to eat my arm? And his parents might have been home despite the lie? And I was supposed to be dinner?
A shiver ran down my back. I had never told anyone what had happened. I’d driven myself to the next town, told them I was a runaway, and asked them to patch up my shoulder. How could I have told anyone, even my parents? “Oh, gee, mom, I know you like Billy, but did he mention his favorite meats are pork and humans?” Josh making fun of me was enough. I didn’t need my folks checking me into the loony bin.
A noise reverberated around me, making me jump again. But it was just the echo of the garage door’s motor. After a minute of steadying my breath and trying to meditate my blood pressure back to normal, my mother came inside.
“Oh, honey, I’m glad you’re here. I thought we could take some of your cookies to the new neighbors. What do you think?”
So much for that meditation! “Um…”
She disappeared into the kitchen, and began loudly rummaging through drawers. “Come on, Angela. You’re not shy. I would think you’d want to meet them.” She reappeared in the doorway, a paper plate in one hand and a roll of plastic wrap in the other. “I think I saw a boy over there this morning. He looked about your age.”
Did she just throw a rope around my neck and pull? Why can’t I breathe? “Really?” I squeaked.
She smiled, mistaking my fear for excitement, and disappeared into the kitchen again to arrange her welcome goodies.
As she walked through the living room, sugar cookies mounded on the plate, the look she gave me said I had no choice. With a silent sigh and trembling knees, I trudged behind her across the lawn.
The freaky guy who had seen me in the window smiled widely, probably considering us hors d’oeuvres. “Oh, how nice of you to bring us a snack.” He examined the plate. “If you don’t mind, can I ask if you used butter for these?”
I frowned. “Uh, yeah. Why?”
His smiled turned apologetic. “We’re vegans. We don’t eat butter.”
I stared at him, letting this sink in. Vegan? “You never eat meat?”
He shook his head. “My son’s never tasted it at all.” He yelled through the door. “Kamil!”
A moment later the son came through the door, radiating hotness.
Damn, am I glad he’s not a cannibal!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I turned on the TV to watch the news while I got dressed. I surveyed my outfit in the mirror. An extra 30 minutes on the treadmill would be added to the count tonight.
“Aaaaah!What in holy hell?” My legs were trapped in a burning vice. I didn’t think the pants were that tight. I scrambled to pull them off. My ankles stayed trapped in denim handcuffs as I looked down and spied blisters everywhere. Gross! I guess I would have to resort to a long skirt today. Cue exasperated, if somewhat pained, sigh. I finally found the correct combination to break from the chains of my skinny jeans. (Note to self: stepping on one leg of the pants while tugging opposite foot is the key.) I did a little dance once I was free, which was soon followed by a wince from burning flesh.By the time I finished dressing my eyes were watering. An eyelash decided to escape and poke me when I wasn’t looking. It quickly burrowed under my lid and behind my eye. No matter how often I blinked and drilled my finger into my lid, it stayed hidden. The fight only resulted in screwing up my TV. Flickering channels, burning legs, giant spiders, vengeful eyelash and a concrete wall to the face, so that’s how the day was going to be.
I grabbed a ready cup of coffee, a pair of sunglasses and a pile of bills to sort through on the deck. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was warm and friendly casting my shadow back against my house. Hello, Sun! I lowered myself onto a chair and took a sip of bitter steaming java. I was able to enjoy my morning for 2.5 minutes before a moving truck growled into the driveway next door.
The house had been empty for months and that delighted me to no end. Well, there’s my end…or rather the end of my solitude. My curiosity won the battle against my need for privacy so I stayed where I was. I sifted through papers and envelopes unfocused. I was rewarded with a deep oozing paper cut.
My eyes kept drifting to the truck. Moving men moved in and out of the barren house. A large man stood alongside a string of a woman shouting rooms at the boxes disappearing inside. “Living room! Bathroom! Kitchen! Den!”The sun was against me now and blinded me from seeing anyone clearly. My stomach boiled and splashed so I decided to drag myself inside to throw some food down my gullet. I continued to glance while cooking until everyone disappeared into the house. And after several hours the moving truck was still there. That’s odd. They didn’t seem to have that much stuff.
After satisfying my hunger, I returned to the deck, determined to concentrate on my bills. I scanned my bank statement until I heard a loud yelp. I mean, it really sounded like a yelp.
“YELP!” There it was again.Someone was trapped beneath a large armoire calling for help but with wood crushing your sternum, I’m sure it would sound like yelp. But with my luck, I was leery.
“Ah. Oooch-eee-owww!” The grass stabbed at my feet as I tiptoed to the fence bordering their house and peered through. I could see directly into their bare dining room window. Again the sun was waving and saying hello like a slightly stupid man while obstructing my view.I could barely make out the people surrounding a large dark table. They were already set up for dinner. How nice. Then I noticed what was on the table. One of the movers was sprawled out and bloody. A cloud distracted the sun for a moment and the window cleared. There were four people around the table and each was chewing on a limb of the mover.
I would have called for help but instead, choked and gagged on the bank statement I had shoved in my mouth in fright. Great, now I need to call the police and the bank.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Different palates appeal to different people. It’s only natural. Some people don’t like anchovies. Some people love to mix peanut butter and chocolate. Some people are vegetarians. I guess you could call me a humanitarian.
Evil tastes good. Oh come on, it may be crass, but it’s just so spicy. Tangy. Tasty. Good people just taste bland. Back when my tastes moved toward people, I started with homeless, runaways… people who wouldn’t be missed. When I became more skilled, I told myself it was only right to consume those who brought darkness to the world. Yeah, it was my way of rationalizing a bad habit, like an alcoholic. But when the glossy Shady Acres mailing arrived yesterday… oh, it was just too easy. So much evil. Old, slow evil that has marinated for so long… Acres and acres of shady folks with their guards down…
Living here has been good for me. Shady Acres is… an “active adult community” (chuckle) not exactly the type of place you’d expect to find someone like me, but I guess that’s part of its draw. There comes a point in life, when you get to my age, where the legacy that you have worked a lifetime to build becomes too heavy a mantle. When you no longer have the energy or the desire to dye your hair or trudge around in fur coats, but after creating that persona, you can’t exactly throw it all away by showing up at the local SafeWay in sweatpants. Excuse the dramatics, but if you haven’t walked in my shoes, I can only compare the weight of carrying a legacy to the burden of Atlas. At some point, you just want to let the gray hair grow and sit around in slippers drinking tea rather than chasing fool puppies.
The best thing about Shady Acres is that once you’re in, you’re in. If you can get your application past this board, you are certified, bona fide evil. Your place is permanently etched in villainry, which means that you don’t have to go proving yourself to anyone else in here. We’ve got that hag with the poisoned apple, the fella who rode round Sleepy Hollow waving his head around, you name it. And none of us traipses around in our old fool villainous getups or puts on a show. We look more like early bird time at your local diner. And no one cares. Like I said. We’ve all made it. Nothing to prove, and no energy left to prove anything, anyway.
I remember you, you’re that crazy dalmation lady. With the name – De Mille? De Ville? The director or the car, I forget. Doesn’t matter. Anyone who skins puppies has to have the spice I’m looking for. This real estate lady here, showing me around, is pointing to each house and telling me who lives there, but what I’m hearing is each brand of evil and what I’m seeing is a buffet – but instead of veal, lamb, chicken, it’s theft, murder, and… whatever you’d call skinned puppies. I wonder for a moment if she notices the crazed look in my eye when she moves on to each tender new morsel, tempting my taste buds with one depravity after the other. But no, crazy eyes are the norm around here. I almost squeal with glee! There are a few empty houses, but they are going fast. Which perversion would you like to live next to, sir?
A week after I got the Shady Acres brochure in the mail, I put my dilapidated old castle on the market and my plan in motion. I’d only been hanging onto that place for sentimental reasons, anyway, you know? It was way too big for one person. Besides, we’re in a recession, don’t you know? The heating bills alone were ruining me. It’s not like I cared about that stupid princess anymore, but I had to keep putting on the show with the raven and the blasted horned headpiece. Did anyone really think that after 16 years, I was still hung up on not getting invited to her christening? Yes, they probably did. You cannot possibly underestimate the conceit of royalty.
It was so easy, the whole spindle thing got the princess out of the way. I have to admit, it was fun becoming the dragon after all those years of creating that image in my head for my final bow, but have they really stopped teaching princes to actually check to make sure that dragons are dead when they fall over a cliff? I mean, really. It was almost too easy to slink away while he basked in his perfectly coiffed glory and ran off to kiss her. So here I am, finally able to relax, at last.
Mmm, lobster bisque…
Prompt: Be Happy That Your New Neighbors Aren’t Cannibals
Which, by the way, was a very popular prompt :) I guess you just can't beat cannibals for short fiction, huh? Almost as good as zombies...
What did we love about this piece? Well, the concept is hilarious - that there is this retirement home for all the evil people?! Ha! Cru cracked us up. Then the narrator - this horrid cannibal person eating evil people to assuage his/her conscience for being a cannibal! Ha again!
I particularly loved the line:
Naomi liked the section where the cannibal is drooling over each "flavor" of evil as he/she is being shown around Shady Acres.
It made us smile, had great characterization and was well written.
Congrats Lindsey! I think I have your address somewhere, but e-mail me with it again so I have it for sure. I will (hopefully) finish up the owls this weekend :) If any of you haven't checked out Lindsey's blog, do so - she's Dangerous With a Pen (it says so right on her blog) and quite witty as well :)