This is another little flash fiction piece inspired by my all time favorite Halloween costume. Tis the season and all. The prompt for today was Close.
Red closed the basket full of food for her grandmother. It was time to get going. Finally. It had taken her forever to get the soup finished and like always she was running a little behind even getting it started. But now the brightly colored Rubbermaid containers were filled to the brim with vegetable soup—her grandma’s favorite. It’s the least she could do. June had always been there for her after her mother was killed by her father when she was just a wee girl, and now that June is sick, it was time for the roles to reverse.
Sick? Who was she kidding? June was dying. Slowly and horribly and eventually painfully. And, it would push Red to her very limits. She didn’t know how she would handle losing the one person she could count on, her confidant, her everything. June was all that Red had ever had, and she would never be the same without her. When it came to watching June suffer through her last few months…well…she couldn’t even think about that.
Red started the drive to June’s place already frustrated that she hadn’t yet been able to talk June into moving in to her place. She’d told the stubborn woman a million times that she didn’t need to be alone in that tiny little cabin when she wasn’t feeling well…that it would take too long for help to arrive if she ever needed it. Of course, June would have none of that. She wanted to be in her own home, and she damn sure didn’t want someone trying to coddle her. In her own less than eloquent words, June’s sentiment was that as long as she could wipe her own ass she would be fine and dandy on her own.
The drive to the countryside was peaceful. Humbling. The bright pixels of orange and red leaves rushed by surrounding her in a warm, amber bubble. Nothing could beat Maine in fall. She knew that was part of the reason that June was so adamant about staying in her own place. The beauty of it had a way of making you feel small but never insignificant. The foliage, the brittle sound of dried leaves crunching underfoot, the crispness of the cool air…if anything it built you up and made you feel connected to everything. Maybe June had the right idea.
She pulled into the driveway and immediately felt something was off. There wasn’t anything wrong that she could see…nothing out of place or out of the ordinary. The small, squat cabin was as still and sturdy as always. June’s old station wagon was parked under the carport. Everything appeared as it should, but that didn’t stop the oddness from crawling over her skin like an unwelcome arachnid.
When she stepped out of her car, the little blue Volvo she had worked so hard to buy on her own, she was hit with a wall of silence. No leaves rustling. No birds calling to one another. Not even a fly buzzing. There was absolutely nothing but weighty silence to greet her, and it was fucking awful.
Panic gripped her firmly. She ran to the door and found it unlocked—also out of the ordinary for June. That sent her panic into a state of terror. What if June had died waiting on her to show up with soup? What if she’s been laying there all this time needing help and here is Red late again… What if she fell? Red raced into the house calling for her grandmother and frantically searching the small space. The kitchen was clean. Her collection of cow figurines were hanging out cheerfully on the sunny shelves like normal. The living room was clear. The TV was off, but that’s to be expected. June wasn’t much for the boob tube and preferred to read for her entertainment even though reading was increasingly difficult for her these days (something she refused to admit).
It was when she started down the hallway to the back bedroom that she heard a noise. It wasn’t a June noise. It was…she had no idea, but it wasn’t anything she ever heard before. It was meaty and guttural and absolutely terrifying.
She stood paralyzed at the end of the hallway unsure of what to do next. She had nothing on her but a small teal pocketknife she couldn’t even get open without a massive struggle out of fear she would cut off her pinky. She had to get to June, though. Whatever was going on, she knew June wasn’t okay.
Red snuck down the hallway on tiptoes moving slowly and hunched over listening for more noises. The closer she inched to June’s closed door, the more she noticed a strong metallic smell and the more dismayed she became. It couldn’t be a good thing, that smell.
She paused at the door listening but she heard nothing. Not a peep. That smell was even stronger standing at the door. She braced herself, grabbed the knob, and threw the door open expecting the worst.
What she found, though, was quite the surprise. June was sitting on her bed, covered in blood. Her nightgown was nearly brown from it all. Her knitting needles were sunken into the chest of a wolf-man thing lying on the floor at her feet—a wolf-man thing covered in puncture wounds and barely breathing.
“Grandma! What the fuck?!!” Red asked her.
“Watch your fucking language, Red. Jesus Christ, I’m your Grandmother,” June managed to get out between the panting and heavy breaths.
The two stood in silence staring at the thing for a long time neither quite knowing what to say or what it was. June finally spoke after catching her breath a bit, “I don’t know what that thing is. I don’t even know how it got in the house. All I know is that it tried to rip me apart, and I’m not ready yet to leave this world. My time may be coming but not yet. Not yet.”
So, Red did what any granddaughter would do and cut the head off that motherfucker just to be sure.
Nobody fucks with June and lives to tell the tale.
This has been another Sunday Confession with More Than Cheese and Beer. Check out her page for all the other linkups and the facebook page for anonymous confessions and don't forget to check out the Halloween giveaway that ends tomorrow!