Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Up on the Rooftop

"Later that night, he heard the jingling again.  Faintly, just as before, it circled the house like a passing car.  As before, the soft padding crunch of snow and again, the faint jingling.  He stood in the kitchen, a cigarette quivered between his enraged fingers. He smoked two more as the jingling continued for another fifteen minutes. He'd had it with those damned kids.  Ed grabbed the broom and his flashlight and headed out into the snow.

"Alright you little bastards!" Growling, he threw the door open and waived the broom in a wide arc.  The light flashed across the snow.  It was smooth.  No footprints.  He stepped out, broom at the ready.  No footprints anywhere in the yard.  His face full of confusion, his broom lowered.  He heard the jingling again, just beyond the corner of the house.  He raised the broom once more and moved to intercept. They weren't gonna get away.  The snow on his ankles tickled and burned with each step.

At the corner of the house he found no footprints, but could still hear the jingling. Something hit his arm and bounced into the snow.  He leaned over and picked up something wet.  It took him a moment to adjust his hold on the broom and get the flashlight up to his other hand.  It looked like a shredded piece of cloth from a coat, but it was covered in red paint.  No.  No, it wasn't paint.   Ed dropped the cloth and backed away from the house.  His line of vision moved slowly up towards the roof.  His mouth hung agape at the sight of the thing.  It was chewing absently above the bloody patch it made, a ring of bells circling its neck.  Each time it chewed, the bells would softly jingle.

Ed turned and ran.  The flashlight fell free into the soft snow, a small glowing thumbprint disappearing behind him. He hadn't gone that far, the door was just a few more feet away.  He heard a loud snort and his bladder emptied into his pajama pants.  Then there was a hard pinch at his neck, like when his mother used to grab him as a child.  His arms flailed as he was yanked back.   Ed screamed, but then a rough blow at the back of his head made him quiet.  He felt dizzy now.  He lurched and vomited blood as the pinch at his neck grew harder.

"I'll be good Ma.  I won't do it again."  The pinch grew harder still and he knew he was gonna get a spanking.  Then he was flying, flying up and into the christmas sky.  A trail of paint splattered on the snow beneath him. No. No, it wasn't paint."

Recommended Listening:
Torchbearer, Kill the Light
Elegies for the End

{Image created in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop}


Vincent said...

That was great! The confusion, the panic and denial. And finally, the retreating into his childhood memories as a last ditch attempt to escape the horrible reality. Brilliant work.

Hey, you might check out The Futurist. You and Tony may end up being kindred spirits when it comes to short fiction.

Jesse W. Campbell said...

Thank you. :-) Glad you liked it. Originally I just planned to post the image with a quick production blurb, but as I was posting I started writing and suddenly there was a story there. I have another story coming up on Christmas Day that has a similar quality, but it isn't Christmas themed, per se.

Also, thank you for pointing out The Futurist. I'm not sure how I missed him. I know I've visited his blog several times. I am now following and read a few of his pieces. Good stuff!

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