It’s week 3 of Chuck Wendig at http://www.terribleminds.com’s scary story challenge. Thank you to those of you who have stopped by to read some of my work – I really appreciate it.
This week I have taken it upon myself to write the conclusion to a little story called Witching Weather, started by Rebecca Douglass and continued by Vicente L Ruiz.
Mr Hadley stood at the window. He smiled like any proud grandfather watching his grandson tearing around the yard on a shiny new BMX, or his granddaughter bouncing around on a trampoline.
All they had wanted was some sweets. Life was full of bags of sweets, he had once told Jill. She had gasped then, and relaxed at the sight of his reassuring face and soft, gloved hands.
“Some bags are just harder to open than others…”
He closed his eyes, savouring the memory, and listened to his grandchildren as they began to sing.
“Jack and Jill went up the hill…”
“Can you hear that Mason?”
“Yeah, it’s that nursery rhyme. Only the second part sounded kind of garbled.”
“I know… it sounded like ‘something, something, daughter.’”
“Really? I got ‘an inch and a quarter.’”
“You’re a creep Mason.”
“What? That’s what I heard.”
“You just did it again.” She slapped him.
“Ow. Stacey. I didn’t do anything.” He turned around and saw her frightened eyes in the torchlight. Something moved behind her.
Hadley looked in the mirror beside the door and practiced a smile. His eyes were vortices that had seen a millennium (and would see another) but his smile appeared kind, inviting even. He looked down at his hands. They had been strong once, adept at twisting a human neck 180 degrees, but in this new body they were weak and soft. He pushed the door open and soft light spilled into the overgrown garden and bled into the fog. His grandchildren covered their eyes, the backs of their hands grazed by the arc of light.
“Hello. Is there someone in my garden?”
“Uh, sorry, yeah – we were just lost and… and…”
“Google Maps led us here. We were looking for a restaurant.”
“Not at all.” Said Hadley. “Please don’t apologise. In fact, why don’t you come in? I would be glad for the company and you two must be starving.”
“Uh, no that’s ok.” Mason took Stacey by the shoulder and began to lead her away. In that moment, Jack dived at Mason’s ankle and bit through his jeans. He came away with a sizeable chunk of denim and flesh.
“Agggh! You little bastard.” Mason kicked out with his other leg and fell over. Somewhere, a child giggled.
“Oh my God. I knew there was something here!” Stacey tried to pull him to his feet. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Through that fog? Young man, I insist that you come to my house for first aid.”
Another pair of hands, not unlike her own, reached out from the fog and helped Stay lift Mason to his feet. It was another teenage girl, skinnier than Stacey and unkempt. She stayed out of the light the whole time. They went into the house, followed by a small boy who stayed behind them like a wary guard dog.
Inside the house, Stacey was feeling decidedly chicken. The old man and the little boy had Mason laid out on a long couch. Stacey and the teenage girl sat together on a coffee table. Mason’s wound had already begun to take on a hot, rotten stench.
“He’s going to be like Jack soon.” The teenage girl said.
“Is Jack the little boy?”
“Mmm. We used to be friends.” She looked to the window. “A long time ago.”
Holy shit. The girl was Jill.“Hey, maybe we can do something.”
Stacey’s stomach rumbled. She felt around in her pocket and took out a packet of M&Ms. As she munched, Mason screamed and Jill started to cry softly.
“All we wanted was our own Halloween lollies. Our parents wouldn’t let us trick or treat. I thought he couldn’t possibly do anything worse to Jack than what he did to me.” She squeezed her hands together and Stacey saw that they were burned.
“Jill.” She whispered. “I want you to come with me.”
They retreated deeper into the Hadley mansion in search of the kitchen. It was past the looming staircase at the back of the house, and looked like nothing had been prepared there for several years. Stacey closed a couple of cupboards hastily as maggots and mice sprawled out upon opening them. Her stomach lurched. There was a gas oven, but no sign of anything to start it with.
“Jill. Are there any matches?”
At the sound of this word, Jill’s eyes widened and she covered her ears.
This word was met with a piercing shriek, and Stacey heard a scampering in the hall. She leapt into a low cupboard, hoping that the mice had cleared out. The maggots, she would have to live with.
“What is it Jill?” Jack’s voice was a demonic rasp.
Stacey could make out a few words through Jill’s tears. “The girl. Burn us.”
Crap. Inside the cupboard, there was an old china jug. Stacey fumbled around for the handle. A mouse scampered up the inside of her leg, but thankfully veered off when it reached her inner thigh. She gritted her teeth and gripped the jug, readying herself to strike. He was opening cupboards above her, and she kicked the door open, knocking him off balance.
He snarled, his face a whirl of Halloween paint, and she smashed the jug in his face and ran. Mason’s jacket was heavy on her, and began to slide down her shoulders. She pushed her hands in the pockets to keep it on, and found a cigarette lighter. As she neared the living area, she began to limp.
“Hadley.” She groaned. “Jack bit me.”
“Oh you poor dear. Let me see.” He started towards her, grinning. Behind him, Mason was turning grey on the couch. As he advanced, Stacey slipped off the jacket and set fire to it.
“He bit me right… HERE.” She yelled, and thrust the burning jacket onto him. His clothing lit up immediately, and Stacey felt her eyebrows singe. It was like throwing a ball of newspaper on a campfire. Their eyes met, and for a moment, she saw eternity. Then the body that housed those eyes turned to ash, and Hadley was gone.
Inside the kitchen, a small boy’s voice rang out. “I just want a Snickers bar Jill.”
So there you have it – the conclusion to Witching Weather. Thanks to the authors of part 1 and part 2 for such a cool set up. I hope you enjoyed it!