In our flash fiction double we delivers two tasty treats to your monster's table.
First up is a delectable tale from Karl Lykken, who's serving us a dollop of purity and sin on the same plate.
Karl Lykken writes stories and software in Texas. His horror fiction has appeared in Theme of Absence, Deadman's Tome, and 9Tales at the World's End #4.
Dessert at the Last Supper
By Karl Lykken
“Sweetie, if you're not feeling well, maybe we should call dinner off. I'm sure your parents will understand,” I say, managing pretty well to pretend I'm more worried about her cough than the prospect of meeting her folks. I haven't been this nervous since I had to tell Father Anthony I was leaving the seminary because I was in love with Shelby. But then, that was just last Tuesday, so I suppose I should get used to this feeling.
“No, I'll be fine,” Shelby says, flashing me one of those smiles that dragged me out from God's service. I wish I had her confidence. Her parents are going to eat me alive.
I pull the car up outside her parents' house and we get out. I'm sweating by the time Shelby rings the doorbell, and it's only partially from the stale summer heat. Her father answers the door and scans me slowly up and down before breaking into a smile. “You must be Sean,” he says softly.
“Yes, sir. It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Green.” I'm lying. I find it off-putting that he hasn't so much as glanced at his daughter, instead focusing his dark, searching eyes solely on me.
“Call me Anton. After all, we'll be getting quite familiar with each other this evening.” He steps back and beckons us inside. I follow Shelby into the foyer, noticing that she's shaking ever so slightly.
“Are you alright, Shelbs?” I ask.
“Yes, yes, I'll be fine,” she replies, this time less convincingly. I barely begin to wonder what's wrong when my attention is stolen by a collection of tribal masks in a large curio cabinet. The narrow, distorted wooden faces seem to stare at me with the same intensity as Anton and are no less disconcerting.
“They're from Papua New Guinea,” Anton informs me. “I conducted a 10 year anthropological study there when Shelby was a child. They're a fascinating people.”
“I'd imagine. I didn't know you'd done that, Shelbs,” I say. She just smiles weakly in reply, staring blankly ahead of her. I walk up close to her. “Hey, what's the matter? Do you need to lie down?”
She looks up into my eyes and I can see tears shining in hers. I put my hand on her shoulder and am about to restate my question when her mother walks in. “You must be Sean,” she says, looking me up and down.
“Oh, yes, it's a pleasure to meet you,” I reply, looking only briefly at her before returning my focus to Shelby.
“What do you think?” Anton asks his wife, still paying not the slightest heed to his daughter's clear distress.
“He seems pure,” Mrs. Green observes. I'm not in the mood for priest jokes, though to be fair, I never have been. But I can hardly be concerned about that when the tears start trickling down Shelby's cheeks.
“Hey, Shelby, let's go sit you down,” I say, gesturing toward the sofa in the adjacent living room.
“Oh, she'll be fine,” Anton says, pulling a revolver out from his pocket, “just as soon as the ritual is completed.”
I take a step back, pulling Shelby with me. “Wh-what are you talking about?”
I look around at Mrs. Green, who has produced a gun of her own and is aiming it squarely at my head. “Why don't we finish this discussion in the dining room?” she asks, motioning toward a doorway.
I walk inside the dining room, where a single chair sits before a long table, topped with a long velvet pad. “I'm so sorry, Sean,” Shelby says, the tears now coming full force, “but I'm dying, and the eating of the flesh is the only way for me to be cleansed before I'm reborn anew. And you're the only one pure enough.”
It's all I can do not to wet myself. Or more. “You... You're going to eat me?”
“No,” Anton says, handing Shelby a ceremonial mask while she climbs onto the pad and folds her arms across her chest. He guides me into the chair and gestures toward a knife and fork. “Come now, you must be starving.”
With the first course devoured, loosen your belt for our second story brought to you by Perry Mayo, who's creepy tale will keep your eyes open ... forever.
Perry Mayo is an eighteen year old high school senior based in Santa Monica, California. She specializes in fictional short stories and poetry and has been writing original pieces since third grade. When not writing, she is senior captain of her high school varsity soccer team, and hopes to go to the East Coast for college this coming fall.
By Perry Mayo
Henry MacMillan set down the newspaper. The headline twisted his stomach as if he were wringing a wet towel: Two Found Dead In Bed: Cause Of Death Undeterminable. The carpenter shivered, refusing to read past the first sentence. Unexplained occurrences never sat well with the simple man.
Hammering the last nail into a doorway, the opening line to that article plagued Henry. At seven a.m. this morning, Gilda Sherman, 64, and Brandon Cavillo, 22, were found dead in bed in their respective homes. Causes of death remain undetermined, but toxicology and coroner reports have returned clean with no abnormalities. Henry wiped his forehead, half labor perspiration, half trembling nerves. He readjusted his hard hat, nodded to David, his friend beside him, and started up the buzzsaw.
Scalding water burned Henry as he worked shampoo into his curls, scrubbing out the sawdust that always ended up in his hair. He slowly closed his eyes, relishing in the first moment of relaxation since dawn. In the split second of Henry’s eyes shutting, he saw Hell. With a gruesome smile revealing rows of rotting and pointed teeth, tufts of hair sprouted sporadically across the skin that was melting right off the skull of the creature. The fiend vanished quicker than it had appeared, leaving Henry terrified. Closing his 2 eyes again, Henry attempted to forget the image, but the man reappeared. Henry stood frozen, the now frigid water cascading over his body, refusing to close his eyes.
Six sleepless nights later, Henry brewed his coffee extra strong. Hunched in extreme exhaustion, he loaded his truck with the usual tools and left to his latest project. A colonial style house on the corner of Grovewood and Ash, probably the home of a banker, Henry thought. Atop the roof, Henry and David secured shingle after shingle. Sun searing his neck, Henry squinted at his hands, then squeezed his eyes shut. The demonesque being struck again, the same terrifying grin as before. Losing his footing in shock, the contractor slipped, sliding down the the roof until his foot caught the gutter. Panting at the edge of the two story house, Henry lay face down, staring at the driftwood shingles, eyes wide open.
Another brush with the man behind Henry’s eyelids ended with the contractor’s beloved truck in a ditch, hubcap missing, and a reckless driving ticket. Sitting in his kitchen, Henry raised his eyelids with masking tape, wincing as he tacked it to his temple. Crescent shaped scars spanned all reachable skin. Henry’s hooded eyes burned from not blinking, but he resisted. Each blink brought the tuft haired devil closer, and Henry swore his next blink would be his last. Barricading himself behind safety pin thigh pricks and more caffeine than recommended, the contractor refused to see the man. His answering machine accumulated messages from Dave, the only person that Henry spoke to regularly. After a week however, the messages stopped, Dave relinquishing his worry, moving on. The safety pin pricks and scabs began to overlap, Henry creating and reopening wounds as the days wore on, eyes painfully open.
3 At three a.m. on one Tuesday morning, Henry lay in bed for the first time in weeks. He crossed his fingers, sighed, and removed the layers of medical tape splayed across his forehead, peeling pieces from his eyelashes carefully as to not rip the frail skin that had dried days before. As soon as Henry reached his pillow, his eyes closed, snoring, and the rotting smile crept over his eyeball into Henry’s line of vision, smirk evident on the blistering and torn lips of the grey skinned terror. The man lunged. Henry, paralyzed in fear, lay still and silent like the corpse he would become seconds later.
Wednesday’s paper sat on Henry’s front step, never making it past the front door. Even if the contractor missed the headline that morning, the rest of the town read it grimly. Local Contractor Found Dead, Adds To Growing List of Unexplainable Deaths.
So with our duet of bittersweet and sour in your monster's belly, we leave you with the promise of more flavoursome nourishment next week, and as always may your monster never go hungry.
*Dessert at the Last Supper © Karl Lykken
*Henry © Perry Mayo