Thanksgiving Surprise- Friday Flash

A Turkey.

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THANKSGIVING SURPRISE

By Melissa L. Webb

Betty Joe pulled the ground meat out of the pan and tossed it into the bowl next to the oven. She tasted it, adding a pinch of salt. This was going to be a wonderful addition to her stuffing this year. Her family was going to love it.

She quickly threw the stuffing together, setting it in the middle of the table with the rest of the feast. A knock sounded on the front door. Done just in time. Straightening the front of her apron, she hurried to the door.

“Hello,” she greeted as she opened it.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Mom,” a woman said, pressing a quick kiss to her cheek, before pulling two children in behind her.

“Grandma,” they squealed, throwing themselves against her, disappearing in her arms.

“My darlings. Look how you’ve grown,” she cooed to them.

They giggled in delight as she turned back to her daughter. “Where’s that wonderful man of yours?”

“He’s outside talking to Robert and Dana. They pulled up the same time as we did,” she told her, taking off her coat. “It smells wonderful in here, Mom.”

“Thank you,” Betty Joe said, proud as ever of her Thanksgiving dinner. She smiled down at her grandchildren. “Why don’t you two go play in the living room until we’re ready to eat? I think there might be some new toys out there.”

They cheered, racing each other to the toys.

“You didn’t have to do that. They already look forward to coming here.”

“Now, hush. It’s a grandmother’s right to spoil her grandbabies.” Turning, she headed back to the kitchen, her eyes searching for anything she’d forgotten.

Her daughter followed behind her. “Where’s Dad? I would have thought he’d be in here, underfoot.”

Betty Joe waved a hand absently at her. “He’s on a business trip. And, I say good riddance. He ruins every holiday we have together.”

“He’s not that bad, Mom. He’s just an old man set in his ways.”

“No. He’s horrible. You didn’t see it because you weren’t married to him. But any kindness that was in your father has dried up now,” she told her, grabbing plates out of the cupboard. “He’s been around here more since I’ve divorced him than when we were married. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t.”

“It’s okay, Mom,” she said, placing a hand on her arm. “We’ll figure out something.”

Betty Joe shrugged as she grabbed silverware, placing them on top of the dishes. “I’ve sat down some ground rules. I think things will much better now.”

“Good,” her daughter said, taking the stack of plates. “I just want you to be happy.”

“Oh, I will be. Come on, food’s getting cold,” she said and went to fetch the children.

Betty Joe looked around the table and felt tears in her eyes. Her daughter and her family and her son and his wife. These were the only people she needed at her table. She was glad that monster of an ex-husband would never be here again, ruining it with the negativity flowing from his mouth.

She grabbed a chunk of stuffing from her plate with her fork, placing it in her mouth. The richness of the special meat coated her tongue. Her ex-husband had finally done something right. He had found his purpose in life.

Her granddaughter looked up at her, swallowing her own mouthful of stuffing. “Grandma, do you think Grandpa is thinking of us?”

Betty Joe couldn’t help but smile as she speared another chuck of the meat. “Oh, I’m sure he’s here in spirit, dear.”

 

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb

 

 

Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Heart- Friday Flash

Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine, USA 2008

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BLACK IS THE COLOR OF MY TRUE LOVE’S HEART

By Melissa L. Webb

She fluttered across the room, straightening as she went. Her parents were coming and her boyfriend was going to make a good impression this time, even if it killed him. “Last time, it didn’t go so well did it, sweetheart?”

There was a grunt from the kitchen.

She sighed. That was his usual response to most things in life. She didn’t know why she even bothered anymore. All he did was disappoint her. Well, she’d fix that. This relationship was worth saving.

Grabbing his coat off the back of the couch, she looked around the living room. At last, his apartment looked presentable. Her parents would be impressed this time. She was sure of it. They would see she’d finally taken control of the situation.

Hanging the coat in the closet where it belonged, she looked around for the new scented wax she had bought. It was her mother’s favorite. “Honey, have you seen that new wax I got at the store?”

Another grunt sounded from the kitchen.

Why did she even try? He could never help her with the important things. Oh well, she’d find it eventually. She headed into the kitchen, inhaling deeply. The scent of roasted turkey hung heavily in the air. Thanksgiving dinner was almost done and her parents would be there soon. Everything was going as planned.

“Dinner smells great,” she told her boyfriend, a smile on her lips as she looked at him. “Don’t you agree?”

He nodded eagerly from his chair at the perfectly set table. He squirmed, trying to get the blood flowing in his arms and legs. The duct tape dug in painfully where he was bound to the chair.

Walking over to him, she stared down at his wide eyes. “Now, you’re going to be the best boyfriend ever, aren’t you? Promise me that, and I’ll take the tape off your mouth.”

He nodded again, just as eagerly as before.

“Good,” she said through a smile. “I want my parents to like you.” She pulled the tape from his lips, causing him to flinch from the pain. “After all, you’re very special to me.”

“Yes, dear,” he said weakly, worn down by her insanity.

She dabbed at his mouth, where the tape had drawn blood. “That’s my good boy,” she said, tossing the napkin in the trash.

Yes, she most definitely had it all under control. Her parents were going to be so proud.

 

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb

The Bone Chimes- Friday Flash

A simple wind chime

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THE BONE CHIMES

By Melissa L. Webb

Momma always told me if I hear wind chimes on a windless day, be prepared. Company’s coming.

Now, she didn’t mean your neighbor’s on her way to borrow a cup of sugar. She meant the kind of company that has no business living in our world. The kind of company that could be deadly. There was only one thing that could ring the chimes on a day with no breeze. The Lost Ones.

Those were what had scared Momma the most. The creatures and spirits roaming the world, lost to Darkness. They could sneak upon you before you even knew they were there. They’d devour your soul and turn you into one of them; forced to walk the Earth, forever lost from the Light.

“That’s why we hang the chimes, Ricky,” Momma would say. “We hang them as a warning. They can’t get in if we know they’re coming. We can protect ourselves if we’re aware. That’s why we hang them.”

The Bone Chimes. That’s what Momma called them when they rang for no reason. When they played their eerie music in still air, it was a warning that ran bone deep.

That’s why I’m here now, shotgun lying across my lap. I’m ready. That music has drawn me out on my porch. I will wait here, in the stifling heat of the calm evening. My Momma has taught me well, God rest her soul. The Lost Ones will not claim my family. Not now. Not ever.

I sip my glass of iced tea as I sit here, staring out along the horizon and listening to the Bone Chimes.

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb

The Nothing Men- Friday Flash

Toasted sandwich

Image via Wikipedia

THE NOTHING MEN

By Melissa L. Webb

The warm breeze blew through the air, catching the leaves scattered around Radcliffe Heights Park. They floated off the ground, twirling, almost magically, around the two girls as they walked.

“Don’t you just love this time of year?” Kim asked, dancing with the leaves.

“No, not really,” Tammy told her, adjusting the purse on her shoulder.

Kim frowned at her best friend. “Don’t be such a grouch. It’s our senior year, we just watched the most amazing baseball game of our boyfriends’ lives, and Halloween is in three days. What is there not to be happy about?”

Tammy felt a shiver slither down her spine, despite the heat. “I don’t know. I’ve been a little creeped out lately.”

“Of course, you’ve been creeped out. This is the time of year when ghouls and ghosts come out to play,” her friend said in a sinister voice.

“I’m serious, Kimmy. I keep feeling like someone’s watching me.”

Kim looked all around them as they walked down the street. “Who?” she whispered, afraid someone might hear her.

“I don’t know, but I feel them. It’s like someone is always five steps behind me,” Tammy said, shivering again.

Kim looked over her shoulder. “Now you’ve got me creeped out, too.”

“I’m sorry,” she said as they stepped into her yard. “But you asked.”

“I’ll get over it. Call you later.” Kim turned, heading down the sidewalk to her house. “Don’t scare yourself too much,” she said over her shoulder.

Shaking her head, Tammy went inside. Leave it to Kimmy to rub it in. Tossing her purse on the living room couch, she looked around. Her parents weren’t home. She could spend the rest of the afternoon catching up on her favorite show. Clicking the TV on, she put the last disc in the player. She sure hoped Connor and Maria stayed together.

As the disc was doing its thing, she headed into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of diet coke. She brought it into the living room, the ice clinking in the glass, and sat it on the coffee table.

“I wonder if there is any leftovers?” she muttered to herself, heading back into the kitchen in search of food. The leftovers were gone, but she returned with a sandwich in hand and settled into the chair with the remote.

Hitting play, she absently reached for her drink. Her fingers closed on empty air. “What?” She looked down at the empty coffee table. Her drink was gone.

She stood up, sitting her plate down. Where could it have gone? Did she accidentally take it back into the kitchen? She knew she was a little distracted lately, but this was pathetic. She returned to the kitchen, checking everywhere for a sign of her missing soda. But it was no use, it was gone.

Hands on hips, Tammy let out a deep breath of frustration. Well, who knows where she had set it. By the time she found it, it would probably be flat anyway. She poured herself a new glass and settled once again in the chair.

She reached down for the remote and gasped in shock. There was a bite missing out of her sandwich. A huge one. She hadn’t made it. Of that, she was sure. She had left a whole sandwich sitting there. That left only one choice.

Someone was in the house.

Tammy stood up, drink forgotten in her hand, and looked around. Was someone playing a trick on her? Had Kim crept in the house when she wasn’t looking? “Okay, this isn’t funny,” she called.

No one answered her. She stood there in undisturbed silence.

“Who is in my house?” she asked, anger dripping from her voice. “Come out or I’m calling the police.”

“Tammy,” a voice spoke from somewhere in the living room. It was deep and gravelly. It was a voice she had never heard before; not even in her darkest nightmares.

Screaming, she ran for the front door. She didn’t make it. Her feet got tangled in each other and she went down hard, the soda glass flying out of her hand.

She watched it soar, the liquid flowing freely from it. It came down, like dirty rain, and coated a silhouette of a person.

Someone she couldn’t see was standing there.

Tammy was off the floor in an instant, racing for her bedroom. She couldn’t let that thing touch her. God only knew what it would do.

She made it into her room, slamming the door; locking it behind her. She sat down, her back against the bed, waiting. Her body shook violently as she listened for any movement in the house. No wonder she thought someone had been watching her. How long had he been in her house? In this very room as she slept?

No. This was not right. She needed help. She quickly dialed Kim’s number. Her best friend would know what to do. She’d bring the whole town to her rescue if she asked.

Listening as the phone rang, Tammy’s heart pounded in her chest. “Come on, Kimmy. Answer your phone.”

The ringing stopped, the line sitting open with an emptiness she could almost feel. “Hello? Kimmy?”

Static crackled in her ear. It popped and fizzed before a harsh voice cut through it. “Nothing Men need company, too,” it said, a distorted cadence layering the words, as if they wouldn’t fit right in the speaker’s mouth.

Tammy dropped the phone. Fear seared onto her brain, causing the world to go fuzzy at the edges. What was going on? Who was in her house?

Her head snapped up as she heard a shuffling thump coming down the hall. It moved closer to her door, causing her stomach to cramp up in panic. It knew where she was. Would that door be enough to stop it? Some how she doubted it would.

The doorknob rattled as someone tested it.

Tammy leaned back against the bed and braced herself for the worst. She didn’t know what a Nothing Man was; but she had a feeling she was about to find out.

 

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb