Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and twenty-third piece in this series. This week’s is a 250-worder by Salvatore Buttaci. This story will be podcasted in episode 38 (with two other stories and some 6-worders) on Sunday 22nd March… and it’s not one for the squeamish…
“He worried me. Things he said. Called the jagged picket fence outside my cellar ‘fang marks of a gnashing moon.’ I asked him, ‘Why can’t things be what they are? A fence is a fence,’ but he shook his head, insisted I was hiding the truth from myself.”
“Your grandson, Mrs. Quartermain?”
“He thought he was, poor child. Heavens, a nearby neighbor. I baked him chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies dotted. Fixed him chamomile tea with a zest of lemon. And we talked. Once he said he heard a dog howling in pain down my cellar. He looked through the cellar’s half-window and saw, according to him, someone chain-sawing away bones. Blood gobs flying everywhere! Poor child.”
Then she smiled and said, “Rolls of old white window shades was what they were. I tried to explain, but by then, it was too late. No stopping the wild madness of Joey’s imagination.”
“The night they brought you here?”
“Yes, that night too. Horrible, horrible.”
Mrs. Quartermain giggled. “Bloody bones again, Joey said. Another dog.”
Nathan Graham squirmed in his chair. “They found you in the cellar. You were kneeling there in a blood puddle, tearing flesh from… a dog?”
The old woman’s eyes grew small.
Graham stared down the gray-haired grandmother sitting uncomfortably restrained in her straightjacket. Two burly orderlies behind her stood guard like combat-ready soldiers. Still, Graham felt his skin crawl.
He repeated himself. “Whose bones, Mrs. Quartermain?”
“Why, you silly doctor man. Joey’s bloody bones, of course.”
I asked Sal what prompted this piece and he said…
In real life we immediately take the side of the old woman who lives alone in fear of intruders, assuming she is guiltless, but in horror fiction we know better.
We do. It definitely appealed to my dark side. Thank you, Sal.
Salvatore Buttaci is an obsessive-compulsive writer whose work has appeared widely. He was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award. His poems, stories, articles, and letters have appeared widely in publications that include New York Times, U. S. A. Today, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Cats Magazine, The National Enquirer, Christian Science Monitor, Author‘s Info, A Word with You Press, and AustinBriggs.com.
Sal Buttaci is a former English instructor at a local community college and middle-school teacher in New Jersey, who retired in 2007 to commit himself to full-time writing.
- His collection of flash fiction Flashing My Shorts is available in book, e-book, and audio book versions http://www.amazon.com/Flashing-My-Shorts-Salvatore-Buttaci/dp/0984259473
- His latest collection of short-short fiction, 200 Shorts, is available in book and Kindle editions at http://www.amazon.com/200-Shorts-Salvatore-Buttaci/dp/0984639241
- His horror flash “Ritual” is an e-book for only 99 cents at http://www.amazon.com/Ritual-Salvatore-Buttaci-ebook/dp/B00FI6JR46
Visit Sal Buttaci at Sal’s Place: www.salbuttaci.blogspot.com
He lives happily ever after with his wife Sharon in West Virginia.
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