31/10/08

Halloween stories

Attention: Reading these stories alone may be very scary!
Her Mother’s Hands
by B.D.. Knox

Frankie sat in the kitchen, listening to her mother rattle on, as always. She looked down at her hands, they always seemed to have a life of their own and it frightened her. They were always crawling into places they didn’t belong, always touching things that they shouldn’t and always hurting her, pinching her, digging their sharp little nails into her flesh.

She watched as her mother spoke to her, not hearing what she said but watching her mother’s hands as they moved, using a sharp chef’s knife to cut the meat for stew that was to be dinner. The hands rose and fell, the knife glinted with the sun light coming in through the kitchen window. Rich red stained the blade, as the blood from the meat ran along it’s edge and dripped on to the cutting board, poling and running over the edge to the counter top.

Frankie looked at her own hands again, they lay silently in her lap for a change. They looked just like her mother’s hands but younger and much more vicious. Her mother’s hands could hurt, too, a slap to the face, a punch in the stomach occasionally but Frankie knew that her own hands could do far worse.
"Frankie! Pay attention when I speak to you! You doing that staring thing again, you have to snap out of this! You don’t want to go back to that nut house again, do you?"
"No, mother."
"Then stop acting like this, are you taking your medication when I give it to you?"
"Yes, mother." Frankie lied, she was hiding the pills in a drawer in her room. Saving them up for a rainy day .......... or a sunny one for that matter.
As her mother's voice droned on, Frankie still stared at her hands. They seemed to be speaking to each other, the fingers tangled together, caressing each other, her fingers and hands were friends. She, herself, had no friends as her mother loved to point out to her daily. Frankie thought about just exactly how she felt about her mother dispite what she told her doctor when she saw him. Looking back down at her hands, she watched as they started to move, like snakes, towards the back of her mother’s apron. She jerked them back as she noticed her mother turning around to look at her again.
"Are you listening to me, Frankie? I said that I’m having a friend, Mrs. Luth from thye senior center, over for dinner tonight, so you take your food to your room and stay there till I say you can come back out! Is that clear?"
"Yes, mother, it’s very clear. It's crystal clear ....... "
Frankie's voice faded off as her hands started to reach for the back of mother’s apron strings again. Frankie had no idea what they were going to do, she just sat and watched, an innocent by-stander at the mercy of her hands. She watched her mother’s hands, they, too, seemed to live on their own. Mother kept talking, her hands kept doing there work like good little soldiers.
Mother turned to look at Frankie. Frankie was mesmerized by the look of her own hands as they moved towards her mother. Mother dropped the knife and backed away from Frankie. Her hands went up to her face in surprise. The last time Frankie touched her, she sent Frankie packing, in a straight jacket for a nice vacation at Mescatonic Asylum. It took almost as long as Frankie's visit for her own brusies to go away.
"Frankie! What are you doing? Don’t you dare touch me! You know what will happen! I swear I'll call Dr. West right now!"
"Sorry, Mother. I didn’t mean to do it, you know how my hands are, they just "do" things."
"Talk like that will get you right back to the hospital again, do you want me to call Dr. West?"
"Don’t threaten me, mother, I don’t care anymore anyway."
"Look at your hands! You’ve been scrubbing them again! Why, they are beet red and bleeding! Let me see your palms!"
Frankie’s hands turned themselves over to show the palms, deep gouges in them, an ugly red with blood drying at the edges. Suddenly, the hands balled up into fists and struck out, hitting mother in the nose.
"Frankie!" her mother cried out, shocked and backing away, wiping the suddenly spurting blood away from her broken nose and on to her apron.
"Mother! It wasn’t me, the hands did it! I didn’t hit you!"
"Oh! That’s it, young lady! I’m calling Dr. West, he can come and get you and take you back to that institution again! I’m washing my hands of you!"

Frankie could only hear a high pitched screeching in her head, her mother's words were lost to her. Her hands had started to claw at her face, leaving rivers of blood flowing running down her already scared cheeks. The buzzing screech in her head was getting louder but the pain in har face started to ground her again.

Suddenly, her mother’s screams snapped her out of her little world of pain and buzzing, her hands suddenly in front of her, bloody fingers grasping something that she couldn't see. She looked at her mother only to see her mothers hands clawing at mother's throat, trying to pull themsleves away. Mother had four hands. But that couldn't be, that was silly. Looking again, she saw her mothers' own fingers digging into her own flesh, cutting off breath and blood in a crushing grip.

Her mother's hands seemed to be out of control, mother couldn’t get them away from her own throat. Frankie and her mother suddenly fell to the floor, mothers' face swollen and gone purple, tongue bulging out of her mouth. Her body flopped like a fish out of water, jerking, trying to get a last gasp of air to save her. But the hands held on even tighter. The hand’s knuckles had gone white from the intense pressure they had on her throat, digging in deep into mother’s soft, fleshy neck.

Then mother lay still, all life gone out of her. The hands released their prey and a last dead gasp of breath rushed from the body. Frankie just sat there next to her on the floor, absorbing all that she had seen, her own hands now softly stroking her own face. She was suddenly very tired, more tired then she had ever been before. As she started to doze off, a panic grabbed her, adrenalin hit her stomach in a burning flash, her head started to spin.

She always knew she had her mother's hands and look what mother's hands had just done to her mother. All this time she thought she was insane. Maybe she wasn't at all. Her hands did have a life of their own, just like mothers. She now knew what she had to do. Getting up, she walked to the sink. She looked down and saw the open maw of the garbage disposal, black and deep, staring back at her.

Frankie started to ram both hands into the disposal but the fingers hung on to the edges, not letting her carry out her task. She knew she would have to do something before her hands took control of themselves completely and did to her what they had just done to her mother.

Wait, what had she just thought? Her hands didn't kill her mother, did they? Her mothers own hands did it. Didn't they? But she had her mothers' hands. She turned to look at her mother, now quiet and cooling on the floor. Frankie wasn't sure of anything anymore. She started thinking that maybe she should have been taking her pills after all. But first, she had to deal with her hands.

Frankie walked to the door from the kitchen into the garage. An old fashioned heavy wooden garage door that had to be lifted manually still remained even after Frankie's constant picking that they needed to get one of those light weight motorized ones. Now she was glad that mother never listened.

She opened the door half way, putting the rope pull in her teeth and biting down hard. Her fingers were now on the cement floor, right in the path of the door. Frankie yanked down hard and the door came sailing down, crushing her offending hands. Frankie passed out.

She awoke when she heard a noise outside, someone was knocking on the front door and calling out to her mother. Frankie remembered her mother was having a friend over for dinner. Quickly, she got up, ignoring the throbbing pain of her hands. Frankie ran for the kitchen sink. Remembering to turn the water on, like mother always told her to do, she used her mouth to grasp the knob. She used her nose to flip the "On" switch for the disposal.
Slowly, she started to make her hands go into that hole, feeling her finger tips hit the blades, a blinding flash of pain as the blades started to cut through bone, tearing flesh. Further, she stuffed her hands into the running disposal.

The last thing she heard was a far off scream as Mrs. Luth ran into the kitchen and took in the scene before her. As loss of blood started to make her vision fade to a comforting shade of red, she knew this was the right thing to do. After all, she had her mother’s hands, didn't she?
© 1997 B.D. Knox

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The Skeleton
At the end of a long corridor under a forgotten Philadelphia basement, Jeremiah opened his eyes and sat up. For the first time since the Middle Ages, he awoke without precise knowledge of why he had been roused. He knew he had to open The Shop--that went without saying. The question was: Which of the many items above wanted to go out into the world?... (press the title)
Magicians of Night
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