Time’s up. Just a couple of us this week, so no need to vote. It’s all about the exercise of writing, making inspiration a reflexive habit instead of an occasional experience. It’s funny, but my story twisted in my hands. I had thought to dive into madness and necrophilia, but those laughing eyes (and my protagonist’s wittering way) dragged things around to a different kind of darkness. And Tabby’s story? Yeah, that feels right. It’s a good ‘un. Well, why don’t I shut up and just let you read them, eh?
Puppet – by Tabatha Wood
“He’s here. I’ve found him.”
I read her text and shoved the phone back into my pocket.
I knew this day would come eventually, but I didn’t think it would be so soon.
I revved the motorbike and set off towards the city mortuary. The street lights reflected on the cold, wet concrete, made slick by a sudden rain storm. I skidded slightly, almost lost control of the stolen Ducati.
Be careful, I warned myself. This could be your only chance. Don’t fuck it up.
She was waiting for me by the rear door, all lips and tits and a slow, sly smile. I took off my helmet and she kissed me as I dismounted, running a scarlet lacquered nail down one side of my cheek. It hurt. There were burns on my face which weren’t healed. Would never heal.
She smirked when I flinched away.
“Are you ready for this?” she giggled.
“Not really. But let’s get on with it anyway.”
She took my hand and led me to an open casket. I looked down.
He was older than I was. More grey at his temples, more wrinkles by his eyes. He was dressed in typical funeral attire — a smart black jacket and a crisp white shirt. Probably not much different to what he’d worn every day.
“This is him?” I asked her. She nodded.
“He seems so… normal.”
She grinned at me.
“Normal is what we need. You can’t stay looking like the way you do.”
She was right about that. A motorcycle helmet could only hide so much.
She laughed. A nasty, throaty cackle which almost gave her true nature away.
“He’s stuck in limbo at the moment. The Great Ones are still fighting over his soul. He has connections and he can get us where we want. He’s the ideal surrogate.”
I ran my gnarled and twisted fingers across the broken skin on my face. It had taken a lot to me get here. She’d helped me escape. To break out of my fiery prison in Hell. And she had plans.
“Go on then,” she urged me. “You know what to do.”
I leaned over him. Locked my mouth over his and exhaled.
I felt myself fall.
She was smirking again when I came to in the casket.
“Well now. Welcome back. Are you ready for your new life as the President’s bodyguard?”
Jabberjaws – by Dion Winton-Polak