Wednesday, March 18, 2015

An Eye for an Eye

“Hey, mister. Does that plant eat people?”

The man's face went from puzzled to smiling as he turned and saw the girl standing just inside the greenhouse door.

“You part of the school tour?” the man asked.

“No, I'm by myself.” She crossed her arms. “Well, is it?”

The man straightened and said, “What a silly question. There are no man-eating plants.” He smiled, wiped a soiled handkerchief across his brow and put the hankie in the pocket of his bib overalls. He didn't wear a shirt.

“Too bad.” The girl's eyes stayed on the man. He remained still, as if planted in potting soil, unable to move.

The man looked the girl up and down. She couldn't be more than nine or ten. Her pink dress had a dark red circular stain on the front that could be blood. Dark, unwashed hair hung limp on her shoulders. Her purple eyes made him nervous. When she stepped forward, he backed away.

“Now stay back missy. There are sharp tools and prickly plants in here. I wouldn't want you to trip and get hurt.”

“Oh, you can't hurt me. Not again.” She continued forward—slowly. He looked to see how close he was to the back door.

“What the hell is going on?” The man picked up a clawed tool, just in case. “Who are you?”

“I'm not surprised you don't remember me. You were drunk, or high on drugs, or both when we last met.” She cocked her head to one side. “You didn't have a beard then.” She rolled her head to the other side. “You look younger without it, even with the grey.” Her focus returned to the accident. “It was three weeks ago, a rainy, July evening. You were driving when you shouldn't have been, and you swerved into our lane and killed my dad and me. Remember yet?”

“You're mistaken,” he said, his voice soft and unsteady.

“No. You did it.”

The man wanted to run away, but couldn't move. Something held him in place.

“My mom still cries every night. I don't like seeing her sad. She tells everyone she's fine, but she isn't.”

“But. . .you're dead. You said so.” The man's hands shook, bile crept into his throat.

“Yeah, so you can't kill me again. But I can make your life miserable—and that's what I plan to do. Make it as miserable as my mom's is.” Her expression was anything but childlike. “Or worse.”

The man pushed the door open, ran out, slammed the door shut, and propped a shovel against it. He looked inside. The girl was gone. Still, he heard her say, “That won't help you.”

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Intruder

His cigar smelled like a decayed riverbank. A contradiction to the aromas surrounding the ethereal lake, its water reflecting the flora lining the shore. This was my safe place, the place where I could avoid his fists. But not today. He stood, faced me, coughed. An alarm told me to run. Instead, I waited. Hopeful.

Prompt words: riverbank, decay, cigar, ethereal, alarm