Sunday, March 27, 2011

Flash Fiction: "The Portrait"

Once again I have reached into the darkness of my imagination to serve up more flash fiction for Chuck Wendig at terribleminds. The prompt this week is "The Portrait".


Guilty Filthy Soul

“Okay folks, we’ve arrived at the climactic conclusion of our journey.”
The guide led the group into the den at the rear of the house. He closed the door behind them and dimmed the lights before taking his place up front.
“The scene before you is exactly as the room appeared on the morning of the Dearman Family Massacre.”
The room was almost entirely bare but for a hard back chair set against the back wall and an old Sanderson plate and stand camera set up three feet away.
“Not much of a climax,” a boy at the front of the group said.
The guide smiled. “Well, the situation does call for a bit of back story.”
***
Age:  7 Minutes
The doctor knew there was something amiss. The child appeared healthy enough, he was calm, breathing was normal. But the fever was so bad he didn’t think the child would survive the night. And his hair would stand on end when listening to his heartbeat. It sounded like two hearts beating simultaneously. He had never experienced anything like it, and though best not to mention it.
The clincher was when he turned to attend to the child’s mother, and the cord had already been severed. It appeared to have been gnawed through by an animal. The mother was cooing to her newborn, wiping the corner of his mouth with the blanket. Was that blood?
The child then turned his head toward the doctor and stared directly into his eyes. His mouth turned upward into a malicious grin, daring him to question what he just saw.

Age:  4 Years
The groundskeeper launched himself into the kitchen. “They’re all dead!”
Mrs. Dearman dropped her laundry in surprise. “What are you talking about, Mr. Blythe?”
“Every hound in the kennel is dead. Their heads have been crushed and the bellies chewed out.”
“Well that’s just nonsense.” Mrs. Dearman said. “Why Aiden had a visit with the dogs this morning. I’m sure if something that disgusting had happened he would have come back in a horrible state.” She glanced down at her son seated at the kitchen table.
“Maybe you should ask him, if he was the last one to see them alive.”
“Please.” Mrs. Dearman said. “Even if Aiden did see something, what four year old could possibly put that into words? Isn’t that right sweetie?”
“Hungry.” Aiden said.
“See? How could he possibly have an appetite if he saw something like that?”
“There’s something going on around here.” Mr. Blythe said. “And I mean to find out.”
Mr. Blythe stormed out of the kitchen. Mrs. Dearman picked up her son and said, “That man gets stranger and stranger every day. We might have to let him go if this keeps up.”
“Hungry.” He said.
The next day Mr. Blythe was found hanging from a tree outside the kennel. His head had been crushed and his midsection opened up for the world to see. His intestines used as the killing rope.

Age:  12 Years
“I don’t want my picture taken,” Aiden cried.
“I don’t have time to argue about this Aiden.” Mrs. Dearman said. “The appointment with the photographer has been set for weeks. And we have to hurry if we’re to make it to Mrs. Downing’s funeral in time.”
“I don’t want to go to the funeral either,” Aiden said. “Dirty Downing was horrible. She yelled at me every time she saw me.”
Mr. Dearman stormed into the room and grabbed Aiden by the arm and flung him into the chair. “Don’t you ever speak like that in my house, and stop talking back to your mother.” Mr. Dearman nodded to the photographer who was standing uncomfortably beside his camera.
“This won’t end well.” Aiden said as the photographer looked through his viewfinder.
“What?”
The photographer said something about cheese and held the flash above his head.
If anyone had been outside, they would have seen a bright flash and sudden darkness from within the Dearman home. They would have heard the gasps and the screams and the sound of bodies being thrown about. And they would have heard the faintest whisper in the air.
Hungry
What the authorities found was too disturbing to recount.
***
“Everybody in the house was killed. There were no witnesses.”
“How do you know,” asked the boy in front. “How do you know what happened inside if everyone was killed?”
The guide smiled. “Because I was there.”
The bottom of his jaw lowered as if attached with hinges. A blackened hand with razor sharp fingers jettisoned from the opening and clamped firmly onto the boy’s head.
Hungry

2 comments:

  1. Yikes! Okay, I didn't see that end coming. lol So now we know what happened to that little boy, hmm?

    ReplyDelete