House Arrest

House arrest just before the holidays. Jenny would have to make up some excuse as to why she wouldn’t be seeing the family at Thanksgiving or Christmas. She couldn’t tell them the truth. “Hi, no Mom, I’m not coming home this year. I’ve developed a bad habit of running fraudulent scams, and they caught me, again. No they wouldn’t give me probation again. Yes I have to wear this thing a whole year.” Jenny was allowed to leave for counseling. That’s it. 

She worked from home. She shopped from home. She even started ordering delivered groceries. It was expensive, but it was better than swallowing her pride and asking someone to run errands for her. She hadn’t really been close with anyone since Renee anyhow. Glo and Kristin were more her friends, so after the breakup, Jenny turned into quite the recluse. Once she graduated, the hum drum buzz of cubicle filled offices was too much to accept. That’s when she started the scams.

It would have been smart to stop after she got caught the first time. Like so many, she believed she was invincible, and after a few switch ups and a little over a year’s break, she started her scams up again. Real work was too boring.

Not as boring as an entire year in the house.

A plus side to the debacle was that she discovered a whole world of ‘work from home’ jobs. She didn’t make near as much as she had illegally, but she had a steady income that wouldn’t land her in jail, and she didn’t have to suffer the cubicle sentence.

Jenny sat at her computer to compose her personal Thanksgiving menu, aka, order her groceries: a turkey, stuffing, fresh green beans, French’s onions, sugar, cranberries, a gallon of iced tea, and a whole pecan pie. Plus she needed eggs and butter. After approving the tacked on delivery fee, she thought she better check the mail. It had been a few days.

She ran down the sidewalk as quickly as she could without risking a stubbed toe. Cold stubbed toes were the worst. With her handful of junk mail, she started back for the porch. 

A gust of wind swept across her path. She adjusted her sweater just in time to lose the grocery store ad to another sweeping wind. The contents scattered across her front yard.

“Oh shoot.” 

Cool blades tickled her feet as she danced across the yard. Her toes were already ice, and she didn’t have any logs for the fire. She would have to hop in the shower when she got back inside to warm up. 

“Shit.”

A bug must have bitten her. She slapped the side of her foot out of instinct, then inspected the wound.

There was a decent chunk of skin missing. What the hell could have done that? Jenny hopped on her good foot for a couple steps when something bit her other foot. She dropped all the mail still clutched under her arm, then fell flat on her back. A small bite had been taken out of her other foot too. She decided to crawl back inside and figure out the bug problem later. Then all at once, it felt like her whole back was on fire. 

She rolled over the get her hands beneath her, which instantly lit with pain. Her knees stung, her shins stung. Jenny pushed forward like a lunging sprinter, then slammed the door when she was finally back inside. 

Bites covered her body. Blood ran down her legs and began to pool on the ground. Jenny parted the blinds with her fingers. She couldn’t see bugs in the grass, but she needed to figure out what bit her. That many bites from anything with venom would be bad, even if it wasn’t lethal. She looked herself over. Chunks were missing from her palms, fingers, knees, elbows, calves and shins, basically every part of her that came in contact with the ground. She parted the blinds again. If that many bugs had been in the grass, she would see some sign of them shuffling, unless they were subterranean…

When she cracked the front door, cool wind pushed through the opening and took away her breath. She pulled her now holey sweater tighter around her shoulders, then stepped back outside. 

She hadn’t noticed before just how quiet things were. There wasn’t any car noise, none at all, and she hadn’t seen neighbors coming and going. Across the street, Cheryl, was the one to watch. If something big was going down, she would know about it. Her husband had been a storm chaser, though he passed a couple years prior. Her house was still equipped with antennae taller than the two story structure and three large satellites. As far as Jenny could see, there was no activity going on. 

Kneeling on the sidewalk, she looked for any sign of bugs. There were no scuttle marks, no tunnels, there was just nothing. She used her less-hurt hand to shuffle the blades of grass, hoping to allow for a better view of the ground when she felt it again, simultaneous bites. She pulled her hand back just in time to see the grass swallow. The meaty meals they had taken from Jenny’s hand traveled down their grassy gullet never to be seen again. She jumped, shrieked, with fresh blood running down her fingers.

She didn’t think about the ankle cuff or her restrictions, Jenny took off down her sidewalk and collided with Cheryl’s door. She pounded, repeatedly, but no one came. She crawled on the brick wall that ran parallel to the house, very careful not to fall. She didn’t have much more skin to give if she fell. Had Cheryl’s grass been effected?

There was no sign of the homeowner anywhere, and she was going to throw one massive fit when she saw the blood Jenny left all over her property. This felt like a fitting occasion to lose some consideration for other’s feelings though. What was she supposed to do?

Jenny heard the sirens. That’s when she looked down to see her ankle cuff blinking faster than a strobe at a nightclub. Great. Unless she could prove something, they would most likely call this self harm and take her to a mental ward for the night. She decided it best to return to her own home and wait for the cops. 

Cheryl’s massive oak creaked as Jenny descended the porch steps. She looked overhead to avoid any falling limbs. Cheryl told her this oak had been dying for years, but she couldn’t bring herself to cut down such a majestic being. ‘It’ll come down when it wants,’ had been her words. Jenny hoped it would just wait until she passed.

No such luck.

A long, thick branch came at her. She ran to evade its path, then screamed when it followed her. It hadn’t dawned on her that whatever was going on with the grass might have gotten to the trees too. She ran as hard as she could for the street. Just as she felt she was almost out of the tree’s reach, a hard twine circled her ankle. She lost a couple teeth when her face connected with the sidewalk. She screamed, but choked on blood.

The next time she opened her eyes, she was upside down. Blood gurgled, she spit, swallowed, flailed with every ounce of energy she had, hoping to earn back her freedom. When she saw the massive truck split and teeth present from behind barky lips, she crossed herself and said the Lord’s prayer until teeth tore through her middle and she lost consciousness. 

 

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

House Arrest

Alone in the House?

Marla dropped her keys on the kitchen counter, then walked around and grabbed the orange juice from the fridge. She took the bottle to the head, because she could, because no one else was there. No husband to shoot a stern look down his nose, no kids to point and say, ‘But you do it Mommy.’ Three long gulps. She pushed the button on the answering machine. Nothing but sales calls.

Why do we even keep a house phone?

Roger was in Philadelphia with the kids, visiting with his parents. Marla volunteered to stay behind and watch the store. They could have asked Fostin to keep an eye on things, but last time, two of the younger staff decided to not show up at all, which left things a bit of a mess – it was a perfect reason to miss the in-laws and catch a fair amount of alone time. She dropped her heels, then slid off her restrictive pants. After draping them over the bar chair, she opened the Papa John’s app on her phone and pulled a bottle of champagne from the fridge.

“Ya, Denise, I have the whole place to myself for three days. I can’t wait to do nothing.”

Denise went on about how jealous she was that she was out of town on a business trip or she would join Marla.

That would kind of kill the alone time, wouldn’t it? But she didn’t say it out loud, there was no point. Instead she went on, “Oh, yeah, that’s too bad. Maybe we can plan a spa day soon.”

Off the phone. To the shower. She answered the door in her robe with a towel wrapped around her hair. After shuffling through her purse for the cash, she handed a crumpled twenty to the pizza guy. He had a wide-eyed stare and kept looking behind Marla. Surely he had seen a spiral staircase before. She dismissed his attempt to hand over change, then closed the door behind her. Deadbolt one and two.

After three episodes of The Haunting of Hill House and almost making it through Jurassic World, she decided to call it a night and wander upstairs. Teeth brushed, age cream applied, time for bed – but she needed a glass of water. Her mouth was dry and her head a little achy from the champagne bottle she killed on her own.

As she approached the bottom of the stairs, she felt an odd tension in the air, the hum you feel when someone walks into a room. Marla rubbed the goosebumps crawling up her arms. She had a tendency to do this to herself, get jumpy in a dark, empty house. Shaking her head, she waved off the eerie feeling and proceeded to the kitchen. The water was cool and crisp, beyond refreshing. The tension in her head instantly eased. She filled the glass once more, then resumed her journey to bed.

She reached the spiral staircase, climbed a couple, then froze. There had been a noise, the sound of something solid on wood. She tried not to focus on her raised heart rate, the fresh flush in her cheeks, the tips of her ears filling with blood. She tried not to notice the weight growing heavier on her back. She was alone in the house. What could have possibly made that noise? Yes houses creak and sing in their own way, but this was not that. This was crisp, distinct, and just a few feet behind her. Her chest raised and lowered with a quickening pace as she prepared to turn around and prove she was only being a wuss, when she felt air rush past her neck.

Someone grabbed her, held on tight. She didn’t think. She kicked the railing on the stairs, sending them both tumbling back. She fell hard on the wood, saw smoke and ash disperse around her in a cloud. She jumped up, scrambled. There was no one there, no attacker or masked man. Just as quick as she felt it, it was gone…except, there was a light layer of dust in the area where she had fallen, some of it on her shoulders.

It grabbed her again.

She struggled, twisted, fought, managed to tangle their feet together as they half danced around the living room. They passed the mirror hanging over the fireplace and she saw…nothing. There was no one holding her, only a light haze, like a foggy day hanging around her body. Marla picked up her feet and drove them into the mantle. She slammed against the wall, and once again, her attacker lost its grasp. The hazy cloud dispersed around her. She didn’t stay for it to happen a third time.

Marla fell onto the door, fumbled with her clumsy fingers to get the locks open. Just before she ran from the house, she looked over her shoulder. The haze seemed to be recollecting, pulling all the particles back together, and next to the mass, seated with an elevated posture, was a cat, a silky, all black cat with absolutely no eyes on his face. Instead, five eyes floated in a circle in front of him, all of them aimed at Marla. The door slammed and locked with Marla still inside. Even the closest neighbors didn’t hear her muffled screams.

 

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Alone in the House?

Regarding Blogtober

Just a quick note regarding Blogtober: some of you may have noticed, my daily blogtober posts aren’t so daily anymore. I did sign up, because Halloween is wonderful, and I wanted to give you all lots of spooky stories to read this month, but a couple of deadline oriented projects have arisen. They are taking a bit more of my time and creativity.

I will continue putting up as many stories as I can churn out this month, and the live readings will continue weekly on my Instagram, @wbwelch, Sundays at 8 p.m., cst. Thank you again for following, reading, and supporting. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week. Watch for my super spooky Halloween story this year!

Regarding Blogtober

Beach Bum

I saw her when I was on my morning jog down the beach. The sand between my toes, cradling my wide feet while the sun rose over the edge of the ocean.

The pink shawl she wore danced on the breeze. What a beauty. Dark lashes, silk hair. I wondered what her story was.

As I neared, I could see more of her features, the positioning of her body. Not what I expected on my morning run.

She wasn’t resting on the beach. She was dead. Blood was dried around a large gash in her dress, what looked like a knife wound.

I moved closer, stooped, then kneeled, pressed my fingers to her neck. No pulse.

What a treat.

Normally I had to hunt for new specimens for my collection. Never had I ever just found one. I tucked my arms beneath her neck and legs, then carried her stiff corpse back to my garage and closed the door, hoping no one had been watching from their back windows that morning. She would be perfect for my new vase case. I couldn’t wait to start the dissection.

 

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Beach Bum

Sushi, yeah?

Becka kicked Harley’s leg under the table.

Harley choked down her water. “Hey!”

“Nails and sushi after school?” Becka raised her eyebrows.

Harley took a long drink of water. Pretended to snub her off.

“Hey dork. Pleeeease. I don’t want to be bored today.”

Harley softened her posture. “You know I can’t resist sushi. First to tap has to pay the bill.”

“Deal.”

 #   #   #

Harley parked her Volvo in front of SushiLot just in time for the dinner doors to open. She walked a slow stiff walk, careful not to damage her fresh toenail paint. “I haven’t been here before.”

“They have a bunch of authentic shit and don’t even serve soy sauce unless you request some. You’ll love it.” Becka opened the door.

They slid their shoes off at the dining entrance, then sat, kneeled, still positioning to preserve their polish.

Water, tea, miso soup, plus four plates to start. They picked at the rolls and meat slabs with their chopsticks, happily talking about friends, assignments, summer job searches, and college prep.

“Adults complain so much about work and say to enjoy our youth, but it’s like really? You justwork.” Becka sipped on her soup.

“Right? I dare them to survive one of our days. They’d either crumble or explode by third period.”

Their laughs filled the quiet restaurant.

“What else can I get for you?”

“Can we get a refresher on our tea please, and this, this, this, this, aaaand,” Becka’s finger circled around the menu, “This.”

Their waitress nodded, lowered in a slight bow, then backed and turned from the table. She returned moments later with a tea kettle. The sickly color of the steaming tea made Harley think of the last time she vomited.

Two octopus nigiri, four tobiko nigiri, a small row of something specialty, and a few slabs of salmon sashimi were delivered.

Becka bowed her head. “Arigato.”

“Kochira koso arigatou gozaimashita.” Our waitress took a few steps back, but she didn’t leave.

When Harley looked at her, she smiled, nodded, bowed, but didn’t move. “O-kay.” Harley picked up her chopsticks. “What’s this one?” She pointed at what the waitress called tobiko.

“Fish eggs.”

“Hmm.” Harley popped one of the octopus pieces in her mouth, then einie-meenie-miney-mo-ed which fish egg pile she was going to eat.

The octopus was extra chewy. Her teeth ground at the meat, but she wasn’t making much headway. She chewed the rice down and kept trying.

When she gripped either side of the tobiko nigiri, the eggs shuffled. She paused, stared. She squeezed a little harder, causing the rice and eggs to bulge upward. Something was rolling around inside.

“Becka, do you see this?” Harley leaned in. She had stopped chewing, left the octopus tentacle tucked in her cheek. “Look, there’s something…” She squeezed harder. An eyeball popped up from beneath the orange eggs; white, round, and rolling. The iris was dark brown, the pupil wide. Harley dropped her chopsticks and kicked back.

The tentacle came alive then, fighting the pressure of Harley’s cheek, squirming to pry open her teeth. Harley stuck her fingers in her mouth, trying to pull the thing out. She choked, spit, gagged. As soon as her jaw parted, the meat slab moved past her teeth and shot down her throat. Harley choked when it lodged itself there.

She grabbed her neck, squeezed at the bulge. Her skin burned. Her eyes ached. Her pulse pounded her head, shaking her brain in its cavity. She was already starting to black out. When Harley looked to her friend, hoping for some form of rescue, she saw Becka slurp down the last of the eyeball fish egg pieces.

The chef came from between the cloth curtains in front of the kitchen then. He held a butcher knife, and blood stained his apron.

Becka licked her fingers. “Can I have five sashimi pieces and five nigiri please? Oh and a little of her stomach twisted into a roll?”

 

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Sushi, yeah?

Siren

It had been three days since Minercia had food. She slipped on her favorite dress with a pair of dainty heels, then slid into her Mecedes coupe. Melrose felt appropriate.

After dropping her keys in the valet attendant’s hand, she meandered down the block, whistling her favorite sensual tune – a rich, slow song from long ago. Eyes locked on her as she passed. They couldn’t help themselves; she didn’t blame them. Her skin was smooth and plump, her breasts sizable and perky, her legs long and creamy. The dip in the front of her fabric didn’t leave much to the imagination.

A young man began to trail behind her. She kept her patience, whistling, walking. How old was he? Seemed maybe twenty-two, twenty-three, but did it really matter? She just needed a meal. He would be good for that. She stopped, turned.

“Hu-hu-hi.”

She raised her eyebrows, tilted her head, smiled seductively. “Take me for dinner?”

“Of course.” He presented his arm.

When they passed the coffee shop, Minercia pulled, directing them to the side and just behind the building.

“Where did you say you wanted to eat again.”

“I didn’t.”

She put her mouth to his, pressed deep. He pulled their bodies together and kissed her back.

She latched her inner teeth into his lips and gums, then started to suck his insides out. She moaned at the satiation. Three days was too long. He screamed into her mouth until his vocal cords broke. Blood splattered from between their connected lips. When he was spent, Minercia let go her hold, then watched his body collapse on itself. Maybe she could lure one more if she whistled loud enough. She was still hungry.

 

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Siren

Beneath the Surface

Michaela fell over the railing. The fall wasn’t far, but it was at least 7 feet down. She would get the wind knocked out of her if she landed flat.

“Lex, I have a cramp, come help me.”

The water must have been freezing. It was in the 50’s that day, windy. “I’ll be right there!” Lex observed each bank and decided left. She darted towards the end of the bridge. When she made it to the surrounding foliage, she looked for a downed branch. “There.”

Lex froze when she reached the bank. Hovering over Michaela was a large shadowy mass, not quite solid, but not quite a vapor. An arm shape protruded and held her friend’s head beneath the water. She flailed, fought, tried to get her head above the surface, but to no avail. Lex thought for two seconds, then kicked off her shoes and dove into the cold pond.

The figure was determined, its grasp too strong. When Lex reached her side, the mass pushed Michaela completely under, then went so deep, she could see no sign of either. Sobbing, she turned and started for the water’s edge. A hand grabbed her ankle before she was pulled beneath.

THE END

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Beneath the Surface