Free Flash Fiction:
Please, Be a Dear
By: Jae El Foster
October 20, 2018
It was hard to see that night. The fog was visually impenetrable – thick as cotton and gray as smoke. She held the steering wheel with both hands, and while driving no faster than 15 miles an hour, she pushed on down the road with solid determination.
Michelle Stevenson had never expected to be in this situation, but she had no choice than to follow through with the task that she had been given.
In the backseat of her station wagon were three boys and one girl – all ten years old and all tranquilized.
She was nervous; rightfully so. She peered through the windshield and searched for the house that summoned her. She knew it was the one the moment she saw it; her eyes grew bright with the illumination from its windows. It was the only one lit up – the only one in the world.
She parked the station wagon where she was and turned it off. There would be no traffic for her to block. Her beat-up old car was the only one that worked. That had been ensured.
One by one, Michelle dragged the sleeping children from the car, across the street and front lawn, and to the porch of the grand Victorian-style home.
She rapped upon the heavy door. On the third knock, it opened for her. No one stood to greet her.
She pulled the children by their legs into the foyer and shut the door. As this was her first time in this house, she took a moment to observe it.
The house was immaculately clean and decorated with a pristine ensemble of Victorian-period furniture and artwork. In the center of the foyer was a mighty staircase – like the ones Michelle had seen in various Hollywood productions. The sight of it chilled her, as the next step in her task was to pull each child up those stairs and into the third bedroom, all before six p.m.
The chime of a grandfather clock alarmed her that it was now five-thirty. She had little time to waste. One by one, she dragged the children up the stairs and piled them up in front of the third door on the left. She was exhausted. Her arm and leg muscles felt like they were on fire. But she was nearly done; this would soon be over. Then, and only then, she would be able to rest.
She knocked on the door three times and it slowly opened for her. She pulled the children into the room, placed them in a new pile, and shut the door behind her.
“I have what you asked for,” she announced. She didn’t want to speak, but she had to. She had to finish this. “Three boys and one girl, each ten years old as you required.” Michelle turned to leave, but a voice froze her in place.
“You must see,” said the voice, which sounded strained and ancient. “You must know.”
“Please…” Michelle asked. Her voice trembled as she swallowed bitter fear. “I brought them here. Isn’t that enough?”
“You must see.”
From the shadowy bed at the far end of the room, a woman approached her – old, withered, short and slow. She looked kindly – like a woman one might enjoy having milk and cookies with on a Saturday afternoon. Yet, Michelle knew that this woman – this creature – was not kindly at all. She had already demonstrated her powers. The world was in a death-like slumber and enraptured by a cryptic fog. Michelle knew that this slumber had already caused many people to die or become gravely injured – those operating vehicles, machinery, flying in planes, climbing ladders… The extent of it was incomprehensible to her.
“It is important to feed Grammy,” the old woman told her. She looked at Michelle and smiled a yellow, toothy grin. Then, she looked down to the children. She licked her lips with a tongue as long as Michelle’s forearm – thick and pointy – and then she licked one of the children’s hands. She growled hungrily from the deliciousness of the taste. Quicker than a heartbeat, Grammy leaped upon the children and began to devour them.
Clothing, hair and bones were savagely flung throughout the room.
Michelle grew queasy as she listened to Grammy feast on the insides of the children. Grammy slurped at an intestine with such intensity that Michelle nearly fainted, but she could not. She couldn’t vomit, and she couldn’t pass out. Grammy’s power wouldn’t allow it. She was made to stand and to see.
Soon, nothing but a pile of bones and slop remained on the floor. Grammy stood, covered in blood and entrails. Once more she licked her lips as she groaned from the pleasure of being full.
“You have done well,” Grammy told Michelle as she walked back to her bed. “Leave from here and never return.”
“You will do as you said?” Michelle asked, pleadingly. She found that she was no longer frozen in place and she took a step backward.
“I have kept my word for thousands of years,” Grammy told her. “Tomorrow, your world will awaken from this slumber… until it is feeding time again.”
Michelle had to trust what Grammy said; there was no other option. Looking down at the remains of the four children, she wanted to cry again, but there would be a time for tears later.
As she opened the bedroom door to leave, she heard Grammy speak to her one last time.
“Please, be a dear and turn out the lights, would you?”
“Yes, Grammy,” she replied as she flipped the switch. The room went dark.
It was morning when she arrived home, and true to Grammy’s word, the fog had lifted, technology had been restored, and the world was awake once more. Through fright and devastation, Michelle had completed the task presented to her. Now, she prayed that in six hundred years, the next person chosen would be able to complete the task too.
Copyright Jae El Foster, 2018