31 Days of Halloweeny Teeny Tales, Day 31: FIREMEN

Why did it take so long to notice the firemen? Perhaps because they came when no one called, but acted as though they belonged. Burning from the tops of their heads to the soles of their feet, the firemen entered our lives without permission.

 Everything they touched burned. Wood, plastic, flesh—all served as fuel. Everything touched came crashing down—sacrificed to the great God FIRE. All except the firemen.

 The firemen burned on and on, but never crumbled. The footprints they left behind flared up, but left no ashes.  We see them now, but it doesn’t stop the burning.

31 Days of Halloweeny Teeny Tales, Day 30: ADDITION

I don’t understand why the new sunroom’s always covered in shadows. I should be standing on that new hardwood flooring, sipping coffee from a mug that says “World’s Best Dad,” and watching squirrels fight over acorns.

 But the only animals ever seen through the newly-installed big bay window, are the dead birds littered around the ground in a semi-circle below the glass.

 The rest of the house is the same as it ever was. Bright, comforting…home. But you go and kill, dismember, and bury one contractor under your new floorboards and…

31 Days of Halloweeny Teeny Tales, Day 29: DUST

Gloria waited with her pushcart outside Room 13. She ran through her Hail Mary’s. A click from the other side woke her from her reverie.

 The men in the doorway smiled. They looked tired. The bags under their eyes might have made Gloria think them dead.

 But she knew better.

 Dust—gun-metal grey with that sulfur stench—lay across the comforter shaped like a man. Fingers reaching from hands, limbs spread, as though the dust man had fallen in surprise.

 They left her to her work. Gloria put the earbuds in and hit “play.” It was time to clean.

31 Days of Halloweeny Teeny Tales, Day 28: LUMBER

Chainsaws, axes. Honestly, I’m surprised more lumberjacks don’t get into the slasher biz. It’s certainly a more sustainable line of work. After all, we’re losing trees at a faster rate than people.

 So, what else are you supposed to do with all those biting, cutting, pulping instruments readily at your disposal? You at least want to use ‘em until the warranties run out, right?

 I guess the real question is—if you’re gonna move from chopping down trees to chopping down co-eds—where’s the money coming from?

 Why don’t you finish that stack of flapjacks, and we can discuss that…

31 Days of Halloweeny Teeny Tales, Day 27: YEAR

The girl from chemistry drew a skull over my yearbook picture. Not a smiling skull, but this evil-looking skull. I’d admire her talent, if it wasn’t so creepy.

 I don’t know why I asked her to sign. I felt sorry for her?

 No one else asked. They ignored her like every other day.

 What, am I supposed to beg for a new yearbook and start over with signatures? Yeah, right. And what’s this skull supposed to mean anyway?

 Ink’s still wet. I touch it. It soaks into my skin. I’m feeling kinda dizzy. Why’s this ink smell so funny, anyway?

31 Days of Halloweeny Teeny Tales, Day 26: GRAIN

One: One grain of sand with one drop of blood goes ignored by attackers, figuring they’re close enough to shore that the tide will wash away evidence.

 Two: Two weeks since the missing report, two detectives get the lab results for one fleck of blood on one grain of sand, found by pure luck.

 Three: Three suspects in three separate rooms won’t get their stories straight. They won’t know why it took the two detectives two weeks to bring them in. They won’t know what the lab had to say about one fleck of blood on one grain of sand.

31 Days of Halloweeny Teeny Tales, Day 25: CLOVER

“Where is it?” O’Flannery asked. In dew-soaked trousers, he spoke to the clover spread below.

 His drinking companions stood watch. They elbowed each other’s ribs to stay awake.

 A big man, wool sweater riding up his belly, belched.

 O’Flannery sprang up, moving face-to-face with the man. Liquor hung heavy on both men’s breath.

 “Have you seen it?” O’Flannery asked.

 Before the big man could push him away, O’Flannery let go.

 He couldn’t tell the others to run. That it was too late.

 He’d finally lost his four-leaf clover. And, with it gone, his bad luck was finally come-calling.

31 Days of Halloweeny Teeny Tales, Day 24: QUEEN

Too often, the Queen wished to let her hair down.

 But every time—as hands snaked up to grasp pins holding each strand in place, the King would intervene. “You mustn’t.”

 And she listened, because he was her rescuer.

 Until the day she found him with those scullery-maids in the pantry. He looked not at all regal with his breeches at his ankles.

 Her hair cascaded over the King, over everyone. Free of its prison at last, it descended from the tower of her body.

Satisfied, she tied it again. Her pinned-up hair muffled their screams against her head.

31 Days of Halloweeny Teeny Tales, Day 23: ATTACK

They came with pitchforks. Torches. From the parapets, he watched them come. He pictured children’s toy soldiers moved across the floor by God’s hand.

 He saw one man, caught up in bloodlust, trip over a tree branch. His torch’s flames lit the back of the shirt of the man before him. Fire traveled down the line.

 Flaming men toppled like dominoes. He smiled, clapped with glee. Countless childhoods sewn up and shocked to life within and without his patchwork body didn’t tell him any different.

 He wondered whose skin, whose flesh he’d wear next. Someone knocked at the castle gates.

31 Days of Halloweeny Teeny Tales, Day 22: MINISTER

Tom Harrison’s boys waded in the ditch and lifted the minister’s corpse onto the roadside.

 Sheriff followed with questions for the Harrison boys and other potential witnesses.

 But one had seen the minister coming or going.

 Finally, Barr McCready—whose homestead sat clear across town—came riding in fast.

 After dismounting, McCready pushed the others aside. He held the dead man’s hand . “I don’t know how ya done it, Father. But the demon’s outta May Ella.”

 “I know,” the minister said, eyes glowing red. He squeezed hard on McCready’s palm.

 “But I might take her for another spin soon.”