Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

illustration from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

 The Bump under the Rug

“Ah! It’s a rat!” cried Mrs. Harris, my dear every Thursday bridge partner. “I’m not going in there anymore!”

“I’m telling you, it’s the fairies!” said tiny Mr. Field, with his tiny voice, trying to see something from behind Mrs. Harris who wouldn’t budge from the door despite her fear of rats. "They come every night!"

“Where’s your cat, Mr. James?” asked Barry, the delivery boy, in his usual cheeky tone.

“Right there,” I replied annoyed. Kitty was standing at the edge of the rug, too scared to attack, watching warily the big bump under the rug. The bump began moving again, even faster than before, toward that corner where the rug reached right underneath the big, old chest of drawers.

Under our four pairs of unbelieving eyes, the bump vanished. Kitty darted towards it, but it was too late.
Just like one week before. And one week before that, when it had first happened. Barry had been there too, and Mrs. Harris, and Mr. Field.

I said "good bye" to my neighbours, tipped Barry for delivering my bag of groceries from his uncle's store, and returned to my apartment.

I knew there was nothing behind the chest, because I had checked last time, but just to be sure, I checked again. Nothing. At least my neighbours had seen it too so I wasn't imagining things.

That night I didn't go to bed. I sat on the armchair, with a baseball bat in my right hand and a plastic bowl in the other, and waited. I was determined not to fall asleep this time so I didn't eat anything, not even the almond cake. Barry's uncle made a terrific cake.

Soon after midnight, I heard a scraping sound. I kept still, pretending to be asleep, but I was watching carefully. Soon enough, a bump began moving under the rug, from the corner underneath the chest. When it reached the center of the room, I jumped and threw the bowl over it.

Whatever it was, I had caught it.

"Let me go!" said a tinny voice.

I fell on my back.

The bump wasn't moving anymore, but it looked like it was shaking. Kitty was hissing loudly and wagging his tail.

"Who's talking?" I managed to say. "Who are you?"

"Let me go and I'll tell you."

"Talk, or I won't let you go. Who are you?"

"I'm the previous owner of the apartment above yours..."

Mr. Allen? How could that be? I knew him well. We'd been neighbours for twenty years. He'd recently sold his apartment and had moved to Florida. The apartment was rented now by a young woman, Miss Jones. How could that be?

"Do you like almond cake?" the tinny voice continued. "So did I... so much that I ate some every night. Barry's still delivering it, I see. All full of Uncle Gary's black magic. Until one night, it will be Uncle Gary delivering the cake. His spell will turn you into a doll too. A little, animated, docile doll...And then you too you'll have to obey him. Go through the apartments, steal things, scare people into selling them dirt-cheap to... guess who? Uncle Gary..."

Poor doll guy Mr. Allen. I felt sorry for him. I let him go after he promised not to bother me anymore. In fact, he was quite scared of Kitty so he was somehow glad that I found him so he couldn't come to my apartment anymore.
As for me, that was the last time I was going to eat almond cake, or any cake for that matter.

 Happy, Spooky Halloween!

And these are my carved pumpkins for this year...



Charles Gramlich said...

Great Halloween chiller!

Magyar said...

"Halloween Bowl"
__Nifty Halloween story! (*^*)

Brieuc Martin-Onraet said...

A nice, short to-the-point story as I like them.
Shame about the almond cake though. They are darn good.
I remember them from when I lived in the basement...

the walking man said...

Well done Cora--another truly unique short from your mind to your paper. Liked it--a lot. But no matter if i can steal some cake without the wife seeing, my diabetic self is going to thieve me some cake.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Very entertaining, Cora. I loved your pumpkins. :)

Vesper said...

Charles, thank you! ;-)

Hey, thanks, Doug! :-)

Thank you, Brian! Actually, I like almond cake... I guess I'll be safe if I'll make it myself... Glad you stopped by! :-)

Mark, so glad you liked! :-) Thank you. I'm not much into eating sweets; I go days without eating any...

Thanks, Bernard! Trick-or-treaters took pictures with my pumpkins. Now they are the squirrel's delight. :-) But did you notice the hand and the blade behind the pumpkin?... :-)

sage said...

Humor and a little fright (the most frighting this is having to give up almond cake!). Nice writing.

A Cuban In London said...

That was spooky! :-)

Greetings from London.

Tragic Books | Isis Sousa said...

Wow! What a cozy story!!!! ^.^
It was very original, like all your stories are and keep the reader wondering until the end, only to be surprised! :)

The pumpkins are awesome! Very well done!!! ^.^

SzélsőFa said...

Wow those are good carvings.
And the story? Heehee. A nicely carved one, too.

Vesper said...

Hey, Sage, thanks! And you're right about the cake... :-)

Cuban, glad you enjoyed! :-) Thank you.

Isis, I'm so glad you liked it! Thank you! There's still a little shell left of those pumpkins, but I see squirrels having snacks out of them every day. :-)

SzélsőFa, what a wonderful surprise! :-) Wow! So happy you stopped by! :-)