Saturday, October 1, 2011

Issue #16: October, 2011

 MANTRA
by Jodi MacArthur


One, two, three…
Nails and teeth go beneath.
Hair and gums, unbecomes.
Legs and fingers, let them linger.
Heads and tails flip for sells.

Sometimes, Rhiannon repeated the rhyme in her head over and over. Other times, she hid in the closet, pulled the string light bulb and wrote it on the walls, carefully, inside squares. It calmed her before a big pitch or after one. The sale didn’t matter, it was her nerves, the panic she could feel like an entity. A worm crawling from the front of her skull to the back of it, writhing, wriggling like the legs of a spider after its abdomen had been crushed.

Rhiannon had been to the doctors. They gave her meds. And what did the meds do? Made her put on weight, gave her zits, made her hair fall out, and gave her massive bouts of gas. This made a drastic impact on her sales.

So she’d dumped the pills down the toilet. The sales improved as did her figure, but the worms crawled worse. In fact, they crawled out of her ears at night and had begun to disturb Derry. They told him bad things about her, lies.

***

Rhiannon stood in her bedroom in a black bra and panties, looking at her face in the mosaic mirror on the wall. She’d made a big sale today. Autumn sunshine streamed in through the window. She should have felt happy. But she didn’t.

She felt hollow. Hollowed out.

A drop of blood appeared on the mirror. She dabbed at it with her index finger wondering where it came from, and as she did, her green eyes transformed in the mirror. They grew long and oval, pinched in the middle like an hourglass.

She drew her fingers to her trembling lips. The hourglass ovals shifted to square blocks sinking deep inside her forehead.

She heard footsteps. Derry’s head moved behind her in the mirror. She wanted to move, but couldn’t. Paralysis. Her own sunken eyes held her captive. She felt a familiar movement in her forehead, a pain, and then the whispers started. Dream or real? they asked.

Rhiannon’s eyes slid forward, taking a new form. Round. The pupil widened, then narrowed into a sharp slit like a serpent’s. Dream? although posed as a question, the worms demanded an answer. They began to crawl.

Perhaps she was dreaming? She hated doubting herself. She hadn’t made it this far by doubting.

A classic Derry fart ripped from the bathroom, then a healthy stream hit toilet water. It was then she knew she was real, here. Rhiannon breathed a sigh of relief even as the worms screamed. Derry kept her real.

“Rhi? Whe’re’s the spa’re bla’nkets?” His Kentucky drawl used to be endearing. “This pl’ace never w’arms up. Brrr… ”

Another drop of blood appeared on the mirror, then another. Derry was moving towards the closet. Rhiannon willed her lips to speak, her arms to wave, but the worms wouldn’t let them. More blood splatters hit the mirror.

Rhiannon heard the closet door open. The worms laughed at her. They laughed in a high pitched scream.

“Wh’at the hell is this all over the w’all, Rhi? One, two, three, n’ails and teeth…” his voice tapered off.

She blinked once. Twice. Thrice. Suddenly, she was free and the worms were silent.

“I can explain it, Derry! It’s just a little rhyme.”

Derry slowly turned. He glanced her up and down, his eyes lingering at the cleavage in her bra. He shifted his pants and met her eyes. “I know you were hear’ang some things awhile b’ack and went to the doct’or. But this shit’s just… cr’azy.” He shook his head, slowly, pointing inside the closet. “It’s the last dr’aw.” The look in his eyes spelled disgust, easily imitated from many daytime drama shows.

“Derry,” Rhiannon licked her lips. If there was a sale to make, it was now. “You…” She paused. “You make me feel… here. What they’ve told you is lies. Don’t leave me now. Don’t leave me alone.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Who’s told me lies?”

Rhiannon shifted uncomfortably, then lowered her voice, “The worms. They’ve told you lies about me at night while you sleep.”

“Ok’ay.” He nodded his head and looked as if in thought.

Rhiannon felt a surge of hope.

Derry tipped his head towards the closet. “Sorry, d’arlin. The last dr’aw. You need to go back to the do’ctors and get re-pre’scribed.” He drew his drawl out to make his point, then turned and went down stairs.

From the stairwell he said, “I’m gonn’a have a beer, then split th’is joint.”

“Damn it. Damn it.” Rhiannon had to do something. She couldn’t just let Derry leave. Sure he was unemployed, mooched off her money, and sat on his rumpus all day watching The Price is Right and Oprah. But there was something calming knowing he was a real lump of living flesh sitting in the Lazy Boy when she came home at night. Everybody needs somebody and she didn’t want to be alone. Not with worms crawling in her head! He kept her real. Why couldn’t he see that? She tiptoed downstairs, watched him opened one last can of Bud Light and flick Dr. Phil back on.

She didn’t know what to do, so she sneaked to the kitchen, crept up behind him, and hit him over the head with a frying pan.

“I think you’ve made the right decision,” affirmed Dr. Phil. Rhiannon agreed and turned the TV off.

***

What to do. What to do. The worms were crawling, crawling, crawling. Rhiannon snatched a pencil from Derry’s crossword puzzle and ran up to her closet. She wrote the words over and over in their little squares. Her daddy once told her that if she ever got in a pickle to pick up a pencil and write the first thing that came to her mind and that would solve the problem. He also said that if writing didn’t work to pick up the Bible, close your eyes, and wait for the Holy Ghost to fill you up. You’d know that the Holy Ghost was filling you up because it was like a little wiggle in your soul, and that meant that Jesus loved you. You opened up your Bible and pointed at scripture. And whatever scripture you pointed too, that was the Holy Ghost guiding you to your life’s purpose. Daddy had hanged himself with his bed sheets from his third floor balcony when she was twelve. All they found was his Bible on the dining table. A verse circled in red where Judas had hanged himself. Rhiannon had been in and out foster homes after that.

Rhiannon didn’t care for the Holy Ghost or the Bible, but she liked to write. She made good grades in college, and she had landed herself a top sales position at ‘Just Skank It! J. K. Crack’s Clothing Massacre’. The stock had doubled since they had brought her aboard five years ago. Doubled! Stores had gone up in every mall across the country. Rhiannon was invaluable.

Heads and tails flip for sells.

Her scribbling became faster, and she tried to slow so it wouldn’t be sloppy. Her greatest fear, if she were to admit it, was the worms in her head were Jesus, but this made her laugh every time. Jesus wasn’t a worm on a cross! And Jesus wouldn’t tell her to flip heads or tails for sales. No sir. He’d tell her to pray. She laughed as she wrote. She laughed and wrote, laughed and wrote, until she calmed. Suddenly, with amazing clarity, she knew what to do. Derry would never leave.

She dressed and went downstairs. He still slept. Rhiannon tied and gagged him, and hit him again with the frying pan. Then she retrieved her purse from the counter.

Rhiannon went to Lowe’s and bought an electric saw and a filet knife.

Dumping Derry out of the Lazy Boy into the wheelbarrow wasn’t much of a problem. Figuring out where to filet him was. Rhiannon hadn’t a basement. But, the little Yardman 2000 shed did just fine. She had a woodstove and a small vegetable garden for the leftovers, the parts that weren’t in her rhyme. She called in sick to work the next morning. The neighbors thought nothing of her using the electric saw out back. It all worked out just fine. And afterwards, Rhiannon carefully placed each body part in its jar, box or shelf in her closet. Then she retrieved Derry’s pencil and carefully wrote each in its own square:

One, two, three…

Nails and teeth go beneath.

Hair and gums, unbecomes.

Legs and fingers, let them linger.

Heads and tails flip for sells.

As she finished up and closed the doors, the phone rang in the kitchen. She put on her slippers and made her way down the stairs, feeling much better. The message machine picked up. “Derr’ay? It’s your Ma. Where’s m’ay sweet little birthd’ay boy?”

Ma’s Kentucky drawl was annoyin’ as all get out. Rhiannon poured herself some coffee. Black. She thought about her closet.

“You’re alw’ays home,” Ma pouted.

Derry’s little ol’ Ma lived in Kentucky, eons from Washington. They had never met. Ma was frail, sick, practically on her deathbed, at least that what’s Derry had told her. Rhiannon wouldn’t have to worry about her.

“I wanted to sing Happy Birthd’ay to my little pumpkin pie cake.”

There’s no such thing as a pumpkin pie cake, MA, Rhiannon thought. The worms, awake again, gathered in the front of her head. Gnawing. Gnawing. She spat the coffee out in the sink.

“I’ll just sing it right he’re… Happy Birthd’ay to yoooou!”

The worms gnawed, chewed, their way to the back of Rhiannon’s mind. Tears streamed down her face. She fell to the kitchen floor. She pulled her knees to her chest and rocked herself like a newborn. They ate through gray matter, asking questions. Was this what death felt like? Was she alive? Dreaming? She needed to make the sale, dammit. Needed to make a sale. She wanted Derry back in the living room watching The Biggest Loser and munching Cheetos. She’d know then that she was alive.

“Anyw’ay, I expect you to call me back str’aight aw’ay. Love you, pump’kin.”

The message machine cut off.

A slight knock on the door. “Sweetheart? It’s Mrs. Doober from next door. I brought you some flowers from my garden.”

Rhiannon wiped her tears. She whispered her rhyme. She had an idea.

***

Business had picked up. She had a pitch this morning. Where had the week gone? Rhiannon carefully brushed her hair, swept it up in a twist and clipped it. She put in her green contacts and layered on thick eyeliner. She examined herself in the mirror. Serious. Scary. Her eyes shifted feline and her teeth pointed. Her body grew slender like a snake. She closed her eyes and shook her head. Opened her eyes, looked in the mirror again. She looked like her average aging self. Then she felt them, the worms writhing from the front of her skull to the back. Eating away her brain, leaving holes, asking questions. Did the Holy Ghost ask questions? She shivered and shook it all off.

Focus. Concentration. Lipstick.

Rhiannon’s hands shook as she applied the red lip stain. Big sale to make today. Big sale to loose. Heads and tails flip for sells. She thought of what was in her closet on the shelf. Rhiannon turned and threw up into the toilet. She grabbed her lipstick and ran to her closet. Underneath her old hat box, she grabbed a satchel of fingernails and tucked it into the vest of her business suit, breathing deeply. She began to relax. She turned up a notch in her lipstick and wrote:

One, two, three…

Nails and teeth go beneath.

A brisk knock on the front door broke her concentration.

Rhiannon dropped the lipstick.

Froze.

Another knock. The doorbell rang.

It was probably just the mailman. Her eyes flicked inside the closet. No, she supposed it wouldn’t be him. Perhaps it was Chloe, her secretary from work. Although, she’d very specifically asked her to call if she had any updates on the meeting this morning. She’d told them all Derry had left her quite suddenly and she needed to be by herself in the house. No guests. No guests at all.

The worms crawled. They writhed. They asked questions like the Holy Ghost. “The Holy Ghost doesn’t ask questions,” she whispered.

Are you dead? they asked.

“Daddy’s dead. The Holy Ghost told him to do it. A wiggle in his soul.”

Are you alive? they asked.

“Yes, yes of course I’m alive. I’m going to make the sale.” She touched the satchel of finger nails.”

Are you dreaming? they asked.

“Shut up. Shut up.”

The doorbell rang insistently.

Rhiannon closed the closet and leapt down the stairs.

“I told you to call me!” She unlocked the door and flung it open.

A little old woman adorned in a paisley dress stood on the porch. Her body was bony, face pointy and beaked like a bird’s. Gray eyes magnified by glasses that took up half her face said who she was even before she spoke.

When the old bird opened her beak, the drawl confirmed everything. “Derr’ay! I want to see my pumpkin pie cake.”

The worms writhed. They screamed. Rhiannon grabbed her head.

“I’m Derr’ay’s Ma and I demand to see my Derr’ay!” Ma squeezed past Rhiannon and marched into the kitchen.

Rhiannon closed the door. “Wait, hold up, Ma. Derry isn’t here anymore. We broke up last week.”

The worms moved to the back of Rhiannon’s head. Slowly. Eating. Munching. Asking questions.

“I don’t believe you. My son would have c’alled me.”

Rhiannon rushed after Ma around the kitchen. As they passed by the knives, she drew the butcher knife from the block. Ma marched through the living room. Rhiannon followed her. “Don’t you see, Ma? We weren’t getting along anymore. He wasn’t happy here. So he left.”

Ma stopped and turned.

Rhiannon hid the knife behind her back.

Ma held up her nose and pushed her glasses back, inspecting Rhiannon’s face. “Where did he go then?”

“Texas.”

“Why Tex’as?”

Tears streamed from Rhiannon’s eyes. The worms screamed in her skull. Dead? Living? Dream? I don’t know, she shouted back at them, then looked at Ma.

Ma waited patiently for an answer.

“Um, I, he… met someone,” Rhiannon said.

Ma squinted her beady, gray eyes. “I don’t beli’eve you.”

She turned and headed towards the stairs.

“Stop, please, stop,” Rhiannon whispered. They all asked at the same time in their own needy voices. She wanted to bang her head against the wall. She needed to make the sale to prove it to them. Then they’d be quiet.

Prove it. Prove it. Prove it, they replied.

She had to deal with the old bird first.

Calm. Rhiannon needed to be calm.

“Liar! Liar! Liar!” screamed Ma from upstairs.

Rhiannon raced up the stairwell to find Ma digging through Derry’s closet. Rhiannon cursed herself for not burning his clothes and shoes. This week had been so overwhelming. She couldn’t remember most of it.

Dead? Alive? Dreaming? demanded the worms.

Ma grabbed a shirt off the hanger and approached Rhiannon. “Liar! You bi’atch. Tell me where my son is or I swear I’ll…”

Rhiannon opened her own closet doors, pushed Ma in, and shut them. She sank back against the doors and let her head rest against her knees. There was a delicious pause. Rhiannon tried to think. Think. Think.

And then, Ma’s voice started as a whisper, building to a high pitched crescendo scream a heavy metal band could never even hope to reach. “They’re dead. They’re dead in here. They’re dead. They’re dead in here. They’re dead! They’re dead in here! THEY’RE DEAD! THEY’RE DEAD! THEY’RE DEAD IN HERE!”

Rhiannon glanced around the room and eyeballed her window. She leapt to the blinds, cut the cord with the butcher’s knife, and jumped back to the closet doors. Just as Rhiannon wrapped the cord over and around the doorknobs, securing them, Ma tried to open the doors, then pounded her fists against them.

“Heads or tails! Make some sells!” Rhiannon said.

“Let me out. Oh, please let me out!” And then, just so Rhiannon knew for sure, Ma said, “They’re dead in here!”

Rhiannon marched up and down the room with the butcher knife as the old woman screamed.

The worms crawled in her mind. Up and down, in and out. As if she were dead already. How did that old child’s rhyme go? The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out. The worms play pinochle on your snout.

Dead? Alive? Dreaming? A nightmare, a horrible nightmare like in Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis. She’s stuck in the closet screaming, “They’re dead! They’re dead in here!”

“Prove it,” Rhiannon whispered to herself. “Prove it. Prove it. Prove it.” An idea came, a way to prove that she was dead, alive, or dreaming. She carved it out on the bedroom wall with the butcher’s knife as she repeated her mantra, her little rhyme.

One, two, three…
Nails and teeth go beneath.
Hair and gums, unbecomes.
Legs and fingers, let them linger.
Heads and tails flip for sells.

Calmer, Rhiannon went downstairs, out the patio door to the Yardman 2000 shed, grabbed the filet knife, ran back inside, upstairs, and opened the closet door.

Ma was still screaming. “They’re dead! They’re dead in here!” She held two heads by their hair.

“You’ve got Derry, and… oh, Mrs. Doober!” Rhiannon said with a bit of surprise as she reached in and pulled Ma out. “I was busier than I thought.”

Ma shook and shivered. Rhiannon grabbed the heads from her hands and tossed them back into the closet. Briefly, she saw the writing on the wall, and this assured her what must be done.

Rhiannon held the butcher’s knife to her throat. “You need to pull yourself together, Ma. Do you feel a wiggle in your soul?”

Ma cried and shook her head.

“Damn it, Ma! Look for it. Look for the wiggle. This is a matter of life and death and dreaming. Do you feel the wiggle in your soul?”

Ma’s beady eyes grew wide. Her glasses fell lopsided. She gulped and nodded.

“Good. That’s the Holy Ghost. And you’ve got to do what the Holy Ghost says.” The worms screamed in Rhiannon’s head. “We never met, but your son and I were together for many years. I think it’s time to get personal. He’s dead as you found out.”

She let out a wail. Ma’s legs gave, her paisley dress fluttering.

Rhiannon caught her, being careful not to cut her with the knives, and pushed her up against the wall. “But you can still live. Do you want to live, Ma?”

Rhiannon had already missed her sales meeting, but she had this one last chance to make a pitch, to make the sale. “There’s something you need to do.” She put the filet knife in Ma’s hand.

Ma whimpered and dropped the knife. A wet stain streaked her dress.

“No, no, it’s time for courage, Ma! Courage. Now, I need to find out if I’m dead, alive, or dreaming. There’s this poem I made up a long time ago when the Holy Ghost told my daddy to kill himself. I thought it was like a rhyme or a mantra. But I had it all wrong. The worms inside my head, they helped me realize the words are instructions. I want you to do as I say. And when you’re all done, I need you to flip my heads and tails before dialing 9-1-1, because that makes the sale.”

Ma shivered and hippo tears streamed from her eyes. She wasn’t going to do it. The worms laughed at Rhiannon.

You’ll never know! they said. You’ll never know!

Rhiannon went for the kill. “I gagged your son in front of the TV, Ma. He was to going leave me and I couldn’t let him do that. I filleted and sawed him up into tiny little pieces while he was alive and preserved the best parts. You found them in the closet there. His head? You were holding your pumpkin pie cake’s head, bitch.”

Ma glanced at the closet. When she turned back to Rhiannon, her gray eyes were stone.

She nodded. Just once, then removed her glasses and tossed them to the carpet. Her small, birdish body assumed a warrior’s stance.

When Rhiannon offered her the knife the second time, Ma took it in hand.

Rhiannon smiled. She had won. She’d made the pitch and sealed the sale. “There’s a little killer in us all, ain’t there, Ma?”

Sweat dripped down Rhiannon’s forehead. Mascara streaked like evil down her cheeks. Worms squirmed in her skull like death. They should have stopped by now. They always stopped after the pitch.

Rhiannon wanted to end this nightmare, this life, this death. Whatever this was or was not. “Now do only as I say, Ma, no fast moves or stabs. Only as I say.”

Ma was shifty. Unafraid.

The worms crawled. Rhiannon didn’t trust Ma. She clutched her butcher knife in her own hands. Ready to thrust it if she needed too.

Ma’s face had turned hawk. Predatory. Her arms open wide. Ready to strike.

Rhiannon wished she could write the “game plan” out for Ma.

One, two, three…
Nails and teeth go beneath.

First the nails and teeth, obviously. It would be painful, but it was the only way to know if she was truly dead, alive, or dreaming as the worms taunted her. The nails and teeth had to be put underneath the old hat box in her closet. Rhiannon smiled and patted the satchel of fingernails still sitting in her vest. Next would be the hair and gums, both of those unbecomes, therefore needed to be buried in the garden or if Ma wished could be burned in the woodstove. She’d offer the choice to Ma. The problem with this “game plan” was that everything had to go according to instruction, according to her rhyme.

“Ma, you must follow my instructions exactly. Do you understand?”

Ma nodded, yes.

Liar! The old bird lies! the worms cried.

To the right of Ma’s shoulder hung the mosaic mirror. Rhiannon saw herself in it. She was slender with green, feline eyes and pointed teeth. Poisonous.

Both women faced each other. Hawk and Snake.

“Derr’ay,” said Hawk.

Snake hissed, “One, two, three… Nails and teeth—”

The bird’s beady eyes twitched. Her talon swung out.

The snake struck faster.

They stabbed each other at the same time.

Rhiannon’s butcher’s knife sank in Ma deeply, as Ma’s filet knife did in Rhiannon. There would be no fingernail filleting or gum slicing. Not this time.

Rhiannon tried to keep calm waiting for the dream to end, life to begin, or death to arrive. She heard Ma gasping for breath, gurgling Derry’s name over and over. That was her mantra.

Rhiannon had hers.

The worms slowed. Darkness seeped in like a wiggle in her soul. Jesus loved her. Rhiannon whispered the Holy Ghost a lullaby.

One, two, three…
Nails and teeth go beneath.
Hair and gums, unbecomes.
Legs and fingers, let them linger.
Heads and tails flip for sells.




Jodi MacArthur lies buried in metaphors. She resurrects through your fragmented reality. Discover more at www.jodimacarthur.blogspot.com

23 comments:

  1. Well, this is a perfect story for the season for sure. Some days I feel just like Rhiannon and you captured both of us perfectly. Nice writing!

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  2. Only thing I can compare this particular patch of genius to is Lord Jim or maybe the constant drums of Heart of Darkness. Or maybe just say, Jodi MacArthur is plain scary good. Yeah, that should do it. Scary. Good. JMD, rocks.

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  3. edit edit: JMA. Man, I got the stupids today.

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  4. Domestic despair and interior disolution, bad combo, good writing. Is domestic horror a genre? You do it so well, Jodi.

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  5. Chilling! The loss of ones marbles is truly frightening. Well done :)

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  6. Patti~ Ha! Now I want to look inside your bedroom closet. (Or maybe not.) Thank you!

    Paul~ I sense a wiggle in your soul. ;-)

    AJ~ You can call me anything you want, and thank you. x I wrote the rough draft of this story at around 2 am, it scared me so bad I didn't fall asleep until a half hour before the alarm clock went off. I make the living dead look pretty.

    Pamila~ I hadn't thought of this story in that genre direction, but that's def a direction I can do. I can tell you some yarns I've grown up hearing. Yikes. And thank you!

    Hi Julia! One has to ask, when does the process start, is it inevitable, and how far does it go for each individual. Frightening, releasing, a constant struggle between logic and dopamine dump. Marbles, toss me a freaking shiny red marble! Thanks, girl.x

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  7. and then the whispers started. Dream or real? they asked.

    There's your genre Jodes ~ Dream or real. Amplified more as Billie Holliday backgrounded my read. Wowzers, but you're ace'ing accent into dialogue, bi'atch, like mirror blood - seamless.

    From LazyBoy to Lowe's to Biggest Loser to - my new fave ~ ‘Just Skank It! J. K. Crack’s Clothing Massacre’ ... ain't you the cultural maven? *Cutting edge* stuff pal, with a Holy Ghost of a wriggle.

    ~ Absolutely*Kate,
    still amazed how you made me see those hourglass eyes show up and ever aware you snuck in "She saw the writing on the wall". Clever Ms MacArthur, your psyche jumps akin to flingin' frogs

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  8. K*te! It's like all the old school kids from 6s here. Maybe I need to look for my sling shot and a tree frog. ;-) You know I actually have that mosaic mirror. My sis bought it for my birthday this year. It's gorgeous. Thanks for swinging by and reading. xx

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  9. Splendiferous frog-flinger, I'd 'spect no less than some tile of reality designing spark where who knows where yet your gorgeous mind takes off, sometimes with no worms or monkeys -- but always frogs to be flung. Your nature understands basic nature sometimes better than how it grows. (Yeah, old school reunion watchin' how these kids get 'round WebTowne hootin' and hollerin' - s'all good stuff Jodes.) Lady be good. ~ K*te

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  10. Crazy how good you write scary and scary how good you write crazy! Top knotch JoJo!

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  11. Horrible and scary! Wonderful writing.

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  12. Wow, that is impressive from start to finish. Terrifying and surreal. Pitch perfect representation of madness. More please!

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  13. CRAP, you got crazy down to a science. Or an art in this case. Either way I appreciated reading this utter decent into madness. Great prose.

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  14. K*te ~ x

    Har Bro ~ Phew, I was worried for a minute you saw my hair today- scary/crazy! Thank you!

    Hi CJ, from one creepy writer to another- Thanks!

    Chris, thanks, bud. I really appreciate you words. PS. I could write you up a mantra using all that bubblegum I have left over. How twisted is that?

    Jaie D, Well said. When it comes down to it, "crazy" is beautiful blend of science and art, don't you think? Thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed.

    Thanks everyone!

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  15. This is great unsettling JM prose. You straddle the line between what seems to be happening and what is known by the protagonist giving the reader a door they have to penetrate. Brilliant evocation of a history of abuse beneath apparent madness. You also show superbly how the use of ritual is a key part to keep the demons at bay, be they chemical or not, a child's reasoning remains in the darkness, the adult mind has not adapted to the boogeyman.

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  16. Amazing, amazing writing.

    The worms in this one crawl inside the reader's psyche, and make it impossible to look away.

    Your attention to the little details, as always, like Dr. Phil giving his approval, sell the big scares.

    Awesome job, J. (And that mantra's going to stick around upstairs for awhile!)

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  17. Richard~ "a child's reasoning remains in the darkness, the adult mind has not adapted to the boogeyman." Wow, beautifully analyzed and stated. Thank you, my friend.

    Chris~Thanks! I'm glad you liked the Dr. Phil touch. There's nothing like putting a bit of humor and irony before a big wallop, literally. ;-)

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  18. Terrific stuff Jodi, just plain chilling! I love this line: “I think you’ve made the right decision,” affirmed Dr. Phil." The perfect spot for a bit of morbid humor. You are the Master of Horror my dear!

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  19. Deanna! Dr. Phil is always right. Right? RIGHT? ;-) So good to see you here and thank you for reading my October story!

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  20. In case I haven't heaped enough praise on Jodi and this story, count this as some more. Thanks again, Jodi, for providing the perfect October story.

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