Serial Saturday [Horror]: A Snap Of The Fingers #7

Time for another instalment of my horror story A Snap of the Fingers. It’s good to get back to something that I’ve still got after the disastrous week I’ve had with my other work, and this is one of my favourites.

Last Time, SETH ROGERS, had returned home after killing a homeless man, to find that his dad hd been informed about the miraculous recovery that his mum had made, confounding medical science. Now, the enigmatic stranger, RED, wants Seth to fulfil the next part of his bargain: to kill someone he knows.

Someone he knows well.

You can read the first part HERE or the most recent part HERE. On to today’s part…

Sleep was difficult to come by for Seth that night. Seth and his dad spent the evening talking about the miraculous turn of events with his mum.  More precisely, Seth had listened to his dad talk about his wife; Seth himself was thinking about what it was that he needed to do the next day.

He must have drifted off to sleep at some point during the night, because when he opened his eyes, sun streamed through a gap in the curtains in his bedroom. He didn’t feel rested, his arms and legs were heavy as he walked downstairs.  

The house was quiet and when he walked into the kitchen, there was no evidence that his dad had been down for breakfast.  He shouted for his dad, and when he received no reply, Seth went back upstairs and into his mum and dad’s room.  The curtains were closed, but the bed looked like it hadn’t been slept in.

A knock at the back door took Seth back downstairs, into the kitchen. He could see a shape outside through the frosted glass.  The shape knocked again and Seth moved slowly towards the door.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”  The voice outside was that of Red. He knocked again.  “I know you’re in there!”

Seth moved to the backdoor and turned the key.  As he did, the door swung inwards, revealing Red, hands on hips. At his feet lay a body, face down, a brown cloth sack over its head and hands tied behind its back.  It was motionless.  Red grabbed the body at the shoulders and began to drag it into the kitchen.

“A little help, champ?”  Red glanced at Seth who backed away into the kitchen.  “Well, thank you kind sir.”  When Red had dragged the body into the kitchen, he stepped over it, and closed the door.  “Don’t want those nosy neighbours looking in now, do we?”  The thought that anyone looking would surely have seen Red standing at the back door did not occur to Seth, who now stood against the opposite wall, eyes wide, fists clenched.

“I can’t do it, I can’t do it,” Seth repeated, shaking his head.  He spoke quietly, in a voice he hadn’t used since his first days at primary school, when he had been asked by a year six students to steal Mr Radley’s apple that he kept in his desk drawer.  He had bowed to the pressure then and taken the apple. The older boy had feigned ignorance when Mr Radley had come out of the little cupboard at the back of the classroom, and stood open mouthed as he pointed a finger at Seth, who was holding the apple.  That had been his first taste of detention: a missed break time, sat inside while his friends played in the playground.  He didn’t like it then, and he suspected the consequences of what was being asked of him now, would be far worse than being kept inside for fifteen minutes.

His head shaking was becoming more vigorous, and he continued to chant his mantra.

“Not doing it, not doing it, not doing it.”

Red walked over and placed a hand on his shoulder, then squatted down alongside Seth.

“I understand, I understand.”  He bowed his head as he spoke, like a priest administering the last rights to one of his flock.  “Would it help if I said I’d dispose of the body?”  He smiled and nudged Seth.  “Would it? Would you like that?  No one will ever know.  Trust me.”  He stood up, spreading his arms and smiling.  To Seth he looked like the used car salesman they had bought their 2010 Honda Jazz from.  The car’s spent more time back with Honda than it has on the road, his dad had said.  He’d never really seen his dad angry until he saw him in that car.  “But Seth,” he said, crouching back down and brushing Seth’s chin with his fist, “you’ll have your mum!”

“How do I know you’ll keep your word?”  He had stopped shaking his head, but tears were rolling down his cheeks.

“Well…you don’t!  That’s a risk you’ll have to take!”  Red laughed again.  “Believe it or not, this is not the first time I’ve done this, and I’ve yet to have an unsatisfied customer.  It just depends on how much you love your mum.”

“I love my mum a lot!”  Seth didn’t doubt that this was not Red’s first time.  He did, however, doubt that everyone was a satisfied customer.  

His ten-year old mind was running faster that it had in his short life.  Hedidbelieve that Red could get rid of the body without anyone finding out; he had got it here undetected, after all.  He also believed that it was within Red’s power to cure his mum of the cancer that had been eating her slowly for the last six months; he’d broken – and healed – Seth’s fingers with a touch of his hands, and hadn’t his mum been right up against Death’s door before going into a remission that astounded the medical people at the hospital?  Believing all that, there were two questions as Seth saw it: firstly, did he, Seth, trust Red to keep his word?  There was no doubt in his mind that Red could do what he said.  But wouldhe do what he said?  Secondly, and to Seth, more importantly, could he live with the knowledge that he had killed two people?  Would he be able to sit at breakfast with his mum and dad and look across the table as his mum buttered his toast, without reliving the horrors of what he had done? He had already decided that this was something that he would bear on his own; his dad might be eternally grateful to have his wife back, but would he be able to forgive his son?  

“The clock’s ticking,” said Red, wagging his finger left and right like a metronome ticking the seconds away. 

2 thoughts on “Serial Saturday [Horror]: A Snap Of The Fingers #7

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