Here is my submittion to Chuck Wendigs Flash Fiction Challenge. It is a festive challenge, festive in a horrifying and scary way, here’s the link http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/12/05/flash-fiction-challenge-holiday-horror-extravaganza/
As always I appreciate critisism and I look forward to reading your take on the challenge.
The Smiling Helpers
This is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Jennifer thought as she nestled the mug in her hands, sitting in front of an open fire in the old arm chair.
It truly was wonderful, the children where in their beds, the house was quiet and dark. Snow fluttered by the window building up around the edges. It was a cold night but her home was cosy with the fire and a blanket around her. She closed her eyes for a spell, until:
Knock, Knock, Knock.
Someone was at the door.
It was too late, 11:30 and much too cold. No this must be an emergency, someone must have broken down up the road or worst, perhaps it was an accident. Jennifer got out of her chair and walked to the door.
Before opening she wrapped the blanket tighter around her shoulders, bracing for the cold wind. She opened.
Outside where the oddest people she had ever seen. Before her stood two men in dark suits, festive ties and shiny shoes. They wore no coats, yet they didn’t look cold, their skin was pale. And yet Jennifer had never seen happier folks in her life. They were wearing the biggest grins she had ever seen.
“Hello Jennifer” the taller of the two asked.
“Do you mind if we come in” said the shorter.
How could she refuse, it’s likely they will freeze to death out here and how can Jennifer be so cruel, especially during Christmas time.
“Of course” she replied ushering them in so she can keep in the heat.
She took them into the living room, and showed them to the sofa next to the flames. She sat back down in her armchair.
The light from the fire danced on her quests faces casting long shadows against the walls and blackening their eyes.
“Is there something wrong? Are you all right?” she asked
“Yes” replied the tall one
“Of course” the short.
“I’m sorry. What do you mean?”
“I mean yes something is wrong” the tall
“And of course we are ok” the short.
Their voices seemed off, it was sincere and estranged, excited and happy yet eerie at the same time.
“O-ok” Jenifer was trying to place the duo, regretting letting them in “what’s wrong?”
“Oh it’s nothing really” the tall
“But it is an issue” the short
“One that needs…”
“Yes something must be done”
“Sooner the better”
“Sl-slow down, what’s going on?” Jenifer insisted.
“Well, how do I put this?” The tall
“Well there is only two weeks left.”
“Two weeks till the day”
“The greatest day of them all”
“Tell me what has happened or I will phone the police.” Jennifer got out of her chair. The duo remained, ever smiling.
“Oh the phone?”
“Yes the Phone”
“Indeed, what about the phone?”
“It doesn’t work”
“Perrrrrrrrrr” the tall one said, imitating a dead line.
“You broke my phone?” Jenifer sank back into her chair, fear creeping up on her.
“Oh don’t worry dear” the tall on coed
“You still have time.”
“Time to set it all right”
“Set what right.” Jenifer whispered.
“It is the most wonderful time”
“You still need to buy the gifts.”
“I’ve bought the gifts.” She whispered
“Well, not all”
The short one reached into his suit jacket and procured a list.
“One Xbox one for little Jake, a PS4 for Tom, two games, a bottle of jack for your brother and a jumper for your aunt.”
“Ahhh how sweet.”
“But not nearly enough.”
“Of course not, not enough at all”
“What do you mean?”
“Well there’s that guy in the office you like.”
“You next door neighbour”
“Your other neighbour”
“Your mother, who you don’t see anymore”
“Your sister won’t talk to you”
“The nieces you’ve never met.”
“Oh the list goes on and on.” the short one concluded.
“And only two weeks left” the tall on covered his mouth in shock.
“I haven’t seen half these people, let alone know them. I have already decided that I am only shopping for the people under this roof!” Jenifer couldn’t believe these two. They come to her home and demand that she goes shopping for people she doesn’t even know. Yet at the same time she felt threatened and afraid of her new quests.
“Yet quiet wrong”
“still you have time to buy your gifts”
“and wrap them”
“and stamp them”
“and mail them”
“and then there is the thank you cards”
“oh I already have mine written.”
“Oh aren’t you on top of things this year”
“Who do you work for?” She asks
“Oh, no one really”
“Well of course he is someone”
“Just no one of consequence to you”
“And what if I don’t?” Jenifer asked defiantly.
“that is the question.” The tall on reached into his suit and procured his napkin. He was absently wiping his nose and Jenifer noticed that his handkerchief was covered in blood.
Her guest placed his handkerchief back in his pocket, a large stain of red remained on his face.
“What if” he made his message clear.
“Here is my list, you need it more that I. beside each name is a…”
“Yes a suggestion of what they want.”
He handed her the list, it was longer than she had expected, covered in names of people long forgotten, old friends, school teachers, ex’s and names she couldn’t even remember. Beside each was, as promised, a suggestion. Each item was expensive; their addresses would require shipping which will only increase the price.
Jenifer was about to retort until she noticed the corner had a red stained of red where the short one’s thumb griped.
“We trust that you will do well Jenifer.” The tall one said.
“Oh, we know you will” the short one said.
Jenifer woke up with a start, the fire had died out, and only the red embers remained. Her drink had fallen on the floor, seeping into the carpet.
“It was only a dream” she said as relief flooded through her.
She sat up and bent down to retrieve her mug when her hand brushed by a piece of paper.
It was a list, red stained its corner. It was neatly folded and in the front it showed two words written finely in red.
Do you think they understand now?
Oh I sure hope so.
And yet the time ticks away.
Do you think we should tell them what happened to her?
Oh no! This is a happy time.
Of course it is how silly of me.
Still some of them will need a visit.
Oh yes, to help remind them of course.
See you soon.
Oh, and merry Christmas
And a happy new year