A chilling horror story involving a lot of already dead and soon-to-be dead characters. If you like horror stories, then you will love this. If you have never tried one, this is the best place to start. The writing is easy, crisp and maybe even slightly poetic.
In an old house in the Ozarks there lived an old woman and her dead son. Every night the old woman would make dinner and the two would dine. And every night the old woman asked her dead son, “How was your day?”
And her dead son would tell her whatever she wanted to hear. “Good. I watched the birds outside my window.”
And the old woman would smile and remark, “You always loved birds.” And the two were happy. Mostly. For at the very back of the old woman’s old mind there was always this crafty little doubt. Like a demon it would whisper to her, you’re crazy.
Or worse—your son is dead.
And at the worst of times it would say even darker things. Things no old woman should hear.
Until one night as they sat eating, the old woman no longer wanted to hear that her son had a good day. For the little doubt told her that real sons have bad days sometimes. That living sons need friends. And so this night her dead son said, “I am bored here. I want a wife.”
To which the old woman replied, “No. Absolutely not.” And she hurried into the kitchen, angry.
From the dining room her dead son called to her, “We’ll live here with you.”
“You’ll leave me again.”
“No, I won’t. Mom… please. Don’t you want grandkids?”
The old woman did want grandkids. Even though her dead son lived with her, she still sometimes felt alone. “You still love me, Simon?” the old woman asked.
“Yes,” her dead son laughed. “Of course.”
The old woman walked back into the dining room and kissed her dead son. “I’ll go into town tomorrow. See what I can do.”
The next day the old woman sat on the side of a busy highway. She had a flat tire and looked very sad and helpless. Soon a truck pulled up and the driver asked the old woman, “Can I help you?” But the driver was a man and that would not do.
“No,” said the old woman. And off he drove.
Soon after a car pulled up and the driver asked the old woman, “Can I help you?” The driver was a woman. But she had dark skin and tattoos and that would not do.
“No,” said the old woman. And off she drove.
Finally, a van pulled up and the driver asked the old woman, “Can we help you?” And although the driver was a man there were five youngsters in the back—two males, three attractive females. Simon can have his pick, thought the old woman.
“Yes,” she said.
As the youngsters changed the old woman’s tires, the driver introduced himself as Tommy. Proudly he told the old woman, “I’m the youth pastor at Red Oaks Christian Church. This is our youth group—Kirsten, Monica, Andrea, Chris and Aaron. They’re great kids.”
“Sure are,” agreed the old woman. Kirsten’s the prettiest. “Thank you so much.”
“Happy to help,” said Tommy.
“Come back to my place. Let me make y’all dinner.”
“You don’t need to do that.”
“No, please. I’d love to.”
“Actually, we probably ought to keep going. We’re doing what we call a Destination Unknown trip. We draw a distance and a direction out of a hat, go there and see how the Lord can use us in that community.”
Well, ain’t that something, thought the old woman. She had not made it to church in a long time, but she knew about God and heaven and how when you die you go there to sing praise songs unto God forever and ever.
“Just trying to share His love” said Tommy.
“Bless your heart. I don’t suppose– ? No…”
“My yard’s a mess. My son just doesn’t help out around the house anymore.”
“Yeah, we can help you with your yard work.”
This made the old woman smile.
Soon the youngsters and Tommy were hard at work in the old woman’s yard, mowing and weeding, weeding and mowing. The old woman busied herself making poisoned lemonade. Her dead son sat in his room, watching the volunteers through his window. I’m sure he’ll choose Kirsten, thought the old woman. He certainly should.
“Everyone,” she called, carrying a tray of cups and lemonade outside. The youngsters hurried over to get a drink. Except for Tommy, who continued to pull weeds. “You too, Tommy.”
“Can’t. I’m actually diabetic.”
The old woman frowned. This wasn’t good. This wasn’t good at all. She would have to act quickly. She hurried back inside to get a knife. But Tommy would be stronger than her. “Simon,” the old woman called. But her dead son did not emerge from his room.
The old woman hurried back outside. Several of the youngsters had already collapsed to the ground. Kirsten was coughing. Luckily, Tommy had his back turned, still weeding. The old woman walked as quickly as she could over to him. Kirsten tried to call out to warn him, but she couldn’t stop coughing. She grabbed the lemonade tray and slammed it against the old woman’s old house. It made a loud clang. Tommy turned.
He looked at the old woman, standing before him with the knife.
Fear filled Tommy’s face. The old woman swung at him. The knife hit Tommy’s shoulder, cutting deep. He got to his feet, running away from the old woman, running toward his youth group.
“Simon!” the old woman yelled.
Tommy looked at his kids, all collapsed on the ground, and hurried into the house.