Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
He reached the top of the stairs and immediately saw double doors opened to a pale-lit room. “Mrs. Godwin?” There was no reply. Theodore stepped into the shadowed room looking above him at the decaying ceiling and below him at the dark stained floors. He approached the window as if a moth to a flame, drawn to the only light available. Darkness was around him, encroaching upon his spot lit frame. His foot hit something, what he soon noticed as a rocking chair, the same he had noticed in the pictures of the young men. He then looked to the window and realized it was also the same. The heat from the room, the damp and dirty air all seemed to contribute to the boy’s fleeting consciousness. “What is happening to me?” Theodore asked himself. He rested his hand on the windowsill for he found he could hardly hold himself up. The room faced the back field behind the house that held a single peach tree, struggling it seemed to hold itself up as well. It was dying.
A slight creek caused Theodore to turn around with a shocking movement. The jolt caused his legs to buckle and for his body to find the chair with slight relief. A glowing glare came from the shadows as Theodore tried to hide his eyes from it. He was now squinting in an attempt to make out what was causing this growing discomfort.
“Teddy dear.” The voice was bold and jagged. “Mrs… God… win.” He responded without breath. A skeleton hand soon appeared holding the same knife the old woman had used to cut the pie, peach pieces oozing down the blade and onto the floor. The rest of her petite body soon accompanied the haunted hand, both now a few steps from Theodore in the dim light from the setting sun.
Theodore could no longer move. “I’m glad you liked the pie, son.” His eyes wondered to the right side of the encroaching figure where he found a black camera resting on its stand. His helpless body crouched low in the wooden chair, his eyes fighting to stay open. He used his last strength to stare at the now towering face above him.
“Teddy dear, how would you like to become my 13th ribbon?”
Sunday, November 14, 2010
The boy slowly picked up the fork next to his chipped tea plate that held the vile pastry. Under the intense stare of Mrs. Godwin, Theodore sectioned a liberal bite onto his fork and then into his resistant mouth. He tried his hardest not to gag, looking back at the peach that the worm once inhabited. The pie was sour, having been made with expired milk and too much sugar. After a bit of force, Theodore swallowed what he guesses was the most disgusting thing he had ever eaten.
“Well Teddy?” “Very, uh, very delicious.” The old woman jumped up and clapped her hands together with delight. “Say Mrs. Godwin, could I use her bathroom?” The boy was afraid he may throw up and it seemed like a good excuse to avoid a second bite. “Why sure son, just round the corner to your left. Theodore left the woman humming happily behind him.
The floor creaked loudly underneath his feet as he hurried into the small washroom. It was unlike the other rooms in the sense that it was very bright, too bright. The single bulb hanging from the ceiling nearly blinded his ill adjusted eyes. The edges of the mirror were rusted and the dark green wallpaper peeled at its corners. Theodore rushed lukewarm water all over his face searching for some sort of relief. He looked up into the mirror at his reflection. His youthful face seemed to have aged a few years; it’s distraught expression almost unrecognizable from the handsome one he left at the front door. “Alright, once you go back just politely excuse yourself for lack of time. The sun will soon be setting and you have to get back before dark.” The salesman forced the phony smile he often had to wear in his line of work and stepped back into the hall between the stairs and the wall. A wall that now Theodore noticed held a row of pictures of young men. All were framed but most did not meet the dimensions of their encasing. Most seemed to be taken in the same dark room, a room that Theodore could not place. All he could make out was the same window’s edge that allowed a glimmer of pale light to hauntingly wash over the subjects. Each of the men was sitting with the same blank expression on their white faces. Once again Theodore ridiculously thought of the boys as sitting corpses, knives in their backs waiting to be revealed.
Theodore’s uneasy feeling heightened as he creaked slowly down the hall, staring at each of the twelve-framed pictures. What was once an excusable nauseous feeling was now growing into slightly inexcusable fear. Something was urging Theodore to leave, even without a goodbye to the old woman, her feelings somehow not as important as they were ten minutes before.
The boy turned toward the door but then was stopped by silence. Mrs. Godwin’s humming was no longer coming from the kitchen, and stillness overwhelmed his body. “Mmmrs. Godwin?” His own voice seemed to frighten him, his breathless call seeming too loud in the quiet. A creak and a thud bellowed from above him. Silence again.
His vision began to narrow and his head felt suddenly light as if he was losing control of his body, losing the will to stay standing. “Teddy dear?” Theodore looked up from where the voice had come from. “Teddy darling? Could you come up here for a moment?” Theodore stumbled forward a bit and mustered enough strength to say, “Mrs. Godwin? I must go. The sun is setting and I have to get back before nightfall.” “Oh Teddy. It will just take a moment. I’ve gotten myself into quite a pickle up here and need a young man like yourself to help me.”
His vision still narrowing and his heart beating unexplainably fast, the salesman began climbing the stairs in order to appease the old lady one last time so he could then and forever leave the Godwin house.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The salesman couldn’t place it but it did smell rotten and stale. He tried to stay focused on the steaming brown pie in front of him. “I have a peach tree out back so I have the freshest peach pie you will ever taste.” Mrs. Godwin sang with a smile as she prepared to cut into her masterpiece. Her back now turned to him; Theodore took his chance to intently survey the kitchen. It felt dirty and damp. Old dishes were piled high in the sink and a persistent fly buzzed frantically for the rotting food left on the floral trimmed plates. The ingredients from the pie had not been put away. Eggshells and butter were messily strewn upon the stained countertops leading towards a small basket of peaches. Theodore was appalled by their state. They were not fresh at all, their skin brown and wrinkled. He noticed something in one, something perhaps moving inside. He stared intently and gasped when a worm broke through to the outside from within. Theodore’s stomach turned and his heart sank as Mrs. Godwin turned around with a large piece he knew was for him.
“She must have lost it a long time ago,” thought Theodore. He had heard rumors of the Godwin woman who went off her rocker and hadn’t been down to the town since some such tragedy. Theodore had always felt sorry for her and had decided to visit today although the other salesmen had avoided the house, a decision he was regretting more and more.
“Here you are Teddy!” The old woman was no longer sweet or one to feel sorry for. She still held the knife used to cut the pie in her right hand as she placed his plate in front of him with her right. The salesman now was sweating more than he had been outside. “Oh dear you look like you could use some lemonade.” The old woman made her way to the refrigerator as Theodore searched his mind for excuses to leave in a hurry. He was distracted however when a giant cockroach scurried out as Mrs. Godwin opened the Fridge to retrieve the pale yellow drink from inside it. The boy sunk lower and his stomach began to churn. “You know Mrs. Godwin, I just realized the… time. I really should be going or my dad will be angry.”
The petite lady stopped mid-pour and turned wearing the same stare as when he had first laid eyes on her. Theodore stood up hesitantly inching towards the door. He stopped however as soon as that same pitiful face came back to Mrs. Godwin, the sadness returning to her brown eyes. “But you didn’t even touch the pie, I have a record twelve blue ribbons for it.” She said meekly pointing to a frame on the wall holding twelve faded first place ribbons from the county fair. “Oh I know, I’ve heard marvelous things about it, I just, uh, I just must be going.” The old woman dropped the glass of lemonade she was still holding in her skeleton hand and cursed frantically at the sight of the mess. Theodore quickly came to her aid and grabbed the nearest towel to help clean up the small puddle. “Oh I’m sorry Teddy. How clumsy I am!”
The old woman began to sob quietly as she sat down to watch the salesman clean her mistake. “Oh now it’s okay Mrs. Godwin, please don’t cry… You know, I will just have to tell my dad that something important came up on my route with a potential client. He will understand.” Theodore took a quick glance at the front door that was about to be his exit moments ago and with an internal sigh he sat back down in his creaking seat. “Oh Teddy! That is so very sweet of you. I don’t get much company you see and you will love the pie, I just know it.”
Friday, November 12, 2010
His lines were now delivered and an awkward moment of silence followed as if the crowd did not deem the actor worthy to be praised with applause after his monologue. Theodore shifted his eyes for he found eye contact to be much too intimidating with Mrs. Godwin, even if she came up well below his shoulders.
As if awakened shockingly from sleep, a smile presented itself swiftly across the old woman’s face. “Well Teddy, I don’t have much need for a vacuum, my floors are good ole hardwood.” She leaned to the side so the boy could see into her home. There were indeed hardwood floors but in severe need of cleaning and maintenance. The stairs were to the left, hugging the wall towards the second story and straight ahead was a room that Theodore took for the kitchen. “Ahh, I see. Well if there is ever any other appliance you’re in need of, you know where to find the best deals.” “Well I’m mighty happy you stopped by because my poor knees can’t take the trek down my hill towards town so I don’t get out much, don’t get to see many people.” Theodore noticed the pitiful look that came over her oval face and the sadness appear in her small brown eyes. “I know ma’am. Your house is a little off my route but I decided to check in on you anyways.” Her face lit up at this notion and she grabbed Theodore’s hand in appreciation. The boy was surprised at the strong grip of the petite lady. “Say, Teddy how about you come in for a nice cool glass of lemonade and a piece of peach pie.”
Theodore knew he had a number of houses left on his day’s assignment and that his father would be angry if he was late getting back to the store, but lemonade sounded heavenly to the overheated salesman and he had once heard that “crazy” Mrs. Godwin used to be famous for her pies in the county fair. “Why sure Mrs. Godwin, that sounds very nice.”
The old lady did not let go of his hand and Theodore did not want to admit that the elderly woman was almost hurting it as she led him through the door. The temperature did not change from the outside unfortunately for the salesman. In fact, it was much worse now that he was inside for the cool breeze was now locked out by the dark walls and the air felt thick and stagnant. “Right this way Teddy.” Mrs. Godwin led him past the foyer into the room after the stairs, which was indeed the kitchen. The whole house felt dark, no lighting or lamps could be found although ironically you would need them to find them. There was a shallow flood of light from what Theodore assumed was an upstairs window but even in the kitchen the windows were small and blocked by the sky blue shutters. At first the boy was pleased with the smell of a freshly baked pie he noticed hot from the oven but then his nose found the stench the pie was attempting to mask.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The house looked abandoned. It sat secluded on the outskirts of Jasper County with infrequent foot traffic passing by. Mild hills rolled around and behind 212 Country Lane but it rested upon the tallest one making it a rather steep climb to the front light blue wooden door. The sky blue color matched the shutters but both exposed the original color of wood underneath and the white house itself did the same as its accessories.
Theodore, dripping with sweat underneath the Texas summer sun, made a quick glance at the mailbox that read Godwin proudly in bold letters before beginning the short but difficult journey up the makeshift stairs towards the house.
Once the young man, 25 with golden hair and a blue suit required of him to wear despite the weather, reached the decaying porch he took a moment to gather himself before finally knocking three times. At first there was silence, all Theodore could here was the sound of cicadas buzzing in the trees then a slight noise presented itself. Beginning softly then growing in volume and proximity, the boy heard a rhythmic stomp coming towards him. Theodore now knew someone to be on the other side of the door but gathered they were looking through the peephole at their guest. After a brief second the door creaked open to an elderly woman with grey hair tucked neatly on top of her round face.
“Hello Mrs. Godwin, my name is Theodore Vance from Vance Appliances.” The salesman had presented his pitch numerous times but found himself trailing off under the focused and intense stare of the tiny old lady in front of him. “We have, uh, a special sale on vacuums today…” Theodore couldn’t help but notice that the woman looked almost angry to see him. Her head dipped a little low but her eyes stood straight, as if surveying his soul. The boy ridiculously thought of the times in the movies when a victim stands in place in front of the screen then falls forward revealing a knife in their back. “They come in a variety of colors…” Theodore almost was ready to catch the old lady in case she fainted or indeed was already dead. He gathered her to merely be 90 pounds, her tiny waist defined by a scuffed white belt, holding together her grey floral print dress. Not being one for fashion, the salesman did find it odd that a floral pattern not be depicted in color. “You won’t find a better price in town.”