Click clack went the clattering of her teeth
Bones and meat and children’s feet
Honestly, the woman’s poetry was getting worse, if such a thing was possible.
“You’re scaring Charlie.”
“Charles, are you scared?”
There was no response from her tow-headed brother.
“See, Mom. I told you. He’s so scared he’s speechless.”
Kate grinned into her mug as her mother rolled her eyes. “Enough, Kate. Go find your brother.”
Kate let her booted feet clomp on the cement floor in search of the six-year old pipsqueak. They’d only been in the ramshackle old house on England’s coast for three days and already her mother had striped the floors bare. Cement was better than the shag carpeting that had terrorized the place before, but she hoped that the historically-accurate-reclaimed-and-blessed-by-the-Bishop-of-Cantebery wood flooring arrived soon.
“Charlie, what are you doing?”
His mouth was hanging open and the half-chewed stick of his lolly was hanging limp over his lip.
Great, he was already leaving sticky-sweet prints of himself all over the place; she did not need to clean up bits of drooled-on cardboard.
“Charlie?” She plucked the lolly from his mouth and nudged him.
Still he didn’t look – stubborn kid. All he could do was point at the cloudy print of the nuns that was the foyer’s crowning glory. It was a turn-of-the-century time-lapse photograph of a cloaked woman, all in white. Well, she supposed it was white: the glass was cloudy with age and filthy to boot. She cringed at the thought of cleaning it – and heaven knows her mother would insist on restoring it to its original, creepy, glory.
“Charlie, that’s nothing. Just an old photo – ‘shopped old-school-like to look like a ghost.”
“But she says it’s important.”
This was ridiculous. She never should have told him about the flutter at the window. Nothing else had happened since they had carted their meager possessions over the threshold. Probably wasn’t any flutter anyway. Probably was just jet lag. Stupid flight. Stupid moving to a completely different country just because they could. Stupid. Stupid . Stupid.
“She says you should stop that. You’re going to wake them up.”
“Wake them –who? Charlie, what are you talking about?”
He spun towards the stairs and pointed.
It was neither a wink nor a flutter.
It was not cloaked in white or sinister vapor.
It was looking at her without eyes to see, and the scolding it gave was real, although no mouth could move. Handless arms drifted forward and it grew in shape and form.
Oh god, I have to get out of this house – I’m starting to think in verse.
She stumbled back and tripped on her boots.
There was a crack and a splat. Wet seeped beneath her hands and brittle shards like bones crunched beneath her sprawled feet.
Her mother came running.
“Oh, Kate – Sweetie, are you okay – what is that you found?”
She and the hallway table had fallen to the floor together, and part of the wall, old, rotted and fed up, tumbled with them. Apparently, a simple plaster urn had once called that wall home.
Now it was shattered and oozing all over the floor.
“Now she says you’ve done it, Katy-Batey. Now she says they’re really coming.”
To be continued.