From spooks and spectres, Ghouls and ghosts And things that go bump in the night, : medium;">Good goddess, keep us safe.
Deep in the woods under the pale silver moon, a campfire crackles and hisses…..the flickering orange glow from the fire reflects onto their faces as they gaze into the flames, watching every spark and ember as they wait for their turn….
Magdalene leaned forward…..”I’ll go first….I’ll tell you the story of Evelyn Montgomery….her house backs onto these woods, it’s derelict now, no-one will live there after”….she smiled…..”well you’ll understand why when I’m done”…..
Where does evil live? Does it live in the soul? In the mind?... In the flesh?
Evie sat in the kitchen staring out of the window into the sprawling garden…the garden was untended, unkempt, her mother having no time any more for such frivolous things as gardening, as a consequence the grass grew long and wild …bushes, snaking thorny brambles and trees blanketed the area in a riot of vegetation….her mother droned on and on, the words nothing more than white noise
She glanced down at her hands, they seemed to have a life of their own and it fascinated her….sometimes she let them go places they didn’t belong, she let them touch things that they shouldn’t, they touched her in places they shouldn’t…other times they scared her, they would try and hurt her, they pinched and clawed at her skin, sharp nails digging into her flesh.
She watched her mother’s hands as they moved, she was cutting meat for dinner…mothers hands rose and fell in a steady rhythm…..the blade stained rich ruby red as the blood flowed along the cutting edge onto the chopping board.
Evies attention switched back to her own hands…they lay quietly in her lap…they were like her mother’s hands in many ways, but hers were younger and much more vicious. Mother’s hands could hurt, she rubbed her cheek as she remembered the last slap, she patted her stomach as she recalled the last punch, but Evie knew that her hands could do far worse than that….
"Evelyn are you listening to me? You’re staring at your hands…why are you staring at your hands? Listen to me girl and listen good…..you keep on like this and you’ll go back there, mark my words…do you want to go back?
Evie shook her head "No, mother."
“Have you been taking the pills?”
Evie lied "Yes, mother."
Her mother moved to the sink to prepare the vegetables…Evie stared at her hands…she smiled as her fingers caressed the backs of her hand, her fingers liked her hands…no-one liked Evie, she had no friends, a fact that mother took great delight in telling her over and over in case she forgot.
Her hands started to move towards the long strings hanging from the back of mother’s apron..she quickly jerked them away as her mother turned to glare at her
"You’ve stopped listening haven’t you? She sighed and rested her hands on her bony hips…..I said that I’m having someone over for dinner so you’re to stay in your room until I say otherwise, you hear me Evelyn?
As her mother turned back to the sink her hands started to reach for the apron strings again…Evie was curious to see what they would do, so she sat quietly and watched…she watched her mothers hands too, mother talked, her hands worked..peeling, chopping, slicing
Evie was mesmerised, she had no choice but to follow her hands as they moved towards her mother…. Mother dropped the knife and moved away from the sink..she remembered the last time her daughter touched her
“Don’t touch me! Touch me and I will call him…you’ll go back, back where you belong
Evie clasped her hands tightly together…."Sorry, but you know how my hands are…they do things."
Mother peered closely at Evies hands….”You’ve been at them again haven’t you child…let me see your palms"
Evies hands did as they were told, they turned themselves over revealing the jagged gouges covered with blood that had dried brown…mother leaned forward……one hand twitched, clenched and lashed out hitting her on the nose
Her mother cried out and stumbled away, wiping at the warm blood running from her nose
“It wasn’t me, the hands did it”
Mother picked up the phone…”I’m calling him, he’ll take you away”…she looked down at her own hands as she ran them down the front of her apron leaving fresh blood trails in their wake…”I’m wiping my hands of you”
Evie giggled, her mother had made a joke…then there was nothing, nothing except the high pitched screaming in her head….her hands turned on her, clawing at her already ruined face….the screaming grew louder, the hands clawed until thin rivers of blood began to flow…the taste of copper on her tongue, her mother shouting….the screaming stopped…her hands were in front of her, the fingers slick with blood grasped something she didn’t want to see…she looked at mother…..she saw mothers hands clawing at her own throat, trying to pull themselves away….she giggled again, mother had four hands….she watched entranced as her mothers fingers dug into her own flesh, crushing, cutting off her breath…the hands were out of control, Evie rocked back and forth tears of laughter streaking her bloodied face..mother couldn't make them stop, no matter how hard she tried to prise them free, they held fast…Evie and mother fell to the floor, mother was a florid shade of purple, her face swollen and her tongue flapping like a fish out of water….she jerked and struggled for air, but the hands held on tight, the knuckles white like bone picked clean as they dug further and further into mothers fleshy neck….
Then mother went still..the hands released their prey and fell limply to the floor..Evie sat and watched, her own hands softly stroked her face…she was confused…father used to say she had mothers hands, look what mothers hands had done…..mother thought her insane, she didn’t think much of anything now…Evie looked at her hands, they had a life of their own, just like mothers….she didn’t want to end up like mother…she got up and walked to the sink…she looked into the gaping maw of the garbage disposal
She tried to ram her hands into the blackness, but the fingers spread and splayed…she had to do something before her hands took control and did to her what they had done to mother…she paused….then chuckled…..her hands hadn’t killed mother, mothers hands had done that..hadn’t they?
“You have your mothers hands Evelyn”…that’s what father said
Did she have mothers' hands? She looked down, mother was quiet, unmoving…resting, her hands laying peacefully at her side…..Evie wanted to rest too, she was tired, but first she had to deal with her hands…she thought, then thought some more, she thought so much her head hurt and her vision clouded, she rocked back on her heels and closed her eyes…her hands clasped the sides of the sink preventing her from falling
Evie smiled and hummed to herself as she left the kitchen, she couldn’t let her hands know what she had planned…..she opened the internal door to the garage and looked around…..no-one had been in the garage since fathers accident, mother hadn’t even cleaned the stains from the floor…her fingers twitched and tapped against her thighs…..she stopped humming when she saw that the heavy metal roller door remained….her mother had talked about replacing it, but obviously never had,….her hands clapped together with delight…they remembered…..Evie clasped the rope and pulled…the door opened…when she considered the door was open enough she took a long handled spade and propped it under the door, holding it open…she sat down on the cold floor and casually laid her hands on the concrete…her fingers traced the outline of the largest stain which just happened to be directly under the door…..while her fingers were occupied she kicked the spade away….the door came down and crushed the cruel hands…
Some time later Evie awoke to a noise outside, someone was knocking on the front door…mother was having a friend over for dinner…..she dragged her hands out from under the door, ignoring the throbbing pain and went back into the kitchen….she tried to remember what she’d been doing, whatever it was it had been important….she stepped over mothers body…..the knocking grew louder, more insistent…..the kitchen sink, she had been at the sink…then she laughed with an almost childlike glee….she heard mothers voice “remember to turn the water on first Evelyn” she bent over the sink and used her mouth to turn on the tap, she flicked the disposal switch on with her nose….
Quickly she stuffed her now broken, motionless hands into the hole….”mind your fingers Evelyn” she giggled as her finger tips hit the blades…..the garbage disposal unit was something else mother had talked about replacing, but never had….she screamed once as the blades tore into her flesh, hammering against her already broken bones…..as her blood flowed her vision faded…..before she lost consciousness she smiled to herself….she had done the right thing…after all, she did have her mothers hands……didn’t she?
***************** After a few moments of silence David poked Magdalene with his toasting stick…..”aww come on Maggie, you can’t end it like that, what happened to her?”
Maggie shrugged…..”the story goes that she died from blood loss, died there in the kitchen….the mothers friend called the police when she couldn’t get an answer…..they found the bodies and sealed off the house…..been boarded up ever since, no-one wants to buy a murder house, rumour has it that it’s haunted, we could go check it out if you want”….
David stared into the fire and shook his head….”Geez Maggie, don’t you think I’ve seen enough horror films to know that poking around in a derelict haunted house in the dead of night is so not a good idea!”