“…and they found their way home. The whole town came out and welcomed them home. And they were hailed as heroes to the villagers for generations, the story of their adventures recounted over and over, even to this day.”
Angela finished her tale, her huge blue eyes looking around the room. The class of third graders was looking as if they were lost in a dream. Even Mrs. Donaldson was staring off into space, a small dreamy smile on her face. Angela waited patiently for a few moments as she always had, her face expressionless. Soon, the students came back to themselves, all of them smiling contentedly. Mrs. Donaldson was smiling as well, cleared her throat, and walked up to the front of the class. She walked behind Angela and placed her hands on the little girl’s shoulders.
“My goodness!” the teacher began, “Yet another wonderful tale from our gifted story teller. Angela, I must say I have never in my life met anybody who could tell a tale like you. You make things come alive when you speak. I can almost swear I see what you are saying.” She smiled down at Angela who was looking up at her with those big, blue eyes.
“It’s nothing, Mrs. Donaldson,” Angela said humbly. And Mrs. Donaldson knew this girl was truly humble. She smiled even bigger.
“Don’t you ever let anyone change how you are, little lady. You are a very rare type of person, and I would hate to think that you would ever be anything but how you are right now.” Angela just looked with those huge blue eyes, those magnificent orbs, into Mrs. Donaldson’s. The elderly teacher smiled again.
“Okay, class. It’s Friday and the weekend is upon us. Be careful, stay away from strangers, and have a wonderful weekend.” She had just finished and the bell rang signaling the end of the class day and the start of the weekend. The children grabbed their belongings and hurried out the door to begin their weekend as soon as they could. As they passed Angela, each child smiled and thanked her for telling them yet another marvelous story. Angela looked at them a moment and said she was glad they enjoyed it.
Then the last child was gone and she went to leave as well. Mrs. Donaldson stopped her for a moment, smiled down at her. Those eyes, those magnificent eye, focused on her own, leaving her feeling a warmth she could never account for, but loved intensely.
“Angela,” the old woman said, “I don’t know if you would mind, but is there any way I could have you tell a story to the entire school sometime? You have such a marvelous gift.” Angela looked at her without so much as a flicker of emotion touching her face.
“Of course I would like to do that, if you think they would all enjoy it,” she said innocently. Mrs. Donaldson smiled.
“Thank you, Angela!” she said delightedly. “But have your mother read and sign this saying it’s okay for you to do. Okay?”
“Okay, Mrs. Donaldson,” she said in her little girl voice. “My mother will say it’s okay.”
“I hope so, Dear. You have such a remarkable talent,” the teacher replied. “Now go home and enjoy your weekend.
“I will,” she replied. “You, too, Mrs. Donaldson,” she said.
“I will, Dear. Thank you.” Mrs. Donaldson said, smiling, anxious to tell Mr. King, the principal, about the young storyteller.
Angela walked home from where the bus dropped her off just down the street from her house. Her mother was there, as always, and took her daughter’s hand. She smiled at her child who looked up at her and gave the smallest of smiles back. But Mom understood how much emotion was behind that smallest of smiles. She squeezed her daughter’s hand and started walking home.
“So how was your day, Angie?” she asked.
“It was fine, Mommy,” Angela replied. “Like always.” Mom smiled down at her daughter.
“That’s nice,” her mother said. After a few moments of walking to the house, Angela stopped. Her mother looked at her quizzically. Angela dug in her backpack for a moment and then produced a piece of paper. She held it aloft for her mother to take.
“It’s from Mrs. Donaldson. She would like to know if I can tell a story to the whole school. Can I?” she asked, a hint of longing in her voice. Her mother smiled and squeezed her daughter’s little hand.
“Of course you can,” she said. “Just let me know when so I can be there. I just love it when you tell a tale.”
“Thank you, Mommy!” she said to her mother, her smile actually broadening. Her mother smiled even more.
John King sat at his desk, looking a little perturbed at Mrs. Donaldson’s invasion of his office so close to leaving for the weekend. The older woman acted as if she didn’t notice his irritation.
“So why should this little girl want to tell a story to the whole school? And what makes you think the older students will actually enjoy it? I mean, she’s a third grader, for Pete’s sake, Eve!”
“John, this child is nothing less than extraordinary!” Mrs. Donaldson replied, her eyes dancing with delight at the thought of letting her star pupil share with the entire school. “She is actually more of a savant. I mean, she has the true gift of the bard. Things seem so vivid in the mind’s eye when she talks. I mean you can actually see what she describes. John, you just have to give her one opportunity.”
John King sat there, his eyes looking fully into Eve Donaldson’s. His breathing was even, measured, and relaxed. After a moment, he sat up straight, his hands folding on the desk in front of him.
“You really think she’s that good?” he asked.
“She’s the student every teacher only dreams of having! That special ONE! Yes, John. She is THAT good.” He looked at her a few more moments. Spring Break was starting after class on Friday, and that would be a nice way to start it. He looked at Eve a moment longer, unfolded his hands, and sat back.
“Sure. Why not? It would be a nice way to start Spring Break,” he said, breaking into a broad smile. Eve almost danced for joy. “I want to see this ‘student every teacher only dreams about’,” he said.
“Okay, Angie. Your father and I will be back in a few hours. Gina will be with you tonight, so you behave for her. Okay?” Angela’s mother asked.
“I will, Mommy,” she replied. She was told her normal babysitter, Sylvia, was very sick at the moment with appendicitis.
“I’ll take good care of her, Mrs. Fletcher,” Gina said, reassuringly.
“Maybe Angie will tell you a story later,” Mrs. Fletcher said “She’s really quite good at it.”
“Maybe,” Gina said smiling, but inwardly recoiling at the thought of some nine-year-old telling her a story about how Barbie and Ken went to the store and bought groceries together and fell in love… The thought made her want to vomit. But she smiled as genuinely as she could. Angela looked at the new sitter with those huge eyes, as if looking into her soul. Gina struggled to not show any discomfort. Satisfied, Angela’s parents turned and left their daughter with Gina. Gina waved at them as they left, encouraging Angela to do so as well. Then she walked back into the house with the little girl leading the way.
“I know you don’t like me,” Angela stated, as if the statement was undisputed fact. Gina was taken by surprise by the child’s comment. She felt a twinge of guilt in her heart, because it was true, after all. But how could this child be that perceptive? Oh well. Soon Gina would try to get Angela to sleep, and she could just chill until her boyfriend came over.
“Of course I like you,” Gina lied, smiling her best to the child. Those big eyes looked into her own, making her feel as if this strange child was looking directly into her soul. Troubled, she turned and walked into the living room. Angela followed.
“So what do you want to do, uh…”
“Angela,” the little girl answered.
“Yeah… Angela. What do you want to do now?” Angela just looked at her. Gina squirmed in her skin for a moment under the coldness of the girl’s stare.
“Well? Your mom said something about telling me a story?” she asked, her insides quailed at the thought, but she didn’t know what else to do.
“I don’t think so,” Angela answered. Gina felt relief. Angela just looked at her.
“Do you watch television?” Gina asked, trying to move on to something else. Angela paused a moment before answering.
“What do you like?” she asked moving toward the remote on the coffee table.
“Whatever,” Angela replied. “You pick,” she said, much to the relief of the sitter.
“You’re okay, Angela. You know that?” Gina asked, pushing the button to power up the huge television on the wall. Angela said nothing. Gina didn’t notice, being focused on what time it was and what would be on right now. She pulled up the menu and clicked on a channel with comedian on it, telling racy and sexual jokes. Angela said nothing, but sat there not watching the television, but rather Gina. Gina was watching it for a few minutes before she was aware of the little girl’s scrutiny. She did a double take, then switched the channel to the Food Network for a moment.
“I’m sorry,” she said genuinely. “I guess that was a little out of your league, huh?” Angela said nothing.
“Ok. How about this?” she asked, switching to the Cartoon Network. Again Angela said nothing. Gina felt increasingly uncomfortable around this quiet little girl, but couldn’t quite say why. She would be more than glad when this assignment was over. She sat back and started to watch the cartoon on at the moment. During the next commercial, she jumped up and asked , ”Want some popcorn?”
“Sure,” Angela answered. Gina quickly ran into the kitchen and had the popcorn in the microwave, the popping being audible in the living room, the smell wafting throughout the house in mere moments. Gina came back to the living room not long after, two bowls filled with the hot popcorn.
“Do you want extra butter, or do
you want Gina to season it up all nice and special for us?” Gina asked,
switching the channels for a moment. She
paused when she saw “Breaking News” flash onto the screen. The story told of yet another victim of the
latest in a string of murders by the serial killer known only as Gemini. Probably the most prolific serial killer in
history with over one hundred deaths being attributed to him over the years,
his recent killing spree was the most ambitious of his to date. This made fourteen victims in the past three
weeks, the confirmation it was his by the Gemini card that was found tucked
into the woman’s panties. That, and
their eyes were gouged out.
“Whatever you like,” Angela answered, not watching the television, but still watching Gina. Gina quickly flipped the channel back to the Cartoon Network and went back into the kitchen. While she was there, mixing parmesan cheese and some garlic salt, a subtle knock was heard on the back door of the kitchen. Gina’s eyes shot to the clock. Nine O’ Clock. Ted was supposed to come by in about an hour from now. Excited, she went to the back door when she heard Angela’s voice come from the other room.
“Mom said no visitors while she’s gone.” Gina hesitated a moment, rolled her eyes, then opened the back door a crack, and saw her boyfriend’s expressionless face peering back at her.
“Billy, I told you not before ten…” she said, then noticed Billy’s expression was out of place.
“Billy?” she asked. Just then, Billy’s face shot past her as door was pulled open and Billy’s body flew by her. Gina followed the form of her boyfriend as he fell on the floor in an odd manner. It took her a moment to realize that Billy wasn’t lying in a natural position and that he wasn’t breathing. But in that moment, another figure stood in the open doorway. Gina, frightened, jumped up and went to run into the living room. A strong hand in a black glove shot out and grabbed her by the hair, jerking her hard and off her feet. Gina went to scream, but the scream was cut short by the knife blade that neatly danced across her throat, opening her carotid and spraying the walls in crimson. The killer was deeply engrossed in his task when he heard Angela call from the living room.
“Gina, I want to tell you a story now,” the little girl voice spoke. A grim, black smile grew on the murderer’s face. “It looked like it was going to be a typical night babysitting,” the little voice continued. “But that was soon to change. The girl and her charge, a little girl of nine years of age, were alone in the house when a peal of thunder was heard that rattled the house down to the foundation…” The killer was at first confused by how intelligently the little girl in the next room spoke. But he literally jumped when a bright flash outside of the kitchen window lit up the kitchen, the peal of thunder immediately being heard and felt. He looked out the doorway leading into the dining area before it turned into the living room.
‘That was the damnedest coincidence,’ he thought. He grabbed his scalpel and ever so quietly crept toward the doorway out of the kitchen. The little voice droned on, and he felt himself drawn into what he was listening to.
“The rain started then. It hammered the roof and sounded as if a stampede of horses was running across it. Shingles started falling off of the roof, cutting into the metal of the cars outside, some windshields breaking from the impact of the tar-covered shingles…” The killer could actually hear rain falling outside, drumming on the roof more and more. Soon it was pounding the roof mercilessly, a deluge unlike anything he had heard before. The sound of car alarms going off and windshields being smashed was heard. Goosebumps rose on the killer’s arms, the hair on the back of his neck stood straight up. His heart started pounding. This just didn’t make sense! He took another step to the doorway, and another flash of lightning and rolling of thunder rumbled the house. The power went out, throwing the room into a Stygian darkness that could not be penetrated even with a flashlight.
“The power went out and the blackness was such that the air was alive with the blackness of it. The tombs of thousands of years could be smelled in that blackness as if hell itself had opened up and wafted its rotting death into the world of those yet waiting to be judged. The killer suddenly smelled a rotting smell, an odor unlike anything he had ever smelled before. It was the smell of death mixed with ancient mold. He struggled to quench the sudden urge to vomit. His eyes shot to the doorway of the kitchen.
‘I have got to silence this kid,’ he thought. He stealthily glided to the portal. He looked a little around the corner and saw he had a clear shot to the corner that was just before the living room. He saw the curly blond hair of the little girl on the sofa with the next flash of lightning. The smell of putrefaction assailed him, threatening to take any though of clean air from him.
“A bad man had come into the house just before the storm, and was trying to find the living room, when the windows all around the house lit up with the flashing of dozens of police cars...” she said. The killer waited a moment for the place to light up, but it hadn’t. Smiling grimly he stepped into the living room. He held the scalpel and was starting to get excited at his next kill. Another step, a third… and then the windows lit up with the flashing of red, white, and blue lights. The killer froze. This just wasn’t possible!
“But the police were helpless to come in to stop the bad man…” a smile quickly flashed across the twisted man’s face. He approached the girl from behind. She seemed to be totally ignorant of his presence. He raised the scalpel so it would slice cleanly through her throat when he grabbed her head.
“…they were helpless because the outside of the house was ringed by the many people the killer had murdered in his lifetime, and the bullets from the police gunfire didn’t even slow them down…”
Gunfire could be heard outside. Frantic, the killer pulled back his arm to end this offensive little girl’s life. She then turned quickly and looked right at him. The killer froze a moment. Her eyes seemed to be lit from inside, the pale light of them lighting up the room a little bit. Fear threatened to choke him. He had to stop this little girl. He had to kill her NOW! He raised his arm and went to swing it, opening up the little throat and end her talking.
“and the bad man wanted to hurt the child in the house who was unprotected because he had killed her guardians. He raised his arm to strike her down, but the blow never fell…”
The killer swung his arm to silence the little girl before him. The little girl who frightened him more than anything else had ever frightened him in his life. His arm swiftly swept the scalpel to finish the girl, the blade swiftly coming close to the girl’s pale throat… to suddenly stop.
“…because the dead had risen from their graves to exact vengeance on the very man who had killed them…”
The killer’s eyes went wild. He looked to see what had stopped him from finishing her, and his heart stammered. Indeed, the room was now full of the bodies of his victims of the past twenty years. They were all in various stages of decomposition, and his hand was held by none other than Gina, the holes in her skull where her eyes had been facing her killer. Then the dead started grabbing him from all angles. The man wailed like a damned soul as rotting flesh was tearing at him, ripping into his skin and muscle, and pulling out flesh and sinew. A pack of cards with the symbol of Gemini fell out of his pocket and scattered on the floor. Then, searing pain exploded in his head with a bright light and then blackness as his eyes were gouged out. Agony screamed in his shoulders and groin as his arms and legs were slowing and inexorably being pulled, ripping slowly and filling the night with the grotesque sounds of tearing flesh and the screams of a man who was being ripped apart. With a sudden pop, the limbs all ripped apart, spraying the room in a crimson mist…
“My Lord that girl is gifted,” John King remarked as Angela finished her tale, the hero and his princess riding off to new lands and promises of adventure and love. “I would swear I can actually see it!”
“I told you,” Eve answered. “I am just surprised she was wanting to tell a story after that tragedy of her babysitter being murdered while she was in the house. It was a good thing the girl’s boyfriend showed up before Angela was hurt, even though it cost him HIS life…”
“I talked with the school psychologist, and she said if Angela wanted to do this, it would probably be therapeutic. But for whom? Her or US?” John asked. Angela looked toward the principal, and he could have sworn her eyes were actually glowing…..