Monday, March 9, 2015

3-9-15 Monday Mischief
7:04 PM

3-9-15 Monday Mischief

Artwork © Olga Khatkovskaya, All Rights Reserved -
Story © Brannon Hollingsworth, All Rights Reserved
© Mark Twain, All Rights Reserved
Brought to you by Four Fools Press: “Crazy Good Stories”


No answer.


No answer.

"What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You TOM!"

No answer.

The old lady flicked a button on the side of her M1-Avenger and squinted her eyes to peer through the high-powered scope that snicked securely into place. She looked down and through the once-finely tuned optics as she scanned the perimeter for something that looked like a boy; but was far more. A part of her, deep down, mourned the condition of her weapon. It was the pride of her heart and it had been built for service, not style -- she only wished it was still in its mint condition. But when the world had decided to fall apart, it'd decided to take everything else with it in its rocketing descent into utter entropy.

Her scope had been one of the first things to go. The eyes were always the first thing to go, she guessed.

It didn't help that she had Tom to deal with, on top of all that.

She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but still loud enough for the delapitated furniture to hear:

"Well, I lay my eyes on you, I'll -- "

She did not finish, for by this time she was bending down and pushing through the nearly decayed camouflaged net that hung over the entrance into her bunker. She thought she'd seen some movement on the top of the outermost wall. It looked like a cat slipping through the concertina wire. Could it have been Tom?

"I never could understand the movements of that boy!"

She stalked out through the black solar screened "fields", really, little more than poor, scraggly patches of tomato and jicama vines that constituted the whole of the complex's garden. One of her old, rheumy eyes was glued to the Avenger's scope and the other was pinched hard against the glare of the broiling sun. She had to be quick, ever since the life-giving orb in the sky had gone crazy and started trying to kill everyone on earth, most folks could not stay long outside.

No one, it seemed, but the things like Tom.

"Y-o-u-u TOM!"

The sound of his voice sent an ice-pick down her neck and injected ice water into her veins. The distinctly human-sounding sound that Tom could make was one of the reasons why she--and the rest of her kind--still thought of them as humans. It was one of the reasons why Tom and his kind had been able to get so close to them in the first place. Now, it just made her want to scream and run back into the relative safety of the bunker.

Not that the bunker would stop Tom. He'd been inside before too.

There was a slight nose behind her and she spun just in time to spy the movement of a small boy-sized something flit from a shadowy pool of darkness beneath a solar screen towards the still open bunker door.

And just like she'd done a thousand thousand times before, Aunt Polly softly squeezed--not pulled, not yanked--the trigger on her Avenger. Before she could blink, she'd sent a burst of three rounds down range. Tom's head exploded into a wet mist of gore and pulp.

The tomatoes had not been so red in years.

Aunt Polly let out the breath that she'd been holding and shuffled over to the boy that she'd once called Tom. He'd been an enemy of the complex for so long: stealing food, supplies, and even from time to time, dragging off members of their small, barely surviving society. No one knew what Tom's kind did with the folks they took. None of them had ever been seen again.

'It didn't much matter now', Aunt Polly thought as she turned Tom over.

Immediately, she knew that something was wrong...horribly wrong. There was not much of Tom's head left, but from what she could see - it wasn't Tom. It was Jim, a small colored boy that Tom had stolen three weeks ago. He looked horribly emaciated with his mouth sewn shut; the most odd thing of all, a strange, metal, spider-looking device had been hammered into the base of his neck.

It was then that all the hairs stood up on the back of Aunt Polly's neck. At first, she thought it was because of the horrific thing that she'd done--killing poor Jim--or the horrific thing that had been done to him and lay before her now. Then, something happened that let her know that she knew that she was wrong. So absolutely, horribly wrong.

"Why I did sew it with white! TOM!" The voice slithered over her shoulder, sliding like a snake over simmering hot rocks. It was Tom's unusual, yet still-somehow-human voice.

Aunt Polly saw that Jim's mouth had been sewn together with white thread. And then her world went white has hard little hands--about the size of a small boy--drug her down into darkness.

The above story is a genre twist based on fans' votes for our Monday Mischief. It is based on Mark Twain's beloved, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer! Did you enjoy it? Tune in for more Monday Mischief!

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