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Numbers and Fear by Shawn Micallef

30 Oct

Fear is a physical reaction to stimuli that gives the appearance of danger. It is a word that Jason knew very well but never saw it used to describe him. He was what many people called fearless. The man was cool under pressure and instead of running from a fire he would run towards it.

This lack of knowing fear had put Jason into many dangerous situations. He had been shot at during a bank robbery. He refused to drop to the floor when ordered to by the robber. This act allowed a guard to get the drop on the would be robber and the situation was resulted with no one getting hurt, except the robber.

There was another situation where an exploding gas tank led to first degree burns on his body when his shirt caught fire.  He had just pulled a small child out of a burning car and as he rushed the child to safety the gas tank exploded.  The blast forced him to fall to his knees and some of the debris hit his back causing the burns.

Friends of his had tried to test his fearlessness for much of his life. They played practical jokes on him all the time. They would try to scare him from the dark jump out and wearing a mask to scare him. After a few broken noses they gave up on those attempts. Plastic spiders were left in his car, his office, and even a real snake was left in his sock drawer.  He learned at that time it was important to lock his front door when leaving for an errand.

It was like this for his life up to the year 2013 as he turned thirty three just in time for Halloween.  He prepared as always to give out full size candy bars to the children in his neighborhood. He knew the kids loved to stop at his home and often they try and scare him as well.  He would smile at the children and often tell them nice try and it was like that Halloween as well.

He had put up with his friends trying a new tactic of trying to use superstition to get to him this year. They pointed out that this year he had too many threes to be safe this year.  As usual he laughed them off and pointed out how any number can be seen as evil if given that reasoning. He knew that the number three had been told to have a bad connotation to it much like the number six. Fate was tempted one night when a friend would not let the thing drop. So, Jason yelled out the numbers three and six multiple times repeating each one three time. His friend had enough asked him to stop and even made the sign of the cross over his chest.  Jason rolled his eyes at that time and asked his buddy who was the scared and superstitious one?

Halloween had come and he had just turned off his light that night after giving out nearly all the candy bars he had purchased that year. He had about two to three bars left and was about to open one for himself when a knock came from his door. He shook his head, rolled his eyes and went to the door while he put the candy bar back into the small bucket.

He opened the door and found a cute little girl dressed in the oddest of costumes. She had a princess costume on but instead of being pink it was black.  She had small horns by her ears and blood red lips that were a contrast to her pale white face.  Her hair was jet black and oddly tied up in dual pony tails that did nothing to hide those horns. He took in her appearance and just told her that he only had a few candy bars left and asked what she’d like from the bucket.

The young girl looked up at him, as she stood no more than four feet tall. She smiled her cheeks rose and split to show small dimples. There was no sign of cracking makeup when she did this and he saw her eyes were pure black.

“I do not want your candy, but instead I am here for you.”

His right eyebrow rose as he let those words sink into his mind.  He stepped out a bit and looked to the right and left to see if any of his friends or neighbors were around.

“Did someone put you up to a joke or is this someone’s attempt to scare me?”

Her smile faded into a stern look and if possible flames may have escaped her eyes as she stared at him. Her mouth opened so slight and he heard a small voice come from her, but it was loud within his head.

“I am here for you.  The man of no fear in the year of his threes who has summoned me.”

“Excuse me, but what are you getting at little girl? “

“You have summoned us, and your time is nigh and I am here to collect you for the one who collects those of three.”

“Hey are you guys out there? It’s not cool to use a girl to scare me you know this won’t work.”

“No one shall hear the words from your throat, you yell to the nothingness that now will claim you.”

He hadn’t noticed, but as he looked around he saw no street lights, no life, just a pale glow on the girl coming from the lights inside his home.  A shudder spread down his spine and he began to sweat.

He questioned himself silently, is this what fear feels like.

She repeated her claims again to Jason.

“You have summoned us, and your time is nigh and I am here to collect you for the one who collects those of three.”

“I heard you the first time. If this is some joke to get me scared it is fucking working. You can tell those who are pulling this prank off congratulations. After thirty three years they finally got me. Now will you please get off my porch as I do not want to slam my door on a little girl.”

He attempted to shut the door as he backed into his house but the door did not move. She just looked at him and grinned. Her mouth parted this time to show teeth that were pointed like daggers.  She then parted those teeth and used a fork tongue to lick those blood red lips. She stepped toward him and through the door again a small whisper of a voice said.

“I am here for you.  The man of no fear in the year of his threes who summoned us as you will not be shutting me out.”

He tried again to slam the door the fear he held onto for so many years finally claimed his body. The sweat ran down his body causing his shirt to turn wet. His heart raced and he saw images of the close calls from his life. The robber, the fire the snake, it and so much more came to his mind at that moment. The girl just stared at him and slowly walked further into the home the door closed itself.

A loud scream pierced the neighborhoods silence. People turned on their lights again to see if they saw the source. Children stopped in their tracks as they were heading home and all turned toward his now darken house. The scream echoed one more time in the night and as smaller kids dropped their bags of candy and ran home, neighbors slammed doors and lights turned out.

Someone in the neighborhood had enough sense to call the police and the darken street was again lit up by lights. These being a mixture of blue and red from the police cars and ambulance that came to Jason’s home. After hearing the door being broken down from the sound of wood being shattered some neighbors finally braved the cold night air and went outside.

Some ran back into their homes, others stared on with eyes wide open, jaws gapped at the sight that met their eyes. Some of the men in blue were seen running back outside the broken door and were vomiting on the once green grass. Another officer was seen coming out shaken and the sounds of deep sobbing heard from the man. A paramedic came out doing the sign of the cross over his chest as he let the blood covering his hands paint the white uniform where his finger tipped had touched his uniform.

A neighbor finally had the courage to walk up the street to get a view and hoped to talk to a member of the police. He was turned back by an officer as he got close. The officer only saying that what they saw inside was worse than any acts of violence they’d seen in a cheap horror film. The neighbor tried to stand on his toes to see into the open doorway but could not. He finally got a glimpse through the reflection in a police car window and he collapsed on the spot dead from a sudden heart attack the coroner’s report stated.

Over the next two weeks the police put up a twenty four hour watch on the home. No one was allowed to enter and the press briefings were very simple.  All the police would say is that the scene was under investigation and a man was presumed dead from the amount of blood found at the scene.  Neighbors were questioned on what they had seen and heard that dreadful night. All any could remember was the odd girl in the black princess dress they saw skipping around the corner near Jason’s home singing a song. The only words anyone could remember were;

“One, two, three,

I come for thee,

Four, five, six,

Beware what I will inflict.”

 

 

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3 Comments

Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Short Stories

 

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3 responses to “Numbers and Fear by Shawn Micallef

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