Day of the Dead. Short Story.

Well. I don’t really have much news today. This is awkward.

I’ve been rewatching True Blood in preparation for seeing the new episodes. I’m supposed to hold off watching them as two of my friends want to watch them together, with red cocktails. The red cocktails are apparently a requirement. It is reassuring though, if the episodes are crappy, we can just get drunk instead! win-win!

Beyond that nothing is really happening! I’m off to pretend to do some work!

On with the show!

————————————————————————————–

Day of the Dead.

She was walking through the park, it was a warm, sunny day but the park remained mostly empty, it seemed as though the recent spate of good weather had worn people down. At first there were barbeques and trips to the beach, but slowly the events dwindled and people remained in doors again. She preferred it this way, she always walked through the park and it was much more pleasant while the place was devoid of people. She had been chastised by her mother plenty of times that it was dangerous, that she could be attacked, but she felt safe, as far as she was aware there had never been any attacks in the park and it seemed an unlikely place to start. There was a slight breeze which helped keep her cool, nearby she could hear ducks calling to one another. The gravel crunched under her feet as she walked, the sound was soothing, the trees rustled in the breeze, dancing to the rhythm of the wind, but beneath the sound of the trees speaking came another, a faint noise, almost as though someone was whispering. She paused, looking around, there was no one behind her or to the sides. The breeze died down, as did the noise. After a few seconds of intense listening she decided it was merely a trick of the wind and carried on.
The wind picked up again but this time there was no noise, no whispers. She shrugged, probably people talking somewhere in the park, maybe there were just odd, natural acoustics. She continued walking and soon found herself the by pond, she came across an empty bench and sat down. Across the pond she could see a few people milling about, a couple and their child were feeding bread to ducks, some old people were sitting on the benches. A cyclist cycled past her and somewhere a dog started barking. It was quite serene, or at least it would be if the dog shut up. It wasn’t that intrusive really, it was faint, the dog was some distance away. She watched as the ducks crowded around the people, trying to get bread.
A group of clouds rolled across the sun, dimming the light. The couple looked up, checking to make sure it didn’t look like rain. She wasn’t too concerned. She lived nearby and rain never hurt anyone. Well, not the kind of rain that occurred where she lived.

The breeze picked up again, causing the nearby bushes to start rustling, the wind was stronger than it had been previously, it pulled and tugged at her hair, snatched at her clothing, stole her warmth. The sun was trying to compete, trying to allow her some warmth but the wind was too cold. She shivered, the old people across the pond stood up and together, began to battle the wind as they walked, supporting one another as they went. Grit was being blown around, she squinted, trying to keep her eyes clear. It would stop in a moment, it always did. But the wind continued, getting louder and more insistent. The park had emptied out further, now she was the only person near the lake, probably the only person in the park. The wind gave one final scream and stopped. There was no slow backing away, no cooling down period, it was just gone, nothing but silence left in its place. Despite the sun still shining, she was cold. The ducks had quieted down, going about their own business now, but silently. She sighed. This again. There was noise, sudden and loud in the broken silence. Squelching, water dripping. She waited a few moments before seeing it. Clawing its way from the pond, using tufts of grass to pull itself further. Finally it stood, slowly, shakily and began to lurch towards her. The creature was once human, or at least appeared to have once been human. A girl, maybe fourteen, dressed in a nightie that clung to her body. Her skin was pale and grey, lichen and moss spiralled across the surface of her once skin in strange and interesting shapes. The girl continued on her journey before stopping at the bench, slowly, she reached out. “Don’t fucking touch me.” The girl paused. “And while you’re at it. Fuck off. I don’t care.” the girl tilted her head slightly, confused. Her hand tentatively moved forward again, the woman slapped it. “I said don’t fucking touch me. Leave. Now.” the girl stayed where she was for a moment, before she began to lurch back to the pond. She stopped. “Keep going. I can still see you.” the girl began to walk again. “Good.” The girl completed her laborious journey back to the pond and once she disappeared beneath the surface, sound returned, the wind began its gentle journey and warmth flooded over her. She sighed, then stood. It was supposed to be a pleasant walk. That was all. She began walking again but the day was ruined. She should just head home now at this point.

She was nearing the edge of the park when the wind picked up again, dancing through the trees, that faint whisper. She stopped, so that’s what that noise was earlier. “I already told the dead chick to fuck off and you can fuck right off too.” the rustling continued but the whispering stopped. Chanting began. “Seriously. I don’t fucking care. I won’t help you, I just wanted a nice fucking day. Thanks for ruining it you fuckwads.” the chanting stopped too. She started walking again, muttering to herself. “Jesus christ. Five fucking minutes of peace, is that too much to ask?” She had been able to see things, things that others hadn’t since she was a girl, and they had been pissing her off ever since. Always whining about something, wanting her to save them or feed them or release them or what ever the fuck. It was too much. She wouldn’t have minded so much if she could find some way to make money off it, but no, it seemed that the things that came to her were poor in both life and death. There were no hidden fortunes, no “Tell my rich children this for me” instead, she got to deal with the cat lady, a woman who had followed her around for two years, two, lamenting the fate of her cats. She tried telling the woman that they were either adopted or dead but nothing worked. She ended up bringing the woman to a cat shelter and dumping her there, convincing her that is where her cats ended up. There is only so much you can hear about cats before you want to kill someone and it doesn’t help when that someone is already dead.

The driveway was empty, good, her mother wasn’t home. She would have some peace and quiet today anyway. She opened the door to the house and went inside, she had made sure it was well protected, only the living could enter the house. It didn’t stop them yelling in or pressing against the windows, but it was enough. She went into the kitchen and started boiling the kettle, a cup of coffee would help her relax, she looked out the back window as the kettle boiled, it was a shame too because it really was such a nice day.

 

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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