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A Sunday Stroll

by Hunter Wilson 3 months ago in supernatural / fiction
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Horror Flash Fiction

Hatham thought he must be the only man in town to notice the streets grew emptier each day. As he walked along, his grandson’s hand in his, he did not wonder why. He already knew. It was the way of things: kids grew up and left the nest, running off to the city to live in luxury. His own daughter had married local; he’d always regretted that for her. She should have moved off somewhere. Kingsport, or Roanoke. Or even Wytheville would have been enough. This town had no future, and Hatham would know.

But how could he refuse when she asked him to watch after her son after church? She needed the hours free to work a little extra at the bakery, and the boy loved spending time with his Grampa. So when the minister had finally stopped preaching the End-Of-Days to a congregation of maybe ten, they went for a walk about town. Well, what was left of it, anyway. Hatham figured there were maybe two hundred people still living here.

But despite that, the Independence Day decorations had never looked better. As the boy talked about his mother, school, his friends, Hatham began to hum, giving faint voice to that wandering, senseless music that he could never seem to get out of his mind. And as he hummed, the boy spoke, and Hatham steered them a little closer to the center of town, until the child saw the ice cream parlor. He looked up at Hatham, the question forming, and Hatham smiled. How could he refuse?

They walked on, the boy now enjoying a triple-scoop strawberry cone with sprinkles. There was no need to thank him, that smile was enough. It was always enough. Hatham kept humming as they neared the large grassy park in the center of town. If he didn’t give it a voice, it might overwhelm him, give him a migraine, like a pot boiling over. It wasn’t an annoying song, just… enduring. So as the boy babbled on between licks about how excited he was to be spending the day out with Grampa, Hatham guided them straight to where they needed to be. As they neared it, the boy’s voice trailed off.

It stood motionless in the grass. Or maybe it grew from the ground there. Hatham thought the latter, but he’d seen it wandering about town before. It was big, at least two stories tall, and it seemed to flow when it moved. Hatham didn’t like to look at it. Not out of fear, its presence actually comforted him, but deference. He’d been taught since he was a child himself, and still believed, that one should always avert one’s gaze in the presence of God.

He nudged his grandson forward towards it. The child took slow, hesitant steps that grew more confident as he neared it, until he reached its feet, or maybe its base. He stared up at it; it bent, or crouched, down. Hatham turned away, and when, a moment later, the song in his mind stopped, he gasped. A sob tore from his throat and he whirled around.

“WAIT!”

He stopped. Looked around. Someone had dropped their ice cream cone in the grass, he noticed with a twinge of sympathy for whoever had lost it. Hatham turned to go; he was supposed to meet his daughter and son-in-law for dinner. He thought it a shame - married for eight years now, but still no children. He knew how badly his daughter wanted a little boy. Maybe someday.

Hatham started to hum, giving faint voice to the music that filled his mind, a wandering, senseless tune he could never seem to get rid of.

He heard, or felt it beckon, and he turned to face it where it stood or grew a few yards away. Near the spilled ice cream, he wasn’t sure why he noticed. It called him forward, nad how could he refuse? He took step after hesitant step toward it, eyes down on the ground in reverence.

He arrived at its feet or base, where it almost seemed as if it flowed both deep into the ground and far into the sky. He searched his mind, trying to recall, what was it they always said in the Bible?

Be Not Afraid. And he wasn’t. He felt its shadow as it looked down on him.

Hatham looked up, and met the eyes of God. The music stopped.

supernaturalfiction

About the author

Hunter Wilson

Actor, writer, occasional dumbass.

Twitter: @melhwarin

Instagram: @myslyvi

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