Her finger nails tap along the old oak desk that sits in the entryway of her father’s funeral home. Checking the time on her phone, she’s eager to be off of work. Time moves slow in Stark’s Funeral Home. Seeing as how no one seems to die in this town anymore. Some see it as a blessing, and some unfortunately feel a burden from this phenomenon. The town of Merrywood seems to have some sort of a spell put on it, and has for the last 6 months. Not one single death, and with that, not one single funeral.
Kelly’s phone alarm begins to ring, buzzing, and crawling it’s way across the desk. To Kelly, this sound is like the final bell in a school house. Time to go home. She slides her phone down into her back pocket, and leans over to grab her purse. She opens the zipper, reaches in and pulls out her keychain, jingling with the keys that access every single doorway in her life.
Kelly pushes the front door closed, and locks the door, she turns and begins to make her way around the building towards the back. It’s a nice day outside, the clouds are miles away. It isn’t too cold, isn’t too hot. Something Kelly is good at noticing; the bright side. She approaches a rusty old gate, with a door barely hanging on by the bent screws in the hinges. She grabs a hold of the bar, and muscles the gate open, scraping the bottom along the concrete. On the other side of the gate is the backyard to hers and her father’s home.
She makes her way across the gravel path leading to the back patio where her father is sitting on a rocking chair reading a book.
“Hey,” Kelly says
“Hi sweetie, how was work?” Her fathers, Gerald, asks.
“It was okay.” She responds in an almost sarcastic tone.
“I’m assuming we had no customers?” Gerald asks with regret.
“No, not today.” Kelly sits next to Gerald on a wicker chair.
“Our funds are about to run out.. I’ve never thought I’d say this.. but I truly hope someone dies soon.” Gerald picks his book back up and begins to read again. Kelly stands from the creaky old wicker chair, pats her dad on the shoulder and walks past.
“I’m going to go get some coffee. I’ll be back in a bit.” Kelly goes into the house.
A short while later, Kelly is sitting in a booth at a local coffee shop scrolling through social media. There’s few people in this quiet coffee shop, but she’s the only one sitting alone. She sets her phone down and takes a drink of her coffee, just in time to notice a man staring at her. He smiles. Kelly smiles back. She looks down at her phone, and then back up and notices the man walking towards her.
She sets her phone down, looks up at him with a shy grin.
“Hi, I’m sorry.. I just don’t think I’d forgive myself if I didn’t come say hello.” The man stands at the edge of the table, hands in his pockets, and clearly nervous.
“It’s okay, I wouldn’t have forgiven you either.” Kelly responds playfully. The man laughs.
“I’m Charles.” He states.
“Kelly.” She responds.
“Mind if I?” Charles signals to the seat across from hers.
“Please do.” Kelly pushes the chair out with her foot.
“What are you doing here all alone?” Charles sympathetically asks.
“Well.. I just got off of another boring day of work, figured I’d treat myself.” Kelly shakes her iced coffee boastfully.
“Where do you work?” Charles asks.
“At Stark’s Funeral Home. My dad owns it.” Kelly answers.
“Oh, I’ve seen that place!” Charles ecstatically responds.
“Won’t be seeing it for very much longer..” Kelly sinks back into her seat.
“Why’s that?” Charles asks.
“We haven’t had anyone die, or need a funeral for that matter in about six months. It’s okay, though. Once the home goes under, I can finally move out of this city.” Kelly leans into the table.
“Well.. maybe something will come along and fix that.” Charles grins.
“Like what?” Kelly asks, she seems concerned.
“A giant lizard monster, or like.. a tornado made of razor blades.” Charles says while chuckling.
“Hm.. I could see both of those being a possibility.” Kelly laughs, Charles follows suit.
A week later Kelly is sitting at the same oak desk, scrolling through social media on her phone. A bell rings. Kelly looks up and sees a distraught woman walking into the funeral home.
“Hi, how may I help you today?” Kelly stands from her desk.
“I need to plan a funeral..” the woman says, succumbing to the river of tears behind her eyes.
A few hours pass, and at 5:05 Pm on the dot, Kelly comes bursting through the back gate, to greet her father on the back patio.
“Dad!” Kelly yells, sterling Gerald.
“What?” Gerald looks up at Kelly.
“We have a funeral this Friday!” Kelly exclaims.
“Is it the Miller man?” Gerald questions.
“How did you know?” Kelly stops in her tracks.
“It’s been all over the news, he was murdered a couple of nights ago. They still haven’t caught the killer, and aren’t sure what the motive could have been..” Gerald says gloomily.
The next morning, Kelly is in the funeral home fixing a flower arrangement on a table near the entrance. The bell rings, Kelly looks up and sees a group of people walking in.
“Hi what can I do for you all today?” Kelly stands up and approaches the group.
“We need to plan a funeral for our son,” a woman states.
“I need to plan one for my wife..” another man says from in back.
Kelly looks stunned.
“Okay, well.. whoever wants to go first I can meet you in this room over here,” Kelly gestures to a room to her right.
After work, Kelly is back at the coffee shop, sitting at the same table, alone. She looks up and sees Charles walking into the coffee shop. He sees her and immediately makes way for her table.
“Hey!” Charles waves.
“Hi!” Kelly sits up in her chair.
“Just get off of work?” Charles asks.
“Yes!” Kelly answers.
“How was it?” Charles sits in the seat across from her.
“There’s been a ton of murders here lately, the police are saying we have an active serial killer.” Kelly says with a hushed tone. “We’re getting all of the funerals.”
“Spree killer.” Charles states.
“What?” Kelly is confused.
“A serial killer has time in between his kills. A spree killer will kill a handful of people all within a few days of one another.” Charles states with confidence.
“That’s a weird thing to know..” Kelly chuckles.
“What can I say? I’m a weird fella.” Charlie shrugs.
The next morning, Kelly rises out of bed to the sound of her alarm. She shuffles out into the living room, and hears a news reporter saying something that catches her attention.
“We have caught the murderer who has killed what officials are saying upwards of four people in the last two weeks.” The news reporter states. A picture of Charles flashes on the screen. Kelly holds her hands over her mouth, Gerald notices her reaction. “Charles LeBaw was arrested at his home last night under suspicion of murder, and confessed to it almost immediately.”
“I know him..” Kelly says to Geralds.
“The only motive he says he had..” the news reporter says, “was love.”