That starless night Christopher Caper’s mind loomed within the darkness of a dream. A silhouette of a man stood on gravel near a commode of a house, but something was terribly wrong with the figure of a man.
He stood malignantly, slightly slanted in a navy blue suit and smiled, but the grin was grotesque and inhuman. Its voice slithered through the air, “Christopher love, don’t hurt them.”
Christopher’s athletic legs decided to jolt but refused to budge. He looked up to find a pair of peculiar sanguine eyes glaring at him from a distance. He tried to blink as the set of demon eyes grew closer and he heard that familiar hiss,
He awoke in a heated sweat. Those repugnant blood eyes and that dybbuk’s voice were imprinted in his mind,
Christopher love, don’t hurt them.
He felt isolated and managed to sleep with his eyes wide open as if they were pulled apart by that monstrous man in the navy blue suit.
II Peter Hurston
Peter Hurston was a man whom people liked. They were mesmerised by his sticky pearly teeth and drunken lilac breath. He taught fifth and seventh grade English at a school near a rivulet and hummed nonsensical naughty songs on his way to work. He hummed about men’s naughty peckers and little birds’ kisses hidden behind fine silk and cotton like intricately wrapped presents.
Most of all, he adored children; they fascinated him like a newfound species and there were so many to choose from as the assortment of sweet sex. He found himself regularly visiting the chocolate store on Fifth Avenue and occasionally browsing the products on display. His beady stone eyes darted to a boy the size of an abnormally large inflated balloon.
Tommy Pickler was an ugly, gluttonous, snout-pig of a boy whom he had taken quite a liking to. Tommy was pocketing viscid bunnies in his titchy undergarments as Mr. Hurston approached the boy as fleetingly as a fly avoiding a swat, with his eyes glazed as freshly baked croissants.
“Tommy, fancy seeing you here my dear. I oblige you to take my teensy pinkie attached to my hand over here like a good little boy and I just might allow you to take a peek in the trunk of my Buick. What do you say my dear?” asked Mr. Hurston.
Tommy exchanged glances from Mr. Hurston to the grime encrusted pavement and uttered a string of nervous blabber.
“ M-R H-U-R-S-T-O-N P-A-R-D-O-N SIR, b-u-t you don’t o-w-n a c c c-ar.”
Mr. Hurston’s grin grew to the size of a moon, the paint peeled from his lips yet his cheekbones remained stiff as paper.
“Tommy, how shrewd you are my dear boy! That’s right I have no car at all. How sagacious you are,” he sneered.
From his tattered tweed suit pocket, he hauled a crimson static face and plastered it on the rolled pig-skin forehead of Tommy Pickler and exclaimed even further, “Good boy!”
Tommy resembled that of an imbecile but grinned rather easily adding to his moronic nature of a child. A stick of sweetness emerged from Mr. Hurston’s pocket. He presented a saccharine rainbow as an offering to the pig in glut of lipids. Tommy danced like an Aztec, performing a ritual dance and snatched the sugar coated sweetness from his claws without a trace of gratitude. Mr. Hurston found this last action to be veritably rude and thought the pig-snout boy deserved every ounce that was to come.
“Tommy, my dear, I have to bid you farewell as I must be on my way. Don’t forget to do your homework,” he added with a look of bitterness that resembled the face of a glum rotted longevous man.
He glided out the door with a bag of saccharine melting bronze-coloured bunnies and geese.
Tommy winked and waddled out the store with unpaid glutinous sweetness spread around his fat fish lips, followed by a sea of wrappers trailing after him. Before he managed a shriek, he felt a piquant sting of a bee on the outskirts of his red-skinned neck decorated with rolls of fat.
III The House
The heated summer was unlike any other. Traces of scorching star slipped through the cracks of houses like the plague, baking residents within their homes like homemade pies.
Michael Buble’s, “Holly Jolly Christmas” capered down the halls of Mr. Hurston’s commode of a house. Within the cracks of his den, sprouted misplaced terrifying burnt azaleas silently squealing in fear of the creature that occupied the cavernous squalid slaughterhouse. Washing of ragged tweed mottled suits swam the air like cadavers playing with the vicious tides of the whistling wind.
Potatoes caterwauled in wailing water. Tommy, who appeared to be comatose, sat at the wooden table. His pig hands were glued together in the form of prayer with his polished black fat shoes glued to the grime encrusted kitchen floor. A rusty skillet rested in the middle of the fusty table with a plate set between a mottled steak knife and fork. Mr. Hurston, wearing a pink apron, was stirring the brew on the stove as Tommy opened his eyes. He could hardly breathe with the pieces from a torn dirty rag stuffed within the depths of his snout.
M-R H-U-R-S-TON D-O-N-T, he pleaded.
Globules of fluidly chocolate landed on his shaved scalp. The walls were painted with chocolate from Fifth Avenue. The smell of iron infiltrated his flared nostrils.
“M-R H-U-R-S-T-O-N DON’T!” he shouted, desperate for a hint of mercy.
He instead turned to face Tommy with a plastered grin smacked across his face. He held up a spoon of brown sluggish stew with a bloodied toe upon the midden of disgust.
“Tommy, my dear! I call this Pickler stew!” he exclaimed with a tone of madness. His grin continued to grow to the measure of a smiling half-moon and resembled that of a ventriloquist’s dummy.
Suddenly Tommy realised that he could not feel his toes but had mistaken the numb feeling for the stickiness of the superglue.
“One, two, three, four, little piggy toes in a row,” Mr. Hurston whistled with hushed whispers in a melodious tune.
“You are missing your mop of head too, my dear, but fear not for little pigs have no need for such trivial things like hair!” he barked with a look of pure lunacy.
Tommy felt his bald reddened skin with streaks of carmine death from the tip of his head. Blood rested on his fingertips like spilt ink. He screamed.
M-R HUR-S-T-O-N, I’ll call my M-A-M-M-A, please,” he begged in huffs and puffs of whisper.
“My dear boy! Mamma joins us from the pot. Mrs. Pickler, the whore! In pieces, in my pot!” he exclaimed, followed by a shrill laugh.
Tommy screamed yet no sound escaped his rotunda mouth. The inevitable was yet to come. His English teacher was clearly a mad man. Mr. Hurston knelt to meet Tommy’s fearful eyes and whispered,
“Closer, my dear, I want to show you my secret. For centuries I’ve kept it hidden but now, yes, my little piggy, I’ll reveal it.”
You K-I-L-L-E-D M-A-M-M-A, N-O-W YOU’LL K-I-L-L M-E, I’ll P-R-A-Y F-O-R Y-O-U I-N H-E-A-V-E-N,” he bellowed, knowing that mamma must be resting in heaven, waiting for him.
Mr. Hurston let out that familiar wail. Something was wrong with him. Tommy could not tear his eyes away from the appalling scene. He let out a final gruesome squeal but this time the fright escaped for miles through the air. Tommy Pickler was no more.
One, two, three, four, little piggy toes in a row.
He fancied the bones; the ash with crushed dust particles of phalanges, fibula and tibia in a mix of raw meat and egg.
Tasty as the tottering whore on Fifth Avenue with little Mrs. Pickler’s knickers to drain the yolk and consume dregs of black coffee, he thought.
IV Christopher Caper
Christopher Caper lived in the same flower-printed house for ten mucid years with a dissatisfied, sickly mother. Mrs. Caper dwelled within the shadows of demons, drinking by the dozen with remnants of bottlenecks crushed within the soft-carpeted floor.
He took good care of his sunken-shipped mother by helping around the house, cooking meals and attending to unpaid bills. Though remarkably responsible, Christopher’s sensitive taste buds yearned for maple syrup which he stole from the local supermarket. He had a passion for advertising and would troll through magazines in the psychiatrist’s lounge and secretly tear any particular ad that caught his eye. The psychiatrist was meant to help him cope with father issues which he claimed Christopher had since the departure of his father at the tender age of three.
Although Christopher led an onerous life, he managed to discover joy in Mr. Hurston’s English class. He admired the teacher who was always on time, wrapped in the same grubby brown tweed suit he had already worn the day before.
I wonder if he ever bothers to clean himself, he thought while in his favourite teacher’s class on a sunless afternoon. An image of a feline licking itself popped into his head causing him to let out an inaudible laugh.
He had on many occasions found his teacher to be quite odd and had noticed that Mr. Hurston carried no scent and that he had no lines on the palms of his hands and face. There were no identifiable streaks on his fingers which all people tend to have in order to claim an identity.
A red cotton ball in a box of yellow yarn, Christopher thought. Mr. Hurston had always been distinguishable.
He etched on the chalkboard and mumbled some incoherent matter under his breath.
I must sugar my skin, dip myself in raw egg and steal mother’s knickers.
W-H-A-T A-R-E K-N-I-C-K-ERS? Tommy would have asked within the depths of the myriad tunnels of the monstrous gut.
Christopher raised his hand.
“Yes Christopher?” asked Mr. Hurston.
“What are knickers Mr. Hurston?” he asked with a quizzical stone look that enshrouded his face.
Mr. Hurston sneered rather scathingly and replied with a tone of ice, “Why Christopher, such a shrewd boy yet you do not know the simplest of worldly matters. How would you drain your coffee?”
Christopher instantaneously thought of those black insects that died at the bottom of the coffeepot that mother drank with half closed eyes after embarking on a booze trip to visit her fictitious friends.
“No matter, I shall enlighten you my dear son. Knickers are used to drain coffee. Coffee is that dark splinter black liquid that tastes like lead,” he said rather complacently.
Suzy Pinkelton raised her hand; her face flushed a feverish salmon pink-red tone.
Mr. Hurston’s beady eyes darted to the mouse of a girl.
“Yes Suzy?” he asked.
She screamed the question with arduous breaths, her pink salmon tone transitioned to alarming shades of blue.
“What is lead?” she asked.
What particularly annoyed Mr. Hurston was the fact that the stupid bitch of a girl did not address him formally, to which he replied,
“Shut your trap Suzy.”
The bell announced itself as confirmation to enter the grandiose gates of heaven. They reminded him of trapped mice, as they scurried and threw towers of books into battered old bags.
Mice to eat, he thought.
They travelled like bees to peonies, planting wet sloppy unsavoury kisses on mother and fathers’ cheeks.
V The invitation
Mr. Hurston felt a residual presence which was uncommon; he turned his head to find Christopher glaring at him behind crestfallen eyes.
“Why Christopher my boy, do you need anything?” he asked curiously.
“Sir, I would like to know more. I wish I had the opportunity to ask you questions that have really been bugging me lately,” he replied.
“Dear boy, I don’t often give out invitations but would you like to visit my home at exactly three today?” he asked flaunting his white china teeth.
“Really sir? It would be an honour and a wish finally fulfilled,” he almost shouted with woeful eyes that could never lose its misery.
“See you at three Christopher. Toodles,” he replied with a smirk and slipped out of the classroom with his briefcase tucked neatly under one arm.
VI The return
There had been something familiar about Mr. Hurston’s house. As Chris stood glaring at the house he could not help feeling a peculiar prickly sensation at the back of his neck. The tiny fine hairs stood up as if he had seen an apparition. He did not feel the surge of excitement as he had when asked to visit but rather a feeling of vulnerability and fear. He never imagined Mr. Hurston’s house to look the way it did; the grass was neglected and grew tall reminding him of a cornfield, the once picturesque azaleas and daisies were torrefied and peeped from the oddest places of his home, neighbouring weeds grew among the once beautiful flora. Dried paint peeled from the roof. The windows were broken and it felt as if something inhuman was peeping at him, hiding in the shadows of the monstrous den.
His legs finally gained consciousness and he crept up the mouldy staircase ignoring which must have been a preposterous feeling. Before he could knock Mr. Hurston invited him in, donning a navy blue suit and a blood red tie to match which was absurd as it was sweltering hot. Upon entering his home, Christopher was stricken with the smell of sulphur and it immediately became unbearably hot as if someone had pushed him into an oven. The outside of the house was glamourous compared to what he had encountered from inside. Christopher could not comprehend why his teacher lived like this with dirt encrusted walls and cockroaches crawling on his feet as if they had grown accustomed to visitors. Beside the unhygienic conditions of his home, Chris could not shake that eerie familiar feeling as well as the presence of eyes following him as he made his way through to the kitchen.
“Would you care for some sugared strudel Christopher love?” he asked.
“No,” replied Christopher shocked at his reference to love and the stench of unpleasant familiarity.
“No thank you Mr. Hurston,” he hissed.
“What sir?” asked Christopher.
“Repeat! No thank you Mr. Hurston,” he commanded.
“No thank you Mr. Hurston,” he repeated rather fearfully.
“As a matter of fact Christopher, it is awfully rude not to accept an offering when invited as a guest,” he said rather smugly.
“I am awfully sorry sir, yes I will have some,” replied Christopher completely bewildered that this had been the same man a few hours ago.
“Please!” barked Mr. Hurston.
“Yes, yes, please sir,” replied Christopher.
Mr. Hurston sneered while vestiges of delight flashed over his black raisin eyes. He slithered to a filthy wooden cupboard and retrieved something on a feculent ceramic plate with one-dimensional perfectly pink butterflies plastered on. He planted the mucky plate of sugared strudels in the middle of the wooden table.
“There you go Christopher love, sugared and all to your liking, I know how all you children love sweet goodness in your trap,” he hissed.
The strudels were flaked with shavings of fungus. Mildew grew on the sides of the plate like cobwebs. Christopher’s eyes widened in terror. He anticipated something bad to happen.
Just pretend. He doesn’t realise fear just yet, he thought anxiously.
“Well eat up all your sweeties like a good little love,” he ordered with a half-moon grin.
Christopher suddenly remembered the dream, those eyes of death and that infernal voice,
Christopher love, don’t hurt them.
Suddenly Mr. Hurston’s eyeballs pooped out of his head and rolled onto the dirty ceramic plate as squirts of crimson death fell upon the mouldy strudels. Christopher stood as if frozen in time. Mr. Hurston’s perfect crop of head fell to the floor as diaphanous feathers of a Starling. His hands popped out and fell to the grimy ground; it appeared to be the hands of a mannequin. The abnormally pink lips began to peel; shards of dry paint fell to the floor like luminous dead insects. He stood six metres tall and tore off the navy blue suit to release a pair of majestic wings. He stood gazing through black holes directly at Christopher. His face was sickly pallid with only black holes in the centre with no remnant of a mouth and yet he still wore formal shoes.
“Do you fancy my secret love?” he said through no vacuum of breath.
Christopher wasted no time and bolted through the kitchen door. This was not a man at all.
He flew after Christopher and eventually kicked off the shoes to reveal slabs of wood for feet with miniature raw toes stuck to the ends. The toes were of different shapes with slight variations in size and looked as if they belonged to children.
The familiar demonic voice slithered through the slips and cracks of his tormented mind,
One, two, three, four, little piggy toes in a row.
“Your mamma’s a whore, your mamma’s a whore!” he sang, grinning placidly inside.
Globules of salty tears fell down the sides of Christopher’s cheeks as he bolted up the stairs and stumbled into another squalid room and managed to barricade the door with a wooden plank which he had found while climbing the stairs. He quickly scanned the room and failed to find a rifle which he knew how to use thanks to his intoxicated mother. There had been no trace of a weapon, but instead mounds of rags which by the looks of it, used to be fine clothes; they all possessed a vibe from the early twenties. His numb fingers dived into the heap of rags in hope of finding a weapon and yet he found nothing. He sat on the pile of rags with a feeling of overwhelming hopelessness. He glared at the wall and discovered titchy moths attached to the wall embedded within a white sac with what looked like frozen chocolate cemented to the wall and small detached arms nailed to it. The small arms, like the toes looked as if they belonged to children. Christopher screamed and released a flow of orange-coloured bile which he figured must have been the cereal he ate that morning.
There were so many moths still living and the sac seemed to be a form of protection. His babies, all these moths are his precious children, he thought.
“I heard you little love. Please don’t hurt them Christopher love. I only tried to make them seem like all of you,” he pleaded behind the wooden door.
A single slab of frangible wood separated him from the odious monstrosity who was clearly toying with him.
“Christopher love, the windowsill is too high to jump from as you would clearly break those impeccable edible athletic legs of yours and the walls are impenetrable. I urge you to come out…if you dare,” he threatened.
“No way you freak!” screamed Christopher, challenging the abhorrent beast.
“Now love that is veritably rude and let that be a warning. Say anymore and I’ll break down this pathetic door and snap your pretty neck in four,” he snapped.
It’s now or never, Christopher thought.
He ran from the end of the room straight through the wooden door. Expecting to be in close range of the beast, he looked up with splinters embedded in his poignant eyes from the crushed door and a screeching insufferable pain that crippled his sight. His vision grew blurry and there was no sign of the monster, yet he still felt that minacious presence that filled him with dread as the dream had. That same diabolical voice echoed through the hallways of his mind,
Christopher love, don’t hurt them.
He turned around to face those steady murderous ichor red eyes. Christopher let out a final distorted wail. There was a sudden twilight and then nothing.
Mr. Hurston in a sumptuous night-black suit, butchered, ate and kept the moreish parts of Christopher Caper in his freezer.
This one had been different, very different indeed with those eyes of despondency. I did you a favour didn’t I? Thought Mr. Hurston.
He smiled that wonted smile.