Mudcat Café message #2472451 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #113933   Message #2472451
Posted By: Lonesome EJ
22-Oct-08 - 12:24 AM
Thread Name: Fiction : The Dead Man's Guitar
Subject: RE: Fiction : The Dead Man's Guitar
Sheila's sister Patti answered the phone, and Sheila told her about the murder, about the possibility that the killer was Michael. Patti was holding a plastic bowl of Kraft Caramels that had an animated plastic hand protruding from the center, and she put this down on the counter. Her daughter, wearing a SpongeBob outfit, stamped her foot and said "come on, Mommy!"
"Oh my God, Sheila. Do they have any idea where Mike is?"
"He was staying at a hotel downtown, and they plan to arrest him there."
"Are you by yourself?"
"Yes. Would it be alright if I came over for a little while?"
"Get yourself over here right now. Do you still have your key?"
"Yes. Won't you be there?"
"I have to take Lucy trick-or-treating for maybe forty five minutes. You come in and take care of a few ghosts and goblins ringing the doorbell, and we'll be right back."
Sheila put a fleece jacket on, locked the house and left. On the kitchen table, her cell phone played the opening bars of the 1812 Overture, and the caller ID lit up with "SLCHomicide" on the screen, but Sheila had already turned at the stop light.

Between the cottonwoods quaking in the night wind, dark figures loped in pairs or singly, ghosts, demons, monsters, tramps, superheroes with clenched bags of loot moving from porchlight to porchlight. To Sheila, the night had a nightmarish fever cast upon it, prismed and altered by the tears in her eyes. At a stop sign, a man in a complete werewolf mask and wearing hair-covered hands paused to gaze at her as she stopped, then trotted across the road.
At last, she pulled into Patti's drive, staring momentarily at the litter of plastic tombstones in the yard, the spectre moving in the limbs of the tree. A skeleton was mounted on the door, and as she approached it said "Happy Halloween! We're all dying to see you!"
Inside, the house smelled like apple cider and pumpkin pie. Sheial closed the door and sat down heavily on the couch. She turned on the television and saw Frankenstein's Monster stumbling through a dark medieval village street. The doorbell suddenly stammered into life and she heard the sound of several childish voices saying "trick or treat!!" As she opened the door, she saw a tiny witch and ghost with plastic pumpkin candy containers, a bored teenaged boy with a drawn-on mustache and goatee, and a woman of her own age dressed in a Raggedy Ann costume.
"Happy Halloween," said Sheila, "there should be some candy..." and a glance revealed the dish on the kitchen counter. She treated the children, closed the door, and had the sudden urge to call David. She was rooting through her purse for her cell phone when the realization came that she had left her phone on the table at home, and that there was no phone on earth that could reach David. She sat on the couch as the villagers on the tv screen gathered torches and pitchforks.

Michael studied his face in the rear view mirror. Of late, he had become reluctant to look into mirrors at all, for more often than not he saw the strange hollow-cheeked goggle eyed spirit that was possessing him leering back. But this time it was his face, the worse for wear, but his face nonetheless.
Through the windshield, he saw two more silent figures approach the porch, ring the bell, then burst into "trick or treat!" and then he saw Sheila answer, candy dish in hand. Something rose up in his chest when he saw her, something like love or sentiment, but Michael knew it was too late for all of that now. He had crossed that boundary when he killed David, and left it far behind when he strangled the cop. Why had he posed the cop's body on the chair? Why did he write on the wall with the blood? Michael rolled the stem of a rose between his fingers and thought why the roses? None of those things were his. All of those actions were the Dead man's. But the killings were his. With his left hand, he touched the coil of wire in his pocket. He felt another warm surge in his chest, felt it erupt as laughter. When he looked into the mirror again, he was not surprised at all to see the Dead Man's face.

Joe and Cindy Clark were dressed as buccaneers, and Joe was finding it difficult to drive with Cindy trying to jerk the parrot off of his shoulder with her hooked hand. She was giggling and he tried to stop laughing as he shouted "cut it OUT!" and pushed her across the seat. "Careful!" she said. He looked up quickly and steered the car left to miss the gray SUV parked at the curb. As he did, the headlights picked up a man in the front seat. Joe later told the police "he was just pulling a skull mask on to his face when we passed him" and Cindy had said no, no she didn't think it was a mask at all.