My Friday Frights for today. The theme is Little Green Killer Kids.
When You Wish, Wish Clearly
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
Donna hated clowns. But Dennis had wanted one for her birthday so she agreed, even though the freak was giving her the creeps. She knew underneath the makeup it was just Frank Murphy, but the red nose, giant shoes and multi colored wig gave her the willies. It didn’t help when he pinched her bum while she was lighting the birthday candles.
“Back of, Bozo,” she breathed, holding the torch out she’d lit the candles with. “I’m sure you don’t want to find out if that costumes flame proof.”
Frank beeped his nose, which made a loud honking sound and then headed back into the living room to make more animal shaped balloons. The phone rang and she sighed, looking at the caller id. It was her husband. He’d already disappointed Dennis by not being there at the start of the party, but his text earlier had promised he would be there before they ate the cake. She’d held off as long as she could, but a house full of hungry kids dictated that cake must be served.
Putting the phone to her ear she said, “You had better be telling me that you are heading up the walk now.”
“I’m sorry, honey, but the meeting is running late. Tell Dennis I’m sorry.”
“No. Jerry, you promised him. You can’t keep going around and breaking your promises.”
“I’ll make it up to him. I promise.”
“Like I haven’t heard that before.”
Jerry didn’t answer and Donna felt guilty as the silence between them grew. Jerry worked long hours, but he provided well for them. While others were floundering in the failing economy, his company was turning a profit and Jerry, as one of the top executives, was rewarded well. Rumor had it that he was going to be promoted to Junior Vice President at the next board meeting. Then she heard a woman’s voice in the background and she tensed up.
“What is Tonya doing at your company meeting? Where the hell are you?”
“Honey, I’m at work. I promise.”
“I heard Tanya’s voice.”
“You heard Meg, Mr. Dunkin’s new assistant. I can put her on the phone with you if you want, but it’s going to make you feel silly and it sure as hell won’t make me look good. Please don’t screw things up for me when I am this close to a promotion.”
“Yeah, whatever.” Hanging up, Donna shoved her phone into her pocket and turned back to the cake. The candles were burning down and wax was beginning to drip on to the frosting. “Shit!” Picking the dessert up off the table she hurried towards the living room, singing Happy Birthday at the top of her lungs.
Dennis looked over the candles… seven of them… and thought about what he wanted to wish for. His mother patted him on his back, her fingers massaging his back. He glanced around at everyone singing. Matt, his best friend, was inserting some line about a monkey and a zoo. His aunts and uncles, even a few of the neighbors were all there. But the one person he wanted there the most hadn’t bothered to come, even though he had promised. He’d even pinky swore with him. You didn’t break a pinky swear. That was binding. His anger grew as he thought about all the promises his dad had made, all the promises he had broken. He only had one thought when he closed his eyes and blew out the candle. He wished his dad was dead. At least then he couldn’t lie to him anymore. He blew out the candles and everyone applauded. Then the living room lights flickered and went out.
It wasn’t that dark outside, but with the curtains pulled, the room had an eerie feel to it. She felt Dennis move and she fought the impulse to reach out and grab the back of his shirt. “Stay calm,” she said, even though no one was saying anything. Then the lights came back on and she screamed.
“Where did they go?”
Donna grasped at the closest person to her, which happened to be Frank. Her fingers were twisting the sleeve of his costume, while the other adults in the room looked around in confusion. All of the children were gone.
“Maybe they’re hiding,” Frank said, prying her fingers off of his costume. “They were talking about playing a game of hide and seek.”
“And they decide to do it during a power failure? That doesn’t make sense.”
“They’re kids,” Frank shrugged.
“Dennis?” Donna raised her voice, letting her son know she wasn’t in the mood for games. He didn’t come out though and neither did any of the others.
“I’m calling the police,” Nellie Stevens said, pulling her cell phone out. As she began to dial, the lights flickered out again. When they came back on, the children were back.
“What the hell… is this some kind of a joke?”
Donna turned her son around and looked at his face. He was green. Licking her fingers, a habit she’d always thought disgusting when her mother did it, but did it now herself, she scrubbed at his face. It remained putrid green, no matter how much she scrubbed.
“Did you leave your clown makeup where the kids could get into it?” She asked, glaring at Frank.
“I came with my makeup on,” Frank said, sounding defensive. “Besides, my makeup is white, not green.”
“Get me some soap.” Donna wasn’t speaking to anyone in particular, but Frank moved anyway, deciding that it was better to humor her. It was just a little makeup, he didn’t know what the big deal was. He wore makeup every day.
Deciding he was through having his skin rubbed raw, Dennis swung his arm at his mother, knocking her backwards and onto the ground.
“Dennis Michael!” Donna struggled, trying to find the words to convey her anger. Her son, like any other boy, had talked back to her before, ignored her requests to clean his room and other things that boys…well children, would do. But he had never hit her.
Dennis looked down at her, the gleam she was so used to seeing in his eyes, gone. If she didn’t know better, she would think he was dead, a walking zombie, like the creatures on that AMC show he liked to watch so much.
Then he growled and dove on her. His movement seemed to trigger the other children, who attacked the adults with abandon. Frank came back into the room with a soap dispenser, only to have Sally Clemens tackle him to the ground. She reached up and plucked his red nose from his face, nearly taking his real nose with it. Then she leaned over him, drool dangling from her mouth, and he realized she was going to bite it off.
In the corner, unseen by those in the room, two creatures watched what was going on.
“My, but that was dramatic... lights off, lights on."
"I have a flare for the dramatic. Makes it more exciting."
"I thought we were supposed to make birthday wishes come true."
“Then I don’t understand…." the younger fairy said, confused. "He wished his father were dead, yet he’s still in bed with the woman that is not his wife.”
“Oh dear,” the older fairy moaned. “My hearing has been going… that’s why I’m retiring. I thought he wished he wished he and his friends to be un-dead."
“Why would he wish that?” The younger fairy asked.
“Well I know it doesn’t make much sense now, but zombies are all the rage these days.” The older fairy paused, hearing a car pull up outside. "Oh good, it looks like daddy did make it after all. Dennis can still get his wish."