A chiller from owner of popular blog: 'My Little Corner'...
ONCE UPON A BLUE MOON
“Bluuuue Mooooon…I heard you whisper her name…dah, dah, di, dah, di, dum…you’re driving me insane.” Rupert giggled. “I never can remember the words.”
He gimped his body closer to the girl cowering in the corner, felt her flinch when he tipped his face in closer for a better look, watched her eyes grow wide with fear. “What’s a matter? Cat got yer tongue, pretty girl?”
“Leave the poor thing alone, Rupert. Can’t you see she’s near scared to death? And looking at your ugly scrap of a face ain’t gonna make her feel any less scared.”
“I didn’t mean to scare her, Ma. But she’s such a purtty pretty, I couldn’t help but be looking at her.”
“Just come away and leave her alone, boy. I brought her here for your brother.”
“That ain’t fair, Ma. Rory had the last two. Please, Ma, I want me a pretty girl all for my own. I’m a big boy now, ain’t I? Can’t I have her, please?”
“I said, no.”
“Awww, c’mon. Purtty, pretty please?”
The old woman turned from the stove where she’d been cooking and set a plate full of fried potatoes, eggs, and sausage on the table. “Forget about the girl. Get on over here and eat your breakfast.”
Using his crutches, Rupert maneuvered his crooked body over to the table and sat down. He poured ketchup over his food stirring everything together until the contents of the plate looked like road kill. Smacking his lips, he picked up his spoon and started shoveling the congealed mess into his lopsided mouth. Drool dripped off his chin onto the plate, but he didn’t care, just kept shoveling the food into the gaping hole that was his mouth.
His mother turned her face away from the deformed flesh that she’d born and raised. He’d come to her in the time before sonograms and Roe v Wade, in a time when women took on the burden of the children they birthed because it was expected of them. For more than forty years now she’d cared for Rupert and, Lord help her, she was falling-down tired of carrying the load. She brushed the unmotherly thought away. That was the cancer talking. He was her son and she loved him unconditionally, no matter how much trouble he was.
It was the tumor gnawing away at her brain that forced her into taking the deal offered by her eldest son. In exchange for finding Rory a woman to tend to his needs when she was gone, he’d put a merciful end to Rupert’s life. She’d made the pact, only because she couldn’t bear the thought of her son in a state run institution. And she knew, beyond all doubt, that’s exactly what Rory would do with his brother when she died. All his life, Rupert had been free to roam the woods and fields around their farm, she didn’t want him trapped in one of those awful places with no one left to care whether he lived or died. But Rory, instead of keeping his end of the bargain, was appeasing his own malignant needs.
She sent a reassuring smile towards the frightened girl, passing along a quick prayer to God on her behalf. The girl was only trying to be a Good Samaritan when she’d offered a tired old woman a ride home. How could that innocent girl have known what they’d planned for her? How could the poor thing know that her soul might join the other two that she’d already brought home for her son’s approval? Rory’s price was becoming too steep for her peace of mind. At this point, she was hard pressed to decide which of them was the bigger monster.
Over the years, she’d given up hope that God spared any thought to her troubles, idly wondering when her prayers had started drifting into the dark regions of the nether world. With faint hope, she prayed that this pretty little thing would catch Rory’s fancy and he’d finally take Rupert for that long over-due walk in the woods, instead of the girl.
She heard the stomp of Rory’s work boots on the front porch. Trembling, she returned to the stove, dropped some butter in the frying pan, waited for it to bubble, then dropped in a couple of eggs. In a futile effort to hide her fears she picked up the made-up lyrics of Rupert’s song, and started singing. “Blue Moon…I heard you whisper my name…please don’t drive me insane. I’ve only me to blame.”
Sandra Seamans, wife, mother, grandmother and short story writer. But not always in that order.