The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Happy Birthday, Wallace!
“I have no friends here. Only Wallace.”
Teacher Dale put Benny’s paper aside. “Poor kid,” she whispered.
Benny’s transfer to his new school hadn’t gone well, and most of the kids teased him mercilessly. She had done what she could to alleviate the problem, but nothing had worked so far. There had been a ray of hope this evening, however; she had seen him walk into the middle-school dance. He was immediately lost in the milling crowd of youngsters mobbing the gym, so she didn’t know what happened after that.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of voices coming through the wall behind her. She frowned and got up to check it out. Those kids were told to stay out of the science room. The janitor was supposed to have locked the door!
The smell of burning hair was what hit her first as she opened the door to the lab. But that was nothing in comparison to what her eyes beheld.
Benny was sitting on the floor, inside a crude hexagram he had drawn with what she hoped was chalk. It was impossible to tell, since all of the lights were out. The only source of illumination came from inside the skull that was in front of him. That light was fire—Benny was burning hair inside the skull of their plastic lab skeleton.
He didn’t move. His face was frozen in a wide grin, and his eyes stared into the empty sockets of the skull.
“Teacher Dale,” he said. “Thanks for coming to Wallace’s birthday party.”
“Wallace?” She looked around, but saw no one else. “Where’s Wallace?”
Benny pointed at the flaming object in front of him. “This is Wallace.”
“That’s not…Benny, put that fire out. You’ll melt Mr. Boney’s skull.”
“Not Mr. Boney. Wallace.” His grin got wider. “Wallace Bernard Stockman.”
Teacher Dale’s blood froze. Stockman had been a serial killer who had been put on trial, convicted, and given the penalty of death by lethal injection. This had only been a year ago, and had been the talk of the area for some time. Many of the townsfolk had lost loved ones to the maniac.
“Benny! That isn’t very nice. That man was taken away and is now dead.”
After a lengthy pause, Benny shrugged. “Guess they didn’t kill him good enough.”
Dale edged toward the now-headless skeleton, which was hanging in its usual place. She put out a tentative hand and brushed the armbone, not wanting to feel, but needing to know.
The bones were real! Gone was the plastic skeleton, and this monstrosity was in its place!
Benny threw some more hair on the fire. Dale could now see combs and brushes in a heap beside him, and remembered how he had a habit of lingering in the cloakroom most mornings. Now she saw why.
“Benny?” Her voice quavered a little, and she struggled to remain calm. “Why are you doing this?”
“Because it’s Wallace’s birthday, and he asked me to do it. He’s my only friend.”
Dale was about to reprove him when suddenly there was a mighty roar, like a hurricane wind—yet there was no movement of air in the stuffy room. Flame shot from the eye sockets of the skull, and the tips of the fire touched the wicks of nine candles that were arranged before it.
At the same time, the sounds of merriment in the gym down the hall turned into screams of panic. Dale was paralyzed by fear, even as the flames swooped around Benny. His grin suddenly turned into a wordless scream, as his body disappeared in the fire.
Hours later, investigators finally got around to checking the other classrooms to see if the carnage had spread to the rest of the building.
They found Teacher Dale, prone on the floor, clutching the leg of a fully-intact plastic skeleton. There were no signs of any other disturbance.
Weeks later, the murder rate skyrocketed.
Fiction © Copyright K.R. Morrison
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author K.R. Morrison:
Lydia’s faith in God is strong – at least on paper. But what happens when that faith is tested? Turned into a vampire by the worst – Vlad Drakul – she feels that God has abandoned her. But the opposite is true. God rescues her from a fate worse than death, and brings her into the plan He has for global redemption. With the help He sends, she feels like nothing can stop her. But when Vlad torments her again, and then her family, the temptation to run and hide is almost too strong to resist. Her answer to God’s call is the deciding factor in the battle that pits the angelic powers of God against the demonic powers of Hell.