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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Entertainment · #857995
One nosey old woman gets her Just Deserts.

The doorbell rang, a high chime in the evening air, followed by a soft thud. After this there was the pitter-patter of retreating feet. Whomever had delivered the large brown box that sat atop the Welcome mat before the front entrance of Rose Ingrid’s house, they certainly had no qualms about remaining anonymous. In fact, being anonymous was what they seemed to want.

Rose, Rosie to most, opened her front door and stared over the box and into her front yard. Nothing. She stared beyond the front yard, but all she saw were two people, the Tower twins, sauntering by on the sidewalk before her house, giving her matching smiles of avarice and contempt. Rose had always carried an unusual dislike for twins, but these twins in particular she downright hated. They were even creepier than what could be normal. They were so dark that they nearly vanished in mere dusk, and their eyes were the lightest shade of brown that Rose had ever seen. Large and round and unblinking, to Rosie they looked predatory. They looked hungry.

And why wouldn’t the Tower twins, even as unsettling and uncomfortably eerie as they were, stare at Rosie as she stood upon her front porch hoping to find the deliverer of whatever was inside of the large brown box? Why shouldn’t they view her with matching looks of seething, barely concealed hatred? They hated her. In fact, everyone in the entire neighborhood hated her.

Rosie was the neighborhood noser, the community snitch, and no one liked snitches.

The middle aged woman with the graying hair and narrowed, suspicious eyes snorted, hitched her glasses up onto the bridge of her bony blade of a nose, then bent down and ran her eyes along the surface of the box. Almost immediately, her wary eyes settled onto a very large, very bold statement, which was written on the left side, which faced her front door.

‘Snitches get stitches,’ it said.

“What,” Rosie muttered, although she was quite unaware of speaking at all. Her right hand rose to her sagging breasts and rested there, hovering like a careful viper on the verge of a deadly strike. Rosie searched for a sender’s address, but she saw nothing but the coarse brown surface of the box; that, and of course, the words ‘Snitches get stitches.’

Her teeth on edge, Rosie stood upright and peered about the neighborhood around her. To the right was Old Man Pulie’s wreck of a house, its hedges monstrous and overgrown, the eves of the place settling into depravity and despair quite restfully. To the left was Sharon West’s convertible car, sitting in the flighty woman’s even flightier driveway like a red rocket in some science fiction tale, only awaiting the small OK to blast off into the heavens. Before her was the sidewalk that those despicably sneaky Tower twins had walked upon, sneering at her from beneath their eyelids.

Rosie saw nothing out of the ordinary course of her life, and no one out of the ordinary, either.

“Could it be a bomb?” she asked no one in particular. A red robin that sat in the large elm tree in her front yard twittered merrily, seeming to give sweet answer to this question. The sweet twitter could’ve been ‘No.’

“Could it be poison?” Rosie asked, her hands back before her shriveled chest again. The nails on both hands were immaculately manicured with what looked to be an almost obscene amount of care. This time there was no answer from the red robin in the elm tree. Instead, a dog barked from somewhere to the east. This rough sound might just have been ‘No.’

“Could it be a wild animal, perhaps diseased, full of rage, and waiting to tear my throat out upon my opening it?” she asked no one. The red robin didn’t twitter and the dog didn’t bark, but the wind did pick up a bit, and Rosie imagined that the sound it made sounded a bit like ‘No.’

Yet, her wise old mind wondered still, and with a curious heart, Rosie turned and stepped back into her house.

Into the home’s small kitchen she went, intent on brewing herself a bit of black coffee. It would be as strong and as black as she could stand it this evening. Her mind was troubled, and with fairly good cause. There was a large brown box sitting on her front porch with no sender’s address, and she had no idea who it could’ve come from. In her meager opinion, this was plenty to worry about.

Ten minutes went by as the coffee brewed and Rosie’s eagerly sharp mind raced. When the brew was done, Rosie poured herself a large mug full of almost stygian darkness and drank deeply of it. It felt warm and calming trickling down her throat. It felt filling and reassured her normally sensible mind. Who in God’s Great Name would send her poison in the mail? Or a bomb? Or a wild, rabid animal ready to tear her a new corn-shoot the very instant the box was pried open? She sniggered to herself within the tight confines of her old fashioned kitchen.

“Silly old woman,” she said to herself as she walked to the front door. She paused before the door for a moment, sighed, then opened the door again. There it was, the same large brown box with the words ‘Snitches get stitches’ printed on it in bold, black letters.

She looked about the neighborhood again, this time a bit more sure that she would spy a familiar face grinning at her from around her home’s corner, or from beyond some poorly tended hedge. Perhaps she might see Old Man Pulie smiling a sunken, toothless grin at her front atop his dilapidated front porch, even as his home fell into ruin around him. Or perhaps she might see Kim Porter sneering at her through a slit in her imported blinds, a glint in her slanted eyes, a dull luster on her lips. Or maybe, just maybe, Rosie thought, she’d see two sets of light brown eyes as they caught a glimpse of their owner’s hard work in tricking an old woman in her dressing gown, giggling all the while as they looked on in silent hatred.

Well, she wouldn’t give them the satisfaction, oh no. She’d show them, all of them, what she was made of, which was something that was much too stern to allow her to be scared into a tizzy by a damned brown box with ignorant words written on it. The coffee mug shook slightly in her right hand as she strode forward. Without another thought, Rosie bent down and stroked the surface of the box with her left hand. Still as a skeleton in a grave it was. Nothing. All that worry, all that trepidation, and for what? For a box of God knows what, probably nothing at all.

“Ha,” pushed itself past Rosie’s thin lips, and she had reached into her dressing gown’s front pocket and removed a box cutter when the box suddenly jerked; indeed enough to move it a slight bit to the left. The box bumped Rosie’s slipper clad left foot. Rosie jumped backward, dropping the coffee mug onto the hard front porch in the doing of it. The mug shattered, spraying black coffee all over the front porch and even managing to splash a bit of it onto Rosie’s gown.

The middle-aged woman shrieked into the day, beating at hot droplets with one hand, waving the box cutter wildly before her like a broadsword with the other. She barely managed to catch her balance on the credenza that sat just to the left of the front door, saving her footing the very instant before she lost it.

“Oh God,” she sighed, her right hand clutching at her chest like a vise.

Rosie slammed her front door shut with a clench of her formidable line of teeth.

The box…had the box on the front porch jumped? Had the box that was missing a sender’s address actually, factually jumped? Was there perhaps something alive inside the box after all? Did someone really want her dead?

Into the kitchen Rosie went again. She poured herself another mug of coffee, but her hands shook too much for her to get very much of it into her mouth. Most of it dribbled down her front. She counted the coffee as a lost cause, pouring the rest of it down the drain in disgust. Coffee would do no good this time. This was the day of the box, after all.

Her bladder hadn’t seemed this small in years, not since 1976 when she had been a young woman who danced in her own fair share of nightclubs and speakeasies. Beer, liquor, and wine had made her bladder seem small and unworthy then, but that was 20 years ago, and her youth was gone the way of dinosaurs, mastodons, and bell-bottoms. Fear had a much more powerful hold on the bladder when youth retreated into the alley of the past.

“Right,” Rosie said beneath her breath, and she walked down the house’s center hall and into the bathroom.

Into the vanity mirror that rested above the sink basin she stared, considering her eyes and the red that stood out in them. She considered the way her mouth twisted the slightest bit upward, giving her the look of a slightly mad old woman. She sat atop the toilet and waited for the flow of relief to come, but it did not come. There was no relief to be had, and after two minutes, Rosie stood up, cleaned herself, and exited the bathroom, giving herself a cursory look as she flicked the light off with a snap. She didn’t look so good.

“Ok old woman,” Rosie said to herself as she came before the front door once again. Her right hand compulsively twisted the hem of her dressing grown, fraying it little by little as she did so. “Ok, there’s nothing in that box but a dancing ballerina, or perhaps a clown with little golden cymbals that clap together every time the head is squeezed hard enough.” She swallowed, but she had to force the spent saliva past a rather large lump in her throat.

“Nothing in there that can harm you, Rose, old girl. Either open it or kick it off the porch. Either shit or get off the pot, old girl.”

She pranced back and forth before the front door, twisting the hem of her dressing gown to pieces as she did so. She worked her courage up like a tide might work itself up before it slams into some unsuspecting coast.

“Here we go, Ro, old woman,” she said. She sighed deeply, stood as rigid and straight as her middle aged back would allow, then threw the front door open in a rush of air and determination.

There sat the large brown box with the words ‘Snitches get stitches’ on it. It seemed to call to her, to mock her with something like bored resentment. She imagined that there were two sets of identical brown eyes boring through her like lasers.

“This box didn’t move, damn it,” she said, tearing the hem of her gown in half in disgusted frustration. “Just my mind, playing games with me. My mind wishes to see my bladder soil my body.”

Her right hand drew the box cutter from within her gown’s pocket and fell to the surface of the box with a sudden rage filled gusto. “Just one of these un-neighborly bastards trying to scare me spitless. Just one of these unfriendly asses trying to make me move after nearly 30 years of being Queen Of The Block. Well, nothing doing!”

And with that, Rosie’s quivering hand drew back and swung at the top of the box. Just as the cutter was about to touch the surface, the box jumped again, this time actually managing to leave the surface of the porch altogether. Rosie, even in mid-swing, screamed and fell backward in a haze of fear and shock. She dropped the box cutter with a clatter and keeled over the dragging, frayed hem of her dressing gown. She gripped at the small table beside the door in her fall, but missed this time.

Her back cracked as she hit the hard cherry wood floor, and the back of her head rang like a hollow gong when it hit, sending a cloud filled with stars and silver white agony through her head. The fall knocked the breath out of her, and as such, she wasn’t even able to scream. She was only able to produce weak wheezes in her horror and shock.

When the daze that had come with the fall rose a bit, Rosie looked up to see that the box was now vibrating toward her at an alarming rate. She could hear the rasp, rasp, rasp of the box as it slid off the front porch and across the threshold of her house.

She could feel the flow of blood pouring out of the back of her head as she struggled to stand, but to no avail.

“Oh God….oh Guuuuudddd, no,” she wheezed, clutching at the floor, sliding backward, trying to stand. It was no use. There was blood everywhere. It was smeared in fans across the floor.

“Someone is trying to kill me…someone is trying to kill me and there’s nothing I can do to escape it. Someone help me, oh God, help me.”

Rosie began to scream, but all the good this did her, for her breath was gone and all that came out of her mouth were rustles and wheezes. Meanwhile, the box slid across the threshold and into the house. It was vibrating madly.

The words ‘Snitches get stitches’ blared at her from the side of the box in bold black letters.

“No,” she said, holding her hands out before her in abject terror. “No, I won’t be a noser anymore. Don’t kill me, just don’t kill me. Help! Helllllllp! No! Noooooooo!”

Two days went by with not a word from the Ingrid house.

Finally, Emily Tower noticed that the front door was a bit ajar and called 911.Inside, the authorities found one Missus Rose Ingrid, quite still and quite deceased, dead of blunt force trauma to the back of the head.

A very tall, very large black cop named Horowitz came upon the large brown box that sat before Rosie’s body as cameras flashed around him and voices muttered suppositions in the morning sun. There was a slight slash on the top of the box. “Wonder what’s in the box,” Horowitz muttered, and he leaned down to open the box.

Inside was a dark brown monkey that held a small pair of silver cymbals in its hands. There was a permanent grin spread across the monkey’s leering, vapid face. When the cop touched the top of the monkey’s head, it began to clap its cymbals with a manic fervor that made the box containing it jump and vibrate across the floor. The cop smiled, revealing three gold teeth in the doing of it.

Outside, walking past the house on the sidewalk before Rosie’s, were the Tower twins. They gave the house a look as they passed, and then looked at each other with slight grins.

“Got her,” they said in perfect tandem. “Don’t know who it was that told Mum about us sneaking out the other night to see the Wilson twins, but we know it was her, we just know the old snitch ratted us out.”

And they knew that their mail had been received and was no longer pending.

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