by Pencil Lead
Remember and take heed
Dead MemoriesA teenage boy stood looking up at the dilapidating remains of an old tree house that now sagged and hung loosely to the limbs that supported it. It had been 6 months since he had come to admire the raggedy old thing; 6 months since he’d last seen his twin sister.
By Pencil Lead
They had done everything together, him and her. He remembered all of the adventures they’d shared. At night the two trouble makers would run off into these very woods to scare their mother, and up the half broken ladder they’d climb till they were cooped safely up inside the small wooden house. She’d wind the most intricate of ghost stories with pasts of murder and betrayal; gore and blood. Then they’d laugh and run home, and away from the imaginary monsters behind them.
He smiled to himself as he circled the large black tree, taking in the tree house from all angles. Soon, the swing he was always too afraid to sit on as a youngster came into view. Held up by ropes, the sun warmed fading orange seat beckoned him to come nearer. Fingering the fraying ropes he slowly sunk down onto the seat and smiled when he found it was still strong enough to hold his weight. A little push with his feet and he swung lazily into the air. More power and he soared! This is what his sister must have felt like when she flew up above him, laughing at his cowardice as he looked on forlornly.
“Hmm, what is this,” he thought when he spotted a small red string that was intertwined with the roped in his left hand. Looking up, he followed the trail all the way up to the branch. Fingering it curiously as he swung he found it slipped from the rope freely. Maybe he could take it home as a keep-sake sort of in remembrance of his lost sister. Slowly swaying till he came to a stop, he began to pull the string and it unraveled easily and coiled in his hand. He pulled it till it came to an abrupt stop. Maybe it was stuck. So he tugged; it still didn’t come. With one final exasperated pull he broke it loose.
No sooner had the string been freed a large crack sounded from up above. The limb on which the string was attached to broke free, and he hit the ground with a thud, afraid the tree limb would follow. Instead, it swung and hit the tree, never falling to the ground. Shaking, he looked up, regretting the second he did.
The limb was hinged to the tree like a door. The red string must have been some sort of mechanism to open it. In the gap of the tree from once the limb stood, was a body, oddly disfigured from being shoved into the small space. A rotting stench filled the air. The flesh, now black from decay, fell from the bones like tenderized meat. Maggots filled every rotted crevice and crawled and rolled over each other. The long black oily hair hung from the bowed head in a matted mess. Yet, the eyes, its bright blue eyes, looked down on him in what seemed like a malicious glare.
The scream got stuck in the middle of his throat and he couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t move. That was his sister. “Jacob.” He jumped at the sound of his name and looked behind him from where he lay on the ground. “Mom!” he had found his voice and with this new found strength he got up and clung to her, tears streaming down his face. “Mom, that’s Jessie!” She didn’t seem to be fazed by his words or the rotting body that now tumbled from the tree, literally splattering when it hit the ground. Instead, she nodded slowly with understanding. “I know… I didn’t think I would have to do this to you to.” Her voice was barely audible, but Jacob heard it and the icy chill that shot up his spine froze him to the spot.
Revealing one of her favorite kitchen knives that she used almost every day she said,” I did it with this knife.” He was sickened knowing he had eaten food produced from the hands and weapon that had mutilated his beloved sister. Without warning or even a subtle hint, she brought the knife up across his face. The blade sliced his skin with ease, splitting it wide. The gash went from his chin up through his lips and left nostril, leaving his skin to flap and the velvet like blood to pour. Before he had to scream or defend himself she was on him again. Tackling him to the ground, she carried the blade over his chest, down his thighs, down on his groin, and down through his neck.
Covered in her son’s blood, she stood with a loving sparkle glittering in her opaque eyes. “I’ll leave your eyes darling, so you’ll have these dead memories.”
Prompt: a string
Word count: 844