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A Story for You!

Below is my short story that won second place in a 2013 Halloween story contest. It came in right at the word count limit of 1000 words. The theme of the contest was "Things I've Learned From Watching Horror Movies." I felt a little rushed writing it, could have been better, but here it is for your amusment.





"And If There's One Thing . . . "

by D. H. Lewis


   Troy watched the ludicrous level of destruction.

   The 40-story gorgosaurus-ankylosaur hybrid roared to the heavens before smashing its tail into a factory. Debris flew in all directions. Clouds of dust covered the streets. Fighter jets zoomed overhead, launching their high-tech yet inaccurate missiles at the creature. The creature roared again before headbutting an office building.

   Troy watched the monster walk through his apartment building, making that the third home lost to kaiju. His wife was right; they were worse than mosquitoes.

   Their possessions; baby pictures, clothes, heirlooms, Kin no Unko collection, were buried under broken bricks and shattered glass.

   The creature became distracted by a giant five-headed flying turtle breathing blue fire on everything. The monsters moved downtown to do battle as the shrieking jets continued to fire ineffectual missiles. Troy noted that the missiles struck the landscape more than the monsters, and wondered if the pilot's mission was to destroy buildings before the monsters got to them.

   Troy searched the lump of bricks for any surviving possessions.

***

   Troy tried to convince Kiku that Tokyo wasn't for them.

   "No, I told you before we married that I didn't want to live anywhere else."

   "But the US is nice-"

   "And have to deal with all the zombie outbreaks? If there's one thing I've learned is that the States have zombies." Troy agreed that there were a lot of zombie outbreaks.

   "Well, how about South America?"

   "And worry about all the giant anacondas?" Troy remembered that there were thousands of giant anacondas there, all with voracious appetites and moving with the speed of cheetahs.

   "Europe? The company has branches there," queried Troy.

   Kiku sighed. "With all the vampires, rambling stitched corpse-men, Satanic cults, and mad scientists? What if little Joey is bitten by a werewolf?"

   "Africa?" Troy looked hopeful.

   "Africa ... is hot," said Kiku.

   Troy agreed that Africa was hot, and if there was one thing he had learned it was that there were a lot of angry sorcery-charged mummies running around with vendettas. Troy was hit with inspiration.

   "What if we stay in Japan, but moved to the country? Joey can experience the outdoors. I swear, your cities are magnets to giant prehistoric salamanders and radioactive butterflies. Guess it's the bright lights along with the collection of smells."

   Kiku glared at him.

   "I'm not saying that the cities stink, just that to a giant lizard they smell like a fun time." Kiku smacked Troy, but agreed that the country was a good idea.

***

   Troy bought a quaint house settled near a picturesque stream. The locals seemed friendly, Joey was fitting in at school, and no kaiju. The 2 hour commute to Tokyo was rough, but at least Troy knew the house would be there when he came home.

   He was bothered finding small spots of water about the house, and the time Joey walked into the living room wiggling his pointer finger while chanting nijustas ... nijustas, but Troy thought it was just a creepy phase six year olds went through. Troy's attitude changed after talking with his neighbor Mr. Morioka.

   "You are cursed," Morioka said between sips of sake. "When you watched the video tape at the house-"

   "We don't have a VHS player," said Troy. "And what tape?"

   "Or DVD," spat out Morioka.

   "Uh, there was no DVD disk at the house," stated Troy. "If there is one thing I've learned it's to not play unmarked tapes or DVDs."

   Mr. Morioka appeared annoyed.

   "Listen round-eye, whatever damn format you have at your house, then-"

   "But there wasn't anything laying about."

   "Which house do you live at?" asked Morioka.

   Troy stated his address.

   "Oh! A poor girl died there in the well ... "

   Troy interrupted. "There's no well on the property."

   "Oh, house A or B?"

   "B," said Troy.

   "Ah," said Morioka. "A child drowned at the stream there."

   Troy thought for a minute. "My wife is thinking of signing my son up for swimming lessons."

   The old man sighed. "If you take him to these classes, he will die in some weird accident."

   "Then I won't take him."

   "Then he will drown because he didn't know how to swim." The old man shook his head. "If there is one thing I've learned, it's that Japanese ghosts will just mess you over. Nothing one can do."

   Troy mentally digested the news. "So every house here-"

   "Haunted as a muther. Except for mine. It's prefab, so it's ghost free. I guess."

***

   Troy told his wife about the spirit, believing it to be nonsense.

   Kiku sighed. "Well, that explains why I kept seeing a tormented child's face in the dishwater. And if there's one thing I've learned it's that denying their existence makes spirits really want to kill you. What do we do?"

   Troy called his grandfather in America for advice.

   "If'n thar's one thing I've learnt about handlin' evil critters it's that you gotta take the fight to them," said Grandpa. "You gotta Bruce Campbell the suckers. Blow their damn heads off. If it grows back, do it again. They got chainsaws over thar in China?"

   "Japan, we're ... never mind. Yes, we have chainsaws."

   "Well, get a mess of those too. Prepare yourself. It's war."

   "Grandpa, Japan has strict gun laws."

   Grandpa chuckled. "If'n thar's one thing I've learnt about these situations, legal stuff like that somehow gets ignored."

***

   Facing shotgun blasts whenever oozing from the kitchen faucet, its stream set ablaze with gasoline, and frightening hand-made traps set at every faucet and drain, the ghost child grew worried. Worry became fear when, while stalking the boy at the swimming pool, the ghost saw the father topside wearing scuba gear and holding a chainsaw. He wore a t-shirt reading "Daddy's Got A Present For You. RWWWHAR!" The ghost didn't know any way a chainsaw could work underwater, but was afraid that the father did.

   And if there was one thing it had learned, it was that it was sometimes best to let things go.

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Eldon Litchfield

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