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This Party Tip submitted by BizGirl - Aug 25th, 2008


    • Scary as Hell Ghost Stories 4

    • Gingerbread and Men By Val Ford

      Go Back to Scary as Hell Ghost Stories

      Margie ran as fast as she had ever run in her life. Her heart pounded as her stocking-clad feet flew toward the car. Keys in hand, she flung open the door of her new black Volkswagen Beetle and leaped in, crashing her bare knees against the steering wheel.
      He’d bruised her before, even shoved her against the wall, but this was the first time he’d hit her. It was too much. She’d promised herself she would leave and she was doing it. Everyone in a two-block radius was privy to the declaration of freedom she’d screamed on the way out the door.
      The engine was turning over as Randy reached in and grabbed her arm and hair through the open window. Damn. Why hadn’t she closed it after her trip to the store? She locked the doors with her free hand and pulled away with all her might as she rolled the electric window up. She grimaced as hairs parted company with her head. As the beveled glass pinched his wrists, he finally let go and started hitting the car. His rage-distorted face pressed against the glass, yelling words she’d become familiar with over the last couple months. . . . worthless, stupid, and a few more. The order didn’t matter, they blended into a symphony of control that had pushed and pulled her like the strings on a marionette. No more. She could do this. She could leave.
      She threw the car into gear and backed out of the driveway of Randy’s big pretty home. He ran alongside, getting in her way as she shifted into drive, until he saw that she was prepared to run him down if necessary. As the blocks melted behind her, she turned randomly, not taking the main thoroughfare. She had no doubt we would come after her. No reason to make it easy for him.
      She drove for a hour before pulling off at a convenience store. Picking up her cell phone, she called her Grandma Jeanne. He’d think of her parents first. Jeanne lived seven hours and two states away. He hadn’t met her yet. She couldn’t remember telling him much about her, hopefully he wouldn’t even know her name.
      “Grandma? It’s Margie.” She went on quickly without waiting for the usual chit chat. “I’m in a little trouble and need a place to stay for a while. Would it be all right if I come to your house?”
      “Margie? Of course you’re welcome here, dear. What’s the matter?”
      “It’s Randy. I’ve got to get away from him.”
      “Say no more. Your mother will be so relieved that you’ve finally decided.”
      “So can I come?”
      “Of course, dear.” Jeanne was silent for a few seconds, “But I may have a better idea if you’d like to be in this area for a while.”
      “I’m not sure how long, but at least a couple months.” Margie probed the swelling on her right cheekbone, winced with pain and stopped. She looked out the window and then focused closer in. The sun was welding red and blonde highlights into trails of color where long strands of her hair had caught in the window. She picked one off, twirling it around her index finger as she listened intently to the voice on the other end of the phone.
      “The renters in my sister Millicent’s house just moved out. We could set you up there for a while. I’ve always liked that place, and it just doesn’t seem right with renters now that Millie and Lorna have passed.” The conversations paused and Margie sent a small prayer heavenward blessing the souls of great aunt and daughter who’d been killed in a car wreck a couple years before. She had the feeling that Grandma Jeanne as doing the same thing.
      Margie moved her hand along her belly. It was still flat, but she could swear she’d just felt a flutter within. Surely the baby wasn’t big enough yet to be felt. It was probably the burrito she’d eaten for lunch.
      “You’d be doing me a favor. You could supervise the repairs that have to be done. I use a local handyman, but it always seems to eat days of my time whenever I want anything done there. Not that it’s that far from my house . . .” The warm old voice rushed through the receiver and Margie found herself with a plan.

      Margie held her breath as she pulled into the driveway of Millie’s house, hoping it was going to be livable. She let it out with a smile. It was that and charming too. Not that it was ready for a spread in Better Homes and Gardens. Weeds choked the tulips along the sunny walkway to the front porch and paint was peeling from both the violet shutters and white outer walls of the little house. But it was sturdy and welcoming.
      She got out of the car and gazed up at the steep pitched roof. The shingles lay flat and looked almost new, and the masonry on the chimney showed signs of new bricks and mortar repair. She walked up to the porch and sat on the top step waiting for Grandma Jeanne to come and let her in.
      The sun warmed her face and she closed her eyes letting the heat sink in. She could swear she smelled gingerbread cookies and her mouth watered. It had been years since she’d had gingerbread. He grandma and great aunt Millie used to make big men with raisins and frosting. Soft warm women, big aprons, cookies and hugs. That’s what visits to Grandma’s were about. No wonder she’d run here.
      A little blue pickup truck pulled up and Grandma Jeanne got out. She was rounder, grayer, and a little more stooped, but the strength and warmth were the same. So were the floral dress and apron. The tennies with it were a new addition. For some reason, Margie hadn’t ever expected to see her grandma in Nike crosstrainers. They met halfway down the walk and Margie was enveloped in a hug that went on forever.
      “It’s so good to see you dearheart. Now, no tears. Let me show you this old house and then we’ll go back to my place for supper.”
      Margie smiled through the water clouding her vision. That’s what she loved about the women in her mother’s family, they just got on with life’s stuff.
      The house was empty. Wooden floors clean and waxed, no curtains. In the kitchen, there was an old fashioned solid wood rolling pin with knobby rounded ends. Nearly black with age and use, it lay neatly horizontal in its hooks on the wall above the butcher block counter. It was the only furnishing in the house. Grandma Jeanne walked over to it and caressed it lovingly.
      “It’s the funniest thing Margie, renters have taken everything else here, curtains, even plants from the yard, but this has stayed.” She picked it up and handed it to Margie. “Millie loved it; she used it all the time. It was here when she bought the place. The old woman who lived here before Millie told her a story about it. Evidently it had been in an old pioneer cabin that they’d torn down to build this house. Her husband had hung it up in the kitchen as a surprise for her. He never admitted that he’d done it though.”
      Margie hefted the rolling pin. It was heavy, the surface smooth. “I’ll have to give it a try when I’m settled in. I’ve never used one that didn’t have the internal roller.”
      Grandma Jeanne rolled her eyes.
      “Maybe I’ll make some of those Gingerbread men you used to cook for me. I could have sworn I smelled them earlier.” Margie replaced the pin on its hooks. “Sort of gave me a craving.”
      “Millie was the one for gingerbread. I made the oatmeal. Bring me one when you do. I haven’t had gingerbread in years.” Grandma Jeanne walked out of the kitchen and gave her a quick tour of the rest of the house. “You’ll need furniture and everything. Let’s see what I’ve got that I don’t need, and I’ll make a few calls at home. I bet we can get you fixed up and moved in tomorrow.”
      They went back to Grandma Jeanne’s and everything was sorted and ready before supper. Pans, linens, older towels, she even found a bed. Now all she needed was a job.
      Margie checked the voice mail on her cell phone. He’d left six messages. They ranged from angry to apologetic to pleading and back to angry. The point was all the same. Margaret wasn’t allowed to leave.
      But she had. At the last message she pushed one, and sent a reply. “I’m fine. We’re over. My lawyer can see your lawyer regarding the child. Thank God we aren’t married. Don’t call me for at least a month.”

      Margie sat propped up in bed after dark, drinking tea and watching TV. The last two weeks had flown by. She had a secretarial job that paid as well as the one she’d quit when she’d moved in with Randy. Life would be pretty good if she wasn’t terrified about the baby. The prospect of single motherhood was daunting. Better than life with Randy, though.
      A car pulled into the driveway. Margie put on her shoes and walked through the house towards the front door. Her cousin Tina was supposed to drop off some maternity clothes. She’d called and said she might be late.
      Her hand was reaching for the knob when the door exploded towards her with a crash of breaking glass. The anger reached her before the vision of his face wearing it did. She froze in terror. He’d found her. A scream welled is way up and she turned and ran towards the kitchen and the back door. She made it as far as the entry to the kitchen when he tackled her to the floor.
      With a crunching whoosh, the air left her lungs and pain took its place. She couldn’t breathe. His weight crushed her back and her scalp pulled away from her skull as he pulled her head back with a fist in her hair. Cold steel pressed against the tender skin of her neck. She couldn’t stop the choking coughs as her lungs fought for air. The blade cut a little with each one. Blood was starting to drip down her neck. She felt it trickle between her breasts and knew death was here. She closed her eyes and prayed.
      The voice from her recent nightmares interrupted her. “Hello love, didn’t expect to see me today, did you? Don’t you know nobody walks out on me? Didn’t I give you a new car? Is it so much to ask for a clean house and dinner when I get home?” He tightened his grip and she felt another drip of blood run down her chest. Faster this time. Quickly followed by another.
      She rolled her eyes upward to see his face. “How . . .?” she mouthed and then stopped, it didn’t matter.
      “Your cell phone bill came yesterday. Sort of sloppy of you, but then, I never did think you were very smart. Not the woman to have a child of mine. We’ll just have to take care of that won’t we?” His eyes were glazed with emotion and she felt him tensing for the slice that would end her life.
      She kept staring at him, straining her eyes backwards in their sockets. Behind him, a phosphorescent glow was forming in the dark room. She saw something fly from the glow and knock him in the back of the head. He collapsed over her and she pushed him off. Crawling up on her hands and knees, air filled her lungs in painful gratitude. After a few breaths, she managed to stand.
      He moved a little, and she saw that he was only stunned. The rolling pin lay on the floor behind him. He wasn’t even really unconscious. She ran out the front door, leaving it open behind her. Her feet wouldn’t place themselves in a straight line and she stumbled down the sidewalk with one hand gripping the small cut across her voicebox.
      She got to her car and realized that she didn’t have her keys. Every curse word she knew flew out her mouth. Going back in for them wasn’t a possibility. She took off at a jog down the road, checking behind her occasionally for Randy. She was nearly incoherent with hysteria when she saw Tina’s old red Toyota Corolla and managed to flag her down.
      Tine took her to the hospital where she needed two stitches, and then on to the police station. The officer made her repeat her version of the episode several times, with much eye rolling at her description of the light that whacked Randy on the head with the rolling pin.
      He was finally getting around to the paperwork when he got a call. Randy was dead in his hotel room from a blunt injury to the head. He’d been seen driving into the lot and going to his room alone about an hour before. That prolonged her questioning by several hours, but finally they let her go home.

      Margie and Grandma Jeanne sat in Margie’s kitchen eating gingerbread men and drinking tea. Two month-old Josie rocked gently in her wind-up swing. “Grandma, I always knew that Millie was a widow, but no one ever talks about her husband. What happened to him?”
      Grandma Jeanne looked straight into Margie’s eyes and then she glanced meaningfully at the rolling pin.
      Margie’s eyes followed. “Oh.”
      “Millie’s husband, John his name was. Pardon my language dear, but he was a mean son of a bitch. . .”

      Go Back to Scary as Hell Ghost Stories


    • Tags: halloween scary ghost stories hell
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