“The Softness of Her Throat” by John Hayes

January 9, 2012

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On Halloween, two adults invade the home of a bachelor whose life is still dominated by his dead mother. As the evening and his fear progress, they force him to their life style.

Excerpt:

On her deathbed, Richard’s mother made him promise to continue their ritual to give treats on Halloween. On his drive home from Hogan’s refinery where he worked as Chief Bookkeeper, Richard stopped at Harvest Pizza to buy a pepperoni pizza.

Angie’s pockmarked face grimaced as she counted out change, “Think we’ll have demons or goblins roaming the streets tonight?”

“Maybe the vampires will scare them away,” Richard said.

“Don’t you make fun. John Stubs disappeared last year and Angie Moore the year before. And, and Carol Thomas before that.”

“Disappearances, vandalism, that’s Halloween,” Richard said.

After he arrived home, Richard carefully checked the doors of his mother’s vintage Cadillac. He stood for a moment to watch the full moon skitter. A leaf dropped to the ground. His mother knew every leaf by name. He stuck his pizza into the microwave to reheat and entered his mother’s bedroom.

Her body stood, looking out the window, just as he had left it that morning. He kissed the plastic cheek. “What was that leaf called, that dropped when I checked the car doors?” He touched her shoulder. She fell toward him. He stopped her fall and walked to her closet, “I think the bright purple dinner gown is just right for you tonight.”

He removed the gown from her closet and lowered it over her unyielding body. He added a black straight-haired wig and a Marie Antoinette mask and escorted his mother to her place by the front door. Halloweeners could greet her when they stopped for candy. Richard counted exactly six dozen chocolate candy bars and placed them on a table next to her. He switched on the porch light, opened a cold beer, and took his pizza from the microwave. He was swiveling in a bright orange chair, watching the news when the doorbell rang. He placed his unfinished beer on a coaster and opened the door.

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