Thursday, 29 October 2015

Halloween Week: The Wee Folk

Sometimes all you need is a little help...

The Wee Folk

Momma always placed a saucer of milk on the back porch every evening just before dusk.
“For the Wee Folk. You never know what lurks in the gloaming,” she said, “Best to leave an offering.” Then she’d smile and add, “’Sides, you never know when an offering will come in handy.”
I never failed to see her leave that saucer, even though it irritated my Daddy until the day he died. Once or twice she left other offerings out there too; don’t know if my Daddy ever knew about those. The way things turned out in the end, maybe he should have. He might’ve done things different.
And if he’d done things different, maybe I would’ve too. Maybe I wouldn’t have married Harry. Maybe if I had a better role model than a drunken good-for-nothing who beat on his wife, I might’ve aimed higher. But I didn’t, and I ended up with a part-time mechanic with a temper for a husband. I also ended up on the wrong end of his fists when he was drunk. Which happened fairly often. They do say girls marry men like their daddies. I sure did.
For a while I just took it. Kept my mouth shut, and pretended everything was fine. Daddy was still alive then, so going home wouldn’t have been better. And Harry wasn’t quite as bad as Daddy. He usually just gave me a few smacks and then stopped. Daddy used to beat Momma black and blue.
After Daddy died, I thought about leaving Harry and going home, but I waited too long. Momma put the house up for sale and hightailed it out of town. Came to me, suitcase in hand, kissed me on the cheek, and said goodbye. I haven’t seen her since. I thought I’d hate her for that, but I didn’t. I knew why she left, and I didn’t blame her.
‘Sides, by then I had met Sam.
He sidled into town one day, and got a job at the factory where I worked. Not in the same department as me, but we saw each other in the lunch room, and out back when we sneaked a smoke or two. We were both trying to quit, and failing miserably.
It didn’t take long before it went from friendly chat, to up close and personal smooching, and then quickies after work in his truck. It went on months, and maybe it was wrong to be cheating, but for the first time in forever I was happy. And hey, Harry didn’t have a clue.
Of course, that didn’t last. Things had to go and get more complicated.
It was in the back of the truck, just after, well you know. I’d pulled my clothes back on and was fixing to leave. And then Sam said it.
“I love you.”
I stared for a minute, and forgot to breathe. Before I could think, the answering words tumbled out.
“I love you, too.”
There, it was all out, and no taking it back. I didn’t leave the truck. I stayed and we talked. We made decisions. And then I went back home. To Harry.
I told Sam I’d leave my husband, but that I needed to tell him in person. But I was afraid, you see. Of what Harry would do. Truth was, my mind tumbled in on itself, and I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to be with Sam, but Harry… no telling how he would react. He might come after us, do something terrible.
It was about then I started wishing Harry would die.
Maybe that’s why I got that revolver out of the drawer. For protection. Maybe I figured it would scare him, when I told him I was leaving.
It didn’t.
I stared him down, gun behind my back. Looked at his sneering face, and said, “I’m leaving you, Harry.”
He laughed, and backhanded me across the cheek. I fell. He stood over me. “You ain’t ever getting rid of me, bitch.”
Something in me snapped. I brandished the gun. He lunged, grabbed the weapon. Next thing I knew the gun went off and Harry was bleeding out over the hardwood floor.
“Help—help me.” He reached his hand towards me, but I backed away and scrambled to my feet.
I stood there, and watched him die.
Then I realized what happened.
Harry was dead, and I killed him.
Panic started creping in about then. Folks might believe I had no choice, knowing Harry’s temper, but some people knew about me and Sam. They might think I did it on purpose.
Maybe I did. I sure as hell wanted him dead. Maybe part of me provoked him, gave myself the excuse. And if I don’t know for sure, will other people believe I didn’t murder him?
I stared out the window, feeling lost and scared. The sun was starting to turn the sky all shades of pretty. Then it hit me. The Wee Folk.
Heck, it worked for Momma when she killed Daddy, maybe it’ll work for me.
Yeah, I didn’t mention that, did I? Murdering kind of runs in our family.
I dragged Harry’s body out to our back porch and covered it with a blanket. Took me a few minutes and I worked up a sweat. Then I went to the kitchen and poured a saucer of milk. I put that on the porch next to Harry’s head.
I fidgeted for a minute, shuffling my feet and clearing my throat. I felt a bit odd, but it was worth a shot. “I’d appreciate it, if you’d take this offering. I know it’s been a while, and I ain’t been good to you like Momma, but I need your help. I know what you did for Momma, helping her and others fix their problems, and I’m asking the same.  I promise, if you fix this for me, I’ll keep leaving things on the porch for you.”
I stared at the darkening woods. The leaves rustled, and I swear I heard whispering. I took a breath, let it out, and went inside to clean up the rest of the mess I’d made.


The next morning I stood for the longest time at the back door, afraid to go on the porch. What if they didn’t take him? What if Harry was still there? How would I explain what I’d done?
I could always tell them I left Harry for the wee folk. Go with an insanity defense.
I finally turned the knob and opened the door.
No Harry. The body was gone. Not even any blood.
The saucer was there though, empty. Not a drop of milk left. I picked it up.
Then I sighed, a rush of relief flooding though me, and closed the door.
On the way to the kitchen, I began thinking of ways to explain Harry not being here anymore. Figured I best plead ignorance. That he took off after a fight and never came back. Might pack a few of Harry’s things and leave them out on the porch tonight. Might help with the story, if it looks like Harry took his stuff with him. Good thing his truck got repossessed last week.
All I got to do is keep it simple. It ain’t like anybody’s ever going to find that body. The wee folk don’t ever give back what’s been offered.
My momma taught me that.
I put the saucer in the sink, staring at the woods through the window. I never liked to think on some of what Momma did when I was growing up, but I guess it sunk in anyway. I guess her and me are the more alike than I figured. You see, Daddy weren’t her first offering, and, well, I don’t think Harry’s going to be my last…
There’s a few more people in town I wouldn’t mind seeing dead.
Like Momma said, you never know when an offering will come in handy.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

And so ends today's Halloween fun.
Tomorrow I have even more horror fiction for your reading pleasure.

And remember, for a Halloween treat, both books in my Killers and Demons series
are free until midnight October 31st on Smashwords. 

Check them out here:

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