Halloween is only a few days away. With that in mind, I give you a short story I wrote around this time last year called “The Good Boy” Up until now I have shown this story to probably about four people. It’s dark and disturbing and one of the most difficult things I have ever written.
I hope you enjoy it
WARNING: THIS IS VERY DARK AND SLIGHTLY GRAPHIC. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE STOMACH FOR IT, PLEASE CLICK AWAY NOW.
The Good Boy
Don’t open the door. That’s what He told me.
Did you hear that?
Don’t open the door. The ghosts will come in. The ghosts will hurt you. They want to bring you outside. They are blue and have shiny black metal hanging off their hips.
Guns. That’s what my book said they were. Guns.
The blue ghosts have guns and they want to take you away from me. That’s what He said. He would never lie to me. He said don’t open the door. I don’t open the door. Even though they are banging and yelling. They say they want to help me. They are lying. He told me they would like. Tricky ghosts.
They’re banging on the door again. But He’s not home. I hide with the blanket He gave me under my bed.
I’m careful not to make any sounds. Don’t want them to know I’m here. If they hear me they will take me away. I don’t want to go. The world outside the door is scary. He told me. He would never lie to me. He loves me. He told me so. He wouldn’t lie to me. He wouldn’t.
They’re leaving. They could be lying. Trying to trick me into making a sound so they can come and take me. Sneaky ghosts. Can only enter if they hear me. I won’t fall for it. They can’t take me. I don’t want to go.
I stay under my bed until I hear the key in the lock and He stumbles through the door. He smells bitter and sweet at the same time. His eyes are glazed. This is how he always is. I have a vague memory of a time when there was someone else. A woman who smelled like cookies and smiled at me. He says they are lies, even though I have seen pictures. “The pictures lie” He says. “The ghosts got in once put them there to try and trick you. Regular people don’t look like that.” He told me. “Only ghosts look like that.” Everyone is lying, He told me. He is the only one I can trust.
“I didn’t open the door like you said. Was I good?” I ask. He grunts and pats my head and then stumbles to his chair. I beam with pride. I want to be good. He only loves me when I’m good and when I’m bad I have to be punished. One time I dropped a glass of milk on the kitchen floor. It broke and spilled everywhere. He had to punish me. My arms were black for a week. I deserved it. I have to be careful. I want to be good.
“I’m a good boy, huh?” I say, following him into the living room where the television is all ready blaring. He waves me away.
He needs his rest. Taking care of me is exhausting. I need to spend the rest of the night in my bedroom like I always do. I read books. He tells me to be careful about reading books because of their lies, but I like to read. I read with a flashlight under my blanket, even though he doesn’t usually check on me. If he did I would get in trouble. Staying up late makes me a bad boy. But I like to read.
I am reading a book about a beautiful girl with long hair stuck in a tower until her prince comes to rescue her and she climbs out of the tower with her own hair.
Silly girl doesn’t know about the ghosts.
I hear a noise outside my door. I turn off my flashlight and lay down and close my eyes. He opens the door. He walks in. I hear him playing with something in his hand. I pull my blankets up higher.
Last time he put a knife to my throat. He said it was because I was bad. He said I killed Her. I don’t know who She is but I’m bad because I killed her. I don’t like it when He cuts me. I told Him I’m sorry. He didn’t believe me. He called me a liar. He said I was just like the ghosts. He fell asleep on the floor after that.
His footsteps come closer to me now. I take a deep breath like I am dreaming. He comes closer. I feel something sharp poke me in the back.
I freeze. If I don’t move maybe He will leave.
Tomorrow I will draw him a pretty picture. I will tell him I’m sorry I made Her go away. He will forgive me. I’m a good boy.
“You little fucker.” I hear him say. His breath is hot on my back. His words are slurred and I don’t know what “fucker” means. But He says it when He is angry. I know I am in trouble know.
I turn over and look at Him, but I know not to say anything. He doesn’t like it when I try to talk to Him too much. It’s rude.
“You killed her.” he says, like he does every time he comes into my room.
“I’m sorry daddy. I really didn’t mean to.” I say. He has tears in his eyes and so do I.
“Don’t call me that!” He yells. It hurts my ears. I cringe, but not too much. If He thinks I am trying to get away He will hurt me.
“I’m going to kill you.” He says. He doesn’t sound angry. Instead he sounds like he telling me a fact. Like two plus two equals four. I shiver and his eyes narrow.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.” I say again. I wish I knew what I did so I could make it better. I’m a bad boy. I deserve this. My throat is hot, like fire and he puts his knife against the lump in my throat. I feel it beat against the metal.
Bum Bum. Bum Bum.
That’s my heartbeat. I read about it in a book once. Everyone has a heart. You can’t live without one.
“Shut up!” He yells. He is crying. I want to touch his face. To tell him I’m sorry again. I want to be a good boy. I want him to love me.
Just then there is a banging on the door outside. We both freeze.\
“Mr. Smith it’s the police. Open up! We know you are in there. We have a warrant for your arrest and to take the boy into custody. If you do not comply we will come in forcibly!” A voice yells. There is a moment of silence where neither of us says anything. He does not move to go to the ghosts.
Suddenly there is a loud crash in the living room and the ghosts come in yelling.
One turns on the light to my room and sees Him with a knife to my throat. He points his gun at my daddy. I don’t like that. The ghost could hurt Him. Mean ghosts.
Then the ghost pins Him to the floor and forces metal bracelets around his wrists that keep his hands on his back. Another ghost comes in and sees me.
“Jesus H Christ.” he says. He makes a symbol over his eyes and chest, but I don’t know what it is. He is talking about my stained clothes and the bruises and cuts on my face.
“I didn’t do the laundry. He had to punish me.” I say. If they understand maybe they won’t take me away.
“Son, my name is officer Landry. I’m here to help.” He says, showing me a shiny gold shield on a leather back.
The ghost who says his name is Officer Landry picks me up. He smells unfamiliar. Like wood and sweat and sugar. His eyes aren’t glazed. He’s like the people in my books. Tricky ghosts think I can’t see through them.
Officer Landry carries me wrapped in my blanket out of my bedroom toward the front door. I’m never supposed to go through the door. I struggle to get away but he is too strong.
My dad is already gone. They took him away because I’m a bad boy. He told me that might happen. That if I wasn’t very good then they would take him away from me and put me somewhere dark and cold. Somewhere that I would hate.
The ghost carries me out of the only place I have ever known. It’s cold and people are coming out into the hall to watch. They know I’m a bad boy. They know this is all my fault.
I wonder if I will ever see my dad again.