Paperback Copies of
my Horror Collections and Novels
* Order Paperback or e-Book versions of my Books
Memories of garage sales are often friendly images of sunny Saturdays in summer, perhaps strolling on a morning-bright city street and stopping to buy some needed item. In younger days when I lived in small town Canada, such sales were the fruit of a Sunday drive on dusty county highways. We bought things like hand-me-down clothes, tools, battered toys and baskets of strawberries and corn. I still have an old grainy Polaroid photograph of my first wife out front of a sale held in a bleached rural garage.
Odors of tarred gravel roads used to rise to my nostrils when I thought of garage sales, but that was yesterday and this is today. Now thoughts of garage sales summon a demon to mind. This thing is a genuine nightmare that walks in images of gloom and the damp soil of open graves. It is more than recollection; it is here in reality in this city every night. Call it the boogieman if you're a kid or a shambling corpse if you're an adult. No matter what you call it or what you know it will still be somewhere in the dark day and night on an evil mission to satisfy its peculiar form of hate.
If gloom lingers in place of sunshine in my thoughts, I suppose the reason is that I have held a garage sale nearly every weekend this summer and it has been the darkest and hottest summer in recorded Toronto history. On Saturday mornings, I rise early and wait for the sun. Each time a smoke-shaded wall of cloud inches in from a heat storm on the bruised horizon.
Only the pale glare of the sun gets through and I'm suffering in it now as I remember and consider the black reputation of this part of town. It could be that the long shadows of dark days can create evil or that the electricity rising in overwhelming heat is a force that leaves people fast on their beds and uses the stolen energy to bring something else to life. Aberrant weather that is prolonged just might open doors to ghostly worlds. I can't really say what it is that powers the supernatural.
Here it's a ghoulish child killer that's loose on the night streets, and this one is sure to claim more victims as the police are everywhere and yet haven't any power against it. I do have evidence but they wouldn't believe me if I told them. They'd probably think me crazy and arrest me. Though it is the truth and it has to do with my garage sales.
The strange events began on that second Saturday sale of mine, when the air was so hot, heavy and dirty. It made me choke as it scratched into my lungs with dead fingers of static and dust. I'm just past middle age now and I've been scarred and bruised by an unlucky life, so at my best I usually still feel somewhat lousy. In that weather, my hair and whiskers felt like an itching bur patch wanting to be torn out.
Superstition filled my mind in that gloom. Everything seemed like a sign of biblical proportions and the day definitely did open with a bad omen. My sale had barely started and I was already at the curb sparing with a fatuous city inspector.
"You had a yard sale last week," he said. "If you're using this place as a store you're in violation of city bylaw 20086C."
"I'm well aware of bylaw 20086C. If you look at the sign on the maple tree it says garage sale. The law allows each resident to have two garage sales per year. Last week it was a yard sale so I'm entitled to this sale and one more garage sale."
"Just watch yourself or you'll be ticketed," he said. He shook dripping sweat off his jowls and popped his head back into the air-conditioned interior of his city car.
"Bastard," I muttered as his wheels spun up dust.
"What did you say?" Jen Lu said as she stepped up.
"Muggers, Jen. Muggers meaning what a scorcher it is today."
"It certainly is. I need a fan for my porch. I don't have the air conditioning out there."
"I've got fans galore, Jen. Just follow me to the garage and you can pick an ace one from my selection."
She did follow me down the drive - slowly, with her pesky little poodle, Bambi nipping at my heels nearly every step of the way. The asphalt had softened to the point that it sank with my footsteps and I couldn't use my cane at all. It was with great relief that I entered the semi darkness of the open garage.
Jen Lu stopped and stood beside me, staring with wide brown eyes at that great collection of junk -- an assortment so awesome that even Bambi was muzzled by it. My garage is a large one. So old in fact that it was originally a barn. Over about a hundred years it went through various renovations to become a more modern home of dust motes. I have a whole wall of tools for sale, and just about every sort of garden implement.
"Where do you get all of that stuff?" she said.
I shrugged. "There are many items that were already inside when I bought the place, and they've been there for decades. Dick Black, the previous owner, didn't use the garage at all. Much of the antiques remain from some other owner from way back. I believe his name was Dovecraft or Lovecraft - something to that effect. I have racks of dishes and stuff at the back. I collect this merchandise from all over the neighbourhood. In that way I'm a collector of sorts and I never throw anything out. People buy the strangest things. Often I've spent Sundays at the Rosedale Diner; enjoying diner and a few drinks with money I got from the sale of some odd piece that turned out to be rare or antique."
"I think I prefer your yard sales," Jen Lu said. "Your garage is creepy."
"Sure it looks creepy, but I can assure you that it's been swept clean. There are no cobwebs or rodents in my place. I keep it sharp as a store."
"Okay, so which aisle is the fan in?"
"Oh yes, fans. You're in luck because I have a pile of them right here by the door."
It was a sale. I polished up a battered fan for Jen and sold it to her for five bucks. As she walked away, I figured I'd begun the day with a smooth transaction. Yet that wasn't the case, because as she reached the end of the drive Bambi went nuts and nearly broke off the leash as she tore at the pant leg of another customer.
Bambi looked rabid or something. Jen had to scoop her up and the dog still foamed and snarled as she carried it off.
At least this guy was a gentleman about it. All he did was grunt, look down at his frayed cuff and then back up at my cardboard sign.
I stood watching from the garage doorway, trying to get a handle on him. The man was like a tramp in that he wore a frayed cloth coat in high summer. Yet he was unlike your usual tramp as he wore a wig. He was the only bum I ever saw with fake hair and it was cheap - a matted high comb back he must've found in the novelty bin at Honest Ed's Discount Store. It combined with his mould-wrinkled face to create a person of unidentifiable race and culture. Most striking was his nose - it being a gross lump shot through with blue-black spider veins, indicating that he had enough of a drinking problem to have died in the gutter a few times.
Somehow he had managed to climb out of the gutter this day but he hadn't cleaned himself up. His work boots were sodden and mud covered, and under the open coat he wore a sort of gardener's outfit of green that had turned mostly to gray and stains.
My sign only had two words on it, yet it took him a minute to read it. So I figured he was either blind or hung over. When he did turn and come down the drive a slight and sinister breeze blew. The lilac leaves seemed to shiver like they were cold or something and to make things worse I could smell this guy before he even got near me.
It wasn't a pretty smell. Once I poisoned a bunch of rats in the garage and when I opened up the smell was so foul I couldn't eat for a day. It took nearly a week to air the place out. He smelt like that -- like death. And as he came down the drive with slow steps I had the feeling of watching a scene from a zombie movie.
My hair bristled as he stepped up to me, yet I didn't let him phase me. I still acted like a salesman.
"You need money at this sale, pal," I said.
"I got money," he replied. "Lots of money."
Growing cataracts obscured his eyes and his teeth were rotten. He had a voice like his tongue was jammed in his throat. For a moment, I didn't reply but just stared. I'd seen tobacco stains before, but I could've sworn that his teeth were outright loose like piano keys in his mouth.
"Anything in particular you want?"
"Just to look around."
I waved an arm and he walked inside. He didn't look at any of the new stuff, only the ancient junk. And he had a way of pulling things out of the piles like he knew exactly where they were all the time. I watched him walk over to the darkest corner and lift something out that looked like a rope. For a moment I trembled in the withering heat; it really gave me the creeps watching him. Being trapped inside with him would be nothing short of terrifying.
When he came back to the door he was carrying an old skipping rope. "I'll buy this," he said. "How much?"
"Er-ahh, five dollars will do."
"Okay," he said, then he pulled out a wad of bills. There was no organization to the way he'd rolled them and in the wad, I saw everything from fifties to old obsolete one-dollar bills.
He shambled away in the heat shimmies of the overcast day and I saw him cut down a path in the vacant lot three houses away. I really wondered who he was and in the end I decided that he must be one of those people with a freakish illness. Like the one that makes kids look like deformed freaks. Except that his disease made him look like he'd just risen from the grave.
It had been headline news. The neighbourhood buzzed with the conversation of frightened parents all week. A little French girl, Lisa Landry, had been killed up by the Taddle Creek schoolyard. Detectives were part of a heavy police presence on the streets, yet in spite of that I hadn't thought much about it.
Only in the dreary weather of another Saturday morning did I find myself considering the issue. She'd been strangled by an unknown item they thought to be a thin rope or thick wire. It was a terrible way to die and the horror of it seemed to consume me as I crossed the back yard to the garage. I thought I could smell those dead rats again and the foul odor brought the skipping rope I'd sold to Mr. Death and Disease to mind.
At the garage doors the bagel I'd gobbled for breakfast sank like a hot stone into the pit of my bowels. My intestines felt like another variety of skipping rope - one trying to break free of my body.
My head spun and I think I would've blacked out right then if it weren't for the sight of Danny Swartz coming up the drive. This was all three hundred pounds of him with his heavy brows and cheeks adding another few pounds. He was an awesome vision and in spite of his size he walked like a human hammer, trying to head-butt the world out of his way.
"You look worried?" I said as he lumbered up.
"Yeah. A big oak branch fell on my fence. I need a chainsaw."
"Geeze, Danny. With the kind of gruesome stuff that's been happening this week, I don't know if I should sell anyone a chainsaw."
"Your sense of humour is sick. Have you got that saw or not?"
"Okay. I have one. But it isn’t the latest and greatest."
Five minutes later Danny Swartz was walking away like a sort of hurried rhino, swinging a dusty chainsaw. I ended up staring out at the empty street, thinking it odd for a Saturday. Very few people were out early and the usual crowd of noisy children wasn't there at all. It was dark and breezeless, an atmosphere most people would find unsettling and depressing. But I didn't. Instead I smiled. And the reason was that I hate kids. On the weekdays noise from the daycare a couple houses away drives me nuts, and the little devils are always making fun of my cane and limp and snatching stuff from my sales. A world without the lice-crawling little brats was my kind of world. I felt that maybe the killer had done us all a favour if he was keeping them locked in their houses.
I know it sounds bad for a person to hate kids, but you have to keep in mind that I'm a guy with a background of three failed marriages. There never were any kids and I've not learned to like them. As I age there seem to be more and more things that I don’t like. Getting older isn't getting better; it is everything getting worse. Business is my way of shutting out the world. With just a garage sale I can count money and items and be busy enough that I don't think of anything else.
The rest of the morning was peaceful and quiet -- no milling crowd or huge sales of lesser items. Those who did show were nearly all middle-aged and they bought big-ticket items. I sold a lawnmower to Joe Singh and a trunk to Alice Manson. Larry from the pizza joint bought an antique cabinet radio. All of them mentioned the killing and how the neighbourhood was going to the dogs. Larry seemed happy in a way as a week ago there weren't any cops around during the late night. Now that they were out in force he felt protected.
I felt protected, too. Sure it was hot dusty and dark and there weren't even birds singing. But I was beginning to like this new quiet neighbourhood. At least I was up until noon when Mr. Death and Disease showed.
He came when no one else was around and he was dressed the same but looked uglier. The bit of comic effect he'd had on his first visit was gone. This time the guy was just plain vile, and when he said he just wanted to look around again, the sight of the tobacco mush rolling in his mouth nearly made me vomit.
A foul odor rose from him and clung to me as he passed. As he rummaged through the junk at the back I felt relieved to have him at a distance.
I wondered what nutty thing he would buy and wasn't a bit surprised when he came up with an old rusted shovel. It was bent and nearly eaten through, yet he grinned as though he'd found a great prize. They say money isn't clean but the bills he paid me with looked like they'd been dug up from the city dump. As he walked away the stench hit me so hard I couldn't breathe. I had a terrible feeling of being strangled in rising fumes of death and garbage.
On the fourth Saturday, the interior of my garage was brighter than the sky outside. Light that did get though was pollution filtered, creating an amber haze. The city inspector had already done a drive-by to intimidate me and I felt relieved that he hadn't stopped.
Pretty women seemed to be the order of the morning and I’d been ogling a few of them as they moved about inspecting the goods I'd lined on the grass beside the drive. I look better than I feel, so I still do okay with the ladies, and I suppose I'm lucky in that my sex drive has not evaporated with the rest of my health. It's still mostly look but don't touch for me. After three failed marriages I've learned to keep to myself.
My only big sale was to Mary Michaeledes. She bought a chipped study desk for her little girl, Janine. It was during my conversation with her that I learned of the latest killing.
"It was late last night," Mary said. "It isn't even in the news yet. Danny Schwartz’s little boy, Jimmy was murdered. Beaten to death right in the park with a large thing like a shovel. Whoever did it is sick and cruel. They don't know how a ten-year-old like Jimmy got outside that late. Most of us are going to make our kids sleep with us now so they can't possibly get out."
"It's a damn shame," I said, shaking my head. "They've got patrols all over the place and a thing like this happens. I don't know what to say to Danny."
"Oh, you won't have to say anything. He was taken away this morning. He's cracked completely. Just mumbles and cries."
Mary left in a hurry like she wanted to get back to her little girl. I started feeling queasy as I watched her go up the street. A large object like a shovel killed him she'd said. And hadn't I sold Mr. Death and Disease a shovel. "Naw, just a coincidence," I decided. Mr. Death and Disease wouldn't be strong enough to beat anyone to death. A creepy person like him wouldn’t have been able to lure a ten-year-old boy like Jimmy outside and Jimmy could have just run away if there had been an encounter.
Being a businesslike person I decided to tag Mary's desk for delivery and pulled out my red marker. I didn't have a scrap of paper so I needed to grab one in the garage. Those supplies were stacked all the way at the back behind solid shelves of junk. It was hard to see there so I turned on the floodlight.
The beam was so bright it hurt my eyes. It did a great job of illumining the garage and the reason I didn't use it during a sale was that it also spotlighted flaws and all of the dust, dirt and grime. Stains and cobwebs can kill a sale so it's better if people don't see everything.
I stepped behind a heap of canvass bags and went around the shelving. The light filtered through but the air was full of dust. Pausing, I studied an old television set that had somehow got put back there. It looked saleable so decided to move it out later. When I looked down the aisle for the paper shelf I noticed footprints on the dusty wood floor. There were a lot of them and they weren't my own familiar prints.
I scratched my head. Customers didn't rummage around so far back. Someone must've got into the garage. Yet that wasn't possible when I kept it locked up tight during the week.
I followed the footprints to the end of the aisle. They turned behind some plastic drums and ended at the back wall there. At that spot there was a barely visible doorframe and a latch. It was unhooked so I simply pushed and watched as the door swung open. Stepping through I found myself in the narrow space between the garage and my back fence. Beyond the fence there was a ditch full of weeds, a section of the park and a path leading up the hillside to the old graveyard.
It really did perturb me that someone else would know about a secret door in my garage. One I hadn't known about myself. As I stood there wondering who it could possibly be a strong odor rose to my nostrils. Looking down I saw some loose earth at my toes.
"Mr. Death and Disease," I thought. "That's his revolting odor. No wonder he isn't around today. He isn't buying anything because he’s simply sneaking in and helping himself."
I decided I would fix his wagon by simply putting the inside latch back in place, and I was about to step back inside when I saw a person moving on the hillside path. I pulled my glasses from my pocket and tried to get a better look. A frown crossed my brow as I recognized Mr. Death and Disease.
He was going up and not down, so he wasn't coming my way. I followed his progress as he made his way to the top. Just before he went over and out of sight I thought I saw something else in a gap in the pines … something ugly like a large scarecrow, with a skeletal frame and frightening skull-like features. Yet it wasn't a scarecrow because it suddenly moved and disappeared behind the trees.
Possibly, I'd witnessed some sort of heat hallucination. No person could look like that. On the other hand, no person could look like Mr. Death and Disease either. Yet he was for real.
As I went back in the door a wicked case of the creeps crawled over my whole body. I just hoped I would never see Mr. Death and Disease again.
Low clouds like dark chunks of sponge drifted overhead. It was Saturday again but not much of a day for a bake sale. I say bake sale because the city bylaws didn't allow me to hold another garage sale.
I've never baked a thing so the supply placed out at the front was stuff I'd purchased at the Gay Maples Donut Shop. I had a cooler of ice with bottled lemonade and pop, too. My business plan was to fish for big customers by talking to people I knew as they came by. If any of them happened to need any particular item I would take them back to the garage.
It didn't take all that long to set up. I actually felt satisfied for a moment. Annoyance quickly replaced that mood as the city inspector drove up. This time he got out of his car and walked over. "Well, a Saturday morning bake sale," he said, patting his large shirt-bursting belly.
"Lovely day for one, isn't it?"
"Certainly is a day like an oven. Say, did you bake these goodies yourself?"
"I did -- and I was up half the night putting the finishing touches on some of these little beauties."
"That good because if you had bought them elsewhere you'd be reselling baked goods without a license."
"Seems there's a law for everything these days."
"Yep, there is -- including a law that says your garage is to stay closed today."
"No problem. This is a bake sale. If you really want to help you could buy something."
"Buy. I'm afraid not. But I do want a few samples. I wouldn’t want you to be selling anything unhealthy."
I watched glumly as he wolfed down four free samples and drank a bottle of lemonade. Just to make conversation I asked him why the street was so dead on Saturday morning. He burped grossly and replied saying, "It isn't even eight o'clock for one thing. Another reason things are quiet is that another kid has been found dead."
"Not murder again! How did the kid die?"
"Sergeant Mohikbar told me they can't find a cause of death. Wasn't a mark on him but his face was ghastly like he was frightened to death."
"Frightened to death? But that's not really possible is it? Something must've been done to him."
"All I can say is that I was there when they found the body late last night. I caught a glimpse before they bagged it and that kid's face was as white as one of them powdered donuts. Looked like someone sucked the soul out of him. Vampire or the bogie man got him."
"There aren't any vampires. You must know that?"
"I used to think that way. Don't any more."
"Vampires, how nice," I muttered as the inspector drove away. Generally I had no feelings for any dead kids. But I did like to talk to the neighbours and held some feelings for them. Lately things had been getting so dark and offbeat it was like the whole community was descending into Hades. I concluded that this kid killer was just plain overdoing it. The guy had to be a bizarre psychopath and a terrorist. One victim every few months would've been more than enough to keep me happy.
Sipping a cold beer I'd loaded into a pop bottle, I studied the dust drifting in the vacant lot up the road. The clouds were low and oppressive like a sinking gravestone. My knees felt weak so I sat on a book box and munched a donut, and as I swallowed it I felt about as empty and useless as the hole in the centre.
Drowsiness near sleep had settled on me when a loud fluttering of wings roused me. I realized that the noise came from the direction of the garage so I got up quickly and went down the drive. Four screeching crows were flying up the treetop and as I stopped at the door, I heard a heavy thump and stuff falling inside.
A strange feeling came over me as I opened up. I could feel a spirit moving in my garage and it was something evil that I'd never felt before. It spooked me yet I wasn't that frightened. I still went in and looked around.
Thick dust swirled in the air. In spite of it I found the problem in moments. A whole series of upper shelves had collapsed at the back. Yellowed newspapers, rags and twigs from a bird's nest had toppled down.
I walked up to the mess and out of curiosity picked up one of the old papers. It was the Toronto Star dated June 5th, 1954 and the headline read - Madison Murders Unsolved. I squinted at the text, which was barely legible. I did make out enough to get that it was a story about a series of child killings that had happened in the area back in '54.
One of the killings had been done with a skipping rope, another with a shovel. There were six victims in total. I gulped and a terrifying sense of confusion rose as I read more. I thought of Mr. Death and Disease then I noticed a light and stopped reading. The back door was open; meaning someone might be in the garage.
I rushed to it finding wet footprints in the dust. They were edged with red like blood so I took the last three steps to the door very slowly. More blood covered some old newspapers in a recess there, like a bleeding body may have been stored there then carried out.
The door was ajar so I looked out, finding bloodstains on the grass and the board fence. Whoever it was had gone over the fence and across the park to the hillside. I decided to follow but first I got some rags and wiped up the blood on my property. When the garage was locked up, I walked around to the park.
The street was still empty and so was the park. Not a soul in sight and it made me wonder if some sort of evil spell had been cast. I had the feeling that a thousand eyes were watching me from behind darkened windows. Since I'd seen Mr. Death and Disease up on the hill I decided to check that area.
Swings creaked eerily as they rocked in the breeze. The wind hummed strangely through aluminum slides. Oil black clouds were rising beyond the hilltop as a thunderstorm approached. I knew it would be another of the recent electric storms as my body hair was already bristling.
The hill path wound beside the park and one fork of it led to the decrepit old Towns Graveyard at the top. An orange heat flash raced across the sky as I began the climb and I was sure I saw a figure moving in some pine scrub higher up.
Strong wind created a vast symphony as it shook the foliage. Random gusts of light rain came in like percussion. I don't know why I pressed on but I suppose the desire to get to the bottom of things still outweighed fear.
The branch to the top was nearly choked off by thistles, burs and sumac. I moved up it slowly, my eyes darting suspiciously to every shadow and wind-rocked bough. I definitely didn't want a sudden confrontation with Mr. Death and Disease so I halted at a huge mud puddle and then cut left behind some rotting logs. I came over the top under the cover of sumac. From there I peaked through the leaves at a vision of windswept weeds and broken stones.
The graveyard's only stone angel had fallen and behind it an obelisk pointed crookedly at the storm rising on the horizon. It was hard to see anything in detail on the darkened hilltop. Rainwater had already formed puddles in some of the sunken lots and thick tangles of weeds played tricks on the eyes. I stepped left to a spot where I could see a long way through the yard and from there I spotted human movement. It was definitely Mr. Death and Disease walking in the stones at the far end.
As I focussed on him I thought of the paper dated 1954 and the bloodstains. Water suddenly tumbled into a puddle in front of me, hairs rose on the back of my neck and for a moment my whole body seemed to shake.
Mr. Death and Disease was slightly bent and moving from side to side in front of one of the gravestones. He held a stick resembling a divining rod in his hands. Small objects swung on nearly invisible strings attached to it.
There are people who want bizarre rituals performed at their graves but this looked more like necromancy, and a man who could double for one of the dead was performing it.
He wasn't looking my way at all so I crept forward across the sodden ground and got behind an elm tree in the middle. From that spot I could see at lot better. Mr. Death and Disease dripped with rain and the rod was really a gnarled branch. Stripped of leaves and bark it was hung with tiny mittens. These mittens were fat so I assumed he'd filled them with some concoction of spice or magic herbs.
I could hear him mumbling an evil prayer as he waved the stick over the grave, and this went on for some time before he stopped. Not taking any chances, I ducked back, only peeking out again when I heard a click. The stick was lowered now and I could see him setting the tiny gloves alight.
They burned furiously at first then began to smoke. He repeated pretty much the whole ritual over, swinging the burning mittens this time - an effect that was definitely evil. I knew something obscene was burning inside those mittens, as the odor of the smoke reaching me was foul.
He stared at the grave and never looked back, not even once. Perhaps that was part of the ritual, yet at that point I didn't look at the grave. My eyes kept following the trailing smoke from the rod. I felt a spiritual power rise in the graveyard and for an instant, the tree shook with more than wind, like some unseen giant had boxed it. Then it settled and my eyes went to the grave, which was definitely stirring.
It had an old and crooked gray stone with an inscription that was nearly weathered off of it. The ground before it was mounded with weeds and broken sod. Tears in the sod were irregular and bursting with soft earth, as if this grave had opened before and was doing so again.
Maggots and root filaments spilled out as the sod split wide. Fingers of bone appeared in the crack and when that happened my mouth gaped wide enough to be a second opening grave.
I could see rotted flesh and a silver ring on the struggling hand. A blackened arm laced with remnants of muscle followed then a big lump of red clay popped aside and a skull appeared. Pieces of a cap and scalp clung to it though the face was rotted off. Broken teeth grinned demonically, red light shone in the eye sockets -- horror and a fear that it would spot me led me to duck back behind the tree.
Rain showered across the treetops and a second gust spooned the water down on me. I felt terribly agitated and fought to keep my teeth from chattering. Leaning into the tree trunk I eased around and looked again.
The skeletal ghoul had risen completely. It towered to a height of seven feet on the grave mound. Wet earth and a thick ooze of decay and mud dripped down from the frame of swollen bones. Without a doubt, it was the most frightening thing I had ever seen. Even monsters in zombie movies were mild stuff compared to it.
An aura of great power surrounded its ravaged body, but the real shock came from another aspect of it. I could see obscene decorations hanging from it and as more mud slipped away, I saw that they were items from my garage. It wore the skipping rope as a necklace and the shovel was fastened to its left arm. The light in its eyes came from pieces of fluorescent plastic. A pair of garden shears hung from its shoulder and what looked like tiny scalps hung from its hipbone. When I looked down, I saw that it wore a torn pair of my old work boots. Newspapers and rags wadded in its rib cage and heavy twine binding its bones held it together.
Mr. Death and Disease was still using his smoking rod and the ghoul began to follow him as he stepped through the graves. They were moving away from me over the wet ground to a break in the trees on the hillside.
I was too frightened to come out of hiding and remained frozen there for a few minutes. It was the ghastly fumes from those burning mittens that finally brought me around, and when I did step from behind the tree, they had gone down out of sight.
Foolish curiosity got the better of me again and I crept over and looked down, seeing Mr. Death and Disease and the thing moving through the park. Heat flashes lit the sky, illumining two police officers sitting in a cruiser on the park bridge. They were pale and stiff with blank hypnotized expressions on their faces.
I knew then that I couldn't stop the ghoul that Mr. Death and Disease had raised. Trying to talk to the police would be useless when the creature could simply hypnotize them. And if they found evidence from my garage, they would charge me.
As I walked back across the graveyard I was quite sure that the monster had detected my presence all along. Yet it had left me alone.
A bit of thinking and I knew why. It knew I couldn't stop it and it also knew that I was a soul brother of sorts. I hate kids like it hates kids. I'd seen those tiny scalps on its hipbone and they hadn't horrified me. I'd been thinking that perhaps this beast was just the kind of exterminator the neighbourhood needs.
They say that everyone has a skeleton in the closet. I guess with me it’s in the garage.