Read Uneasy Reading: 4 Horror Shorts Online
Authors: Jason Tucker
Tags: #vampires, #horror, #ghosts, #zombies, #short stories, #short story, #serial killer, #monster, #horror fiction
4 Short Horror Stories by
Copyright 2011 by Jason M. Tucker
Uneasy Reading and all the stories contained
within is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, events,
places and groups either are the product of the author's
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, events and locations is entirely
For more information about the author, please
God's Food (a Twisted
based on the Brothers
"I hate him," Martin said, partly to himself
and partly to the road that stretched and curved ahead of him
before disappearing into the green of the Adirondacks. Once he hit
that line of trees he would be closer to his old hometown of Silver
Point than he'd been in fifteen years. His stomach churned and the
steering wheel of the stolen Accord felt suddenly slippery beneath
his palms. He took a deep breath and found that he had trouble
letting it out.
"He can't hurt you. Not anymore," Cassie
said. "We've talked about this. You are stronger now. You are
committed to doing this."
"I know," Martin said. Her touch had brought
him back to reality, away from memories best left hidden and buried
at least for now. He was glad she was with him now.
He exited Route 9 onto Miller's Road and
rolled down the window. The rush of air was heavy with the scent of
evergreen and freshly fallen leaves, two scents from his childhood
that threatened to unleash a torrent of painful memories. After a
moment he rolled the window back up and tried to focus on the road.
He couldn’t let them cloud his mind.
Miller's Road wove through forests and
fields for another half hour or so until it spit Martin and Cassie
out into the small town of Silver Point. The town was just as he
remembered. Shade trees lined each groomed street, children played
in piles of dead leaves while smiling parents watched. Silver Lake
glistened along the north side of town. Nothing much had changed in
a place this small, except for the addition of a new gas station
and a McDonald's. To Martin, it was like stepping out of a time
machine and into a world best left forgotten.
Martin turned into the crushed gravel
driveway of Cooper's Mortuary and started to get out of the car
just as an elderly man wearing half-moon spectacles emerged from
the large brick building. Mr. Cooper hadn’t aged well. His body
appeared bent and he walked with a limp, and the thin wisps of
white hair on his balding head looked as though a sharp breeze
might tear them free. He looked much older than his true age.
"We're closed," the man said. He busied
himself with locking the door.
"I know, Mr. Cooper. But I'm supposed to
come here to pick up the keys to the White place. I'm Martin
Cooper looked over his shoulder and examined
Martin. "Well so you are. When I sent that letter, I didn't figure
you'd actually come. I figured it would be too much of an
inconvenience for you."
"It really is," Martin said. No point in
hiding the way he felt.
"You know you can only stay on at the house
until the burial day after tomorrow, right? After that the house
becomes town property just like your daddy specified in his
"I'm not even staying for the funeral. I'm
just here to kill demons and free some skeletons," Martin said. He
felt Cassie's hand on his back this time. It helped him to stay
"You know a lot of people around here don't
like you much," Cooper said. Spittle leaked from the crusted
corners of his mouth. "You abandoned your daddy. You're a thankless
son of a bitch and the sooner you're gone, the better."
"I don't really like the town much either,"
Martin said. "All I want are the keys to the house so I can take
care of some things. I'll only be here a few days. Then I'll be out
of what's left of your hair for good." He heard Cassie giggle.
"You are a rotten piece of work, ain't you?"
Cooper said. "There ain't much difference between you and that
tramp sister of yours."
Martin grabbed the old man by the front of
his shirt and pushed him roughly against the door. He leaned close
to Cooper and whispered, "Don't ever talk about my sister."
The old man's eyes didn't go wide with fear
as Martin had anticipated. Instead, Cooper grinned, revealing a
mouth without teeth. "You are a lot like your daddy. Except that he
was a fine man, and you ain't amounted to much from what I
"Get the keys," Martin said, fighting the
urge to smash the old man's head against the bricks. He held onto
Cooper for another few seconds, weighing the merits of doing so. He
finally released Cooper so the old man could retrieve the keys.
It was near dark when Martin and Cassie
turned onto the long dirt driveway that led to the old homestead.
The once-white paint on the two-story house was peeling and
yellowing. The grey weathered steps that led up to the porch had
cracks in them from the beatings of fierce upstate winters. The
little work shed on the other side of the driveway looked ready to
fall apart. Long, thick grass covered the front yard: Martin
suspected that no one had cut it in years.
Everything about the property looked beaten
and tired, as though it had endured the same abuse at its
"Looks bad, doesn't it?" Martin asked.
"Was it ever good?"
"I'm sorry about Mr. Cooper," he said. He
leaned against the side of the car and stared up at the house. He
didn't want to go inside; not yet. "He shouldn't have said what he
did. You were standing right there."
"We've gone over this before," Cassie said.
"He can't see me. You're the only one who can."
"He still shouldn't have said it."
"You have to be able to control yourself if
we're going to do this," she said. "You have to listen to me."
"I know. It's just… he was one of them."
Wind whipped across the field, bending the
grasses almost flat. Neither Cassie's long blond hair nor her blue
dress moved in the breeze. She still didn't look a day over
sixteen. She smiled at him. "Don't worry, little brother. Tonight's
the night we start to make it all better."
"I'm tired. It feels like I've been up for
"I can let you sleep for a little while,"
Cassie said. "But we have a lot to do."
Martin dreamed of dark times.
He was twelve again, cowering in his cramped
room beneath the attic. He lay in his bed under a quilt Cassie had
made, clutching his stuffed tiger and trying to shut out the sounds
that came from downstairs. His father's voice boomed and seemed to
shake the walls. He was demanding that Cassie come out of her
Two loud slaps. Martin's mother began to cry
and then she fell suddenly silent. Martin knew what that was like.
He knew what it was to feel pain and not be able to show that it
hurt. If he ever did, his father would just dish out more of
The sound of two men's laughter and talking
came from somewhere outside his open window. Martin knew their
voices. Why didn't they try to help his mother? He wanted to go and
tell his father to leave, but he was too small, too frightened.
Then he heard Cassie's voice above the
commotion. She was yelling at Dad. She was always so much braver.
Maybe she would be able to make him stop.
"Not again, you bastard!"
"You do what I fucking tell you to do. You
are my child," he said.
"That's right, you sick fuck. I am your
child," Cassie said.
The voices of the men outside grew more
agitated. Maybe they would do something now. Martin hoped they
His sister screamed.
The porch door opened and slammed shut.
Cassie was outside with Dad now.
The men outside began to whoop, holler and
laugh, and beneath their sounds were the cries of his sister.
Bertram Vick's oversized body seemed to ooze
flesh across his tattered leather recliner, which squeaked and
groaned at his slightest movement. He put his swollen feet up and
clicked on the television, turning it up so he could hear it over
the sound of the rain pinging on his tin roof.
He began flipping through channels until he
came to a rerun of
. He'd always liked that
show. Not the humor, of course. That was just appalling. He liked
Ginger. He liked Maryann, too. Hell, if he were stuck on that
island he figured he might as well diddle Mrs. Howell while he was
They probably wouldn't like it, but that
didn't matter to him. He'd never much cared whether someone wanted
it or not. He was Bertram
Vick. He got what he
wanted, like it or not.
Bertram shoved a handful of greasy chips
into his mouth from the half-eaten bag that rested on his gut. He
burped and felt a bit of bile rise. Too many damned chips. He took
a swig of soda to push the vomit down, but it didn't help. He
sighed and pulled his bulk out of the recliner. The Pepto-Bismol in
the kitchen would do the trick – even if it did taste like a
spoonful of hell.
After a second swig of the pink stuff, the
sound from the television in the other room abruptly disappeared.
He set the bottle down and wiped his mouth with a meaty forearm.
Through the kitchen window, he could see that the porch light was
still shining, so the power wasn't out. Maybe the television
finally gave up the ghost. It was an old tube model, but it had
served him well for nearly ten years. He sighed. A new television
wasn't in the budget of a fifty-five-year-old deputy sheriff. A
couple of good smacks might get it to working again.
When he returned to the living room,
replacing the television was suddenly the last thing on his
A masked man dripping rainwater onto the
scratched and scuffed hardwood floor stood in the center of the
room. Bertram reached instinctively to where his holster should be
and then realized he was in his underwear.
"Looking for your gun belt?" the man
"What do you want?" Bertram asked. He
couldn't make out any of the man's features beneath the balaclava
he wore. If this was someone in the department's idea of a joke,
Bertram didn't find it funny.
"I want you, Deputy Vick. I took the liberty
of removing this from your gun belt for you." The man held up
Bertram's service revolver. "Kind of old-fashioned, isn't it? I
figured a big man like you would want something with a little more
stopping power than a .38."
Bertram didn't recognize the man's voice,
yet the intruder knew
name. Silver Point was a little
town and when Vick found out who had the balls to break into his
house and pull this crap, there would be a whole lot of hell to
dish onto someone. Provided the man holding the gun didn't shoot
"I don't have money if that's what you're
after," Bertram said. He started to take mental notes on the
intruder. He wasn't overly tall – less than Bertram's six feet by
about three or four inches. He wore a sweater. Not overly muscled,
but compact – and probably stronger than his size would indicate.
He was probably insane too, and Bertram knew that made even the
little ones fight like cornered dogs. Bertram figured he could
probably take the guy.
Of course, there was the matter of the man
having his revolver, and that complicated things.
"You are not a nice man," the intruder
Something about the voice seemed familiar to
Bertram, but he couldn’t place it yet. It flitted just outside of
where his brain could grasp.
"You come here to scold me? You don't know
me, son," Bertram said.
"I do know you," the man said. "I know the
things you've done. Now I can fix those things."
"Who are you?"
"You were friends with my father. You knew
my sister too."
Kidnapping a three-hundred plus pound man
was hard work, and getting Deputy Vick to cooperate wasn't as
simple as Martin had hoped. He tried to make Bertram put on his own
handcuffs – which was no easy feat since the man's width wouldn't
allow him to place his hands behind his back. Martin had to settle
for the cuffs in front. Then he had to knock Bertram unconscious
once he got him into the car. It took three strikes with the butt
of the revolver. On the third blow, Martin heard something crack,
and he thought it was Bertram's skull. It wouldn't do to have him
dead before he got him to the house. Fortunately, the revolver's
wooden handle had snapped: not Bertram's head.