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Tales From The Oddside(3)

By:Al Bruno III


"Not feelin' sotough now, are you?"With those words,Patches had found her exile lifted, to a point. She was only confinedto the accursed cage at night but she had remained in the basement.Billy's visits had dwindled further and further. Sometimes they hadforgotten to feed her, sometimes they didn't change her water. Whenshe had cried or barked out of need or loneliness, they had banged onthe floor and shouted at her.The first few inches ofthe grave had already begun to ice over. It cracked in protest as hernose broke the surface of the grave. A savage wind blew litter andshell casings back and forth. She saw the moon through a veil of dirtand struggled to reach it.The miserable routineher life had settled into ended when Patches found herself unable tohold down food. At first her vomitings had been rewarded withbeatings and scoldings. Even Billy was striking her now, "Stupiddog! What the fuck is wrong with you?" His condemnation had madeher want to die.The more she had triedto eat, the sicker she became. Patches had heard them shouting aboveher." . . . damn dogis sick.""Maybe if youstopped hitting it."" . . . please nofighting just once . . . "</ol>


"Don't fuckin'talk to me that way! Besides, maybe if you took it out for a walk,got it some fresh air."" . . . that wouldbe nice. We could all take it out for a walk together . . . ""Dad, if I weren'tso busy with -- ""Only thing you'rebusy with is playing with your dick in your room!"" . . . there wasblood in her vomit this time. She's wasting away . . . ""Fuck you!""What did you sayto me? You little shit!"" . . . we have todo something . . . "That night Billy hadcome down into the basement. Patches had wagged her tail when hecollared and leashed her. There was something about his scent andposture that felt wrong to her, but still she had hoped against hopethat this walk would be the one that never ended.She had lead him up thebasement stairs, past Mom sleeping on the couch and out the door onlyto find Dad waiting there for her. He had reeked of his foul waterand he had carried a long dark stick in his hands. She had never seenanything like it before. Billy had led her into the thin forestbehind their home; Dad had fallen into line behind them. They hadspoken uneasily.</ol>


"Do we have to dothis?""You gonna be apussy all you life?""Can't we justtake her to the vet?""You got two grandto waste, you fuckin' dumbass? It's just a fuckin' dog for Christ sakes."The recent snowfall hadmade the woods had take on an almost mystical aspect, she hadshivered with delight at the way the snow felt under her feet. Themoon had seemed to follow them, its light filtering through thetrees. The cold had blunted the scents in the air but what she couldsmell was intriguing enough. There had been something strange in theair that night, the sickly-sweet odor of meat gone to rot. It hadbeen strong and thick; the wind had carried it over her in waves.Something was coming, she had realized, something different andstrange. She had been tempted to loose a howl of greetin g but thenhad thought better of it.When they had arrivedsome distance from the house they had stopped. Her senses weredriving her mad. Couldn't they tell? Couldn't they taste it in theair?"You gonna do itor do I have to?""I can't.""Tits on a bullthat's all you are boy."</ol>


With a long, shudderingsigh, Billy had unhooked the leash and stepped back behind hisfather. She had wagged her tail uncertainly. Swaying slightly, Dadhad hefted the stra nge stick, propping the thicker end against hisshoulder, and pointing the other, smaller end at her. She had cockedher head with curiosity.There had been a soundlike a crack of thunder. Pain had lanced though her side, knockingher off her feet. Hot warmth had spread across her fur. She hadlooked desperately to Billy but he only watched from his father'sshadow as she had struggled to move, floundering painfully in thesnow."Jesus Dad she'sstill moving!""Shut the fuck upwill you? I'm trying to aim!"Through her torment,she had realized that they were doing this to her somehow. Her firstthought had been, What did I do? What have I done wrong?Another flash oflightning, another bolt of pain, this time right below her throat.Blood had gurgled up into her mouth, choking her. Coldness had sweptup over her, robbing her of everything but a sudden blossoming rage.How dare they? How darethey when she'd given so much? She had gnashed her teeth, darkspittle spraying onto the snow. The moon had loomed over her, asilent witness. She had made a vow to it, a vow and a curse."There, that'sdone it. Go back to the garage, get a shovel."</ol>


"But she's not --""She will be. Nowget a fucking shovel before I put you in the Goddamn grave with her."The rage had remainedeven after she died, even after they had buried her in a hastily duggrave. It had gnawed at her. Somehow, it had spurred her lifelesslimbs to action.With a grunt, she toreherself from the grave, her grimy, bloody tongue lolled from hergaping jaws. An army of foul-smelling shapes surrounded her, passedby her on every side. They groaned as they hobbled, moving with onemind, with one purpose towards unsuspecting civilization. A curioussense of belonging washed over her, she knew she was welcome in theirranks. She knew that there would be no beatings or cages for her now.And meat, there would always be warm, pulsing meat to sate the hungerthat clouded her thoughts. Cities of meat. A world of meat. All shehad to do was join the shambling mass.But not yet.Entrails danglingbeneath her, the dog named Patches began to make her way home. Themoon seemed to shimmer with approval.</ol>


TALES FROM THEODDSIDEGranny PantiesByAl Bruno IIIShapeless, white,trimmed with lace and roughly the size of his head.Brett couldn't believehe had forgotten them but there was nothing he could do about it now;the funeral was over and Great Aunt Jill was in the ground. All thatwas left for him to do now was pack up her two lifetime's worth ofclothes and knickknacks for goodwill or EBay, the house was his,finally his.</ol>


Stillthough he felt guilty about the whole underwear thing, near the endGreat Aunt Jill had been worried to the point of paranoia about beingburied in respectable undergarments. <I>“Pleasebe sure they bury me in my blue church dress and my own underwear.Sometimes the undertakers don't bother and leave you nude under yourclothes.” </I>Shehad actually said <I>“Nudeunder your clothes.” </I>Andwithout a drop of irony. More than once Brett had found himselfburying his face to make sure she didn't see him roll his eyes.Still though, GreatAunt Jill was gone, her blue dress was gone and being dragged tochurch every Sunday at 8 in the morning was over. Brett decided heneeded a little fresh air and walked on to the porch. His porch. Itwas still crowded with colorful plants and drab decorations; it wouldall go soon in favor of something a little more bachelor-y. It wouldall be going, the doilies, the precious moments’ figurines thepaintings and statuettes depicting the suffering of Christ. He oftenwondered why there weren't any pictures of Jesus hanging out with hisbuds- of course he never wondered it aloud, Great Aunt Jill wouldhave had a conniption.</ol>


Once he felt refreshedenough and the smell of mothballs was gone from his nose Brett headedback inside. He thought to himself that his life shouldn't have beenthis way, that at 24 he should have been out and on his own- andhopefully been knee deep in pussy.But his parents hadthrown him under the bus at 12 years old and all just because he hadshoplifted, gotten into a few fights and been caught with marijuanaat school that one time. Brett barely escaped juvenile detention orboot camp but for the grace of God and his parents' lawyer. When ithad all blown over Mom and Dad had shipped him off to his Great AuntJill in Elmira certain that she would be able to 'straighten himout'.He now in retrospectfelt that he should have taken his chances in juvie; after all theywould have had to let him go at 18. Great Aunt Jill was under no suchrestrictions.It took him a little alittle while longer to clear out the last of the clothes, for a womanthat only seemed to wear six seven outfits her whole life Great AuntJill sure had a lot of clothes stuffed into bureaus, dressers andmost of the closets. Once that was done Brett started to break downher bed, he was done sleeping in the attic but there was no way hewas sharing a mattress with her, even after the fact.Soon enough the roomwould be empty and he could put in a waterbed or a widescreen TV,anything he wanted, he could afford it now. Brett remembered hisparents dropping him off here to leave him in the care of a relativehe only saw at holidays and funerals. A relative he only rememberedbecause of her bell- like shape and dry kisses. As soon as he’dfinished waving goodbye to Mom and Dad his new guardian laid down thehouse rules - no loud radios, no TV but educational programming, novideogames, lights out was at 10 PM and there was no lock on thebathroom door so if she caught him pleasuring himself he would findhimself doing Hail Mary's for an hour.</ol>


That was when Brettmade the mistake of asking her what a Hail Mary was.A baker’s dozen ofHail Mary’s later she took him to his new room… it wasn’t muchmore than a bed a lamp and a chest of drawers in the attic. He couldhear the wind whistling through the cracks in the attic windowsilland shivered a little in anticipation. His parents weren’t reallygoing to go through with this were they?Once Great Aunt Jill’sbed was broken down and waiting out on the curb for the trash manBrett made sure all the closets and drawers had been fully emptied.He found a black and white photograph in the top drawer of thenightstand table. It was of his Great Uncle John, who had apparentlydied a few years after his marriage. Everyone said it was a tragicaccident but Brett now suspected it had all been an elaborate escapeattempt gone wrong.Brett tossed the photoand the bible into the kitchen trash, already making plans for hisMonday visit with the estate lawyer. Did he want all the money atonce? Or did he want it put in some kind of trust that would investfor him and dole out cash like a paycheck.<I>Areally big paycheck. </I>Brettthought as he decided to make a sandwich and have a beer. <I>That’sright Jill, a beer. </I></ol>