Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The prompt this time was to write a story that featured a full moon and its effects on characters in the story.  The word count was 1,300 words and the genre was open.  I wrote this in a real hurry, so please excuse any typos.  Please enjoy.


Gerald Mackleroy was born mean.  By the age of 7, he could send his schoolmates running from the playground in tears.  He never had to raise a hand; his words were enough to cause deep wounds.  He’d talk about their whore of a sister living on the streets in the city or point out that when their Daddy left, it wasn’t their Mama he was leaving--it was really them since they were such a disappointment.  When he was little, his Mama constantly tried to caution him on the consequences of what she referred to as ‘crossing that line’.  One day, she had often told him, you’re doing to make one last pass over that line and there will be no going back.  Then, you’re going to be sorry.  Really.  Sorry.  Last time she delivered her speech to Gerald was on a dark and rainy Monday morning.  By Friday morning, that same week, she was dead.  Gerald didn’t really care what killed her, or even that she was gone.  His father made no speeches and kept a respectable distance and Gerald liked that just fine.

Gerald’s father, Roger, no longer felt comfortable in the area since his wife’s death, so he decided to take a job working for the county two states away.  He hoped that beginning their lives in a new town with new people might help his son.  The boys his age had always avoided him and Anna Marie had said it was because Gerald taunted and emotionally tortured them.  Dear, sweet Anna Marie.  He never understood how a mother could believe that about her own child.  He’d never seen Gerald torture anyone, and maybe the boys in the area just weren’t at his son’s level intellectually.  Yes.  That’s it.  They were just jealous and spread stories.  Gerald would make lots of new friends after they moved.  Roger did have to admit though that there had never been much of a bond between father and son.  He’d tried since the boy was born, but he could never seem to warm to the boy or the boy to him.  Things will change after the move, he thought.  We’ll be like a real family.

This new town is even sorrier than the one I was born in, Gerald thought, and the kids are even dumber.  He’d make sure they got theirs though and he knew just how to accomplish that.  He’d accompany his father when he put in overtime at the Courthouse, and while Dad was hard at work behind a desk initialing piles of papers, Gerald would hit the records room and dig for dirt.  It always amazed him how small towns kept records of the personal failings of its residents.  He loved to rummage through old newspaper clippings and court documents.  There was always something sinister and painful he could throw in the face of those who he felt had crossed him.  A treasure trove of hurt waiting there for Gerald to find.  He already had been given a list of the names of the kids in his class.  All nice and alphabetical.  Just like the court’s file drawers.

The first day at his new school was boring and the teacher was ugly as spit.  Gerald had read an article about her husband of eleven years eating the barrel of a shotgun the previous spring.  One look at her and Gerald wondered why it had taken him so long.  He noticed a group of boys gathered at the side of the office building.  The one named Harley motioned for Gerald to join them.  Gerald already knew that boy’s father was in the penitentiary for assaulting a bartender.  He decided to find out what they were up to.  He always had the jail incident to use if need be.

“Hey, Ger.” Harley called out.  “Why don’t you come with us to Cemetery Hill.  Bobby’s going to do one of his rituals later.  There’s going to be full moon tonight, so who knows what will happen.  We can stop by my house on the way and you can call your Pops and tell him you‘re staying at my place tonight.  My Mom will fix us supper and then when she goes to her room to watch her shows, we‘re all going to head over there.  It‘s going to be really neat.”

‘Really neat’.  Gerald wondered if any of them realized just how low on the food chain they were.  If this was some kind of initiation  and they thought for one second about trying to embarrass him, they’d regret it in a heartbeat.  Gerald had enough on each one of them to bring them to their knees.

“Great,” he said in his usual biting tone.  “But, I prefer to be called Gerald.  Never ‘Ger’.”

“Whatever floats your boat,” Harley smiled, and started down the path behind the school.

Whatever sinks yours, Gerald thought.

Bobby, Gerald learned, was a high school senior, and was a devotee of anything dark and demonic.  Gerald didn’t believe in spells and all that crap and couldn’t wait to introduce some cold hard reality into the minds of these backwoods boys.  After a less than appealing meal at Harley’s house, the seven of them headed to the hill.  Bobby was already there, wearing a long black robe with an upside-down cross on a chain around his neck, sitting within a circle of lit black candles.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Gerald began.  “How scary.  What are you going to do?  Conjure something up?  I knew it would be a waste hanging with you losers.”

He decided it was time for their lesson, and as he pointed at each boy, he dredged up their families’ dirty linen.  A father’s incarceration for brutal behavior, a mother’s infidelity with a parish priest, a brother’s moment of indiscretion with a crossing guard…  This town was a soap opera of scandal and Gerald  relished each boy’s quivering lip and sniffles to stem the tears.

“You’d better take all that back, boy,” Bobby said quietly.  “Now.”

“I’m so scared of you, I’m shaking in my shoes.”  Gerald decided to go home.  No way was he going to spend another minute here.  His job was done.

Bobby told the others not to let the new kid rattle them.  He had them join hands outside the circle as the full moon came into view.  He began.

The following week went by quickly for Gerald.  None of the kids in his class would make eye contact, and he figured word had gotten around that he was not to be messed with.  Gerald was happy about that.  Now, the rest of the year would sail by.  Everyone in school was talking about that night when yet another full moon was supposed to appear.  Gerald wondered what had occurred during the last one, if anything.  Bobby, with all his Goth crap, was just another small town joke.  Full moons.  More crap.

Gerald fell asleep on the couch watching a rerun of some lame show from the 50’s.  He was pissed they didn’t have cable, but his father assured him they would be able to afford it within the next few months.  A loser.  Just like his mother.  He heard a noise coming from the kitchen.  He couldn’t remember if he had locked the back door, but what did it matter.  There was no crime in the sticks, and it was probably just their dump of a house settling.  After he closed his eyes, he noticed the sudden darkness.  There had been some light from the TV.  Had the power cut out?  He sat up, opened his eyes, and standing in front of him was a creature from Hell itself.  It was almost as tall as the ceiling, eyes as black as the night, fangs and sharp claws on both its hands.  It was clothed in a long, black robe and had an upside-down cross on a chain around its neck.

“Disbeliever,” it growled.  “Defiler.  Betrayer.”

As it leaned in and began to tear at Gerald’s throat with its claws, he remembered his mother’s warning about making that one last pass over the line.  She had been right.  This time he was sorry.  Really.  Sorry.


  1. Oh my! Joyce...what a story! I both enjoyed and recoiled at Gerald's comeuppance. Well done!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. The idea had been floating around in my head for awhile, but I was only able to get it down at the last minute.

      Don't you just love it when a bully gets it? This, however, was a lesson learned the really hard way though...

  2. Poor little Gerald, unloved, moved from town to town.
    Nice to see him get it at the end, by something conjured up by Bobby. Maybe something Bobby has used before?

  3. Nice story - felt a moment of pity for poor little misunderstood Gerald, unloved, moved from town to town.
    Then I got a grip and rejoiced in his downfall. Maybe Bobby used this creature for other kids too?

  4. Hooray for creatures from Hell! ;) And good thing Ger doesn't have to worry about being bored anymore . .

  5. Joyce this moves inexorably towards what is the only ending you could have chosen. Brilliantly tight and satisfying.

  6. Nicely done!

    Gerald sounds like my creepy neighbor I based my last Flash Fiction story on.

  7. Good show. Reminds me of my favorite reruns from the '50s like the Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits