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Rain of Rubber Chickens - Friday Flash

Exercise #124 : "Rain of Rubber Chickens"

Fred pulled down the hatch to the attic; down came a rain of rubber chickens.

Write on.

DISCLAIMER: I have decided to turn today's writing exercise into a Friday Flash post, so it's going to be a little longer than 5 minutes worth of writing.


Fred pulled down the hatch to the attic; down came a rain of rubber chickens. There were at least one hundred of them of all shapes and sizes, and somehow every single one of them landed beak first. Well, every single one except for the one that perched lightly on the top of his head. He brushed it off and looked back upward into the attic. It was dark and ominous, a stark contrast to the brightly colored house.

"Wow," said Melanie from behind him. She had just walked into the hallway from the kitchen after she had heard the chickens falling.

"Yeah," he said, "I forgot she put these up here."

"You knew she had five million rubber chickens?" Melanie's mouth gaped.

"Dad had a thing for them back when he wanted to be a clown," he said, "and there are only about a hundred."

"It's called a hyperbole, smart-ass." She folded her arms in front of her chest and blew a stray hair away from her face. She looked about 16 when she did that. "Well, at any rate, we have to clean this up now."

"We would have had to clean it up anyway."

Melanie rolled her eyes. "Just go up into the damn attic, Frederic." It was almost as if they were kids again, bickering over who was going to do which chore.

Fred scaled the ladder into the attic, flashlight in tow. When he turned it on, he was slightly surprised by the lack of boxes and papers, by the bare quality of it all. There was a small chest to the right with some winter clothes in it and a cardboard box directly in front of him that held what looked like old tax returns, but he could see nothing else. A wave of disappointment rushed over him, and he turned around to descend back into the hallway. Leaning backward for a moment, he brushed his head against something hanging from the ceiling. A light dangled from a thin wire.

When he pulled the chain, the whole attic was brilliantly illuminated, uncovering an extremely large cedar chest that was sitting in the back corner, hidden from the limited gaze of his flashlight. He had never seen it before; it must have been there for quite some time.

When he lifted the lid, the hinges squeaked with fatigue and age. The first thing he saw was a tiny shoe, powder blue and fragile.

"Oh, man," he said aloud, "she kept it all."

From the hallway, Melanie yelled, "What? I can't hear you!"

"Nothing," he said. "I'll come down in a minute."

He rifled through the baby clothes, the god-awful finger paintings that did not, in fact, look like a sailboat, the Excellent Student awards from middle and high school. Where is it? he thought. Where?

Just when he was about to give up all hope, his fingers grazed the corner of a wooden box, approximately one foot deep and six inches long. He pulled it out anxiously. The top was hand-painted with his name, Frederic in elegant lettering. Inside was a piece of paper that bore his mother's handwriting.
My Dear Freddie,

If you're reading this, then I have passed from this world, leaving you behind. I told you that I would leave you a piece of me when I died, and here it is. I made this box myself, painted it with my own hands for you. This box has a purpose.

You're not going to like what I have to say, but it is of the utmost importance that you follow my directions exactly. First things first, tell none of this to Melanie. She mustn't know what you're about to do, and if she did the whole plan would fall to pieces.

Now, read this carefully, Freddie. You must kill your sister. Our family dates back to the 1500's, and in each generation there is a woman of unspeakable power, demonic power. She is capable of bringing an end to the world as we know it, and if you don't kill her, she will realize her potential by the time she's twenty-five and kill you instead. In fact, she'll kill everyone. That's the way of it. It's been a family secret, and now you know.

Once you've killed her, you must put her heart in this box and bury it in the garden out back at least six feet underground. If you unearth another box similar to the one I made for you, put it back where you found it and dig elsewhere. There are many, and chances are you'll run into one or two of them before finding an appropriate resting spot for your sister's heart.

My dear Freddie, I know you'll do the right thing.

Your Mother
Kill my sister? he thought. I can't possibly... He shoved the letter back in the box and closed it. Suddenly, a cloud of smoke wafted upwards from the large chest and floated around his face. He inhaled the smoke, starting a coughing fit. His throat felt like it was burning. He fell over, clutching his stomach, trying to force himself to breathe. Gradually, the sensation lessened to a dull throbbing, then to nothing at all. He tried to push himself up, but his body would not move.

"Fred?" called his sister, "Are you ok? What happened?"

"I'm fine," said his voice. Who said that? All of the sudden, his body stood up of its own accord.

Freddie, said his mother. She had somehow gotten into his head. I knew you would side with your sister, so I'm going to borrow your body for a bit.

"I'm fine," she said through him. "I'm coming down."


I'm not entirely sure what I think about it, but I hope you liked it! :) And to think it all started with a rain of rubber chickens.



Mark Kerstetter said…
Maybe he should club her to death with one of the chickens.

("he brushed his" ... "against something" - seems to be a missing word)

I like your new pic.
Laura Eno said…
Bwahahah! I like it! But then, you probably figured I would. :)
Ha! Okay, I know it was kind of a freaky ending, but I still chuckled throughout.
"It's called hyberbole, smart-ass." - I'm stealing that line to use against people, being the inveterate hyberbolist of my family.
(Yea, I'm the sister, too.)
VERY well done, love it. :)
Unknown said…
Woah! Nice letter. It's like: oh, by the way...
Stef Howerton said…
Thanks for the comments, guys! :)

@Mark - Thanks for pointing out my typo. I hate it when I leave out words like that. hah Consider it fixed.

@Laura - I figured you would. haha I'm glad I was right, though!

@CJ - You're completely welcome to use the hyperbole line. I thought it was kind of funny, too. :)

@Draco - Yeah, who'd-a-thunk that he'd have such an intense family history??
Cat Russell said…
Wow. For a story that started with a rain of rubber chickens, it turned unexpectedly dark pretty suddenly! Mom seems sort of freaky. Maybe her heart should have been the one buried. Taking over her son's body seems pretty 'demonic' to me!

Well written and very, very odd. Nice.
Marisa Birns said…
Rubber chickens because the father thought of becoming a clown just had me laughing for a million minutes!

Then I stopped laughing because it got scary.

Well played!
Anne Tyler Lord said…

That story was thoroughly entertaining - humor to horror! Very suspenseful!

Very well-written between action and dialogue. And, that letter was great!

What a freaky backyard!

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