Thursday, January 07, 2010

Entry #25

Lammergeier
by Loren Eaton


Webster marched the girl from the farmhouse to the barn by the reservoir. The naked oaks along the path creaked with ice. She begged him. She begged God. Her sobs contorted her face.

Webster put the knife in to smooth it out, to shut her up. This far out, there was no god but him.

He buried her in the barn with the others. He’d dug three additional holes last fall. Proper preparation prevented poor performance.

He’d just washed up when the sheriff came knocking.

Webster smiled at him, offered coffee. The sheriff was fishing. He obviously had nothing.

Filling the coffeepot in the kitchen, he looked out the window and saw it -- a vulture brooding above the reservoir.

The sheriff leaned against the counter, asked how long he’d lived out here, if he’d seen a young runaway. Webster glanced away, said no and looked out again.

A second vulture hovered over the face of the waters.

Impossible. It was cold. She was fresh.

The sheriff excused himself. The screen door screeled as he stepped back outside. Panicked, Webster whirled toward the window.

A third.

He slipped through the farmhouse to the back door. He had to move her -- now.

When the sheriff found him, he was shuddering in a corner of the barn. Melody Pugh, age thirteen, lay half-buried in a shallow grave. A smile curled her cold lips.

Cuffed in the back of the cruiser, Webster looked up one last time.

Into an utterly empty sky.

40 comments:

wrath999 said...

Cool,nicley done. A creepy tale.

Bernita said...

"Proper preparation prevented poor performance."
The most chilling line of all.

Lena said...

Chilling one. Kinda scary, not my kind of stuff, but very well written.

Aniket said...

I totally loved this one.
One of my favourites so far.

Its creepy. Its binding. Its complete.

I've a thing for serial killer stories. Big fan of Criminal Minds - Me! :D

Leatherdykeuk said...

Very creepy piece. Well done!

Craig said...

You addressed the idiosyncrasies of the character well. He sees himself as in control but panics at the first thing that goes wrong.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Very creepy. Good job!

macaronipants said...

Very creepy. Nicely done!

pjd said...

Bernita said exactly what I was planning on saying, and everyone else used my word for this: Creepy! But I will amend and say, "delightfully creepy." I love revenge from the grave tales like this one. Also, I find the writing extremely efficient and clean. Nice work.

Kartik said...

This is one of my favs too. Chilling to the core!

SzélsőFa said...

wow, chilling.
it kept me on the edge of my seat.

JaneyV said...

Perfectly crafted and utterly sinister.

PEOPLE, PLACES, VOICES, FACES... said...

Melody vindicated by vultures--I'm glad you didn't let him get away!

PEOPLE, PLACES, VOICES, FACES... said...

I'm really intrigued by your title, BTW.
Ranee

Four Dinners said...

The return of Anthony Perkins!!!!...sans shower...;-)

Lammergeier - bearded vulture - is a very clever title.

The writing is supurb. It sent shivers down my spine did this.

Supurbly written!!!

B. Nagel said...

Golden, Loren.

Terri said...

Yes, "creepy" is the right word; and compellingly written.

laughingwolf said...

creepy... suits me just fine!

Stephen Hill said...

I smiled throughout - much like the corpse. Outstanding mood, sustained tension. Bravo.

Tara said...

Chilling, creepy, compelling. All of the above! Brrrr...

Amias said...

.. don't you just love it when girls take flight.

Beth Harar said...

I liked it! I could feel his panic. Good job.

Scattercat said...

Ah, the chilling sounds of alliteration. No sane mind thinks like that.

kashers said...

Chilling. Both in content and pacing. It's hard to believe it's only 250 words - the story reads so much bigger.

austere said...

Excellent.

Deft, lean writing.

Laurel said...

Riveting. Great tone and I love that the birds give him away. Nice take on the prompt.

This one is a contender for me.

catvibe said...

Most excellent! Riveting and well paced. REally nice ending.

angel said...

Fabulously creepy!

AidanF said...

I like the distance created by not having any spoken dialogue. I also agree with Bernita.

Jimmie Vee said...

I'm always happy to read a story that's actually a story and not a 250 word description of a bird flying over the landscape and how it feels to be a bird. It's comforting to know that murder and mayhem is what the person sitting next to me in the coffee shop may be thinking about when they are shown a photograph of a bird and asked to describe what comes to mind. Good job.

CJT said...

this has a nice ring to it. I like it.

truevoid said...

kept me glued till the end!

Michael Solender said...

wicked and just creepy

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Poe would be proud...
great progression

McKoala said...

Harrowing and very well told

james r tomlinson said...

I've dealt with enough Websters to last a life time. Your characterization of him was spot on. I enjoyed your story immensely.

Deb Smythe said...

Love (so to speak) the cold, calculating killer. Truly love that he got what he deserved.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the merits of jarred baby food or B's exclusive use of his first initial

Loren Eaton said...

Thank you all for your kind comments! I truly appreciate them.

Dottie (My Blog 2.0) said...

Ah, the vultures sold him out, rightly deserved! Also, creepy!

Congrats on the H/M!

Dottie :)