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Postcards from Hell

It’s time for another flash of fiction. This week’s offering is for Inspiration Monday IX at Be Kind Rewrite. The prompts were:

  • The exits of the world
  • You don’t think of it as murder
  • Postcard from hell
  • In a better place
  • Life in a box

Can you guess which one(s) I used? 😀

Postcards from Hell

“Ow. Sh–”

“Steve! Mom’s gonna…” The girl fell silent. “Yeah, I know.”

“Tripped over the stupid game. Why you always leaving stuff out?”

“You break it?” The girl dropped to the floor. Scrambled around for the game pieces. Held a small car with tiny pink and blue pegs stuck in it on a trembling hand. “You coulda broken my kids!”

“Deanna…”

“Shut up.” She put the game pieces back in their box. Replaced the cover. “Life. Remember when we used to play it with Mom and Dad? And…”

He sighed. “Stacy.”

Deanna nodded, rubbing her eyes furiously, then froze.

Steve tensed. Cocked his head. Motioned to Deanna.

The girl dropped low. Crept to the window. Peeked over the sill. “It’s him.”

“You sure?”

Deanna looked back, eyebrows raised.

Steve reached for the crossbow laying on the bed. “Scoot some. You’re in my way.”

Deanna stuck out her tongue. Moved over.

Steve knelt before the window. Looked out.

A figure shuffled past the mailbox. Turned. Shuffled back again. Bald head covered with scratches and splotches. Clothing soiled beyond recognition except for a clean spot high on the chest around the blue and white eagle patch. A small rectangle of paper dangled from ruined fingers.

Steve licked his lips. Gripped the crossbow.

“He’s got it still.” Deanna nudged Steve. “You think it’s for us?”

Steve blew a soft raspberry. “How should I know? You always ask that.”

Silence.

“I’m sorry, Dee.”

“Whatever. Just…just do it.”

Steve rested the crossbow on the windowsill. Squinted. Took aim.

“Wait.” Deanna put her hand on Steve’s arm. “It’s…it’s Buck. He’s been delivering the mail since…like…before we were born.”

“I know.”

“Can’t we just wait a little longer. He…doesn’t act like the others.”

“We haven’t seen any others in weeks. Maybe they’re all like this now.”

“He keeps coming back here, Steve…trying to deliver that postcard. Maybe…”

“Dee, he’s not Buck anymore. It’s not murder.”

Deanna screwed up her face. “You don’t think of it as murder.”

“I’m sorry, Dee. He’s not…him…any more than Stace…” Steve sighed. Pulled the girl to him.

Deanna buried her face in Steve’s shoulder. “Don’t. Please.”

Steve nodded and held Deanna for a few minutes, his eyes on the figure that used to be Buck standing by the mailbox.

Deanna straightened. “Alright. I’m okay now.” Wiped her face on her sleeve.

“You sure?”

Deanna nodded. “He’ll be in a better place. Right?” She shut her eyes.

“A better place.” Steve aimed. Pulled the trigger. Didn’t watch the bolt find its mark but heard it thunk home.

Deanna cracked one eye open. “You get him?”

“Yep.” Steve looked at the rectangle of paper laying on the sidewalk. “Maybe we can go get that postcard…see if it’s for us.”

***

Just a reminder: There’s a still a few days to join in my April Writing Challenge. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll give it a shot!

Photo Credit:
US Mail by Steve Johnson, on Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

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26 thoughts on “Postcards from Hell

  1. I like the way they pitied the zombie postal dude, who still retained enough of his humanity that he tried to keep doing his job. Or… was it a ploy to get them outside?

  2. Sweet piece, drew me in nicely. Using the game of Life was a perfect choice! Poor Buck, now I’m left hoping the postcard was actually for them and not a “you can save thousands on a used car at Crazy Larry’s advertisement”.

  3. Thank you all!

    @FARfetched: Hmmm…a ploy to get them outside…there’s possibility I didn’t consider (*files the thought away for later*). When I saw the prompts, I kept seeing a zombie postman trying to deliver a postcard even though he couldn’t understand why or remember anything else. Of course…that leads to other story ideas…could a zombie’s former memories be awakened somehow? And what would happen if they did?

    @Gene: I hope the postcard’s for them too. I think it is. Guess I’d have to write more to find out. LOL. “Crazy Larry’s” ROFLOL. That’s so funny…and sad in the story context too.

    @Selena: are you tempted to give the zombie genre a try? I’m kinda hooked now. 😀

  4. Someone has been watching The Walking Dead again! lol

    I love your zombie story. Poor mailman just trying to do his job and then because he craves a little brain for dinner he has to die. So sad!

    You should write more zombie!

    1. You busted me! I really love that show. I like the human element even with the zombies. Actually caught myself crying the last two episodes. Maybe next months writing challenge should have to do with giving old horror/fantasy tropes a new twist. Sympathetic zombies, dorky vampires, etc. 😀

  5. Nice! How much you want to bet he was delivering the postcard to the wrong address? I mean, zombies may not be able to read well, decaying eyeballs and all . . . 🙂

  6. Fantastic. On so many levels. I love the gradual way we discover the story. It’s so unexpected when he grabs the crossbow, but it feels so natural. You even worked in life in a box!

  7. @Janel: Ouch! Wrong address! Could be. 😀

    @bekindrewrite: I kicked around a few ideas for “life in a box” and then thought of the board game. I used to love that game. 😀

    @mbwilliams: 😀 It’s the flash fiction that’s helped me learn to trim excess words and such. I’m much more wordy by nature. I’m hoping I can apply the learning to my MIP though. 😀

  8. oooooooh, now that gave my goosebumps goosebumps! those poor people (i got the feeling they were fairly young from their speech, attitude and reactions, was i right?)

    girl, you definitely have a dark side, no two ways about it. as for me, i think i am discovering to my shock that i just might as well, considering that nearly every single one of my responses to both yours and mr. swett’s writing prompts have either killed the mc or had the mc killing someone…or something (in the case of “paybacks”…it was both a “someone” and “somethings”…those people were cruel, heartless, selfish, vindictive, and completely immoral…i do not have the foggiest idea where they came from, for those are not qualities that i possess (man…at least i hope not!)

    ms. sonia, you are one heck of a terrific writer, no matter what you write. i just wanted you to know that. and i give you a huge cyber hug for inspiration and also as a way of saying thank you for posting such wonderful imagination expanding prompts each week and month. i for one thoroughly enjoy them.

    marantha

  9. Hey Sonia – very nice piece. What I loved about your writing was the fact that it used language that really set where they’re from (“scoot” for example). You didn’t need to tell us their origin – the language did that for us. And yes, I agree with all people above – beautifully drew the reader in and immediately set up empathy for the two alive, and also, mr Zombie-I’ll-Eat-Your-Ass-If-You-Come-Too-Close Mailman … 😉

    Cheers,

    Drew

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