As I sipped my coffee, I flipped through the local paper. Not much had been going on these past few days. There were no dark figures to muse about since they had left for vacation. The young boy who would draw portals to hell on his walls had his magic markers taken away from him for throwing a temper tantrum about eating peas.
I had lost my job only two short days ago. I used to be a journalist for this very paper. I would write articles about traveling outside of our small town. I’d share with others the wonder I discovered beyond the brick and barbed wire wall that bordered us from the rest of the world. I had just had a story rejected for the fifth time in a row before I told my boss to shove it and walked out of his office. Seventeen years of being treated like trash because I wasn’t the most attractive reporter was starting to wear me thin.
“Morning” moaned Sophie, my roommate, as she meandered into the kitchen.
“Good morning” I replied, “sleep well?”
“Not with that howling last night.”
“Yeah, I heard that too,” she said. “It was a great hunt for the neighbors. I watched them tear a buck to pieces on their front lawn.”
Sophie sighed and prepared a cup of coffee for herself. I glanced through the job listings and circled a few that looked interesting. None really caught my eye until the third page. In the bottom right corner, a large ad screamed
“MAID WANTED FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED FAMILY.”
The rate listed was $12 an hour. It was perfect; a rare chance for me to have a job based on my abilities rather than my looks.
The ad stated very clearly not to call ahead, but rather show up at my earliest convenience. The next day I gathered my references and resume and headed out. The trip was longer than I had expected and the address the ad had given was in a place I’d never been. I couldn’t seem to locate it on the maps when I searched for it online. It wasn’t unusual for a town to be missing like that, but what was unusual was that I had never been there before.
The house was very large and the driveway leading up to the house was long. The gates protecting the property seemed to open on their own as I pulled up. There were toys, tools, books, and even some items of furniture strewn about the lawn on either side of me as I entered. I parked my car in the roundabout near the top of the driveway. I knocked on the door. Immediately it opened to reveal a woman, with ratty brown hair. She wore a pink polo shirt, orange dress pants and a polka-dot apron that had stains all over it. Most importantly, she didn’t have a face. In fact, I came to learn that no one in her home had a face, and neither did anyone in that town.
My interview went well, though it was strange to have an entire family communicating with me telepathically. I was hired for a few days each week to keep things tidy. I loved the position and the family was sweet, yet secretive. They didn’t give me any personal information about themselves. I didn’t really want to know anyway since Mrs. Cooper’s apron wasn’t the only stained piece of clothing in the home.
One day, sometime during my third month, I remember the doorbell rang. I normally answered when guests would arrive, but this time, Mrs. Cooper told me to stay where I was. “That’ll be $24.50,” said the young pimpled boy on the doorstep; he was holding a large pizza box. I’m not quite sure what happened next, but the emotion I saw spread across that poor boy’s face is one I will never forget. He looked terrified and took off running, leaving the pizza box behind and Mrs. Cooper hot on his trail. After a moment, the remaining members of the Cooper family bolted out the door with lightning speed and accuracy. It was as if each of them, (including the 4-year-old) had been professional marathon runners.
Though I had only been working there a few months, I knew something was wrong. I called Sophie to let her know I might be in some kind of trouble. She didn’t pick up the first call.
At the time, I was standing in the living room and with the front door still open; I could see my car parked right outside. I ran over to the opened door and peered out of it to make sure the coast was clear. I picked up my phone to call Sophie one more time. As it rang, I sprinted to my car door.
I fumbled with my keys, wishing I had forsaken just one of my 4 magic pony keychains. I dropped both my keys and my phone to the ground. As I bent down to pick them up, I heard gravel crunching behind me. I slowly turned around, hearing Sophie on the other end of my phone trying to reach me. It was Mrs. Cooper, standing over me, too close for me to even consider running. Her clothes were dripping blood. Your shift doesn’t end until 5 her voice rang through my head at a volume much louder than normal. The remaining Coopers joined her in pinning me to my car. I slowly stood, my entire body shaking. My eyes darted between each member of the family as I plotted my escape. Before I could, the middle of Mrs. Cooper’s face opened up to reveal a mouth full of needle-shaped teeth and a forked tongue. She and her family lunged at me and everything went dark. The last thing I remember thinking was
“man, this would make a great story.”
Last Week’s Story: Suddenly, The Telephone Rang
Next Week’s Story: Drumming Up Business
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