Mysterious Ways (a Schuyler Falls Story)

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I hated seeing my girl so sick. My wife and I continued to pray but it seemed God wasn’t listening.

How could He be so unfair, bringing this sorrow into our lives once more? Wasn’t losing our first-born hard enough?

Polly sat next to the child’s bed, wiping her brow. “Cindy, won’t you eat just a little for Mama?”

Cindy shook her head weakly. “I just can’t, Mama… I’ll throw it up. You know I will.”

Polly threw a look of despair my way before turning back to the child. “It’s okay, sugar,” she said, setting the soup bowl on the nightstand. She pulled the comforter close to Cindy’s chin and kissed her forehead. “We’ll try the soup later.”

Rising from Cindy’s bedside, she followed me out of the room. She closed the door and collapsed in my arms. “Fred, how can this be happening again? I don’t think I can get through it…”

Holding her tight, I breathed in the sweet scent of her hair. “Baby, you’re worn out. Why don’t you let me get one of the churchwomen in to help?”

“No,” she whispered, “Cindy’s my baby… I’ll be the one to tend her. She needs her mama…”

The doorbell rang and Polly moved away.

“Wonder who that is?” she asked, smoothing back her hair. “Can you get the door, Fred? I’m going to see if I can tempt Cindy with a chocolate muffin.”

“She says she can’t eat, Polly; she’s just gonna throw it back up.”

Stricken, Polly stared at me. “She’s gotta eat something! How’s she gonna keep up her strength if she don’t eat?”

I had no answers and bitterness washed through me.

Where was God in all this?

Nowhere.

I wiped away Polly’s tears. “Okay, baby… you try to get her to eat. Maybe she’ll keep it down this time.”

******

I answered the door, surprised to find Isabel Perkins standing there – and with her, Sheriff Barton.

“Evening, Isabel, Sheriff – something I can do for you?”

That’s when Mrs. Perkins began to tell me about the monsters in Schuyler Falls.

******

I dismissed her tale as the ranting of an old woman who’d spent too many lonely hours with only her dog for company.

“Won’t hurt to take a look now, will it, Fred?” asked the Sheriff, his eyes sharp. “Might put this lady’s fears to rest. How about it?”

I stared at him, confused.

“C’mon, Fred,” said the Sheriff. “Let’s take a look upstairs.”

******

I miss my wife.

Despite everything, I still love her.

Crazy, huh?

We found her upstairs, standing in her secret place, injecting a syringe full of Drano into a chocolate muffin.

Now I think of my first girl’s death and the signs I missed – signs the whole damned town missed! I get to questioning how the Good Lord let this happen.

Makes no sense.

And that talk about monsters? I lived with one for years and never knew it. Took an old woman’s nightmares to open my eyes – and save my child’s life.

I don’t know…

I guess what the Bible says is true: the Lord moves in mysterious ways.
__________________
Word count: 525

Author’s Note: This is the fourth and final story in a story arc about Polly Andrews, ‘the good mother.’ If you’d like to read the entire arc, the stories, in order, are: The Good Mother, Monsters Under the Bed and Signs.

This story is written in response to a challenge to write a flash fiction story in which the narrator finds something hidden in the family home. In Fred’s case, he found out there was a monster hidden inside his wife. The challenge is sponsored by ThainInVain and can be found here.

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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44 Responses to Mysterious Ways (a Schuyler Falls Story)

  1. I know I’ve read this before. Excellent! Have you considered putting it together and submitting it? ❤ ❤ ❤

  2. Pingback: Wednesday Whine – Of Weather, Books & Crops | Odyssey of a Novice Writer

  3. That was a fantastic flash fiction story! Such a creepy ending. I love it!

  4. Fantastic, You had be wanting more, and I loved it.

  5. Wonderful end to a chilling arc of stories. It just goes to show that you never really know what goes on in the heads of even the people who are closest to you. And of course, I love that you’ve written another Schuyler Falls story!

    Loved it! ❤

  6. stacilys says:

    Holy crap girl. You can write. This is really eerie. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
    🙂

  7. W. K. Tucker says:

    And so it ends–for now…
    (Evil chuckle here)
    I’m gleefully looking forward to another twisted tale from Schuyler Falls.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Kathy, Heather B Costa is always encouraging me to re-visit Schuyler Falls – so it’s likely some more oddly twisted tales may be coming from me. I still play around in my head with a character I created several months earlier who had a miraculous event occur to him and, as a result, was given an odd second chance.

      I’m glad you liked the tale!

  8. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week 47 Submissions | Thain in Vain

  9. willow1945 says:

    Oh my gosh! Horrifying, Kate, and of course, a wonderful read. I know those people exist, but to find you’re married to one….

    • Kate Loveton says:

      I think some of the horror in life is because we don’t really ‘see’ what is going on around us. For example, the fellow who might live two doors down and is a serial killer. When found out, everyone remarks, ‘Seemed like a nice fellow.’ We really don’t pay much attention to others – and that is probably true in families as well. We see, perhaps, what we wish to see. Thanks for reading, Willow!

  10. sherryirvin says:

    Awesome! Well written.

  11. A real page scroller, Kate! I’m going to check out the rest of the stories now! Also, you should check out “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn. It’s very good and has similarities to your story! TiV

  12. You are such a storyteller, Kate. This was chilling and engrossing. And has some basis in real life. Hope I never meet anyone like Polly!

  13. I love chocolate muffins 😉

  14. Another chilling piece, brilliant!

  15. Linda workman smith says:

    All I can say is: Imagination and talent in the extreme! I look so forward to the notifications in my inbox that there’s another Kate Loveton post.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Linda, you are so NICE! Thanks for the kind comments; it makes me grin to think of you waiting for another Kate Loveton tale! I shall try to get cracking on a new tale for you!

  16. You’re so mean to me, Kate. Who are you?? 😉 Giggle. Maybe I’m Little Miss Muffet… wowzers this was shocking.

  17. It would take me 500 pages to get to the point! What a great story. It brought me back to those years as a kid telling scary stories to each other under the street light.

  18. sknicholls says:

    Too good….didn’t see that coming.

  19. markbialczak says:

    Scaring me to death, Kate …

  20. Chilling, I agree, and seamless in story. Perfect outcome. Unexpected but fitting.
    🙂

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi Tess, high words of praise coming from you. You know how I admire your ability with the short story format. Thank you! 🙂

      • Kate, you are more than welcome. We sound like a mutual admiration society. Hmm. I kind of like that. 😀
        Who am I? A scibbler? A small one. I know what I like, the same as everyone else.

        We all know reading is subjective and we can only hope those who ‘l.o.v.e. or understand our stories stay happy and loyal– at least I do from week to week. ❤ ❤

  21. M. C. Dulac says:

    Chilling! Well done.

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