Tag Archives: mythology

Shriek

She accosted him on the sidewalk, as he was loading the last of his gear into the truck. He had just come from a client’s house, the last job of the day. He was loading his backpack sprayer when she slammed into him, nearly knocking him off his feet.

She was hysterical, weeping and wailing, clutching at his shirt. “YOU KILLED MY CHILDREN!” she cried.

“Ma’am…” he sputtered, trying to regain his composure.

“YOU KILLED THEM! YOU KILLED THEM! YOU KILLED THEM!” she screamed.

“Ma’am, no!” he protested. “I never killed no one! I’m just an exterm—” He stopped then, eyes widening with sudden understanding. “Oh. No.” He tried to back away, but couldn’t. “Oh, god no.”

He realized her eyes were glowing crimson — how had he not noticed her eyes?! — and wondered, What is she even doing here? There had been no forecast of a Shriek anywhere in the area for weeks. If there had, he would have, should have, taken the day off.

“YOU. KILLED. MY. CHILDREN,” she repeated, extending her claws.

He supposed he had.

[Originally posted on Ficly.]

Ritual

His hood is pulled up, casting his face in shadow. The bus rolls to a stop in front of him, and he steps on board. He ignored the driver’s terse greeting. It’s not like he means it. Years of driving kids to school has turned this ritual into little more than a Pavlovian call-and-response.

He walks toward the back of the bus, looking for an open seat. One of the upperclassmen makes room for him.

As he takes his seat, the upperclassman peers under his hood. “You’re looking healthier. Eating better?” he asks.

He shrugs. It’s not like it matters. He always looks gaunt.

The upperclassman notices what he’s holding. “They’ll never let you take that into the school.”

“I know,” he replies. “It doesn’t matter.” The upperclassman nods like this makes sense.

At school, he steps up to the metal detector. One of the guards approaches. “Sorry, Famine. I can’t let you take the sickle in. You can get it back at the end of the day.”

Famine nods. This, too, is ritual. School policy. It’s not like he really needs it.

Originally posted on Ficly.