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Submitted on 10/07/2019

Categories: General

Knock, knock, knock.


Tell me I didn't hear that coming from upstairs. Not right now. I'm too busy to bother with nonsense.


Knock, knock, knock.


Ignore it, I tell myself. Maybe they'll go away and bother somebody else. Wouldn't that be nice?


Bang, bang, bang.


"Coming! Jeeze, I'm coming already."


My feet pound up the stairs as I go to get the door. Why can't they leave well enough alone? It always happens. People are always coming around when I don't need them, and when I do need them they're nowhere to be found. Right now, I need to focus. There is no room for mistakes; my finished work must be perfect.


"Hello?"


"Buy some cookies, Mister?" the tubby young Girl Scout asks, holding a box outstretched in her pink little hand.


I force a smile. She can come back later. Just not right now. "No thank you, little girl. Not this time."


I shut the door slightly harder than intended. I need to get back to work. The sooner she's finished, the better, but a masterpiece cannot be rushed. I just get back down to the basement when another noise assails me.


Ring, ring. Ring, ring.


I glare at the phone accusingly, and then continue what I'm doing.


Ring, ring. Ring, ring.


It'll stop ringing now. Good. I can continue without distractions.


Ring, ring. Ring, ring.


They're calling back? Can't they just leave a message and be done with it? I walk to the phone, grumbling. This had better be important.


"Yes?"


"Oh, Mr. Stein, thank goodness I got you. Have you seen little Susie? She's been missing for days. At first I thought she just went on a sleepover and forgot to tell us, but now with all the other young girls going missing..."


"Calm down, I'm sure she's fine. Have you contacted the police yet? Do they have any leads?"


"I did, but they don't know anything. They're more interested in questioning us than they are trying to find her."


"I'm sure that you're exaggerating. They probably have an Amber Alert out for her right now, just in case anything happened. But I'm sure she's fine. She'll probably come back any day now, of her own accord. Children get these notions now and then to run away and see the world, but the world is always too much for them. She'll be back."


The woman sobs. I hate it when they do that. "Thank you, Mr. Stein. I don't know what I'd do without you. If you do happen to see her, you will call, won't you?"


"Of course, Mrs. Jones. Of course. Good day."


I hang up the phone, and rip the cord out of the wall. Now I can get some peace and quiet for a change. I pick up working where I left off. Finally, no interruptions.


Knock, knock, knock.


Blast it. Again?


Knock, knock, knock.


With my luck, they won't go away until I open the door. I plod upstairs and crack the door open.


Two policemen are standing there. It seems they always come in pairs these days.


"Can I help you, officers?"


"We are just doing a routine check. One of your neighbors reported seeing unusual flashes of light from your basement, and hearing strange noises."


"I've been having some electrical problems. It's been pretty nasty. But it'll be fixed soon. Thank you for stopping by, but as you see, I'm quite alright. Have a nice day, sirs."


I close the door, bolt it, and lean against it. Nobody else. The next person to knock will just have to keep knocking. I rush back downstairs. No more interruptions. I won't allow it.


She's almost finished. I stand back to admire her. Beautiful, just beautiful. My great-great-grandfather was famous for his work, but compared to what I stare at now, his works were monstrosities. This is true workmanship here. This is art. This is my masterpiece.


It had been hard at first, finding all the right pieces to fit together. I only used the best. The lungs of a swimmer, the legs of a runner, the brain of a scholar, the face of an angel. The badges that the scouts wore helped me immeasurably when it was not obvious.


I add the final stitches, making them small and neat, nearly invisible. In time, they will heal over, and not be visible at all.


I strap her down with care, as though strapping my newborn baby into a carseat for the first time.


And I flip the switch.


***


Knock, knock, knock.


Nobody answers. She looks at me with big eyes, not knowing what to do.


"Be persistent, Francine. They will answer," I tell her.


Knock, knock, knock.


A long pause, and she turns those big eyes on me again. I smile encouragingly.


"Keep knocking. That's my girl."


Knock, knock, knock.



An elderly gentleman in a wheelchair slowly opens the door. His craggy expression softens instantly when he sees her. "What can I do for you, little girl?"


"Buy some cookies, Mister?" she asks.


"Why, of course, honey. Who could say no to a face like that?" He smiles as he hands her money for the last four boxes she has. He takes a glance at the many badges on her sash. "My, but that is a lot of patches. You must be very skilled. What is your name, sweetie?"


"Francine Stein," she replies, as she tucks the money into her pouch. She smiles up at him. "Thank you, mister."


"Thank you, little missy. Just seeing you has brightened an old crippled man's day. And remember, you can come back any time you want. I don't get many visitors these days."


"I will, sir, thank you very much. Goodbye."


He says goodbye and shuts the door softly, his grin so wide I halfway expect his false teeth to pop out of his mouth and go flying through the air. I lay my hand on her small shoulder as we walk away from the house. My chest is swelling with paternal pride. Beat that, Granddad.



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2 comments

18:12 Oct 15, 2019

Chilling. I love it

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Lee Kull
19:11 Oct 15, 2019

Thank you! I've been told it's likely the sweetest gruesome horror story out there, haha. It's certainly a new take on the old classic.

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