I came up with this incredibly strange idea two years ago and it became a bit of an obsession: A horror story where the monster is a tiny adult human who clucks like a turkey at the protagonist out of a mess of bushes on the side of the road near his house. This is my attempt at the beginning of this story. Going the right direction?
The front yard, framed by the window, is unkempt. Two elastic red squirrels play in the grass. Stalks wave around. They (the squirrels) stop suddenly at random, then start again, barking and chattering. Inside the house, next to the window, the wall, painted cleanly green, is defaced with plaster. The bed is too short for the young man who lies in it. His feet bend at the ankles and his heels point at the ground.
On the floor sitting against the wall is his sister. Her hair is dark blonde and her face is immensely pale. She has a way of staring straight, when she talks, at the same spot, and she only looks up or looks away for a brief moment when she has something exciting or perceivably surprising to say, which she usually says in an exaggerated monotone, as opposed to her normal tone which implies a perennial question, rising in pitch, her glance never quite matching her words.
Downstairs they can hear their parents moving chairs.
“…The problem,” the young man continues, “is that they don’t see us. We’re not here. Whenever there’s a fight, they won’t treat us the way we’re reacting; they assume we’re emotionally in the place that they expect us to be. Like characters on a TV show. It’s been a year, and they’ve asked us a thousand times how we feel, but they never heard what we said, which was the real thing—for me at least: that we weren’t sad, we weren’t traumatized, we were dealing with it on our own, but they kept bringing it up. There’s always this chance that I’ll just forget about everything. But then they ask us, as if we need to deal with it, all at once. They won’t let us be gradual with anything.” He pushed his hands forward, symmetrically, as though moving a shopping cart, for emphasis.
“Yes. I hate seeing them. I try to stay in my room. Mom still walks in on me though. She thinks I’m in my room because I’m sad, but most of the time I’m not really thinking about anything. I’m not happy or sad,” says the sister.
“That’s the thing. That’s the problem. They assume we can’t deal with our own problems. Whatever ideas of recovery they learned came from some third person; they want us to talk. But to say what they think we’ll say. They can’t deal with indifference. I don’t want to talk, I just want to get over it, stop thinking about it.”
His sister says, “I want to get out of the house but there’s nowhere to go. It would help a lot if I could get out of the house.”
“Yeah. Nowhere. And nobody to hang out with,” he says. This time almost to himself, since they would probably not hang out with the same kind of person anyway.
“There’s young people here. They just scare me. They look like they’re ready to fight me whenever I come by. They wear a lot of camo. I get the feeling it would be great to grow up here if you were, like, born here. Then you could feel like a native. Your whole life would be natural.”
“Yeah. Nothing’s natural when you lived in more than one place. I guess we could be more friendly to the old people around,” she says.
“We could go over to Adley’s house and look at his chickens. He’s always asking me to go look at his chickens.”
“I think I can say for sure that neither of us should ever look at his chickens. I wouldn’t go into a barn alone with that man.” He laughs. “Hey, look at this.” He pulls out a bottle of whiskey from under the bed. “Do you want a little?”
“No. I’d be asleep before dinnertime.” She pauses. Then she laughs. “Wait…”
“Exactly,” he says. He hands her the bottle. She unscrews the top and drinks very little. She puts the bottle on the floor and her brother picks it up. He takes a sip.
“Where’d you get it?” She asks.
“There’s not much business in this part of the county. But what stores there are sell alcohol. And none of them ID.”
“Everybody here is an alcoholic.”
“Accurate. I see that guy Kip every day, the dude at the end of the block, start drinking at about Three in the afternoon on his front porch. He downs a forty, like, every hour, passes out at Nine, with his dog sleeping in front of him, then wakes up at like midnight and has a cigarette and then goes back in.”
Suddenly the stairs start groaning. The siblings fall silent.
“How are you two?” Says their mom, walking in and putting a gigantic hand on either child’s head. She doesn’t pet or prune; she just lays her hands there and waits. But neither child says anything. “Me and your father are cooking dinner. You can come down in a half hour and it should be done.”
They say nothing.
“Good to see you,” she concludes, and opens the door to leave. As she shuts the door, squirrels or mice in the ceiling start scurrying over to the far wall. There is some kind of wood dust, or insulation in the ceiling, with a consistency that must be like dry rice, because the siblings can hear the mice digging in something. They hear their mother sighing outside, and the brother wonders whether this sigh was something she learned on TV.
Later that night, the brother is alone in the living room. His parents have just gone to sleep, and his sister is in her room, silent, maybe asleep, maybe not. He is putting on his boots when he sees a wasp fall out of the ceiling light in the atrium. It wiggles through the crevice between the metal and the plaster, and then it falls to the floor, buzzes insanely, but stays in one place, flying as fast as it can into the tile floor without moving at all. It flies into the tile as though the tile were air. The brother crouches by it and realizes that these are death spasms. The wasp is dying energetically. He sees another crawl out of the light.
Adam puts on his boots.
He walks outside. He takes a swig from the liquor bottle on the porch, somewhat forcibly because he would so rather drink on the porch than drink while walking. He steps onto the street.
Little does he know that a tiny turkey man will soon cluck at him out of the bushes.