#12: Noah Strauss

| November 13, 2010 | 0 Comments

Noah pulled into the driveway at just a bit past 11 PM on Friday. His week had finally ended, No more nagging customers, no more returns, and no more god damn Christmas rush. He opened his car door and slammed it doubly hard with a passing concern that he might smash his window by accident, but went through with it anyway.

His wife must have gotten Mikey to take the pails out, because the garbage was piled on the side of the road in descending order. Even outside of his house he struggled to find solace, the obsessive compulsive disorder that plagued his son pouring onto the street. He kicked one of the pails over just to make them uneven. Noah was shocked Mikey could even touch the damned things in the first place. He’d seen Mikey take the garbage out once before when he had stayed home sick from work. The boy needed four (not three, because three was an odd number) pairs of latex gloves that wrapped over the ends of his old windbreaker. As the thought of that incident came back to him, Noah kicked the garbage pail again, and then once more. It cracked in half and the loose wrappers floating around inside drifted off with the winter wind. He couldn’t remember the last time he came home from work excited to see his family.

After settling down a bit from his brutality towards the garbage pail, Noah set off onto the neighbor’s lawn to catch the floating pieces of garbage he had let float away during his fit. He walked across the lawn that was crisp and frozen from the winter air, but they hadn’t seen any snowfall yet. The ground was hard under his feet, his boots making sounds as they would usually make on pavement. He snatched the cellophane wrappers that had brushed up against the large tree towering in the neighbors yard. Technically, the old tree was rooted on his own property, but he hated the sight of it. It blocked the sunrise in the morning, and thus blocked the light from the largest window in the house. As a result, there was no natural warmth in the living room during the winter months, leaving the gas bill that much higher.

He hadn’t cut down the damn thing because his wife complained about killing trees, while his son maintained he wanted a tree house. A tree house that, out of fear that Mikey would want only even angles in his structure beams, Noah had put off for years.

As he pivoted on his heel from snatching up the wrappers to finally head inside the house, his next step hit something soft. It squished beneath his boot like dog shit. Noah looked down, only to see a squirrel, his tail pointed straight out and now his head collapsed, under his foot.

“Shit.” he moaned. Noah kicked the dead animal with force. His boot caught it just under its torso, sending it flying up into the leafless crown of the tree. “Piece of shit.”

As the words came out of his mouth, there was a sudden deposit of tiny rodents that dropped out of the branches above. They toppled on top of Noah, maybe twenty or thirty of them, all with their tales stiff and their eyes open.

“Christ.” said Noah. Upon further inspection of the creatures, he noticed something. Their bodies weren’t frozen or indicative of decay. They were still living, their bodies drawing long, slow breaths. The only thing that Noah could think to do was look up at the branches, as though the tree itself was going to give him an answer to the scene surrounding him.

Imagine his surprise when it did.

He peered into the tree for nearly twenty minutes until the numbing of his ears snapped him out of it. The first thought to pop into his mind when he turned away was just how much Mikey would enjoy a treehouse.

Category: Drama, Horror

About the Author ()

Joey is a writer and hoarder of nerd things from New England, currently living existence outside of New York City. He often attends rhythmic ceremonial rituals and gambles away his hard earned money. Currently he’s working on his first novel while creating comics and developing the social writing website Social Pulp, which will be going live by the end of the year. He also serves as the Comics Channel Editor for the major pop culture website CraveOnline. You can find him on Twitter, or e-mail him a lengthy diatribe voicing your utter disgust.

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