Chapter 8

Written by: cindimp

Gary fought through his extended stay at the hospital. He recovered slowly and was well enough to go home.

The tension between Shirley and Gary remained thick. She blamed him for the deaths of her sons. Gary knew she held resentment, but he tried to explain that it wasn’t his fault. Shirley would dismiss his pleads while her animosity grew.

The ride home was silent. Gary thought of how he would adjust to a wife who hated him and an empty house. Grief overcame him. He sank back into the passenger seat and gazed out the window.

Shirley pulled into the drive and gathered Gary’s pills from the center console. The thought of monitoring her husband made her feel more like a nurse and less of a wife. She was no longer a mother. Gary made sure of that. She made her way to the passenger side of the car and started to help Gary. He motioned her away.  

He was sure he could manage himself. His tired body slowly moved across the drive and onto the porch. Once inside, he lay down on the couch. He felt dizzy. Shirley stared at him for a brief moment and then went into the kitchen to make grilled cheese sandwiches.

The smell of toasting butter on the skillet made Gary's stomach growl. He almost commented on not burning the food when a chill ran up his spine. Murmuring voices filled the room. Gary felt the sudden pressure of weight on his chest. The twins’ voices were very distinct. The temperature in the room dropped. Gary struggled to free himself from the growing weight bearing down on his weak body.

“Welcome back, Daddy.”

Gary’s face paled. He tried to yell for Shirley, but the words seemed to freeze in the cold air. He couldn’t believe that Michael and Jason had stayed in the house long after their deaths. He hated the thought of the dead boys roaming around, waiting to pounce on him and play their terrible game.  He kept mentally struggling against the nightmare, hoping to escape from the tragic past.

The boys sat on Gary’s chest, laughing. Gary could see the transparent boys and their almost demonic smiles.

“We waited for you, Daddy. We need to tell you something important.”

Dizziness overcame Gary. He saw Shirley standing at the end of the couch, holding a tray of his favorite sandwiches. Hoping she would save him, Gary tried to speak. His eyes dilated and his body became stiff. Shirley remained at the end of the couch, watching, hoping.

Shirley smiled as the boys laughter echoed off the walls.

Gary started to convulse.  Knowing that a seizure for more than five minutes might kill him, Shirley stood still, holding the plate of fresh grilled cheese sandwiches. It was the boys’ favorite dish.

“He knows,” Shirley said, grinning.

Cindi Prewitt (USA)


Show, don't tell - is something that everyone needs to perfect. This chapter's storyline changes the location and we can feel cold, smell the sandwiches, and see Gary's pale face. But - there needs to be more show rather than tell. That apart, the story has taken another twist as Shirley is turning from a loving wife to a woman with revenge on her mind - or has her mind changed mentally as the strain of coming to terms with what looks like a life sentence starts to take a hold of her. I thought this was a good piece of plotting, keeping us on the darker side of life. I liked this.
I like it as well, especially the vengeful twins. And now apparently the wife too. A life sentence may not be as long as you think. I did think the chapter started out with a little more tell than show for the first couple of paragraphs. It really left me guessing. He knows what? Good finish.
It is pay back time for Gary. I understand why Shirley had a reason to bring him home. She knows the twins are there in spirit and she has always been there in real life. Brilliant next chapter.
It's a funny thing about chapters following on from one person to the next in a serial; sometimes it throws you and other times it appears like the same person wrote both chapters. There is nothing wrong with it appearing like two different people wrote it though, because they have. And it's hard to adopt someone else's style. In this story I was probably expecting more to happen in the hospital, only because it felt like that was what the previous chapter was building to.
I noticed you have copied some aspects from the previous chapter in both this serial and the other; don't be afraid to go your own way, wrong or right. At least you're stretching your writing brain.
Lastly, I thought that the first few sentences were just a tad jumbled, but otherwise everything is fine.