Backtalk by Thomas Kleaton [horror]

Imprint - Horror Imprint Logo 200wBacktalk by Thomas Kleaton

“I like to cut old folks.” The young man held a hefty serrated hunting knife. He tossed his scraggly black hair. He was grinning. “I was watching you through the slats of the window blind. I wondered if you were going to pee your pants when I kicked the door in. I started to ring the doorbell, really get you going.”

He’s drunk, Jim Halton thought. Drunk, or crazy. Or both. “What do you want? I’m just an old man.” Jim’s heart was hammering. Alice, she’s asleep in the bedroom—or was. Jim hoped Alice was now crawling through the darkness of the back hallway, searching for signal strength bars on her cell phone.

“I want your beer money,” he said. “And then I want to do a little cutting. Won’t that be fun, old man?”

“I keep a little cash,” said Jim. “It’s in the nightstand drawer.”

“Let’s go, gramps.”

Jim staggered into the bedroom in the feeble lamplight. Alice was gone, the covers unruffled.

The young man jerked the nearest drawer open, coming up with two twenties and a five. He flung the drawer into a corner, waving the bills in the air as if flagging a taxi. “Forty-five dollars? You can do better than that.”

“That’s all I have. Take it and go.”

“I’m tired of your mouth, grandpa.”

The closet door pivoted open on silent hinges. Alice slinked out, a petite woman with dyed blonde hair cropped short. She was dressed in a simple white blouse and tan pants, barefooted, as if casually about to go walking in the surf. Her lips were pouting.

“Get out,” she hissed. “Get out of my house.”

The young man stood back, mouth agape. He took a step backward, uncertain, caught off-guard. Darkness clouded his features, and his scowl returned.

“Who do you think you’re yelling at, you old biddy? I’ll kill you both.”

Alice grasped the meat cleaver hidden behind her back and swung it up in a lethal arc. She growled at him as the weighty blade sliced into his crotch with a sound like splitting firewood. Blood rained on the hardwood floor. He collapsed, his head lolling.

“It was easier in the city,” Jim said, winking at the young man. “The killing, that is. Conspicuous, though, having to dispose of the bodies in dumpsters and next to highways. There’s plenty of privacy on this property for both.”

Jim chuckled as Alice sat and placed her arm around his midsection.

“I thought we’d retired after the last one. I thought we’d be able to move to the country and start enjoying ourselves.” Alice turned to the soon-to-be-corpse. “But there’s always one just like you aiming to cause trouble for decent, hard-working people.”

“You shouldn’t have sassed her,” Jim whispered to the mortally-wounded man, as if sharing a secret. A smile played across his lips. “She doesn’t like backtalk.”

The dying man’s gaze shifted toward Jim.

To emphasize his words, Jim removed his slipper to reveal his right foot. Three of the smaller toes were missing.

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