Ginger Nuts of Horror
Christmas is coming, the decorations are up, Christmas tunes are playing on repeat, and the eggnog is chilling in the fridge. Ginger Nuts of Horror welcomes the festive season. And as a thank, you for all of your support for what has been a fantastically successful year, Ginger Nuts of Horror in association with Charlotte Bond, brings you 13 For Christmas. For thirteen days in the lead up to Christmas, we bring you a special festive themed piece flash fiction from Charlotte. Grab a hot drink and find a nice warm place and please enjoys these festively creepy tales.
Today's story is titled Wrapped up (Part1).....
WRAPPED UP (PART 1)
Matthew glanced over his shoulder. Even through the late evening crowds, he could see she was still there, her eyes fixed on him above her the grey scarf that was wrapped around the rest of her face. She was small, nothing more than a little girl, but somehow that made her blank, unerring gaze that much worse. Matthew shifted his backpack and sped up.
It had been Steven's idea to go home from school via the high street. He'd wanted to buy something for his mother. 'Haven't you got her anything yet?' Matthew had asked with exasperation.
'Nah. I'm waiting for the Christmas sales,' Steven had said, picking up a small china figurine.
'Those don't start until Boxing Day, you idiot.'
He'd turned and grinned at Matthew. 'Think she'll notice?'
But now Steven was gone, heading the other way home. It had been as Matthew was waving goodbye to his friend that he'd noticed the girl. She was standing in the middle of the street. The crowd seemed to part around her, like water around a rock. Her eyes were so dark they'd seemed black and the way they were fixed on Matthew had unnerved him -- but not as much as turning round at the traffic lights and finding that she was keeping pace with him.
Now he was reaching the end of the high street and the park loomed ahead of him. It was his quickest way home but Matthew didn't like the idea of going through that dark, silent place with that creepy girl after him.
He glanced over his shoulder and couldn't see her through the crowd.
Now's my chance.
He dived down a side street and crouched behind a folding shop sign that stood in the street. A few people looked at him curiously but he ignored them. He peeked around the edge, needing to see proof that his ruse had worked. To his immense relief he watched the girl walk past. She didn't even glance his way.
Matthew stood up and hurried in the opposite direction down the side street, constantly glancing behind him, but the girl had gone.
She probably wasn't even following me, he thought as he turned left at the end of the street and crossed the road. Maybe she was lost and I looked like her brother or something, and that's why she was following me. His steps faltered as guilt swamped him. Could that be possible? He picked up the pace once more; whatever his conscience counselled, there was no way he was turning back to find out.
Matthew walked along the road, the park on his left beyond the railings. Its dark, open space made him nervous, vulnerable even though he was only skirting the edges of it. He thought of what it would have been like crossing that wide, empty space with the girl trailing after him. He repressed a shudder and tried not to look that way. Instead, he walked close to the line of parked cars on his right.
The lights of town were well behind him now, the sound of shoppers fading away. He was in the residential streets now, not far from home.
A figure stepped out in front of him, moving silently from between the parked cars. Matthew halted in surprise. The figure turned its head and he saw dark eyes peering at him over the top of a grey scarf.
Matthew swallowed uneasily as the little girl turned to face him fully. 'Are you okay?' he asked, his voice trembling. 'Are you lost? Do you want me to walk you back to the high street?'
The little girl didn't answer. Instead, she reached up and started unwinding the scarf. In a strangled voice, Matthew said, 'Don't do that. It's too cold. Stay wrapped up.' He had a deep, primal sense that he didn't want to see what lay under that wrapping.
The girl dropped the scarf to the ground. They were standing halfway between two streetlights. In the dim light, she appeared normal. Matthew felt the tension between his shoulders unknot a little, then he noticed that there was a wide line stretched from the corners of her lips up to her ears.
Matthew frowned, peering at her. 'What's that? Are you--'
The girl opened her mouth, and it kept opening. Those seams on her cheeks split apart revealing an impossibly wide mouth lined with rows of razor-sharp teeth that seemed to stretch all the way down her gullet.
Matthew cried out and stumbled backwards. He started to turn but the girl tensed then pounced. The weight of her overbalanced him and he tumbled to the ground. Her teeth sank into his cheek and Matthew's world was filled with a sharp red pain that wouldn't stop.