Here's today's stuff:
Oscar had gotten in the habit of sitting on the porch and enjoying the sunset and the cool twilight breeze coming off the ocean each night after putting Trevon to bed. Simi’s death had made him old before his time, he figured. He wasn’t even forty yet, but he spent his evenings the same way his grandmother did. There was something about that time of the evening that brought him peace, and quieted all the roiling thoughts in his head. He loved to just stare at the sky as the sun sank behind the houses, and to watch the majestic oak tree across the street sway in breeze.
Sometimes he struck up a conversation with his neighbors if they stepped outside to roll their garbage cans to the curb for pickup, or came home late from work. They all tiptoed around him, keeping the talk safely away from the events of the previous month that claimed the life of his wife. Despite that conversational wall between them, Oscar came to know his neighbors better than he ever had before. He learned of their likes and dislikes, struggles and triumphs, and strengths and weaknesses.
On a Thursday night in April, Oscar put Trevon to bed, and went down to sit on the porch. He took a glass of lemonade and a John Grisham novel with him. He sipped from one and read from the other, putting both down when a neighbor came by, so that he could chat for a moment or two. Mrs. Ingersoll, who had broken her fingers the day Simi had died, came out with some pruning shears to clip some branches off the new plum tree she’d planted in her yard two years earlier.
“Pruning, huh?” Oscar said.
“Yup,” she replied, “my book says that springtime is the time to do it.”
“Sounds reasonable,” Oscar said, “Is that a fruit tree or a shade tree?”
“Well,” she said, smiling and turning his way, setting the shears on the ground and leaning against them, “It’s not a lot of anything just yet. Just a sapling, but it’s meant to be a shade tree. It’s a flowering plum or something like that, can’t remember exactly anymore. It won’t make any fruit worth eating.”
Mrs. Ingersoll had always been the neighbor he’d had the hardest time chatting with. It wasn’t because she was rude or closemouthed or any fault of hers at all. It was just that seeing her out there in her cast while her fingers healed never failed to make Oscar think of Simi. It had gotten a lot easier when her three weeks were up, and she had the cast removed.
“We used to have fruit trees,” Mrs. Ingersoll continued, “but we never got around to picking any of it, and it would all fall on the ground and rot. It smelled bad, and brought bugs and birds and stuff. It was just too much trouble, so we got rid of them, and replaced them with--” She suddenly cut off her monologue, eyes squinting as she looked at a spot in the air above Oscar. “What in the world…?”
Oscar sat up in his chair, and then realizing what she must be seeing, bolted to his feet.
“What is it, Mrs. Ingersoll?”
He didn’t need to hear her answer, though, because a huge, spiny green snake-like object dropped from above him and landed, writhing on his lawn. It looked like a spiked cucumber, but it twisted and wiggled like a worm that has been poked by a stick. Mrs. Ingersoll screamed, and ran for her door.
Oscar turned to run for his own door, when he saw another thing drop out of the sky onto his lawn. This one looked like a misshapen dog with white fur, oddly long legs, and a large maw full of teeth. Dammit, Trevon, he thought, why do you have such nightmares? Another thing came down from above the porch. This one just swooped in then out of his sight. It was some sort of giant bird, or maybe even a pteranodon dinosaur, it didn’t appear to have any feathers.
As he stood, transfixed in horror staring at what his son had wrought, another four of the cucumber snake-things dropped to the lawn. They writhed on the ground, then one of them rose into the air like a dragon, and he saw that it was some sort of a dragon, with wings and legs that ended in sharp looking claws, just no dragon’s head, its neck ended in a rounded off nub like the end of a cucumber.
Oh, God, what are you doing, Trevon? he thought, and turned to run inside. He had to get upstairs and get the boy awake before his dream managed to kill more people. He threw open his front door to find it blocked by the bulk of a huge, hairy blue monster. It looked like Oscar might be looking at the hindquarters of an elephant, a hairy one--a mammoth maybe? It was crammed into the entryway, more than filling every inch of it. The way was completely blocked.
Oscar turned back to the porch, looking for something he could use as a prod. The best he could come up with was the patio chair he had been sitting on moments before. He grabbed it by the back, spun back around, and jabbed the mammoth in the backside with the chair legs as hard as he could. He heard a muffled roar that seemed to come from the creature’s head on the other side of all that bulk, but it didn’t move, not even an inch. The way was blocked, and it was going to stay that way. He had to find another way inside the house.
He leaped over the porch railing, taking care to land as far from the thrashing cucumber-snakes as he could. He heard a scream from across the road as he landed, and looked up to see Mrs. Ingersoll in the clutches of the cucumber dragon. The thing had wrapped itself around her like a boa constrictor, and was squeezing, driving the spikes that covered its body into her in dozens of places. Her scream turned into a gurgle, and blood began gushing from her open mouth. Her body went slack as she died, and was held aloft by the flapping of the cucumber dragon’s wings.
No! Not again! Trevon, how did you become so dangerous! You’re killing people! Oscar ran full speed for the gate to the backyard.
END OF DAY SIXTEEN