I’m waiting at the bus stop, the rain is falling lightly and it’s just about getting dark. I missed the last bus and now I’m tired and hungry, longing to be in my warm bed with a hot drink. I’m so busy daydreaming that I didn’t notice the little old lady stood next to me. I never saw her arrive, which was odd as I was sure I was all alone a moment ago. The hood is up on her filthy raincoat, her posture hunched with her back to me and clutched in her bony hand hangs a large red handbag.
The street has gotten real quiet. The rain is coming down a little heavier now and the street lamps flicker on. I’m impatiently glancing up and down the dark, deserted road for a sign of the bus when I notice something that alarms me. The stranger hasn’t any feet. Instead there were just two stumps wrapped in bloodied bandages. At the disturbing sight of this I became nauseous and unsettled. What was she doing walking on them in that terrible state? She had no crutches for support either. It was baffling. I tried hard not to stare and studied the timetable on the bus shelter wall instead when she suddenly spoke,
“Lost them on this very road I did”.
It was a hollow, croaking sound she made when she talked.
“Were you in an accident?” I asked nervously.
“Aye. The bastard crushed ‘em good,” she replied bitterly, still with her back to me.
I couldn’t think of anything else to say, I was dumbfounded.
The road was on a bleak stretch of countryside at the edge of town. Not a single car had passed us for some time and I was feeling anxious and jittery. Where is that bus? I was considering walking to the next stop for the exercise and to be away from this strange lady with no feet when she spoke again,
“Be a dear and hold my bag”.
“Erm, sure. Is it too heavy?”, I asked, reaching out to take it from her.
It was then she turned to face me. I froze on the spot. A wave of cold terror came over me. Her face! There was no face! No features at all, just a large gaping cavity! But still she spoke in that hollow voice,
“Be a dear and hold my bag, be a dear”.
Her bloody stumps made a wet squelching sound as she stepped toward me. I fell backwards and hit the ground hard. I tried to scream but all that came out was some hideous, animal-like, primal sound. My mind was reeling as she inched closer and closer to me. I couldn’t move, I felt pinned down by fear, trapped and helpless. She then proceeded to open the bag and reveal its contents to my disbelieving eyes.
“Look! Look what they took from meeeeee!!” she wailed.
Inside I saw what they had taken. Her feet! Twisted and mangled, the bones crushed and turned to red splinters and her face! A torn, disfigured mask of ragged flesh stared at me from within that bloodied sack and it was screaming, it was screaming at me!
“Look! Look what they took from meeeeee!!”
Credit: Marc Green