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In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . ..Number 9. . .September 11


Emotional Chaos
Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

April 21, 2006


"The Family Circus" as envisioned by Stephen King. Or at least as we envision Stephen King would envision it.

Thel had never noticed that nothing had changed since 1956. It wasn't until Barfy spoke to her that she realized that time was frozen, that it was still 1956, always 1956. How much time had passed? She couldn't say. Then the dotted lines began to appear. They crisscrossed the living room, the yard, the street. They were everywhere, but no one else could see them, or would admit seeing them. Where did they come from? No one else seemed to notice or care. Were they in denial, or was it something more sinister, the same force that froze time, trapping her in an Eisenhower-era Hell? It was always "Not Me" or the mysterious wraith "Ida Know". But someone knew. Barfy, the family dog, knew. And he imparted his wisdom to Thel, but like all things, it came with a price. It was a price she was willing to pay to escape the nightmare. No price was too great, she thought, as she sat in the 1950s modern living room, watching the static on the Philco console TV, listening to the clock tick and fingering the handle of the shovel that felt almost weightless in her hands. Time had no meaning, nothing mattered. Barfy assured her, though, that once it was done she'd be free.

She heard the school bus stop out front and soon Jeffy came tumbling into the house. He noticed the shovel, but didn't say anything. Was that blood on its blade? It was probably just mud, Jeffy thought. He'd always had an active imagination.

"Where's Billy and Dolly?" he asked. They usually came home on the earlier bus with the grammar school kids. Jeffy was still in kindergarten after all these years, so he took the later bus.

"They're in the back yard with Daddy", Thel heard herself say, "Come, let's join them." She was amazingly calm. It was just as Barfy had said it would be. Soon it would all be done.

They went out to the patio beyond the car port into the back yard. Thel had enjoyed gardening ever since she'd planted a Victory Garden during the Second World War. Her husband, Bill, had served in the war, but for some reason was still only 35. It's funny, she thought, how she never noticed something so obvious before.

"Where did that scarecrow come from?" Jeffy asked. Maybe he's guardin' the

Thel felt her hands tighten on the shovel's smooth wooden handle. Yes, Jeffy was only five, but it seemed like she'd been listening to his sickeningly cute quips... how long? It seemed like fifty years. It was a good thing the scarecrow was facing away from the house. Jeffy mustn't see its true nature, no, not until they reached the garden. The garden and freedom.

"That looks like Daddy's favorite shirt the scarecrow's wearin'" Jeffy said brightly, unaware of what was to come, "Except for that big red paint stain. I remember when Dolly accidentally got paint on PJ's pajamas!"

Thel remembered it well. Once again the denial. Once again, "Not Me" and "Ida Know" were to blame. Again and again and again. "Yes, paint. That's why it's on the scarecrow. Daddy won't be need... won't want to wear a shirt with a big stain on it".

They reached the garden, where the neat rows of plants had been replaced by freshly turned earth. Jeffy wondered why the garden was all dug up, why there was a big hole where the tomatoes had begun to blossom. Mommy was so proud of her garden. Maybe "Not Me" and "Ida Know" had once again worked their mischief and blamed the kids. No one believed they were real, but Jeffy, Billy, Dolly and PJ knew they were. Where were his brothers and sister, anyway?

Suddenly, terribly, his questions were answered, He looked in horror at the hole. He could see Dolly's red dress half covered by the dark, rich smelling soil, her sightless eyes staring up into the sky. Billy's half buried body lay next to her, the blood still oozing from his scalp. Jeffy couldn't see PJ's small form, completely obscured by Dolly's corpse, covered in mulch.

"What happened? Who did this?" he cried, transfixed by the sight, the unbridled horror, unable to turn away, too scared to run.
"Not Me" said Thel. It was the last thing Jeffy heard before a blow from the shovel sent him headlong into eternal blackness. It was over. She was free at last. She turned to Barfy, who had tagged along and was now looking down into the hole with her.

"Say something cute now, you oval headed freak", Barfy sneered.




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Surf Our Site

Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
. .
Ginger & Shadow. ..Writer's Block.. ..Cool Links . ..More Cool Links .
Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics . Online Store..
In The Zone. ..Number 9. . .September 11