The latest in stories from the Adrian’s Undead Diary Universe
It was a sickle. Sharp as it needed to be; he hefted the weight and swung it a few times in the warm summer air. He imagined his grandfather using the sharp tool to cut down tall grasses on the edge of his property during the late summer months. The idea made him smile.
Tony went back in, sickle in hand, and made his way through the kitchen and living room to the hall that led to the side of the ranch where the bedrooms and bathrooms were. The guinea pigs roused in their wood chip filled aquariums as he passed. One of them squeaked at him when he paused and ran his hands across the glass.
He opened the first door slower than molasses running uphill in January. The thin, hollow door kept his secret and swung in without a creak or a groan. The warm bathroom on the other side was empty, even when he built up the courage to pull the curtain of the shower away. It took him almost ten minutes to calm his shaking hands, and build up the courage to open another door.
He chose the guest room–his room–to open next, and he knew the door was quiet. He opened the door 10 times a day, and had confidence in it. Nevertheless he took his sweet time turning the faux brass knob and pushing the door inward. He looked around the near-black room with his sickle hand hovering near the light switch. He didn’t turn it on. What if something saw him?
A car flew by on the road outside just as he leaned into his dark bedroom. The stark white of the headlights careened off the glass covering the dated floral prints his nana had hung on the wall and the flash blinded him. He panicked and backed up, losing his balance as the heel of his sneaker caught on the thicker rug. He fell and smashed his head against the wood paneling of the hall, dazing himself and lodging the sharp end of the sickle in the rug and pad beneath it.
“Shit,” he said as he reached to the back of his head. An egg had already formed where his skull had hit the wall. He twisted his head side to side, testing the growing soreness in his neck. He looked to the living room, then down the hall towards the last rooms of the house.
His tiny, frail nana stood in the dark at the end of the hallway. Lit only by the dim yellow glow of a nightlight in her bedroom she stood silent in her wispy nightgown and puffy slippers. Her hands hung limp at her sides and she faced down at him. Tony couldn’t see her eyes.
She wasn’t coughing.
“Nana? Nana are you okay?” he asked her, slowly turning his feet to face towards her. If she was dead, and if the news was right about dead people, he’d be able to mount some kind of defense against her. Maybe it’d work long enough for him to build the courage to use the sickle on her and save his own life.
“Nana?” he called out again.
Instead of responding, she took a shuffling step forward, and Tony’s heart went as cold as ice. This was it. All the worst the news told him he could imagine was happening. He had to kill his undead nana. With a sweaty hand he pulled the sickle’s blade free of the rug.