Killing the Ghost

Prompt Day # 220: Write a tale that climaxes when the main character surprisingly uses a child’s toy as a defensive weapon.

 

Killing the Ghost

 

Laurie looked around at the apartment; half unpacked boxes piled against the walls. At least Kayla’s room was unpacked and organized. That was the most important thing. Keep her safe and try to keep her life as undisturbed as possible. Laurie laughed in disgust at that thought. She’d just moved her four year old from California to Vermont; from a five thousand square foot home with a sprawling yard to a second floor four room apartment in a tiny little New England town. Yep, she’d never notice.

And at the young age of four, Laurie hope Kayla wouldn’t understand what her Daddy had been about to do to her when Laurie walked in. She hoped that in time, Kayla would forget about all the bruises on Mommy’s face and body. With luck, she’d forget about her Daddy altogether. Because Laurie, the perfect wife of the big time LA lawyer, never filed a single charge against him and there was no proof of child sexual abuse, the best she could do was empty her “allowance” account and get help from an underground women’s shelter to move her and Kayla across the country.

She didn’t feel safe, not even with the new ID’s the women’s shelter had made for her and Kayla. She had to keep telling Kayla that her last name was Pennington not Andres, but she felt sure Kayla would get it eventually. Laurie decided she’d done enough for the night. She had an interview tomorrow at the preschool. Everything had been set up for her and Kayla, all she had to do was show up and smile and the job would be hers. Perfect for her and Kayla would get to do some socializing under Laurie’s watchful eyes. They were finally safe. She ordered pizza delivery and paid with cash.

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“Kayla!” Laurie said in shock at the state of her daughter’s bedroom. “What did you do, empty your entire toy box onto the floor?” She finally had the apartment together and the job was great; she always had Kayla within sight and as far as she’d heard, Scott was making no attempts to find them. Maybe he’d moved on; decided his job and reputation was better off without them. She was sleeping better at night. Now she stood staring at her daughter’s bedroom floor littered with a land mine of toys. She couldn’t even get to the girl’s bed to lay out her pajamas.

“Sorry, Mommy.” Kayla said padding in from brushing her teeth. “I don’t like the ghost coming in my room.” She finished nonchalantly. The hairs on the back of Laurie’s neck stood up.

“What ghost?” Laurie asked.

“I don’t know. He comes in when I’m sleeping and touches my head. It scares me. I keep my eyes closed so he thinks I’m sleeping. I put the toys out as traps!” she announced proudly hop-scotching through the mess and leaping up onto the bed.

“Well then,” Laurie said, trying to stay calm, telling herself that her daughter had an imagination. After all, aren’t all little kids afraid of the boogeyman? “I guess we better leave them out for now. But once that ghost is gone, will you put them away?”

“Uh huh” Kayla nodded. Laurie read a half a dozen books before the little girl finally conked out. She tiptoed through the scatter of Legos, potato head parts, stuffed animals, and a tangled up slinky. She locked the front door and then set the chain lock as well. She sat on her bed for a long time, unable to sleep. Her brain told her she was overreacting to a child’s fantasy, but something much stronger in her gut said she needed to be on alert. She kept the TV in her room off. No old movies tonight, instead she read a book, or at least she stared at the books pages while her brain whirled with terrifying possibilities.

She’d just started dosing off when she heard the creak of a door. She sat straight up in bed and held her breath. She heard the floor creaking in Kayla’s room and then the springs on her bed. I’m hearing things she thought. She was imagining someone sneaking into her daughter’s room because that was the image burned into her memory. She laid back in the bed again but kept alert. Kayla’s whimper made her spring to her feet. She didn’t even try to stay quiet. She ran across the living room to Kayla’s. The door was open just enough to let an adult body pass through.

Shoving the door open the whole way, she saw Scott standing there. He had his back to her and was wearing a black hoodie but she knew his form anywhere. He was bent over scooping Kayla up into his arms. Laurie ran at him and jumped up onto his back. She was beating wildly with her arms as he tumbled back, dropping Kayla back onto the bed.

“Kayla!” Laurie yelled “Run, hide!” She yelled hoping Kayla could find a safe place in the tiny place.

Scott swung around rapidly and Laurie fell flat on her back onto some of Kayla’s toys. It hurt, she thought she broke a few ribs, hoped it was ribs and not vertebrae. He was leaning down grabbing her neck. She reached out for something, anything to hit him with. Her hand wrapped around Kayla’s Mr. Potato Head and she brought it up hard against Scott’s head. Pieces scattered in an explosion of Frankensteinian proportions. It couldn’t have hurt him much, but it stunned him enough to ease up on her neck.

Laurie rolled over and tried to stand but she collapsed under the pain and he was on her again. He had one hand on her neck and one on her shoulder pinning her down. Reaching up to pull his hand off her, she felt something on the fold between her chest and his wrist. She pulled at it and felt. It was Mr. Potato Head’s eye. Let’s put this back where it goes she thought at jammed the post into his eye. A splatter of jelly landed on her lips as the post popped into place. Scott screamed and let go of her to grab at his own eyes. She brought her legs up and kicked him back.

Now she was on top of him. There was a pair of lips beside his head. Laurie grabbed it and shoved it into his other eye. She pressed all her weight onto it as he writhed and screamed in pain. She took her hands away and looked at him. The bloody horror coming from his orbits combined with the sheer ridiculousness of the cartoon eye and mouth threatened to steal what was left of her sanity. She pushed herself off him. Splinting her right side she slowly got to her feet. She couldn’t stand straight and she wouldn’t be able to move fast enough, let alone carry Kayla if he managed to get up and try to come after them. She thought he was blinded but what if he wasn’t? She couldn’t trust anything now.

She shuffled to the door, barely able to breathe. I must have punctured a rib too she thought, She pulled the door shut but glimpsed Scott, now on his hands and knees just before shutting it. She drug herself across the room to the phone and dialed 911. She didn’t stay on it to answer because she could hear him stumbling across Kayla’s floor. She dropped the phone and worked her way to the knife block.

“Kayla” she tried to call out but no sound came. She could hear a voice answering on the phone, asking about her emergency. She wouldn’t be able to tell them even if she wanted to. The room kept tilting on her and the walls were growing dark. She was going to pass out.

“Mommy?” Kayla whispered. She was peeking out from the door to Laurie’s bedroom. Laurie shooed her back inside. “But someone is talking to you on the phone.” Kayla said confused. She walked over and picked it up. “Hello?” she said. Her eyes scanning the apartment as the other voice spoke to her. Laurie worked her way back to Kayla’s door and propped herself up against the opposite wall. She held the knife in both hands with the handle up against her stomach, she didn’t have the strength to hold it out with her arms.

“The ghost is trying to hurt my mommy” Kayla was telling the operator.

The knob on Kayla’s door rattled as the blind man on the other side worked to open it. She braced herself against the wall trying to find the strength to shove herself forward. The door swung in and Scott took a step. Laurie could no longer breathe, her legs began to buckle. She would never be able to push off the wall. Scott’s step landed on the round body of Mr. Potato head and he tripped, falling forward onto the knife Laurie still clenched in her hands. She gasped in an attempt to scream but felt the black closing in. She saw the clotted red sockets still seeping vitreous fluid like tears under his shock-lifted eyebrows before they both went down for good.

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