Loud mewling echoed from behind the cellar door followed by violent scratching that rattled the hinges. Hazel placed one dry palm against the unvarnished wood and whispered, “Shhh, kitty. Maw-maw will have your dinner soon.” The mewling was replaced with a rumbling that could’ve been either a purr or a growl. Only Hazel knew the difference.
The hunched woman tightened the belt of her threadbare housecoat and shuffled to the kitchen on slippered feet. In the cupboard, she found a can of tuna and then rummaged around in a drawer for the rusty opener. She was draining the tuna in the sink when she heard a knock on her front door.
Hazel made her way to the front window and pushed aside the yellowed lace curtain to inspect her visitor. He was a shaggy sort of man in his late twenties wearing ill-fitting pants and a faded t-shirt. Hazel wrinkled her nose at his appearance, but opened the door anyway.
“Can I help you?” Hazel asked, tucking a stray lock of white hair behind her ear.
The man absently scratched his neck and mumbled, ”Um, did you have an ad in the paper about old comic books for sale?”
Hazel opened the door wider and stepped aside. “Yes. That was my ad. Please, come in.”
After the man had crossed the threshold, Hazel motioned for him to follow her further into the house.
He glanced around the dim, dusty home. “So, all these comics are from the forties and late thirties and are in mint condition?”
“Oh, yes,” said Hazel. “They are all sealed in plastic. Looks like they’ve never been read.”
“And you want five bucks apiece for them?” He said this loud and slow as if he thought the old woman might be hard of hearing.
Hazel smiled to herself. “Yes. Five dollars. That’s what the stores are selling comics for these days, isn’t it? I thought that price was more than fair.”
The man’s jaw dropped, but Hazel pretended not to notice. She opened the door to the cellar and pointed one gnarled finger down into the darkness. “My old bones aren’t what they used to be, so you will have to pick through them by yourself.”
To his credit, the man hesitated a moment and contemplated the dank, over-ripe stench bubbling up from the depths of the cellar. But, his greed compelled him to descend the stairs, one hand sliding along the damp wall for support.
“The light switch is at the bottom on your right, ” said Hazel. “Mind your step.”
When he reached the edge of the pool of light cast by the open door he paused and turned to look up at Hazel.
She smiled down at him and closed the door.
“Hey! Wait!” yelled the man.
Hazel turned the lock. Through the door she could hear him trip on the stairs and fall further into the cellar. Then she heard the growl. Yes, this was definitely a growl. When she heard the man’s frantic screams, she murmured, “good, kitty,” then shuffled to the kitchen to finish preparing her tuna sandwich.
Let this be a lesson to you. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Five dollar mint condition comic books from the thirties? That guy was too gullible to live, anyway.
Two more zombies left. It’s getting down to the wire. I don’t know what I’m gonna do if there isn’t a 2012 make your own zombie calendar. It could be dark times ahead. And I don’t mean that in a good way.
See the rest of my zombie friends and read their stories by clicking on these underlined words.