surreal-eyes“Cold and clammy was how Sammy loved his women.

Every October, Sammy carved pumpkins. Some of his creations smiled garishly, while others had faces caught in silent screams. He’d dress up as a clown, or as the grim reaper, and go door-to-door selling his creations.

He was always on the lookout for a pretty girl to become his next Halloween date. Sammy had standards. The girl had to be pretty and a little rebellious, someone the police would suspect as being a runaway after she was gone.

The setting was important too. It had to be quiet and secluded, but above all, it had to be romantic. Sammy was a romantic at heart. He loved women to death. For the past twenty years Sammy had chosen his dates and taken them to a romantic place, and once there, he would begin to caringly carve.”

Augury Presage stopped typing and leaned back in his chair. He hated writing stories like this, but his publishers demanded it. All they ever wanted were stories of serial killers and monsters hiding underneath beds. He felt tempted to call his agent again, but he knew what she would say. “Just give them what they want, Augury. Don’t make a fuss. It will only end badly.”

The last time he had seen her she looked haggard and run down. She had lost a lot of weight and her skin hanged from her bones on her petite frame. Her eyes had sunk deep into her skull surrounded by dark circles that no amount of makeup could hide. It wasn’t always so. Augury remembered how beautiful and full of life she once was, and how the change had begun shortly after his new publishers had taken control. Augury had never even met them.

It was late at night and time for bed. The rest of Sammy’s story could wait until morning. As was his usual custom, Augury leaned forward and typed his safeword into the story before going to bed- Coccyx

It sounded dirty to Augury, like someone was trying to say cock-sex too quickly and the words got jumbled together. He nodded his head in tired resignation, stood, and went to bed.

The following morning a knock at his front door woke him up. It was early and, bleary-eyed, he went downstairs and opened his door.

“Good morning neighbor. It’s a pleasure to meet you. My name is Sammy.” the man on his stoop said.

Sammy pointed to his white van parked on the street. It had a large, orange pumpkin with a toothy smile painted on its side.

“I do carvings at Halloween for the little boys and girls. I’m only in town for the next few days. Can you tell me, are there very many children in this neighborhood?” Sammy asked.

A chill woke Augury up as it traveled down his spine. He didn’t believe it was a coincidence.

“Where are you from, Sammy?” Augury asked.

“No place in particular, mister. I travel around a lot.”

“And date only once a year.” Augury thought. Still, he had to be sure, so he used his safeword.

“Coccyx.” Augury said.

Sammy smiled and blushed, and looked away to the ground, as if he had just heard a dirty joke. Augury looked down too and tried to remember the last time someone had smiled like that. “Was it three years ago?” he thought. Coccyx always made them smile. It had been this way since the new publishers had arrived. Augury might not be the best writer around, but since they had arrived he did have a newfound gift for bringing his characters to life.

He sighed and looked at Sammy with a sympathetic smile.

“Yes,” Augury said, “there are lots of children around here. I even have a map of the neighborhood in my shed out back. Would you like to see it?” Augury winked at Sammy. “It even shows where the rebellious ones live.”

Sammy’s eye lit up when he heard this. Eagerly, he followed Augury around to the back of the house. Inside the shed, Augury’s tools were at the ready. He picked up his ax, the one he had used some three years ago.

His publishers would be upset with him, and his agent would look more haggard than usual, but Augury Presage knew deep in his heart that it was time to kill his story.