Flash Fiction Friday: Clucking, Disembodied
by Joseph Bouthiette Jr.
It’s dark outside but all of the lights are on in the house as you step across the porch to the door.
Inside, everything looks distantly familiar, like a relative you’re seeing again after many years. The well-lit kitchen with dark cabinets that give off a smoky scent. The crooked doorway into the living room with the matching green recliner and couch. The dust around the fireplace that never seems to settle. And you know that down the hall is a bathroom with a chipped tub and purple cabinets.
But before you get there something, some sight, interrupts your living memory.
The door on the right before the bathroom. The door that was always padlocked, the one you never paid much attention to. The padlock is gone now, and the door has swung ajar. Peeking through the open doorway, stairs are dimly illuminated by light seeping out from the reaches of the basement.
You step down the stairs, clutching at the wall due to the lack of handrails. You turn to the left, the only direction open, and utter a small squeak.
Across the cellar from you, not thirty feet away, is a giant disembodied foot. You notice it is a left foot. It is hairless, and seems to be growing from the ceiling between crisscrossing pipes and wires.
A jolt of fear turns your legs to mush and you collapse back against the side of the stairwell as a flock of chickens stampede from a dark corner of the cellar towards the giant foot. They cluck and squawk as they attack the foot, pecking and clawing at its skin from toes to ankle. You notice no blood is spilt from the attack.
Whole sheets of skin begin falling away from the foot, revealing a white surface that looks hard and resembles plaster. The chickens ruthlessly continue their beak and talon work until the foot is completely devoid of its fleshy coating, then they race back to the corner.
Breathing heavily, you muster the strength, mental as well as physical, to stand up and approach the foot, which now looks like a statue. Constantly casting glances to where the feral chickens disappeared, you edge right up to the foot. You rap your knuckles against it, small bumps bruising your fingers. You continue doing this until a small crack forms. The crack stretches further, radiating out across the foot, leaking a thick semi-opaque mucous.
Not about to wait for the integrity of the foot to collapse, you race towards the stairs and back up into the house. You maneuver knowingly up stairs and down hallways until you find a bed that smells like you and you jump in, pulling the covers above your head.
You close your eyes.
Sometime later you open them, and a different light plays across your blanket. Poking your head out, you see sunlight blasting through the window. It is morning.
The smell of breakfast hits your exposed nose and you lumber down to the kitchen, hardly registering the padlocked door when you pass it to the bathroom. A quick leak then you’re sitting at the kitchen table, mom serving you a heaping pile of scrambled eggs.
She asks you how your night was. You devour the eggs and tell her your night was fine.
You rinse your empty plate off in the sink then step out onto a porch that looks vaguely familiar to you where you see a giant left hand sticking from the fields in the distance. You burp and it tastes like eggs and body odor.
Joseph Bouthiette Jr. is fantastic.