Author Topic: PseudoPod 776: Papa’s Wrench and the Wind Chime  (Read 524 times)


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on: September 27, 2021, 03:02:43 PM
PseudoPod 776: Papa’s Wrench and the Wind Chime

Author: Marianne Halbert
Narrator: Kitty Sarkozy
Host: Alasdair Stuart
Audio Producer: Chelsea Davis

“Papa’s Wrench and the Wind Chime” was originally published by Mocha Memoirs Press in The Grotesquerie (2014) and reprinted in her collection, Cold Comforts (Crossroad Press, 2019).

The patch of fog on the window, expanding and fading with each breath, was the only proof that I was still breathing as the school bus turned the corner. The driver slowed, and the brakes made a squeaking, squealing sound. It reminded me of the mice my brother used to feed to his snake. Of that sound they made before the fangs released a blessed silence. Most of the kids, including me, were sitting two to a seat. We were still a block away and had just passed the Dead End sign when I heard the wind chime. Dainty at first. It always sounded dainty at first. Then clanging as the breeze picked up. I knew what hung from that oak tree. We all did. And we knew what was making that sound.

Every time we drew near that house, I thought of this old album my mom put on the turntable at Halloween. Sound effects like creaking floors, screeching cats, and a thunderstorm played as a woman with an overly dramatic, yet convincing voice described a “dilapidated” house. It was only mid-September now, but I heard that woman’s voice in my head. I looked at the Monstrum place, with its drooping gutters, missing shingles, and peeling paint. I mouthed the word dilapidated, and the patch of fog on my window grew again.

The bus rolled to stop. The Monstrum kids stood motionless, waiting, behind a broken porch banister. They all had a certain look about them. Lanky, with long straight hair that had never seen a barber’s shop or a beautician’s blade. Some said they all wore black eye shadow on their upper lids, but I was among those convinced the lids themselves were a smoky black. The older ones wore gloves all the time, and spoke through practically closed lips. I watched the horde of them descend those warped front porch steps. In one motion, like a flock of birds, they moved across their overgrown front lawn. Dandelion seeds scattered on the wind, and a few of the Monstrum girls blew kisses after them. A shiver ran through me at the thought of those wishes being granted. Gunther, the oldest boy in the group, led the V formation.

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