Day 4 of My 13 Horrifically Silly Days of Halloween – James DickRegan Macaulay
Today, Day 4, I bring you Bloody Chatterbox, a story for this scary season by James Dick…
By James Dick
“Don’t go in there,” Jessie says to the TV as she bites into my wrist. My steaming, microwaved juices run thick down her chin. She catches a stray runnel with her finger and slurps it up.
On the TV, Teen Heartthrob #9007 (I missed his name because Jessie was talking) approaches the door of a dark, decrepit manor in the backwoods of New England. The film score builds to a Christopher Young-esque crescendo with each step he takes.
“What’s the opposite of plot armour?” Jessie asks. “Would it be plot… nakedness? Whatever it is, this guy’s got it.” She takes another bite. I hear my tibia crack between her powerful jaws.
By now, Teen Heartthrob—I’m gonna call him Throbert—gets to the door of the house. The music swells as he reaches out to knock.
“Don’t do it…” Jessie warns.
If I still had eyes, I’d roll them.
Throbert knocks. The soundtrack goes silent, but the creak as the door swings open is deafening. Beyond is a black void.
Jessie grins, her bloodstained teeth flashing in the glow of the TV. “And three… two… one…”
Right on cue, a mass of cold, clammy hands surges out of the darkness, wrap around Throbert, and pull him inside. The camera tracks forward after him, and the film’s title rushes out at us.
“Called it,” Jessie says. “I swear these movies aren’t even trying anymore.”
I can’t take it at this point. I need to say something, but that requires lips, tongue, teeth, vocal cords, and lungs. Unfortunately, Jessie ate all of those at Thanksgiving, so barring the essentials, I need to get creative. I glide forward and slip through the HDMI port on the back of the TV. The picture instantly freezes.
“Ugh, come on, don’t bug out now,” Jessie groans. She grabs the remote and gets blood all over the buttons.
I manifest my living face on the screen. “Hey.” My voice comes through over the television’s speakers.
“Nate?” Jessie puts the remote down. “What’s up, hun?”
“I’m really glad you’re enjoying the movie, but the running commentary’s very distracting.” The words come out a bit sharper than I intend.
“Didn’t you ever have a convo while watching late night movies?”
I cross my virtual arms. “It’s different when I have to possess the TV every time I want to reply.”
“… point taken.”
I open my mouth to say something more, but Jessie cuts me off.
“Okay, I’ll cut the chatter. Scoot your spooky butt out the TV.”
I slip out of the television set, taking my place next to Jessie as she presses play. She watches in silence for a bit, occasionally cracking open one of my knuckles to suck out some marrow, but eventually she reaches for the remote and pauses the movie. “Okay, what’s wrong?”
I do nothing.
Jessie sighs. “Babe, I can feel the air getting colder. Something’s obviously bothering you, so come on. Give.”
I debate with myself whether I have the energy to get into the thick of the issue tonight (yes, even ghosts get tired). Then I realize Jessie isn’t likely to let this go, so I might as well get it over with. Returning to the TV screen, I manifest my face once again. “I just think things are a little one-sided between us,” I say.
Jessie pops one of my digits in her mouth and crunches it between her molars. “Meaning?”
“Well… it’s your house, your sofa, your TV, and I respect that. But I feel like we don’t talk as much as we used to. I know I don’t have a body anymore, but that never stopped us in the past, right?”
Jessie’s chewing slows. “No… no it didn’t.” She looks at me. “What would you like to do about it, hun?”
I turn the question over in my mind. “One idea I had is that we could get me my own phone. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just an old iPhone or something. That way, I’d have my own space, my own contacts, my own internet access, and I wouldn’t have to inconvenience you by cohabitating in your electronics. And we can talk anytime we want.”
Jessie unfurls her bloody smile again. “That’s not a bad idea, baby. And we can chat properly on movie night.”
She beams. “But we’re not cheaping out an old iPhone. I want you to have something modern, something that’ll last a while.”
“That’s not necessary…” I start to say.
“It’s totally necessary. I’m not having you live in junk.” She stands up, circles round the coffee table and kneels in front of the TV. “Thank you for opening up. I know things are a bit different now, but we should be able to communicate like we used to.”
“I think so too.”
Jessie puts a hand on the TV screen, right where my cheek is. “So, what do you say you possess my phone and we start the movie over?”
I smile. “Yes ma’aaaaaam…” I say, the final syllable Doppler shifting as I slip free of the TV and move into Jessie’s Samsung. She props me up beside her on the sofa so that I can get a good view of the TV, then goes back to munching on my arm. “Are my triceps still tasty?” I ask. Till now, I’d been worried that freezing my remains would ruin the flavour.
“Mmm, darling, they are to die for.”