Father Death (9)

Posted: August 9, 2022 in Father Death, Scream
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Previously on… Father Death (8)


“This motherfucker is so heavy!” Billy grunted.

“Well, look at him,” Stu replied. “He’s like a linebacker, man.”

Steve moaned as Billy and Stu struggled him through the field outlying Casey’s parents’ property. The lights of the house appeared small in the distance. The shape of the pool glowed in the growing dark. Their long black robes swished and tangled in the grass. As they approached Casey’s house, Steve shifted against the duct tape binding him.

“He’s coming to,” Stu reported.

“Get him in a chair.”

Billy and Stu shuffled around the edge of the pool deck. An eerie mist rose from the glowing water. Both scrutinized the lighted windows of Casey’s house for movement. They lowered Steve, and Billy gestured to one of the chairs beside the water. Stu hustled to it and lifted it to avoid scraping it along the cement.

“Hurry!” Billy barked.

Stu huffed and threw exasperated eyes back at Billy as he maneuvered the chair over. As Steve wriggled at Billy’s feet, fighting his tape bindings, his muffled screams rose from the ground. Billy replied with a swift kick to his ribs.

“Shut up,” Billy hissed. “There. Help me with him.”

Steve thrashed as they gathered him up and wrestled him into the chair. Billy reached into his bag and extracted the glinting knife, holding it up in front of Steve’s face. Steve’s eyes went wide, and he stilled, puffing panicked breaths out of his nose. Billy lowered the knife and cut the tape at Steve’s wrists. Then Stu tore off fresh tape and bound him to the arms of the chair.

Billy studied Steve’s eyes as Stu worked. Frantic, they shifted from Stu’s hands to Billy’s knife. They lingered the longest on Casey’s house, trying to press into the window. Billy stared at the fear pooling in tears at the corners of Steve’s eyes. When Billy stepped back and the blade moved away with him, Steve tugged on his new restraints and screamed against the tape again. Stu stepped up in front of him.

“Nighty night.” Stu smiled and punched Steve hard in the face.

Steve slacked against his bindings, slumping in the chair. His head rolled to the slide as blood trickled down over the tape covering his mouth. Billy and Stu both tipped their heads as they regarded him. Then each took an arm of the chair and lifted, grunting and scuttling until he was tucked behind the planter. With Steve out of sight from the house, they retreated into the darkness of the yard.

Crouching behind the plants, Billy lowered his bag. He sheathed his knife in a forearm holster then offered Stu another blade to do the same. He handed the cell phone and voice changer to Stu. Then they both extracted a mask. Billy held his mask in his hands, examining the screaming visage once more. Then they both turned their eyes to the house to see Casey move across the window.

Casey’s figure, cleaved in a cream sweater and purple pants, crossed their view as she moved between the kitchen and the living room. They could see the blue glow from her television as it anticipated an upcoming movie screening. She tucked her short blonde hair behind one ear as she walked. She floated through the house, ignorant, naïve, unaware. And that made her beautiful. Billy and Stu exchanged elated grins and nodded.

Stu stepped back and positioned himself where he could see the most windows. He hunched against a tree and clutched the phone and voice changer in his hands.

Billy pulled the mask over his face. An elastic band hugged the back of his head while the hood draped down over his shoulders. As the plastic of the mask pressed against his nose, the mesh eye holes darkened his view of the night. He listened to his own breathing as he moved back toward Steve.

Once Billy was settled, Stu took a deep breath and pressed the Call button. The call rang in his ear before he heard the phone ring in Casey’s house. He watched Casey move across the living room to retrieve the phone from the small table, television glowing behind her.


Stu heard Casey’s voice in his ear and watched her hold the receiver to her ear, stretching the spiraled cord. He was glad he had caught her in the living room, in full view of the patio door windows. It was as if she was on a movie screen for him.

“Hello?” he responded, hearing the distorted version rendered by the voice changer.


“Who is this?” Stu was not sure what to say, how to start this exchange.

“Who are you trying to reach?”

“What number is this?” Stu stalled. His mind raced with his heart.

“What number are you trying to reach?” Casey leaned into the phone, smiling.

“I don’t know.” He said exactly what he was thinking.

“I think you have the wrong number.”

No, I have exactly the right number, he thought. “Do I?”

“It happens. Take it easy.”

Stu watched Casey move the phone from her ear and heard the call die in his own.

“Shit!” he hissed.

Casey turned away to leave the living room as he redialed the call. The phone beckoned her again, and she turned to snatch it back up.

Billy watched Stu from his crouch, anxiety prickling along his skin. He forced himself to breathe against the mask and hear and measure the exhalations. He wanted to be on the phone. He wanted to be orchestrating the night. He’s already fucking it up, his mind kept chanting. He choked on the necessity of letting Stu do this. Billy was the director, writer, maybe even the leading man of his movie, but he needed Stu to play his part.

“Hello?” Casey answered again.

“I’m sorry. I guess I dialed the wrong number,” Stu answered.

“So, why’d you dial it again?”

“To apologize.” He had never apologized to Casey once. She was the one who needed to apologize to him.

“You’re forgiven. Bye now.”

Not so fast, bitch, he thought. “Wait! Wait! Don’t hang up!” Stu said.


“I want to talk to you for a second.” I want to play a game.

“They’ve got 900 numbers for that. See-ya.”

The phone died in Stu’s ear again, and he watched Casey shake her head as she left the room, moving out of sight down the hall and into the kitchen.

“Shit!” Stu slapped his gloved hand against the tree bark. “Fucking bitch.”

Stu redialed.

Billy clasped his gloved hands and strangled them together, breathing harder against the mask. Steve rustled in the rousing edges of consciousness beside him.

“Hello?” Casey answered.

“Why don’t you want to talk to me?” Stu asked. Why did you dump me?

“Who is this?”

“You tell me your name, I’ll tell you mine.” Stu smiled as he found his footing in the banter.

“I don’t think so.” Casey shook something, and the noise drifted into the receiver.

“What’s that noise?”


Stu heard the smile in Casey’s voice, even though she was out of sight in the kitchen. He remembered that smile. He remembered her movie nights. She was getting ready for Steve.

“You’re making popcorn?” He knew she was. He knew she always did when she watched movies on a date.


“I only eat popcorn at the movies.” Let’s talk about movies, Casey.

“Well, I’m getting ready to watch a video.”

I know you are. “Really? What?”

“Oh. Just some scary movie.”

You used to watch scary movies with me. “You like scary movies?”


“What’s your favorite scary movie?” Stu held his breath.

Yes, read the script, Billy thought as he released a calmer breath.

“Uh, I don’t know,” Casey said.

“You have to have a favorite. What comes to mind?” Stu asked. I showed you so many.


Stu smiled and leaned his head against the tree. He thought of watching Halloween with Casey, kissing down her flesh as Michael Myers executed teenagers. His excitement surged, and he breathed slow to calm himself.

“You know the one guy in the white mask that walks around and stalks babysitters,” Casey continued.

Stu knew the one. “Yeah.”

“What’s yours?”


Tonight. Tonight was Stu’s favorite scary movie.

“Um… Nightmare on Elm Street,” Casey said.

“Is that the one with the guy that has knives for fingers?”

“Yeah, Freddy Kruger.”

“Freddy, that’s right.” Stu rolled his eyes. Everyone knew Freddy. “I like that movie. It was scary.”

Casey reappeared in the window as she moved from the kitchen back toward the living room. She held a stack of VHS tapes in her hands. Stu traced her with his eyes, feeling his heart hammer in his chest. His hands trembled around the devices, anxious for action.

“The first one was, but the rest sucked,” Casey continued.

“So, you got a boyfriend?” Or do you care about Steve as much as you cared about me?

“Why? You want to ask me out on a date?”

Stu watched Casey walk to the television and stack the tapes on top. He saw her flirtatious head tilt, the way her hip cocked and nearly lost himself to a flashback. She clearly cared for Steve just as much as she had cared for him.

“Maybe,” Stu said, gritting his teeth. “So, do you have a boyfriend?”

“Mmmm, no.”

“You never told me your name,” Stu pressed.

“Why do you want to know my name?”

“So I know who I am looking at.” Stu held his breath again.

Casey froze. Her head snapped up, and she looked away from the window. Stu saw the words impact her brain, and his body trembled at the resonance.

Billy peered over the plants to see her body go rigid. As planned. He smiled under the mask.

“What did you say?” Casey hesitated.

You heard me, bitch. “I want to know who I’m talking to.” Stu could scarcely stifle a giggle.

“That’s not what you said.”

Casey moved close to the patio doors and reached for the light switch. Light flashed and washed over the patio, over the spot where they had wrestled and taped Steve. Stu glanced at the edge of the light from his shadows, saw Steve and Billy still tucked out of sight. Casey’s eyes swept the pool, her face docile and oblivious. Then she flipped the lights back off.

“What do you think I said?”

“What? Hello?” Don’t give up yet, Casey. I’m not done yet. We haven’t got to play yet.

“Look, I got to go.” Casey’s voice changed, lost its melody and flirtation.

“Wait. I thought we were going to go out?”

“Uh no. I don’t think so.” Casey’s fingers fumbled down to lock the patio doors, fear contorting her features.

Stu saw her move to lower the phone. “Don’t hang up on me!”

The phone died in Stu’s ear, and Casey turned back toward the kitchen. Billy sprang up. Stu hesitated to see the ghostly face in the night. Then Billy waved him over with a firm hand. Sprinting over the grass, Stu grabbed one side of the chair. Steve grunted and struggled again as they swiveled him back into position between the pool and the house.

“Here,” Billy commanded from beneath the mask. “He has to be right in the middle when she looks out that window.”

With the chair in place, Stu redialed the phone. As it rang, Stu returned to his tree, and Billy moved around the perimeter of the house.

The itching returned to Billy’s palms as he moved around the side of the house. He looked to the empty rope swing hanging eerily from the massive tree in the front yard and the empty gravel driveway. The quiet, manicured, landscaped front yard only made Billy’s nerves writhe more furious beneath his skin. Billy crouched beside the front porch and waited.

“Yes?” Casey’s tone had changed. Stu remembered this clipped tone from when she dumped him.

“I told you not to hang up on me.” Stu felt his resentment tangle with his excitement.

“What do you want?”

“To talk.” To fucking kill you.

“Well, dial someone else. Okay?”

The call died in Stu’s ear, but he grinned. He crept around the house to glimpse Casey in the kitchen. Smoke bloomed from the roasting popcorn. Casey lifted it, and Stu pressed Call. Dropping the popcorn, she snatched the phone to her ear.

“Listen, asshole,” she snapped.

“No, you listen, you little bitch! You hang up on me again, I’ll gut you like a fish. You understand?” Stu released an unmitigated laugh, and it sounded maniacal through the voice changer. The words were liberating, flowing out of him unfiltered. “Yeah.”

“Is this some kind of joke?”

Stu could hear Casey was crying now, and that only spurred him on. “More of a game, really. Can you handle that? Blondie?”

Casey sprinted from the kitchen, and Stu shadowed her as she ran down the hall checking locks. His heart pounded with glee and excitement as he moved. He rounded to the front and saw the top of her head peer from the glass at the top of the front door.

“Can you see me?” he mocked from the darkness.

“Listen, I am two seconds away from calling the police.” She was using a strong voice, but Stu heard her weakness, wanted to feed on it.

“They’d never make it in time were in the middle of nowhere,” he pressed.

“What do you want?” she sobbed harder.

“To see what your insides look like.” The words tasted so sweet Stu could not help but lick the air and the lips of his smile.

Billy stood and stepped up on the edge of the porch. He nodded his ghost face at Stu as he crouched down and moved to the front door. He rang the doorbell twice in a friendly way a boyfriend would. Then he slipped off the porch and back around the house.

“Who’s there? Who’s there? I’m calling the police!” They heard Casey say.

Stu immediately pressed the Call button.

“You should never say, ‘Who’s there?’ Don’t you watch scary movies? It’s a death wish. You might as well come out and investigate a strange noise or something.” He wanted to laugh but chewed it back as he hurried back around by the pool.

“Look, you’ve had your fun now. So, I think you better just leave or else.”

“Or else what?” Stu choked back more giggles. This was too much fun.

Peering through the patio door windows again, Stu watched Casey move back into the living room. She hunched over and clutched her stomach. When she turned her face, he could see the tears streaming down her pink cheeks. She looked even more beautiful to Stu now.

“Or else my boyfriend will be here any second, and he’ll be pissed when he finds out.”

Billy stood beside Stu. They both glanced over at Steve, bloodied and bound to the pool chair, and chuckled silently. Stu reached over to give Billy a gentle nudge.

“I thought you didn’t have a boyfriend?” he mocked.

“I lied, I do have a boyfriend, and he’ll be here any second. So, your ass better be gone.” She was reaching. Stu could see her body language wilting under her fear. She held her stomach tighter now.


“I swear.” Casey stood and went rigid. “He’s big, and he plays football, and he’ll kick the shit out of you!” She shouted until she craned forward.

“I’m getting scared. I am shaking in my boots.” Stu let the sarcasm drip from his words.

“So, you just better leave.”

“His name wouldn’t be Steve, would it?” Stu glanced over at Steve again. Steve caught his eye, and Stu offered a mocking chin lift.

“How do you know his name?”

“Turn on the patio lights. Again.” Stu knew she would not be able to resist. He knew she believed him now, that she knew he could see her.

Casey pressed up against the glass. She reached out, and light washed over Steve. At the sight of her, he struggled futile against his restraints again.

“Oh god!” Casey shrieked. Stu could hear her through the phone and the glass in a terribly wonderful symphony.

Billy’s breath caught in his throat at her face. That was the look; that was the fear. All his anxiety settled. It no longer mattered who was on the phone, who was holding the knife. That was what he came here to see.

Casey immediately reached down and loosed the lock, opening the door to rush to Steve.

“I wouldn’t do that if I was you!” Stu snapped in his anger, anger at her willingness to run out to a killer for Steve.

Casey pulled the door closed and turned the lock again. Tears poured down her face as her free hand teased at the glass.

“Where are you?” she cried.


“Don’t hurt him.”

Too late. “That all depends on you.”

“Why are you doing this?” Casey continued to cry and twitch her fingers at the window.

“I want to play a game.” I want to make you pay.


“Then he dies right now.”

“No! No!” Casey wailed, her face contorting.

“Which is it?” Stu asked and waited for her reply. Casey continued to stare at Steve. “Which is it?” he asked again, leaning into the words.

“Wh-what kind of a game?” she stammered.

Stu smiled, grim and pleased. “Turn off the lights. You’ll see what kind of game.” Casey hesitated, and Stu shouted, “just do it!”

The lights extinguished again, drowning Steve in the darkness and his muffled protests. Casey pressed her forehead to the glass before sliding down the wall and crawling backward behind the television. Stu grinned in victory and moved closer to the house.

“Here’s how to play,” Stu started. “I ask you a question. If you get it right, Steve lives.”

“Please, don’t do this.” Casey’s voice folded under her cries again. The room got darker when she unplugged the small light on top of the television.

“Come on, it’ll be fun!” It already was fun.


“It’s an easy category.”


“Movie trivia.” Stu could barely contain his excitement, knowing how terrible Casey would be at movie trivia, not that it mattered if she got the questions right or not.

“I’ll give you a warm-up question.”

“Don’t do this. I can’t.”

“Name the killer in Halloween.” Stu recited from Billy’s list of questions, selecting from his shared past with Casey.


“Come on,” Stu coaxed. “It’s your favorite scary movie, remember? He had a white mask, and he stalked babysitters.”

“I don’t know.”

“Come on. Yes, you do.” You came looking at his mask.

“No, please, “Casey whimpered.

“What’s his name?”

“I can’t think.”

“Steve’s counting on you.” Stu looked to Steve again, still wasting his time battling tape.

“Michael. Michael Myers.” Casey’s voice turned resolute.

“Yes! Very good. Now for the real question.”

“No!” Casey lifted her head as the tears returned to her voice.

“But you’re doing so well,” Stu mocked. “We can’t just stop now.”

“Please, stop! Leave us alone.”

“Then answer the question. Same category.”

“Oh, please stop.”

“Name the killer in Friday the 13th?” Stu selected another of Billy’s approved questions. The trick question.

Casey’s head appeared in the window above the television. She bounced on her feet, excited.

“Jason! Jason! Jason!” she shouted.

Stu licked his lips in glee. “I’m sorry. That’s the wrong answer.”

“No, it’s not! No, it’s not! It’s Jason!” Casey stomped forward in front of the larger window, giving Stu a clearer vision of her angry face.

“Afraid not,” he pushed. “No way.”

“Listen, it was Jason.” Casey’s face hardened. “I saw that movie 20 goddamn times!”

“Then you should know that the original killer was Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhies. Jason didn’t show up till the sequel. I’m afraid that was the wrong answer.”

Stu relished watching her face fall, glorying in her disappointment and frustration.

“You tricked me,” Casey said, defeated.

“Lucky for you, there is a bonus round. But, poor Steve, I am afraid he’s out!”

At the cue, Billy pulled the knife from his sleeve. His heart pounded in a calm and purposeful rhythm as he took long strides toward Steve. He braced himself as he slashed across Steve’s stomach. Steve howled against the tape. Billy swiftly stuffed his hand into the open wound, feeling the warmth and the wet, and yanked out a fistful of intestines before riding the thrill into the shadows and around the house.

Casey appeared at the patio doors, and the lights switched on, illuminating the carnage. Steve’s eyelids fluttered as his head tipped back before he went limp in the chair. Stu drank in Casey’s horrified expression as she slid down the glass and retreated across her floor to tuck herself behind her television. Stu could not contain his laughter.

“Hey, we’re not finished yet,” Stu called. “Final question. Are you ready?”

“Please, please, leave me alone,” Casey begged.

“Answer the question, and I will,” Stu lied, greedy for her pain. “What door am I at?” He spoke slow and annunciated.

Casey’s head appeared above the television again as she looked around, confused. “What?”

“There are two main doors to your house, the front door and the patio door. Very simple,” Stu explained.

“I can’t do this. I can’t. I won’t.”

“Your call.”

Stu disconnected the call and pocketed the devices. He pulled the mask over his face. The plastic pressed against his grin, and his hot breath immediately filled the space. He grasped an empty chair and heaved it toward the house, sending it crashing through the patio doors he had been gazing through all night.

With the smashing of the back window, Billy punched a side window and slipped through the broken frame. Even through the mask, he could see the smoke thick in the house from the kitchen. He pressed against the wall. Casey’s footsteps pounded through the house as she sprinted. Billy’s fingers tingled with excitement as he clutched the knife and ran across the hall, searching for her.

Outside, Stu traced the edge of the house. As he rounded the corner, he glimpsed Casey slinking out of the side kitchen door. She pulled the door closed behind her, quiet and cautious, pressing her back tight against the house. The phone lingered in one hand as she clung to a knife in the other. He left her there and took the opportunity to slip through the destroyed patio door.

As Billy moved into the kitchen, the heat from the flames on the stove pressed at him through his costume. He pushed through the smoke, circling around the island in the empty room. Still no Casey and she could not have gone far. Not with Stu out back.

Billy crossed the kitchen and stood near the window. He allowed his eyes to trace the room then snapped his head to the window. He nearly startled to find Casey’s face on the other side of the glass. Casey screamed loud. His heart seized, but he punched his hand through the glass to snatch her wrist below her weapon. Casey continued shrieking as he bashed his head through the window toward her.

He felt the control at holding her wrist, tugging her closer, moving to pull himself through the window. Then the phone smashed into his face. The plastic of the mask plowed into his nose, and the world went bright then blurry. Billy toppled back onto the hardwood floor in a disoriented heap.

Casey’s shrieks and the sound of breaking glass stabbed through Stu’s hood. He tilted the ghastly face to see her dart from the side of the house onto the patio. She hesitated in front of the broken doors and Steve’s disemboweled corpse.

Guess he’s not better than me now, Stu mused as he grinned beneath the mask.

He kept pace with Casey from within the house, and when she rounded the corner, he threw himself through the small window. Launching his arms in front of him, he wrapped around her and snagged her shoulders. She tugged and struggled against his grip, but he turned her into him, wrapped under his arm as they used to walk together. Then he plunged his knife into her chest.

Casey crumpled from under his arm, tumbling back into the damp grass. Her hands flew to her spilling wound as whimpers poured from her quivering lips. Stu stood stunned over her for a second, absorbing the sight of the vitality flowing from her cut. As he straddled her, a strange blend of panic and elation surged through him. It had been so long since he had been this close to her, been on top of her. He had never been in control of her like this. She never did what he wanted like she was about to.

Casey threw up her arms to resist him, but the moment dissolved into a blur. Stu reached through the haze of her movements and her cries to seize her neck and stab the blade through the side of her throat. In a coughing gag and sputter of blood, Casey went silent. Stu stopped breathing to marvel at his own work.

Billy would be so proud.

The pain exploded through Stu’s body. His vision went red as his stomach curled into itself. Casey had thrust her knee up into his testicles, and he nearly vomited into the mask. Stu folded helpless into the ache. With a shove from Casey, he sprawled onto his back and wallowed in the blow. He could hear Casey scramble to her feet and move across the lawn as he waited for the waves to pass.

The headlights of Casey’s parent’s car swept over the lawn as it approached. Then the tires rumbled over the gravel before pulling to a halt. The car doors shut before parental chatter drifted in their direction. Casey staggered toward them, toward help. Stu dragged himself to his feet as he watched Casey extend her hand and cry out of a muted throat.

He approached her from behind, knowing they couldn’t hear her, knowing she wouldn’t make it to them. When he reached her, he flipped her to her back with little effort. With all the blood loss, she flopped to the boards of the porch. Stu positioned himself to finish her, and Casey raised a bloody and shaking hand. Her fingertips pressed into his face as she gripped the mask and pulled it from his face.

She looked up and saw Stu’s face, recognition breaking over her features. She did not even look that surprised. He was glad she knew it was him. He raised the blade high and stabbed until she stopped breathing.

The smoke detector chirped, and Casey’s parents called her name as Billy jogged around the side of the house, the bag bouncing at his side. When he reached Stu, Stu had already tugged Casey’s body off the porch. Billy could tell she was dead. She had that Maureen look. He cracked his neck to ignore the jealousy at missing that final flash of fear and control.

This was Stu’s turn. This was cementing Stu’s role.

Billy stared aghast at Stu’s exposed face.

“Put your fucking mask back on,” Billy barked.

“She pulled it off,” Stu said. “I was a little busy.”

“What if her parents came out here?”

“What are we going to do with her?”

Billy turned his ghost face from side to side, surveying the yard. When his eyes settled on the tree swing, he grinned beneath the mask. He bent down to seize one of Casey’s wrists and helped Stu drag her across the grass.

“Open her up,” Billy commanded as they reached the swing.

“What?” Stu asked.

“Open her up. Intestines spilling out just like Steve.”

Stu hesitated, his blank ghost face tilted up at Billy.

“You started it,” Billy clipped. “Now, finish it.”

Billy turned to the swing and swiftly sawed through each rope. The voices in the house grew louder, more frantic.

“Hurry,” Billy hissed. “We have to get her up before they get out here.”

Stu gagged and pressed the back of his hand to the mask. Then he staggered back to standing.

“She’s open, man,” Stu said, voice wavering.

“Get her up here then.”

Stu’s blank mask whirled up to Billy again, tilted in outrage. Yet without a word, he slipped his hands under Casey’s armpits and heaved her up. The two worked awkwardly with the floppy corpse until Casey hung suspended from the tree. Her intestines tumbled from her stomach to pile on the grass below, just as Billy had wanted.

Billy stared for a long moment before slapping Stu in the stomach and shouldering the bag. The two hustled into the dark field, disappearing between the leaves as Casey’s mom’s scream shattered the night.

Continued on… Father Death (9)

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Christina Bergling


Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies
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