Archive for October, 2022

Previously on… Father Death (19)


“Bitch!” Billy screamed.

Feathers fluttered to the ground around him. He panted in his anger as sweat prickled on his skin. She was not going to take this from him. Not his perfectly laid plan. Not after he had come so far and gotten this close. He just had to find that bitch and finish what he had started with her mother.

He could still salvage this.

He breathed through the swell in his brain. He had to control himself. Things only worked when he controlled himself and when he controlled Stu. Settling his nerves, he retraced his more frantic steps back down the hallway. Halloween had returned to television. Laurie Strode cowering in a closet as Michael Myers punched through the meager door.

The closet. Billy hesitated outside the hall closet, eyeing it. He turned the knob and peered in then cast his eyes down toward the television.

Father Death burst from the hanging jackets and plunged the tip of an umbrella into Billy’s shoulder. The blunt end forced a painful wound through his flesh.

He cried out in pain and surprise. The knife and gun tumbled from his hand, released in the shock. He turned to retrieve them, ignoring his injury, but his assailant drew the umbrella back and sent it through his chest again. Crying out, he collapsed to the hardwood floor.

From his drape on the kitchen counter, Stu heard Billy’s expletive. He knew Billy’s voice. He knew his tone. The painful edge on Billy’s cry conjured a surge of adrenaline in Stu. His body turned away from the pain and the dying and surged out of the kitchen. When he skidded into the hallway, he glimpsed Sidney standing over Billy’s fallen body, peeling off the Father Death mask and shedding the robe.

Stu released a battle cry before barreling toward Sidney. He tackled her like a football player, like Steven Orth. They rolled until Sidney landed on top of Stu and planted her knee in his groin. Through the pumping of adrenaline, he ignored her blow and punched her in the face. Sidney rolled away and scrambled to her feet.

Stu dove after her blindly, wrestling her over the couch. They collided with the coffee table and tumbled in a tangle of limbs and flurry of feathers. She fell to the ground, and he wiggled on top of her.

“I always had a thing for you, Sid.” A thing for killing you. A thing like Billy had for your mother.

Stu pinned her arms down. Sidney leaned over and sunk her teeth into his hand. Howling in pain, he released her. She snatched up a vase and smashed it against his head. His vision exploded in sparks, and he tumbled to the floor.

“Bitch,” he murmured from his back. That dark cloud swelled back over him as his mind swam.

Sidney scurried to her feet and rounded the television. Stu sputtered through the haze in his head, the weight returning to his mind. He turned his eyes up to see Laure Strode hunched in a closet clutching a butcher knife. Sidney planted her hands on the back of the television.

“In your dreams,” she said, shoving the television.

The television tipped from the stand and careened down onto Stu. The screen smashed into his face. His head went through the glass, and the electricity surged through his body. Stu screamed into the box as sparks and smoke swirled around him. His arms and legs flailed and twitched until he and the television fell still.

Billy heard Sidney’s steps move across the floor, nearing him again. Like any good scary movie, he knew to play dead. He knew to wait and see what she did. He was going to kill her. She just needed to be closer.

She crouched beside him and gathered up the discarded mask. What a stupid time to look at the mask, Billy thought as he kept his breathing shallow. He concentrated on remaining immobile. When Sidney gasped, he resisted the startle.

“I’m sorry,” Randy said. “It’s all right.”

Ugh, that fucker is still alive. How did I not kill this prick?

“Oh my god,” Sidney said. “Randy, I thought you were dead.”

You should be fucking dead.

“I probably should be. I never thought I would be so happy to be a virgin.”

Let me help you out. Billy punched his fist up through Randy’s face, sending him sprawling back to the floor. Snatching Sidney by the shoulders, he threw her down to the hardwood.

“Fucker!” he cried.

Billy lay his body alongside Sidney, pinning her down. She squirmed helpless under his weight. He wiggled one hand around the knife then slid the other one around her neck. Once he found her throat, he squeezed down hard. Her eyes went wide. He had her.

“Say hello to your mother,” Billy said.

Sidney’s eyes narrowed, her brow drawing down to tighten her features. Reaching up, she planted her finger inside the wound in Billy’s chest. Pain exploded across his mind. He could not contain the scream tearing from his mouth. He reared back and lifted the knife high to finally get rid of her, to finally be done dealing with her shit. If nothing else, he was going to kill Sidney Prescott tonight.

The bullet tore through his shoulder and sent him off Sidney and back onto the floor. He hit the hardwood, coughing and sputtering in his own blood. The pain enveloped him. It felt so much like failure. He pumped his legs to slide along the floor, away from Sidney. From hooded eyes, he glimpsed Gale standing over him with the gun.

That bitch didn’t die either. Did we actually kill anyone?

The lights grew halos above his head. In the swimming glow, he saw Sidney, Gale, and Randy step over him. He allowed his eyes to close, for the pain to wash over him in a wave. It could not end like this. This could not be the way his plan unraveled.

“Careful.” Randy’s voice seemed quiet and distant. “This is the moment when the supposably dead killer comes back to life for one last scare.”

He was the killer. This was his movie.

Billy opened his eyes and reached for Sidney one last time. Sidney pulled the trigger and shot him in the forehead.

“Not in my movie,” she said.

Billy’s head dropped to the hardwood with a thud. A trickle of blood snaked down his forehead from the wound. He lay splayed on his back, his hands bloodied and haphazard above his head. His body flopped on the floor, lifeless, like Maureen on her bed one year ago. Her daughter stood above him, still holding the gun as his plan spiraled away into the air around them. As he mirrored his initial victim now, they had indeed come full circle, just not as he had wanted.

Continued on… Father Death (21)

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

Previously on… Father Death (18)


“Right here, asshole.”

Gale Weathers raised the gun and pointed it at Billy. A massive cut transected a blossoming bruise along her forehead, and blood trickled from the corner of her mouth. She still sported her red tailored skirt suit and shiny coat, yet her bare feet were soiled. The gun trembled in her hand.

“Man, I thought she was dead,” Billy said to Stu.

“She looks dead, man. Still does.”

“I’ve got an ending for you,” Gale interrupted. “The reporter left for dead in the news van comes to, stumbles on you two dipshits, finds the gun, foils your plan, and saves the day.”

“I like that ending,” Sidney chimed in from behind them.

Stupid bitch. Billy smirked. “I know something you don’t.”

Billy ambled forward unfazed. Gale squeezed the trigger, yet it remained fixed. She clutched the gun again, tipping it in her hand to look at it, eyes widening in desperation. Billy seized the gun and her other wrist and planted his foot in her chest. He kicked her hard, sending her flying backward. She sailed into the pillar on the porch, leaving the gun in his grip. Slamming hard, she collapsed in a heap on top of Dewey.

“Yeah, man.” Stu pumped a fist in victory.

“Yeah.” Billy stepped out onto the porch and crouched beside Gale’s body. “Aw, so sweet. It works better without the safety on.” He tipped his head to crack his neck then stood and pointed the gun down at Gale. “This is Gale Weathers signing off—”

“Baby, you’re going to love this.” Stu turned back to the kitchen to make sure Sidney was enjoying the show. “Shit.”

Sidney was gone. The corner where she had been cowering was empty. The gun was gone. Now, Sidney was gone. Stu’s thoughts surged then folded in on themselves. The pain swelled up over it all. It collapsed around the edges of his mind and hazed the edges of the world.

“What?” Billy whirled around and surged back to the kitchen. “Where are they? Where are they?”

Gaping at where Sidney was not, he turned to the floor where Neil also was not. His victim was gone. His fall guy was gone. His plan was gone. Panic flared up in him and immediately twisted into rage. They were not going to take it from him.

Beside him, nausea swelled over Stu. He teetered back into the fridge and wrapped an arm over his seizing belly as blood dribbled from his mouth. His legs wobbled unsteady beneath him.

“I don’t know, but I’m hurting, man.” Stu continued to cough blood into his hand.


The phone on the counter rang and snatched their attention, Billy from his rage and Stu from his pain. Then gaped it confused, as if they had forgotten the device’s purpose.

“Should I let the machine get it?” Stu asked.

Who would be calling? Who could be calling at a time like this? They are all dead or dying.

Billy leaned past him and snatched the receiver. “Hello?” He could figure out how to explain the call to the cops later.

The killer’s voice greeted him. “Are you alone in the house?” His voice, his words pirated.

Sidney. On the phone and voice changer in her father’s pocket. Billy’s vision went red.

“Bitch, you bitch, where the fuck are you?” Billy screamed into the phone, the knife clutched against the receiver.

“Not so fast. We’re going to play a little game.” That voice, his voice mocked him. “It’s called—” Sidney’s voice returned from beneath the mutation. “Guess who just called the police and reported your sorry motherfucking ass!”

Stu sank into the chair in front of the phone and puddled on the counter. He draped his arm long and rested his head upon it. His body beckoned for him to close his eyes, just for a second, to make the symphony of pain on his nerves stop.

“Find her, you dipshit, get up!” Billy planted the gun in his neck as he yelled.

“I can’t, Billy. I think you cut me too deep. I think I’m dying here, man.”

At the edge of the hurt, Stu registered he did think he was dying. The pain lulled him, coaxed him to just lie still, just close his eyes. If he did, he could be done disappointing his parents or answering to Billy. Tonight could be the end of this life without being the start of another one. It could simply be the end.

“Talk to her.” Billy pressed the receiver against Stu’s ear. “Talk to her.”

Stu drew himself up in his consciousness. He tugged his head up and grasped the phone, aligning it with his ear. Billy pressed away behind him, and Stu listened to him slink out of the kitchen.

“Hello?” Stu answered cordially.

“Oh, Stu, Stu, Stu.” Sidney offered him the same patronizing tone she always did. The tone that said she tolerated him because she had to, because Tatum was there. Only Tatum wasn’t there anymore. “What’s your motive? Billy’s got one; the police are on their way. What are you going to tell them?”

“Peer pressure. I’m far too sensitive.” No lie.

Billy stormed up behind Stu and snatched the phone from his grasp. “I’m going to rip you up, you bitch, just like your fucking mother.”

“You got to find me first, you pansy-ass momma’s boy.”

The reference to his mother set Billy alight. The phone flew from his enraged hand, bouncing off the back of Stu’s head. He did not see it. He did not hear Stu’s protest. He rampaged from the room.

“Fuck!” Stu cried. “You hit me with the phone, dick!” Stu gathered the receiver back into his hand.

“Fucker,” Billy raged. He ran to the couch and tore through the cushions with the knife, sending feathers flying. “Where are you? You fuck!”

Stu listened to Billy’s screams and leaned into the phone. “Did you really call the police?”

“You bet your sorry ass I did.”

Stu grimaced, emotion flooding into his sinuses. “My mom and dad are going to be so mad at me.”

They were going to know. They were all going to know now. His parents were going to be more than disappointed about his mediocre grades or messy room or the fact that he just wasn’t motivated enough. They were going to see the real him, something they never wanted to be around. They couldn’t stand even a fraction of him for more than a couple days before they were in the air again. He could not fathom how they would react when they knew he was a killer.

Continued on… Father Death (20)

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

Previously on… Father Death (17)


Stu jogged away from the house, leaving Randy quivering and clinging to the front door, still begging for Sidney. He rolled his eyes at how pathetic Randy was. He should have stabbed him on the couch before dispatching that cameraman. Yet then, he wouldn’t have been able to snicker in his ear. He wouldn’t have been able to enjoy telling Randy he was right.

Stu rounded the Jeep to obscure himself from sight, not that anyone would be looking after him. Especially not Randy. He hurried along the road, squinting into the night. The large puddles of blood caught faint glints of light. He started there and traced the bloody tracks of the news van.

The cameraman’s body slumped in a sad heap against the dilapidated fence. Stu glanced at it as he followed the road toward the trees. Skid marks drew across the asphalt. Stu chased them into the grass to find the news van pinned against a massive tree trunk.

Approaching the bumper of the trunk, Stu glaed at the square where Sidney had evaded him. He pressed his palm into the cool, smooth panel as he stomped through the tall grass. Peering through the open driver’s side window, he glimpsed the back of Gale Weathers’s head planted on the steering wheel.

Stu brushed his hands against his pockets, even knowing they were empty. No ghostly mask, no disguising robe, no knife. He felt much more exposed approaching Gale as himself. Whispering to Randy was not quite the same. Randy already knew. He sucked in a deep breath and glanced around the vacant night.

Stu reached through the window and grasped Gale’s shoulder. He tipped her back against the seat, her head flopping then lolling on her shoulders, sagging limp on her neck. Her mouth dangled ajar to reveal her perfect, white, straight teeth. Stu released a pent-up giggle. Sending his other arm through the window, he seized both her shoulders and gave her a firm shake. Her head snapped with the movement then drooped again.

“Well, that was easy,” Stu said to himself.

He released Gale to flop limp in the seat and turned back toward the house.

From the top of the stairs, Billy heard Sidney’s shouts. The door slammed. Then her whimpers floated on the air.

“Go away!” she cried against the door. “Leave me alone.”

Sidney was back in the house, and she was alone. It was time. Enough people were dead or would be shortly. It was time to wrap up this plan, execute this final elegant scene.

He drew a breath down into his lungs, feeling the blood on his shirt expand, and fluttered his eyes closed. Stabbed, left for dead, barely alive, crawling to save Sidney… he reminded himself and poured the character over his mind. This perfect boyfriend he had been feigning for over a year.

It all ended tonight.

Billy emerged and hobbled into the hallway.

“Sid,” he said, draping himself over the railing. He clung to the lacquered wood then skittered down clumsy and wounded.

He glanced down at the long case of wooden stairs looming below him, resisting the instinctual flinch before releasing his clutch and tumbling down. The edges and planes of each step bit and slapped at him as he rolled down the flight. He strove to relax into the fall as if he were focused on graver injuries. He skidded to a halt in a puddle at the base of the stairs.

“Billy?” Sidney rushed to him, her hands tentative over his body. “Oh, B—B–, are you okay? I thought you were dead?”

“I’m like a stuck pig, but I am all right.” Billy shuffled to his feet, leaned against the wall then against Sidney.

“You’re bleeding. Oh my god.” Sidney shouldered his weight, her hands playing about the fake blood.

That generally happens when you get stabbed. It was all working so well. She was seeing exactly what he wanted her to. The smile tugged at Billy’s cheeks, but he forced it from his face.

Billy hobbled to the front door. “We got to get help.”

“No, he’s out there.” Sidney threw herself across the door.

“Give me the gun.” Billy extended his hand and offered soothing eyes. Trust me, Sid. “Give me the gun. It’s okay.” It’s all going to be okay. It’s almost over.

Sidney handed him the gun with a reluctant hand and moved behind him. “Careful.”

Billy leaned into the doorknob as he turned the lock. Then he wrenched the door open. Randy immediately flew through the opening in a blur of his green shirt. He clutched Billy’s shoulder before dashing into the room, turning frantic eyes back to them.

“Please, help me!” Randy panted. “Stu’s flipped out. He’s gone mad.”

The sinister grin finally escaped Billy’s control. It unfurled across his face. The mask dropped, and he revealed himself to Randy. The fear he saw well up in Randy’s eyes showed that Randy saw him, but he figured that Randy had really always seen him underneath it all. Perhaps that is why he had wanted to kill him so bad all along. And the moment had finally arrived.

“We all go a little mad sometimes.” Billy leveled the gun at Randy.

“No, no, Billy,” Sidney shouted beside him.

“Oh fuck!” Randy knew it was coming, as he always did.

Billy pulled the trigger. The bullet tore through Randy, launching him backward and over the pointless table Stu’s mother kept in the center of the hall. The vase and flowers cascaded to the floor in shatters. Sidney rushed to Randy as he groaned on the floor. Of course, she did. Of course, she would.

It was all in the open now. Billy felt the freedom surge through him. They were here. They had made it to the endgame. He tipped the gun up and scratched the barrel along his scalp.

“Anthony Perkins, psycho,” he commented. Sidney turned disbelieving eyes to him. He loved that quivering look on her. She looked up from Randy’s body in trembling awe, just as Billy always wanted her to look at him. “Mmmm.” He slipped his finger into his mouth and sucked off the fake blood. “Corn syrup. The same stuff they used as pig’s blood in Carrie.”

The horrific realization on Sidney’s face was gorgeous. It contorted her features, making her look even more like her mother on the last night of her life. Billy nearly hardened again at the correlation. It had all come full circle, just like he had wanted.

Sidney whirled around, desperate, chaotic. Her hands spiraled from her body as she lurched toward the kitchen. Stu emerged, having rounded around the back of his property. She collided with him like a wall then cuddled into his chest. He leered down at her, but she was too distracted to gauge his menace.

“Stu.” She collapsed into his chest in a pitiful heap. “Help me.”

Stu flicked his eyes to Billy. They exchanged the thrilling sparkle of victory, the electricity of everything going to plan. Stu slid his hand up his body, positioning the voice changer over his wicked grin.

“Surprise, Sidney.” The device twisted his voice.

Sidney’s eyes widened. She shrank away from him. “No!”

Billy raised his eyebrows at her, mocking her with a shocked expression. She shoved Stu aside and threw herself into the kitchen. Billy ran around the hallway and entered from the opposite side, corralling her between them.

“Oh, now. Whoa!” He pushed the gun into her face. Stu chucked the voice changer, and Billy plucked it from the air in his blood-stained hand. His cheeks vibrated in his grin. “What’s the matter, Sidney? It looks like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Sidney’s legs buckled beneath her. She wobbled back and clutched the counter. “Why are you doing this?”

“It’s all part of the game, Sidney.” Stu loomed on one side of the island.

“It’s called guess how I am going to die!” Billy yelled through the voice changer and pointed the gun at her face.

“Fuck you!” Sidney dropped her hands from her hair as she yelled.

“No, no, no.” Billy’s voice softened. He offered Stu the gun and exchanged it for the knife. “We already played that game, remember? You lost.” Billy cornered Sidney, knife pointed at her face.

She had lost. She had lost so completely.

“It’s a fun game, Sidney. See, we ask you a question. You get it wrong—booyah!—you die.” Stu pointed the gun at her to mime a shot.

“You get it right, you die.” Billy shrugged.

Sidney raised stern, resolute eyes. “You’re crazy, both of you.”

Stu cuddled up to Billy’s back, amalgamating them into one threatening person in front of Sidney. He felt them together, in parallel. He had done everything he was supposed to; he had gotten them exactly where Billy wanted. Right here, to this moment.

“Actually, we prefer the term psychotic,” Stu said over Billy’s shoulder

“You’ll never get away with this.”

Billy tipped his head. “Oh, no? Tell that to Cotton Weary. You wouldn’t believe how easy he was to frame.” Billy teased the ends of Sidney’s hair with the blade.

“Watch a few movies, take a few notes. It was fun!” Stu’s face twisted comically.

“No!” Sidney melted and surged forward.

Billy caught her in his free arm. “Whoa.”

“Where are you going?” Stu laughed.

Where could she go? Cornered by both of them with a gun and a knife. This was the end of her.

“Why?” Sidney dragged herself up and slammed the counter again. “Why did you kill my mother?”

“Why?” Billy echoed. “Why?” He shouted, and Sidney and Stu both startled. Stu drew back away from Billy. “You hear that, Stu? I think she wants a motive. I don’t really believe in motives, Sid. Did Norman Bates have a motive?” Billy oscillated conversationally.

“No,” Stu answered.

“Did they ever really decide why Hannibal Lecter likes to eat people? Don’t think so!” His face jerked forward with his words. She cowered away. “It’s a lot scarier when there is no motive, Sid. We did your mom a favor. That woman was a slut-bag whore who flashed her shit all over town like she was Sharon Stone or something.”

“Yeah, we put her out of her misery because, let’s face it, Sidney, your mother was no Sharon Stone.” Stu pointed the gun and opened his hands around it.

“Is that motive enough for you?” Billy hesitated and toyed with the knife against his lower lip. “How about this? Your slut mother was fucking my father. And she’s the reason my mom moved out and abandoned me.”

Sidney’s mouth dropped open. Her eyes seemed to well with tears, if Billy could believe she cared that much. He stared into her as he watched the words resonate in her mind.

Stu lost his breath. His face went slack. He gaped at Billy. For an instant, he was back in Maureen’s bedroom, watching the rage seethe on Billy’s face. I had picked Maureen, not Billy, he told himself. Why didn’t he tell me? A blur of all their planning sessions, all the tasks he had carried out for Billy whirred through his head. Why didn’t he tell me?

“How’s that for a motive?” Billy continued. “Maternal abandonment causes serious deviant behavior. It certainly fucked you up. It made you have sex with a psychopath.”

Stu snapped back from the wound in his mind. “That’s right. You gave it up. Now, you’re no longer a virgin. Ooh! I said virgin!” Stu covered his mouth and squealed. “Whoops! Now, you got to die. Those are the rules.”

Billy seized Sidney and drew her to him, wrapping around her back. He played with the ends of her bloody hair and savored the fear and rage radiating off her. She felt the way he had felt these past months and years. He had finally succeeded in transferring it to her. And he drank up that success. This was how they were supposed to be.

“Just pretend it’s all a scary movie,” he said into her ear. “How do you think it’s going to end?”

Billy gestured to the hall with the knife. Stu exploded with excitement. They had finally reached the crescendo of his involvement, his masterpiece of contribution.

“Oh! Oh!” Stu shouted, clicking the safety on the gun and placing it on the counter. “This is the greatest part. You’re going to love this! We got a surprise for you, Sidney. Yeah, you’re going to love this one. It’s a scream, baby! Hold on a sec. I’ll be right back!” Stu dissolved into ghastly horror mocking and leaned with Frankenstein arms through the door.

Billy nuzzled deeper into Sidney and clutched her tighter. “You know what time it is, Sid? It’s after midnight. It’s your mom’s anniversary. Congratulations. We killed her exactly one year ago today.”

He had done it, and with Sidney helpless in his grasp, he savored that. They were all just where he wanted them.

“Attention!” Stu shouted.

Stu emerged, wrangling Neil Prescott. Neil hopped forward with his legs bound together by duct tape. The tape molded to his face, and blood trickled down over it. He looked wilted and defeated from his days in the basement.

“Oh, look! What do we have behind door number three, Sidney?” Stu shoved Neil into the kitchen and forward onto the floor. Neil fell to his knees at their feet.

“Daddy!” Sidney dove forward at her father.

Billy caught her by the shoulders and hauled her back to him. “Whoa. Hold it. That’s enough.”

Stu moved up behind Neil. The taxing days of serving as his warden were closing. He beamed in elation at feeling them spiral away into the past, flying away with this entire life behind him. Stu’s hand slithered into his pocket to retrieve the voice changer again. He brought it up to his lips once more, one last time.

“Guess we won’t be needing this anymore, huh?” He pushed the mutated words over Neil’s shoulder then slipped the device into Neil’s pocket. Then he dug into his other pocket to retrieve the cell phone. Just the feel of it in his palm brought thoughts of Casey’s tear-stained cheeks back into his mind. “And oh, look at this. Ring, ring! Won’t need this.” He stuffed the phone in with the voice changer.

“Got the ending figured out yet, Sid?” Billy jostled her in excitement. This was his plan, his brilliance laid at her feet.

“Come on, Sid. You think about it now, huh? Your daddy’s the chief suspect. We cloned his cellular. Evidence is all right there, baby!” Stu shoved Neil hard in the back until he toppled over to the floor.

“What if your father snapped?” Billy mused, slipping back into the fantasy he had been constructing for over a year. “Your mother’s anniversary set him off, and he went on a murder spree, killing everyone.”

“Except for Billy and me. We were left for dead.”

“And then he kills you.” Billy pointed the knife at Sidney’s chest, ready to press it through her flesh. Once she understood. Once she appreciated who he really was. “And shoots himself in the head. Perfect ending.”

“I thought of that.” Stu claimed his credit, his piece of the plan.

Billy pulled Sidney out of the way and stepped forward. He leveled his eyes on Stu. Stu’s heart thumped in dreaded anticipation.

“Watch this,” Billy said to Sidney. “Ready?” he asked Stu.

Stu was not ready. Stu hated this part of the plan. He was here to do the stabbing, not be stabbed. Why can’t I just get knocked unconscious and be left for dead that way? he thought. But he steeled his face. This was for Billy. He planted his feet and pressed his fists into his scalp.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m ready, baby,” Stu changed. “Right, get it up! Yeah, baby, get it up! Hit it!” His voice climbed with his anticipation.

Billy set his stance and stared into Stu’s eyes as he stuck the knife into Stu’s side. The pain blazed up Stu’s nerves. He had never been stabbed before, never cared to consider what it felt like when he plunged the knife into Casey or Dewey or that cameraman. His nervous system seized around the sensation, and his hands tingled as he balled them into fists to compose himself.

Stu folded in half then drew himself up with a hand plastered over the wound. “Good one, man!” Stu chewed back the pain. He would not look like a pussy in front of Billy. “Jesus!” Now, I can return the favor. He tilted his chin down and narrowed his eyes at Billy. “Oh, shit. My turn.”

Billy rolled skeptical eyes to Stu. Stu had followed directions. Stu had executed his tasks well enough to get them here. The victims were dead. Neil Prescott was bounded, gagged, and successfully framed at their feet. Yet Billy’s hand hesitated around the knife. If he did not hand it over, he would lose Stu, and the plan would unravel. He gritted his teeth and extended his arm toward Stu.

“Don’t forget. Stay to the side, and don’t go too deep,” Billy instructed. He seized a handful of Sidney’s jacket.

“Okay, I’ll remember.” Stu’s voice drifted off.

The pain continued to radiate through Stu, sending barbed messages up his nerves. It tickled that wound in his mind, that gap where Billy had not told him why they had killed Maureen Prescott. That massive detail he had not trusted Stu with. A seed of rage trembled in that hole. When Stu plunged the knife into Billy’s side, some of that rage pushed into it.

“Ah! Fuck!” Billy shouted. He turned into the island, shielding his injury. “Fuck! Goddammit, Stu!”

A warm pleasure crawled into the wound in Stu’s mind, a perverted sense of reciprocity. He could not prevent the satisfied leer from creeping over his face.

“Sorry, Billy. I guess I got a little too zealous, huh?” Stu dismissed, looking at Sidney.

Billy extended a bloody hand to Stu. Fake and real blood were no longer distinguishable. Pain cramped over his wound. The blood slid hot along his skin, but anger burned hotter across his forehead. He scarcely felt the pain under his rage. That now pointed at Stu. He should have stabbed himself. He kept his hand out and glared at Stu.

“Give me the knife,” Billy commanded.

Stu flinched internally at Billy’s menace. He forgot how terrifying he could be. “No.”

“Give me the knife. Now!” Billy’s voice shook the kitchen, and Stu surrendered the blade.

Stu turned to Sidney and regained his maniacal grin. “You see, Sid, everybody dies but us. Everybody dies but us. We get to carry on and plan the sequel. Cause let’s face it, baby, these days you got to have a sequel.” Stu’s hands spun in a flurry in front of him, spittle flying from his mouth.

My turn again, Billy thought. He seized Stu’s arm to steady him and brought the knife into his other side. Stu wilted in his grasp. Billy plucked the blade out and dragged up the outside of Stu’s arm, splitting his sweater then his skin.

“You sick fucks have seen too many movies!” Sidney said from behind them.

Billy hesitated for an instant to point the knife over his shoulder back at Sidney, keeping his eyes on Stu, reminding Stu of who he was.

“Sid, don’t blame the movies,” Billy shouted.” The movies don’t create psychos; movies make psychos more creative.” He spun Stu around and slashed the knife along his back.

Stu howled and arched against the injury. “Oh, stop it, Billy, would you? All right? I can’t take it anymore. I’m feeling a little woozy here!”

Stu’s head swam in the pain. His entire body chirped in panic as the blood dripped all around him. He surely would make a convincing victim now. Yet something else blossomed within him. When he glowered at Billy, he did not see his friend; he did not see his partner. He now saw the end of the knife.

Billy pressed the knife to Stu’s chin. “All right. Go get the gun, and I’ll untie pops. Okay?” Stu stared back at him, his blood dripping steady onto the floor. “Now!” Billy shouted.

“Okay.” Stu stared back and spoke softly.

Stu turned around. His head swooned with anger and a wave of dizziness. When he looked at the counter, the void on the white tile perplexed him. He stared at it, waiting for the gun to materialize again, waiting for things to make sense from under the pain.

“Um, Houston, we have a problem here.” Stu tapped his bloody fingers where the gun had been to verify its vacancy.

“What?” Billy turned from looming in Sidney’s face with the knife.

“The gun, man. The gun. I put it right there, and it’s not there.”

Billy stomped across the kitchen to look over Stu’s shoulder. “Where the fuck is it?”

Continued on… Father Death (19)

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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

Previously on… Father Death (16)


Billy peeled himself from the sheets of Stu’s parents’ bed. The fake blood dried so fast and so sticky. His shirt cleaved to him, and his fingers webbed together. When he pulled them apart, the blood separated in the creases along his hands. Flexing his hands, he watched the effect a couple times as he walked to the front-facing window.

Approaching the pane from the side, he peeked around the edge. On the ground below, he glimpsed a black figure shoving a wilted corpse atop the news van parked in the distance. When he registered no other movement, he moved across the window for a better view, releasing a small laugh before swallowing it.

He lingered, watching Stu wrestle the lifeless body, giggling to himself until the corpse seemed properly positioned atop the van. Then as Stu crept across the yard and back into the house, Billy moved away from the window to lurk deeper within and wait for his moment to rejoin the party.

Sweat poured down Stu’s face inside the mask, but he could not wipe it. Perspiration sprouted all over his body, the costume smothering him as his heartbeat attempted to pace itself down from the exertion. His muscles tingled in exhaustion. As he dragged himself through the door, his body began to recover.

Stu peered into the living room. The couch was vacant. Randy must have wandered off when Halloween concluded and he finally realized he was alone.

Stu eased back to the open front door, staying out of sight but getting close enough to glimpse and hear the night wafting in. Things remained quiet for a long moment. Stu again resisted the urge to spirit up the stairs to check in with Billy. Billy wanted him down here, so he remained. His breathing steadied in his stillness, and his sweat finally cooled.

He was ready for another round as voices tickled the edge of the dark outside.

“Is there a phone in the van?” Dewey’s voice mumbled soft in the distance.

“Yeah,” Gale answered, sharper, easier to hear.

“Lock yourself in it and call the sheriff for backup.” Dewey’s voice grew closer.

“Be careful!” Gale called in the distance.

Stu glanced out through the shape of the door and saw Dewey approaching, eyes frantic and gun drawn. Tatum’s annoying older brother. Stu drew deeper into the house. Slamming his back into the doorframe, Dewey entered the house on stuttering steps. Stu could feel Dewey’s fear radiating in before him, and it thrilled him.

How many times he had fantasized about punching this asshole in the jaw? Stu tightened his grip on his knife. Stabbing Dewey was going to be so much better.

“Neil?” Dewey called, his voice shaking. “Mr. Prescott?”

Stu retreated into the house, allowing Dewey to wander farther into the darkened rooms. Stu slunk against the wall, trailing his fingers along the drywall. He passed the living room with Jamie Lee Curtis’s screaming face and loitered in the hallway. Dewey’s steps unknowingly chased him.

“Woodsboro Police,” Dewey called. “Mr. Prescott?”

Neil could probably hear Dewey calling for him from the basement. He was probably fighting wildly against his duct tape gag and bindings. Stu smirked at the thought.

Dewey rounded the corner beside Stu, oblivious to the dark figure standing in wait. He eased past Stu, unaware with his gun wavering in front of him. He rounded to the television and glimpsed the flickering scenes of Halloween.

The movie seemed to calm him as if it explained everything. Dewey relaxed a degree, taking a breath and lowering his gun as he lingered by the wall. Stu crept up behind him then drew his knife and plunged it into Dewey’s spine.

Dewey released a yowl and arched into the injury. His knees buckled, and he collapsed at Stu’s feet in a pile of police uniform. Releasing the knife, leaving it planted in Dewey’s back, he stepped back to watch him.

Dewey puddled at Stu’s feet for a moment then reanimated in his pain. He slapped his palm to the hardwood and fought to press himself up, hissing and grunting with each motion. He craned his neck and turned wild eyes to Stu, ingesting the looming ghostly figure in pure panic. Stu towered over him and tilted his head to watch Dewey flounder.

Dewey crawled across the floor, dragging himself on his belly at first. Once he put distance between himself and Stu, he hauled himself to his feet, clinging to the wall and staggering back to the front door. Stu allowed him his clumsy escape before chasing his steps.

Screams and commotion filtered through the front door. A crash echoed in the distance. Then Sidney’s voice came from the night again.

“Dewey!” she called, desperate. “Dewey! Dewey, where are you?”

Dewey stiffened at the sound of Sidney’s voice. His shaky steps surged forward. He tripped out onto the front porch, clutching the column for support.

“Dewey?” Sidney’s voice was closer.

“Sidney?” he replied.

As soon as her name tumbled from his lips, he collapsed heavy to the porch, exposing the blade still protruding from his back. Sidney kept approaching, drawn to Dewey’s weakness. Stu grinned and capitalized.

“Dewey.” Her voice wilted.

You know what would be creepy? he asked himself. Pulling this knife out of Dewey and fucking stabbing her with it. I would love to see that in a movie.

The inspiration charged Stu, and he took long strides to through the door and to Dewey’s body. Seizing the knife theatrically, he tore it from Dewey’s spine, turning his ghostly face directly toward Sidney and wiping the knife off to show her it was her turn. The way her jaw went slack and her eyes glimmered in fear told him it was a great idea.

Sidney turned her fearful face away from Stu as he stepped over Dewey’s crumpled body and advanced toward her. She scurried around Dewey’s Jeep and threw herself inside. When she looked away, Stu stooped down to snag the keys from Dewey’s belt.

Above their heads, Billy leaned restless toward the window again. He grew bored with all this waiting, all this biding his time while he allowed Stu to corral the pawns. Orchestration could be tedious in the execution. He watched Sidney close herself inside the Jeep as Stu marched toward the vehicle.

Sidney appeared different to him now, cowering in fear inside the Jeep. He had already had her. He had already won. Now, he just needed to finish things. The downhill trajectory in his plan soothed him. The writhing rage in his chest simmered when he saw her so helpless now.

Stu seized the passenger’s door handle, but Sidney swiftly locked it. She dumped herself into the driver’s seat and furiously rolled up the window as Stu marched around the front. She clicked the lock down as he reached the door.

Stu snickered to himself as she groped at the vacant ignition then fumbled around for the keys looped around his index finger. He tapped on the glass with the tip of his knife. She turned her wide eyes up to him, her face almost beautiful with all that drying blood. He lifted his hand to display the dangling keys and savored the dismay spreading over her features.

Sidney never would have granted him that control if she could see his face. She always dismissed him as a goof-off, only tolerated him due to his proximity to Tatum. Behind this mask, she could not deny him. Behind this mask, she was terrified of him. He chortled silently behind the plastic before dropping to the dirt out of sight.

Slithering below the Jeep and wriggling to the other side, he extended his long arm to unlock the door. He immediately heard Sidney’s hand slam down on the lock again. He crept to the back of the vehicle and released the lock on the tailgate, allowing it to rise silently. Then he slunk to the driver’s side and unlocked the door. She again pushed it back down.

From within the Jeep, the police radio spouted garbled words. Stu heard Sidney fumble at the receiver. With her distracted, he hurried to the open back and climbed into the trunk.

“Hello! Help Me! I’m at Stu Macher’s house on Turner Lane. It’s 261 Turner Lane. Please, he’s going to try and kill me,” Sidney cried into the radio, mashing her fist against her head.

It was not time for cops yet. They were not ready for that. Stu reached over the seat and seized Sidney’s throat to silence her. Her windpipe flexed, and tendons rolled under his grip as he strangled her. Sidney sunk into her seat, flailing at Stu. He ignored the blows until her feet leveled on his head. Those impacts dazed him and sent him tumbling back on the seat.

Stu peered out of the window to watch Sidney scurry across the yard. As she moved, Randy rounded in front of the Jeep and approached her. Stu stripped off his mask and sloughed off his costume, abandoning it in the back of the Jeep and creeping around the trunk. Randy skidded on stiff steps with his hand planted in his pocket.

“Sidney! Sidney,” Randy called. “Jesus, we got to get the fuck out of here.”

As Stu turned appear as if he was just approaching the scene, Sidney stooped down to snatch the gun from Dewey’s belt. She pointed it at Randy. Randy’s footsteps stuttered as he raised his hands.

“Stop right there,” Sidney said.

“Don’t shoot,” Randy said. “It’s me. I found Tatum. She’s dead. I think Stu did it.”

Fucking Randy, Stu thought. He really does know this shit. Fucker is always right. On cue, Stu hurried up beside Randy and plastered a pleading expression on his face.

“Don’t listen to him, Sidney,” Stu begged.

“Stay back.” Sidney swung the gun between Randy and Stu, retreating toward the house.

“Stu did it.” Randy grabbed the railing and ascended the porch steps.

“He killed Billy,” Stu argued. “He killed my Tatum.” He reached out toward Randy. “You did it. You killed my Tatum.” Stu snatched Randy’s arm and threw him from the porch steps into the gravel.

“No, I didn’t. You lied.”

Stu wanted to shrug and say, well yeah. He wanted to tip his hand to Randy and laugh at the realization on his face. Randy did love to be right about these things. It would be the perfect thing to give him before Billy killed him. Unfortunately, it would unravel the entire scheme, so Stu kept his outraged and pitiful expression for Sidney.

“Sidney, baby, please give me that gun.” He stretched his hands out to Sidney as he climbed the stairs after her. “Give me that gun. Christ, man.”

“No, he did it, Sid,” Randy protested, joining them on the porch. “He did it. He did it, Sidney. Please, I didn’t do it. He did it, Sidney. Please, Sidney. No!”

He is right. He is so completely right. Again, Stu thought.

The three of them stood frozen, exchanging pleading stares. Sidney looked from one to the other before gripping the edge of the massive door.

“Fuck you both!” she shouted before heaving it shut in their faces.

The door rattled in its frame as it slammed shut in Randy and Stu’s faces. Randy gaped at it, shock and heartbreak dripping down his cheeks. His palms flew up to slap desperate at the wood, bat in denial that Sidney would point a gun at him and shut him out.

“No, no, Sidney!” Randy whimpered against the woodgrain. “Open up. He did it. Help me! He’s going crazy, Sidney.”

Stu could no longer contain his glee. The smile burst uncontrolled upon his cheeks. The door was closed. Sidney could not see. Randy was about to die. It didn’t matter anymore. He could be himself. He could let the mask slip.

Randy pawed and knocked at the door, calling and whimpering Sidney’s name. Stu permitted a chuckle to dribble from his lips. Randy turned to him slowly, scrutinizing him.

“I knew it,” Randy breathed against the door.

Stu surged forward and snatched Randy by the collar, pinning him to the door. Randy fumbled against the wood, produced more knocks for Sidney. Stu brought his mouth close to Randy’s ear and poured his soft words inside.

“You got it, buddy,” Stu mocked. “You were right. About everything.”

Stu pushed back to meet Randy’s eyes. Shock stretched Randy’s features.

Why was he shocked? He called it. He had known.

It only felt right to Stu to tell him before Billy sliced him apart. Stu stared into Randy’s pupils until Randy became uncomfortable; then he gave him a little shove into the door and snickered in his ear.

Stu left Randy pinned against the door and ran off into the night.

Continued on… Father Death (18)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screamicon.webp

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