• Jeff South

Blogtober, Day 17: Malice


Susan Carpenter stood in the snow wearing a black peacoat over her pajamas. Her red nose and shivering chin told Nathan she had been in the cold for a while.


“How did you get here?” he asked. “We should go inside where it’s warm.”


“I walked. I like the cold air. Makes me feel alive.” She spoke with a soft voice and a hushed tone. “You came to see me today. I saw you on the sidewalk. My dad doesn’t want anyone to see me. My mom doesn’t want me leaving the house.”


“You snuck out?” he asked her. “They’ll know you’re gone.”


She didn’t respond, but turned to face the woods. Nathan shivered partly from the frigid night air but also at remembering what he saw come out of those same woods.


“I think I saw what took you,” he told her. “The other night something came up to my window.”


“I told you,” she said. “They’re still out there.”


“What do they want?” he asked. “It scared the shit out of me. That thing didn’t look friendly. I felt like it was malice toward me.”


“Malice?” she turned back to him. “What do you mean?”


“Maybe that’s not the right word,” Nathan sighed. “My girlfriend Jane used it a couple of weeks ago when I did something to piss her off. She’s obsessed with expanding her vocabulary.”


“What does ‘malice’ mean?”


“Yes. It’s when someone intends to do harm. To do evil.”


“Oh,” Susan said. “Then, yes. That’s their plan.”


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