The damp night air clings to her cotton shirt, pushing her nipples through the thin fabric, as she climbs into her Camaro. Her long damp legs exit her leather skirt to squeak against the seats as she puts it in gear. The license plate reads “Red,” disappearing with the roar of the engine, over the rise in the road.
The rainwater kicks up around the tires as the trickles start. She turns the corner with precision, splashing a dark figure walking with a grocery sack in tow. He flashes her one finger shy of a peace sign, but she’s concentrating on her destination scribbled on a piece of paper set on her passenger seat.
“101 Woods Road,” she says. “After this I’m fucking going to bed.”
She gives her boss a call before she faces the now hard-hitting rain and climbs out of the car. Ducking her head, she sprints to the shelter of the porch, her long auburn hair losing some of the curl as it clings to her slender neck.
The rain is pounding down like a hammer on nails when she rings the bell, but gets no answer. She rings it several consecutive times as the rain continues in deafening torrents on the porch’s cover. Thumping on the door one more time, it swings open with a spine-tingling screech.
The quiet of the house accentuates shadows stretching up the walls, greatly exaggerated when the lightning strikes outside. “Hello?” she says, but the only answer is the rain banging on the windowpanes like victims trying to escape a fire.
“Hello, dear,” an old woman says, calling from a room down the hall.
Red nears the entrance and warily peeks inside. “Sorry, I was looking for Hugh.”
“Hugh went out, but he’ll be back any time. Can you come and keep me company until he returns?” the old woman says. Her cough is full of coarse gravel and her swallowing echoes in the dark.
Entering the room, Red detects a strong odor of black licorice. Lightening shoots in daggers across the walls. The old woman’s eyes flash red above the blanket that she pulls up over her face.
Doing a double take Red stares. “What big eyes you have,” she says, nearing the bed and with squinted eyes.
“All the better to see you with, my dear.” The old woman cocks her head this way and that on the pillow like a curious pigeon.
“Oh, and what big ears you have.” Red draws closer with the window to her back. The shadows continue their violent dance around the room.
Red leans in toward the woman, cupping her ear toward the faint gurgles of the woman attempting to speak.
“The better to hear you with my dear,” the woman says again, pulling the blanket away from her mouth.
Red shrinks back against the window as lightening flashes again. “Oh my, what huge teeth you have!”
“The better to eat you with my dear,” the old woman flashes a toothy grin jolting up tall in bed, a disgusting and vile scene with drool exiting her lips. The thunder bursts outside, rattling the windows. Red screams.
The bedroom door slams open wide and a dripping wet man comes inside. He gives Red a curious glance. “Grandma, lie down. I got your soda so you can take your medicine and get some sleep.”
He pulls lemonade out of his saturated grocery sack, opens it, and hands it to the decrepit old hag.
With the slurping and slobbering woman content, Hugh takes Red by the hand, leading her down the hall. “Ow, ooooooow,” he howls.