I think I write too much flash fiction. Some of it is really good. Some of it…eh, not so much. I’m on the fence about this piece.
“Come on in, take off your skin and rattle around in your bones,” the voice cackled from the darkness. It was a hoarse, grumbling sort of voice that seemed neither natural nor inviting to Ben as he stood on the porch of the old house at the end of Mary Angela Road. The pavement on the street was faded blacktop broken and cracked nearly to gravel leading up the dead weeds that made a brown, rushy ocean waist deep between the curb and the rotten front porch. The paint was chipped and fell in piles of ashy snow in a ring around the house, dotted here and there in broken glass and termite gnawed planks of wood siding. The roof sagged down in a wicked grin that made the columns holding up the awning over the steps warp and groan.
“It’s alright, we won’t bite,” the voice continued to sing. “So come on in, take off your skin and rattle around in your bones.”
Ben was twelve years old, freckle faced and mischievous with buzzed red hair and blue eyes that shined like the early morning. He could hear his mother telling him to stay away from the old house at the end of the street, that it was decrepit and dangerous and the sort of place little boys went missing in if they weren’t careful. It was a warning that filled a boy’s imagination with mystery and ideas of adventure that would lead him right up the steps to the front door clinging desperately to a single hinge.
“’We’? Who all else is in there?” Ben’s voice was shaky as he leaned forward to try and get a better look through the open door.
“Well it’s a party and you’re welcome to join us,” the voice said. “All you got to do is come on it, take off your skin and rattle around in your bones.”
“How do I do that?”
Hell fire flashed through the windows and door, licked up along the sagging awning and out across the floor. Inside the old house he saw himself up on hooks like pigs in the smokehouse on his grandfather’s farm. People without skin laughed and cackled, danced about his body as they peeled his flesh off in a single piece like pulling a glove off a hand. They made the empty flesh dance and sway, a puppet pulled by dripping red strings. The one in the door who’d spoken to him, the voice, grinned a skeleton grin with its ashy bones, the meat dripping off its ribs and arms while black eyes peered out through hollow sockets.
“Come on in, take off your skin and rattle around in yours bones.” The voice laughed as the little boy jumped from the porch and ran away.