[FN] A Crafty 'No Solicitors' Sign
I stared out the kitchen window to the front yard beyond as I idly rinsed my coffee cup. The empty streets beyond were a comforting sight. After moving in, I found that my residence seemed to be a bit of a hot spot for solicitors. Mid level marketing sales, people looking for signatures on local petitions, you name it, they’ve showed up at my doorstep eagerly day in, day out like some sort of obnoxious parade. After a week, I’d had enough. I drove to my local craft store and scoured the shelves for anything that gave off a spooky, leave-me-the-fuck-alone vibe.
In the discounted Halloween decorations, I found it. The plastic skull of what I guessed was supposed to be a demon, but it really just looked like a deer skull with some fantastically twisted horns. I purchased that along with a little pentagram windows sticker for good measure. The combination elicited a glare from the elderly woman ringing me up, but I ignored her as I paid and whisked my items back to my car.
I placed the skull in a clearly visible corner of my kitchen window, then stuck the pentagram on the opposite side. Maybe they’ll think I’m some sort of devil worshiper or something and finally leave me the hell alone, I thought, and indeed, it seemed to work. The following week, I watched as a cheerful saleswoman bounced her way up the brick path leading to my front door, then stopped suddenly as her widening eyes fell upon the new demonic display in my kitchen window. I shot her a wicked grin for good measure, which sent her stumbling back to the street, her bag clutched shakily in her arms.
The sight became common as the parade of solicitors dried up, much to my delight. That is, until this morning.
As I rinsed the toast crumbs off my plate and laid it gently in the sink, I heard a sharp knock at my door. I peaked out the kitchen window, straining my eyes to see if I could catch a glimpse of the person standing on my porch, but oddly, no one was there. I listened as the second knock sounded throughout the house, then realized it was actually the door to the back of the house before which my visitor stood.
The hairs on the back of my neck prickled as I apprehensively crept towards the door. Who would possibly be knocking at my back door? The high fence between myself and my neighbors should have been more than enough to deter a trespasser. The knocking became more urgent as my hand reached for the door knob.I hesitated for a moment, wondering if it was really a good idea to greet whoever was on the other side. Curiosity got the better of me as I wrenched the door open.
“Hello kind sir!” the stout woman standing on my deck chirped. She wore a pointed hat and velvet, purple robes. A broom was propped against the side of my house, and in her hand was a snapped open briefcase.
“I spotted the warlock sign in your front window, and figured you could potentially use a refresh of your potion ingredients.” Her hands floated over the array of animal organs, mysterious dried plants, and other grotesque, unidentifiable goods.
“Excuse me, my what?” I said incredulously.
“The pentagram and goat’s skull in your window,” she said simply, pointing a finger at my display in the kitchen window.
“Oh, that,” I said chuckling nervously. “That’s just a...decoration. I have...peculiar taste.”
“So then you’re not a warlock?” she asked, her eyes glimmering suspiciously.
“Nope, ‘fraid not,” I said, my eyes wandering towards the hand she slipped beneath her robes. My eyes widened as she procured a wand, its tip leveled in my direction.
“My apologies mortal,” she said as a violet light shot from the tip of the wand and slammed into my chest. I crumpled to the floor and watched with darkening vision as the woman snatched the broom from the side of my house. I could have sworn I saw her leap into the air, seated comfortably atop the wooden handle, as my world faded to black.
I awoke to the stinging of the afternoon sun on my face, the carpet beneath me digging into my cheek. I bolted upright and stared in horror at the ajar back door to my home. My immediate thought was that I’d been robbed, and the burglar had knocked me out before swiping my possessions. A quick look around quickly squashed that thought, as my television and gaming consoles lay untouched in the living room. I scratched my head, trying to puzzle through how I’d fallen unconscious before an open door. I made a mental note to phone my doctor on Monday as I staggered over to the kitchen. I cranked the cold water tap of the kitchen faucet and jammed an empty cup under the stream as I surveyed the front yard beyond. It was then I realized that maybe I had been burgled, but only one thing was missing. The pentagram sticker and the plastic skull I’d purchased last week had vanished without a trace.
submitted by jenarino