Monday, October 10, 2016

Nightmare Fuel 2016, Day the Ninth - "Your Father's Tools"

Nine days of this, with another little atmospheric piece. Nearing the midway of the month, with more to come.

For another, more light-hearted take on this see Andy Brokaw, who has also been writing these all month with us. Her takes are far different from mine,

"Your Father's Tools"

You saw your father's tools in the window of an antique shop.

It's not a shop you'd never seen before, not in an impossible place between what should be neighboring storefronts, or in an empty alley. This isn't that kind of story.

It's in a real shop, one you've walked past before. The case in the window is dark wood, the little bottles colored glass with rubber stoppers. It blended in well enough with the old furniture, glasswear, and old leatherbound books that you might have walked past it every day without noticing.

So you walk in, taking a moment to savor the smells of old leather, of mineral oil, of silver polish. Other things you can't identify. You approach the window display and look at the case

They aren't his tools. You realize that right away, that you're not reunited with a long-lost toolkit, that you'll not for the first time touch what he'd touched, put your hands on his cherished possessions. This isnt' that kind of story either.

The tools are just as you remember them, though. The case is, to be honest, a not quite as nice. No hidden hinges, simple catches replacing the brass latch you remember. The bottles are nice though. You run your hands along them, the glass smooth against your fingers, your mind conjuring familiar smells of brimstone, of saltwater, the coppery scent of blood. You look at the price. It's a lot for something that would just collect dust.

You don't leave it behind; this isn't that kind of story either. Not one about regrets and what-might-have-happeneds.

You open it again when you get home. Even without the nice dovetail joints and even without the better hardware you remember it IS a thing of beauty. The wand in particular is in excellent, excellent shape. It almost calls to you, the way a good artifact should.  You wonder at it. At who owned it before. If they ever managed to call upon a demon. If their demon gifted them wisdom, or strength, or the riches to quit their job and run off to their own private island.

You remember the instructions, remember listening to your father with his tools, calling upon his demons.

You never summon one yourself. This isn't that kind of story.

You set it on the coffee-table, the wooden lid propped open,  a conversation piece for guests who never come. It sits there for a while, the wand calling to you. Your cat sometimes knocking the little stoppered bottles loose.

So you close the lid, still look each day at the closed box, in your head seeing the wand and the stoppered bottles and hearing your father's voice bargaining with his demons.

After a week you move the box which does not contain your father's tools into the corner of your bedroom closet, behind the piles of old shoes. You don't think of it often, but sometimes when you need to find the workboots you keep in the back of the closet you'll see it and remember that you don't have your father's tools.
Necro-3 by Druidic-Trickster

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