Tomorrow There Is A Snake, short story by S.C. Denton at Spillwords.com
Kevin Bosc

Tomorrow There Is A Snake

Tomorrow There Is A Snake

written by: S.C. Denton

@SC_Denton

 

Henry Winklevoss adjourns to his study. A roaring fire helps to stave off the chill. The pungent aroma of tobacco permeates the room as he gingerly pulls from his pipe. His wife Loretta arrives at the doorway (she always hates this part, but he insists) and she knocks before entering. She’s brought him his traditional nightcap.

Henry sets his pipe down in an ashtray on the end table. He takes his drink from the tray, and Loretta places the tray atop the table.

“Thanks Loretta,” he says.

“You’re welcome. I’m off to bed now. You’re going to stay up and read awhile.” She always asks even though she knows the answer.

“I am,” he watches her as she walks toward the door, “love you.”

“I love you too,” she said.

“Goodnight.”

“Goodnight,” she said, trailing off.

Henry takes a few good swigs of his scotch on the rocks, then returns his drink to the tray. He picks his book up from the other table beside his wingback chair. It’s a book about Edgar Cayce, and his phenomenal abilities. Actually, it contains articles written by learned men arguing for, as well as against, him being capable of all that is claimed. He turns up his glass till the rocks clink, a chunk of ice nearly cost him a trip to the dentist. Still, there’s been quite a lot of loss. He adds a few more cubes from the miniature mock pewter ice bucket patterned after an old ice cream cooler.

It’s going down more smoothly now. He holds the book out, at arm’s length, while repeatedly sipping with the other hand. A stubborn piece of burning wood crackles intrusively, and he glances at the fire as if perturbed by its insolence. But instead of continuing his glare he turns his attention to the recessed bookshelves which line nearly every wall. He receives nearly all the periodicals. Has at least a few books on near every subject imaginable. And has read the majority of them at least once. Henry is a college grad, but it’s here, and in other libraries where he has earned his true degrees. He knows a little something about everything, and of that he’s damn proud.

Lately he’d chosen to finally concrete an opinion regarding Cayce, ESP, and the possibility of people possessing psychic powers. Just about now he wished he had psychic powers. Well, telekinesis anyways. Jokingly, he thought to himself, ‘if I could just concentrate hard enough.’ He stared at his drink long-and-hard, but nothing happened. It did not fill on its own. Nor did it levitate up and into his hand. {Nor did a toad suck the remainder of the liquid down below its eye level.}

This psychic stuff was just not possible. It was far too difficult. An impossible task.

Henry gulped down the remaining watered down scotch, and refilled his glass from the decanter. He was good and warm-faced now. Ice was unnecessary.

He lay the book on his lap. He must focus on his contemplative drinking. In his mind’s eye he tried to fly away, to astral project. He thought just maybe, like Cayce himself, he might just be able to remotely view.

For a time nothing came, then slowly a picture bled in. First he saw the Washington Monument, then Mt. Rushmore, then he was standing before old Honest Abe, and then there was darkness. The trip was over. He realized these were all just places he’d visited as a kid, while on vacation.

‘How does one do it he wondered?’

All that he’d learned about Cayce was quite interesting, but it didn’t really provide you with the roadmap on how to achieve out-of-body successes.

He sat the book on Cayce aside, rose slowly to his feet, and approached his bookshelf. The fire was dying down a little now, but with the spirit-blanket warming him he forewent the log.

Henry’s book collection covered a wide range of subject matter. He knew he had some on astral projection, but was having trouble locating one. After a time, he found several books which contained in-depth research on the matter of astral projection, but he opted instead for a bit lighter reading. He chose a stack of Tomorrows. The psychic journals covered a broad range of subjects both fiction and non-. With a pile of the readers digest sized books he sat back down. He selected the best few and placed the others on the table.

The clock struck six.

‘Jesus, is it morning already. It’ll be daylight soon.’

He normally ignored the clock, but six-am was a real wake-up call. Quickly he read one of the articles on astral projection and thought again of how one might do it.

He looked up again at the grandfather clock. Obviously he hadn’t read as rapidly as he’d thought, it was now 6:39 AM.

‘One last article he told himself, then bed.’

Glancing through the contents he came across a story about a sighting of the Devil and since it was relatively short, it suited.

Apparently the Devil, or some like beast was fond of taking walks on the beach. Or perhaps he’d come out from the ocean. Henry tried hard to envision this happening, but it was extremely difficult. He just found the whole thing laughable.

Just as he was about to put the little Tomorrow book down, thinking–tomorrow, yeah, I’ll read it tomorrow, right now I’m going to hit the hay–a slinky shadow danced across the floor. At first he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. It couldn’t be. Then its slinkily- cast-silhouette-slithered-out-of-the-shadows, and into the firelight.

“SNAKE!” he screamed. Henry drew his feet up tight, and onto the chair. He stared as it cast its shadowy solo performance upon the hardwood. It seemed it didn’t have a care in the world. As if it had danced upon this stage many times before. In fact, it was too comfortable, it had to know he was there. Register his presence. Show some fear. Why this level of fearlessness was downright disrespectful. Henry was the top predator here. He was the bigger beast. And yet, he truly hoped Loretta hadn’t heard his feminine outburst. She’d probably laugh at the size of this thing. But here and now, it was context that mattered. Henry believed most would have become, more than a little alarmed, if they’d been reading about Satan, and lo-and-behold-a-Serpent–truly an unlucky find at the end of the rainbow. The expression on his face, exaggerated by the shadowy fire-light play, drew out long, as if Picasso himself had kindled the flames.  ‘I’d been reading about Satan, thinking about astral projection, attempting remote viewing, and suddenly a snake appears, quite literally out of nothing, having come from nowhere.’

Keeping his eye on the snake, Henry placed his feet upon the floor. Evil, not evil, it was a damned snake in his house (in his library of all places) and now it was going to die.

Henry returned from the mud room with a hoe Loretta used for gardening.

Where is Loretta? Why hasn’t she come down, angry about the noise; the lady-man who’d been yelling?

Henry towered over the snake, his hands held the hoe poised for a strike. Even now the little slivering devil was fearless.

He chopped at it: He missed.

He chopped: He missed again.

The third time found its mark, cleaving the snake in two.

Two live entities squiggled off in different directions. The head, half mad, seeking its exit; the tail, writhing upon the floor in dazed confusion.

The snake head sought shelter in the fire, leaving a bloody serpentine trail as it sluggishly propelled itself toward its death. Sliding out of sight, it sizzled odorously, yet somehow managed to disappear beneath the log cradle-fire grate, sans bursted flame.

Henry could hardly believe what he’d just seen. He tried to make sense of it, but the snake’s tail just kept rolling over and over, again and again; it had nearly induced a trance.

Finally, it did quit squirming. He scooped it up onto the blade of the hoe tossing it into the fire for good measure. The flames caught and it blazed a listless little trail, as if in an last ditched effort to reconnect with its front half. It calmed, came to rest on the log, but oddly did not seem to burn as one might expect. There was smoke roiling about, flames licked angrily from its surface, but it was little consumed by the fire. A concern for later perhaps. For now he wondered about Loretta. Why hadn’t she come down? He hadn’t been being particularly quiet, and she always came down to give him the business when he got uproarious.

As Henry rounded the corner, preparing to mount the stairs, a small-little head poked up above the flame engulfed logs. It stretched its jaw wide, lunged forward, grabbed the tail securely in its mouth, and disappeared beneath the flames.

At the top of the stairs:

“Loretta? Hun are you awake? Boy have I got a story for you,” Henry opened the bedroom door.

Daylight was just bleeding in through the bedroom window. Loretta stirred.

Henry sat down beside her, relayed his serpentine tale.

“You sure are antsy. Are you planning on getting up?” he asked, pulling back the sheet from her head. Six baby snakes popped their heads out of Loretta’s mouth. Her up-turned gown revealed a pale, but lively stomach. Three little heads pushed and stretched at her stomach skin. Between her spread eagle’d thighs lay nine: Nine eeling their way out and into the world.

‘My God, what has the Devil done to my poor wife,’ he thought. Her face forever rigored in surprise.

How many were there? He must kill them all! He counted:

Six

Three

Nine.

Why the hell did that ring a bell?

Six, three, and nine, altogether, eighteen.

What does that matter just kill them.

It matters. There’s something…

They’ll still number the same. Even after they’re dead you bastard! Just kill the fuckers!

6:39, he said, “oh my god…… NO!”

357, whispered Id.

Henry walked absently to the nightstand and retrieved the revolver from the drawer.

The pin struck the primer…

 

FIN

S.C. Denton

S.C. Denton

S.C. Denton resides in Blytheville, Arkansas. Home of That Bookstore In Blytheville (TBIB) S.C. Denton has had a poem Perilous Cycle Unending published in Blood Moon Rising Online Magazine. And has placed in a Micro-Fiction Contest. He has mostly worked as an Electrician on Industrial/Commercial projects, including Power Plants. Most recently worked as an Overhead Crane Operator in a Steel Related industry. In his spare time he enjoys, Gaming, Fishing, Billiards, studying Archaeology, Anthropology, Cosmology, Symbology, as well as developing his own theories related to these fields. His writing would mostly be characterized as Cross-Genre. In addition to his fiction he often writes articles and poetry. And though it may seem a bit contrary when taking into account that he is a Gamer, he spent most of his adult life abstaining from the internet, and didn’t even own a computer until recent years. He wrote in longhand, and typed up MS on his typewriter. Considers both mediums vastly different forms of expression--when working on a first draft--and employs whichever method he feels the story demands.
S.C. Denton

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