"Unearthing the Truth"
by Andie Bottrell
Mrs. Leary was a tender old bat, feeble with limbs like bird legs. The way she walked was bird-like, too; her head sort of jutting forward and back with each tiny shuffle of a step. She wore a blue and yellow patterned dress, very worn but also clean. Her hair, grey, black and wispy, circled the top of her weathered head like a crown.
"I once saw," she stopped to catch her breath before continuing on, "two children- ah!" She screamed in delight, grabbing onto little Joey, 9, and Tabitha, 8, both tanned little beings with golden locks and eyes as wide as days, "Two children," she continued, "male and female, at sunset, right here..." she paused again to drag the children into the abandoned building next to her cabin. They entered the building, which, being as it was, in its current state, was not altogether unlike being outside of the building; grass and weeds and trees and animals all inhabited themselves within the half broken walls and sunken in floors. Some trees even threatened to reach the sky through holes they'd conquered in the ceiling. There was an entire wall filled of strange and empty drawers, some open, some half, some missing and one that was entirely closed.
The children gasped in fright. Mrs. Leary laughed and pulled them in closer to her. "These two children, the male and female, at sunset, were right here," she said, elongating the "here" for emphasis as she pounded her tiny foot on the ground, "making love!" She laughed again, almost howling. Joey and Tabitha, uneasy, laughed with her, though they did not understand the joke- if it was in fact a joke.
For years the two had been coming out to play in the woods behind their cousin's house, but never before had they encountered Mrs. Leary or this strange abandoned place with all the drawers. They felt frightened of all the unknowns, but at the same time, Mrs. Leary reminded them of their Grandma Janet-Anne who was always giving them candy and hugs and kisses so they felt a little reassured in her presence.
"So, do you know what I did?" asked Mrs. Leary.
"What?" Joey asked back.
"I ate them!" she exclaimed, laughing.
Tabitha screamed, instinctually covering her mouth in horror. Joey's eyes widened even as he smacked his sister and told her to, "Shut up!" and that, "She's just teasing us, dimwit." At that, Mrs Leary became very quiet and crept down so close to Joey's face that he could smell her aging, dying flesh. "I wouldn't joke about something as tasty as children, my boy." Just then, as if on cue, the lone closed drawer sprang open revealing two half-eaten children. Joey and Tabitha screamed and bolted into the woods.