Banquet of Souls, 3rd Course, “Banquet of Souls”
Hello, Deadies! Another day, another story excerpt:
What follows is an excerpt from the third story from my new anthology, Banquet of Souls.
Banquet of Souls
“You know what I’m gonna watch tonight?”
Zach spoke it more like a statement than a question, his brown eyes unusually bright.
My head snapped up from the sizzling chicken burgers on the stove, a little startled by the interest and enthusiasm I was hearing, not the usual sullen and bitter teenager attitude.
“What?” I turned back to flip a burger over.
“The exorcism. The one they’re showing on Channel 3.”
“What’s a ex-er-sizzum?” Lily asked, picking up a french fry and cramming it into her messy mouth. After months of intensive table-manner teaching, she was still favoring her little hands over a fork.
“No, you’re not,” I quickly replied—maybe too quickly. Did I sound too dismissive? I had to be wary of discounting Zach’s feelings. It did not take much to trigger his recent adolescent tantrums.
“Why not? It’s gonna be so cool and everybody’s gonna be watching it!” Zach whined.
“Mommy. What’s a ex-er-sizzum?” Lily persisted, glaring at me for an answer.
“It’s a special religious ceremony to cast out a demon. Use your fork.” She reluctantly picked it up clumsily, resentfully, like it was useless. I looked back at my son.
“Come on Zach. We’ve got a three-year old in the house. You watch that and it scares her she won’t sleep a wink for days.”
“Oh come on! I could watch it in the den. I’ll wear headphones.”
“Mommy, what’s a demon?”
I shot a pleading look at Zach.
“See?” nodding toward Lily. “It’s an evil creature from Hell.” A child asking a question expects an answer; sugar-coating was not part of my parenting.
“I don’t even believe in this stuff. But this show is making history. It’s the first time in the United States that an exorcism has been broadcast live!”
“All the more reason.” I took a bite from my chicken burger. “It’s pointless reality television.”
“That makes no sense!”
“I said no.”
“Jesus!” Zach tossed his fork into the center of the table. It clattered against the dish of green beans. Lily jerked back, blinking.
He shoved his chair back and rose. As he passed me he shouted, “If Dad was alive he woulda let me watch it!” A few seconds later I heard his bedroom door slam shut and then his rock music blare.
“What’s Hell, Mommy?”
Sadly, I looked at Lily.
“A very painful place of punishment.”
12 courses of fear and horror! Banquet of Souls is available now at Amazon Books https://goo.gl/Cs427c
Kindle edition $2.99