“How are you today, Earl?”

The older man looked up at the slim, pretty blonde woman as he scanned her ticket into the computer.

“Just fine, Emily. How are you?”

“Well, the sun is shining, there’s a nice breeze, and I’m playing hooky from work to watch a baseball game. Could be worse.”

Earl smiled and nodded. “Yes, it could. Enjoy the game.”

“Thanks, Earl. Take care.”

Emily headed towards her seat section with her friend, chatting away about shoes or some such nonsense. Earl studied her behind as it swayed with each step she took. He licked his lips, imagining the delicious things he could do with it.

Once the game was over and all the park employees had cleaned up their workstations and punched out on the time clock, Earl ambled out to the parking lot. He may have been seventy years old but he was still a good driver. He’d restored a red and white 1959 Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz to cherry condition. Not only was it a classic car but it had the most trunk space of any vehicle made at the time.

He pulled the car into his garage and entered the kitchen, shrugging off his park jacket and hanging it on a hook by the side door. He eased off his orthopedic support shoes and pushed his feet into a pair of Uggh slippers. Yes, he was too old for such trendy fashions but they sure were warm and soft for his sore feet.

He filled the teakettle with water and put it on the stove. He picked up his worn woolen sweater, slipping his arms into its familiar comfort. While he waited for the water to heat up, he made his way to the living room and sat in his easy chair.

Earl looked around at the décor. After his beloved wife died ten years ago, he finally got the chance to decorate the house as he wanted. The bookshelf on his right, holding eight jars with severed heads floating in formaldehyde, was dark cherry wood – his favorite. The matching coffee table, covered with the tanned and stretched skins of four different young women, showed a few nicks and scratches but was in otherwise pristine condition.

He reached for the TV remote which sat in a skeletal hand cut from his last victim, a young brunette he’d met at the grocery store. It amazed him how easy it was to fool trusting, naïve young women into thinking he was a harmless old man.

The kettle whistled from the kitchen just as Jeopardy went to a commercial.

“Time for tea,” Earl muttered.

He shuffled back to the kitchen and grabbed a clean mug from the dish rack next to the sink. A box of his favorite cinnamon tea sat open on the counter and he plucked a bag free. He dropped it into the mug and covered it with hot water. As he left it to steep, Earl studied the pictures of Emily he’d hung on the refrigerator: at the ballpark, her work, the mall, and her home.

“There’ll be time enough for you too, my dear,” he whispered.

Copyright: © 2010 Peggy Christie

Peggy Christie has been writing horror fiction since 1999. Her work has appeared in several websites, magazines, and anthologies, including Sinister Tales, Black Ink Horror, Appalling Limericks, and Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes. Her short story, “Why Be Normal?”, opened the anthology Reckless Abandon from Catalyst Press which premiered at the Horrorfind Convention in 2002. Peggy loves survival horror video games and chocolate (not necessarily in that order) and lives in Michigan with her husband, Robert, and their dogs, Roscoe P. Coltrane and Dozer. Check out her website at themonkeyisin.com