Toys in Cross: The Parasol

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People should learn to mind their own business.

Evelyn Stone, fifty-two years old and one of the wealthier residents in town, saw a pair of children sitting in the Cross Train Station on a Saturday morning. According to Allen Hitch, the ticket clerk, they had been there since he had arrived at four in the morning.

Mrs. Stone, who viewed herself as the town’s matron, sought about inquiring the names of the children.

They refused to speak with her.

She went so far as to attempt to bribe them with candy to get them to speak their names, and still, the children ignored her. Instead, they conversed with one another in a language she could not comprehend, though the meaning, I was later told, was obvious.

The children thought little of her. Finally, in an effort to have Mrs. Stone leave, the girl turned her back to the matron of Cross and focused solely on her traveling companion.

This last act was too much for Mrs. Stone, and, rather than going to fetch the police or simply leave the children alone, she took hold of the girl’s parasol and yanked it from her grasp.

It was, Allen told me later on, nothing more than a child’s toy. A miniature of what might be carried by a full-grown woman.

Yet as soon as it was out of the girl’s hand, Mrs. Stone screamed and collapsed to the floor. The parasol pinned her own hand to the floor, and she was unable to free herself from it, despite how hard she tried. A moment later, the parasol sprang open, and water rushed from it. Allen raced to help her, but with a flick of the wrist, the boy threw Allen out onto the platform.

It was then that I entered the station, hoping to catch the morning train into Boston. Water streamed over my boots, and when I walked in, I saw it gushing from the parasol. I was able to make my way to the parasol, closing it and lifting it from the floor. As the water slowly drained from the station, I looked down at the bedraggled, drowned corpse of Mrs. Stone.

I learned of the children afterward, and while I waited for them to return for the parasol, they never did.

It is in a corner by my writing desk, and occasionally, much to my annoyance, it leaks.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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