Friday, 22 August 2014

Dark Fiction - Slackjaw

Slackjaw

By Casey Douglass

as part of #fridayflash


His jaw really is slack, that’s why we call him Slackjaw. He’s not a person, not really, he’s more a nightmare given form. His jaw hangs down so low that it dangles like a dewdrop enveloped in taut skin, his chin half way down his chest. The rest of the head looks human enough, but old, really old, and the skin is mottled and red. Oh and his eyes are grey, vacant and dull, as if his mind fled such a vessel many moons ago.
Nobody can remember when we first started seeing him. Early sightings were confused and vague and spoke of him flickering and fading from view. People took more of an interest when the murders started though, each body found with its mouth hung low, signs of force on the cheeks making it appear that it was wrenched down by great violence.
What was a strange and almost pitiful creature became the devil over night, the manner of his appearances making it plain that there was no way to keep him out, no barricade or lock, no hidey hole or strongroom.
He worked his way through the town, the newly dead found almost every day. Then it was my turn.
I was struggling to eat my breakfast one morning, a softball to the chin having broken my jaw a week previous. Curved prongs of metal wired it shut so that the bones could set. It wasn’t conducive to eating cereal though.
I remember pushing the bowl away, pain flaring across my face. A movement at the window caught my eye and there he was, Slackjaw come for me. I tried to shout but all that escaped my dental prison was a shrieking mumbling noise like a cat caught in a lawnmower.
He pressed his face to the glass and seemed to push into it without breaking it, his teeth somehow clacking as they passed through.
I was on my feet now, my back planted firmly to the opposite wall.
He seemed to sniff the air, looking left and right and then back at me. He snorted, saliva bubbling from somewhere deep inside him and erupting like a frothy white volcano from the folds of his cheeks.
I closed my eyes and trembled. I waited. I waited for what felt like a long time but in reality I am sure it could only have been seconds. I waited and nothing happened.
When I opened my eyes again, I found myself alone, the sounds of the world outside of the house seeming normal, comforting. I ran to my neighbours and collapsed on their doorstep after I rang the bell.
We never did catch Slackjaw. I’m not sure he is even catchable. My story soon spread and people came up with a solution. Everyone in town, all four and a bit thousand of us now have our jaws wired shut, have had them that way for the last year. It was reckoned that he saw my metal contraption and figured I was too much bother to take on. It worked, we haven’t seen Slackjaw since.
I sometimes don’t know what’s worse though, the threat of him coming back one day, or a town without a voice.

THE END

16 comments:

  1. love the battle of slack versus metal jaw

    One of my favourite songs is called "Slackjaw"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdN8RGLxjAI

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    1. That's a great song. I've never heard of Cop Shoot Cop before but I think I will have to have a closer look :).

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  2. I was a tad bit scared lol and I love how you said - his teeth somehow clacking as they passed through.

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    1. Thanks Nadine, I thought it might be nice and sinister lol.

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  3. Really creepy, with a great conclusion.

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  4. Oooh how will they manage to call for help if something worse comes along?!

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    1. They will probably have to use fire like in the LOTR, one on each hilltop lol.

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  5. That's one way to deal with a monster!

    Might end up being a thinner town in the end, too.

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    1. Yes that's true. It's also a golden age for the dentist.

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  6. Ah... I think he was just looking for kindred spirits, so he didn't feel so alone in his deformity.

    I guess the sale of soup has rocketed in the local shops since the peoples' jaws have been wired up? :)

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    1. Milkshake is seeing a resurgence too lol.

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  7. I loved the tension that you built in this and adored that the wired together jaw beat him!

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  8. Interesting way to beat a monster. For some reason it makes me think of the song Do Virgins Taste Better ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IF3sMzQiiE ). As the song goes, we know dragons love virgins. So if we take away the virgins we won't have a problem with dragons anymore.

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  9. Part 2: some newcomers arrive in town...

    This was completely classic in a Twilight Zone kind of way. I would love to read this re-told from the point of view of the local dentist.

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