As a class, we recently finished studying Daphne Du Maurier’s “The Birds”, whichincorporates themes such as man’s destructive tendency and fear and isolation. We were required to write a short story emphasising these points, which was a task, as you will see, I approached quite light-heartedly. Enjoy~ (As always, your feedback is most appreciated.)

Deliver Us From Evil

It’s hard to believe the most hideous fiend ever credited to mankind lives amongst us in unsuspecting suburbia.

As I drove up quite the ordinary laneway, it was as if every other living being knew of my unfortunate and unavoidable task, and had deserted, leaving nothing but the accelerating beat of my heart to fill the silence. I rounded the last corner to my left, and was suddenly confronted with a towering chateau bordered with wrought-iron pickets. I swore, ruing the fact I was finally at my destination.

I sat in the car for a long time, just staring. Right on cue, the rain made its grand entrance, not to be outdone by intermittent claps of thunder. All that was needed were a few cawing crows, but crows are much smarter than me: They know not to go anywhere near the Devil’s residence. Such is the Devil’s reputation, it is said to evoke the most primal form of pure terror imaginable.

The Devil has no conscience, no sense of remorse. Any unfortunate creature that dares make its way into the demon’s domain is promptly pulverised underfoot, with a bumbling man-slave the only other sentient being within. For 40 years, this poor soul had been imprisoned by the terrestrial Lucifer, serving his life sentence with no parole.

With a slight break in the downpour, I reluctantly unbuckled myself and shuffled to the boot, hauling out a large cardboard box full of useless paraphernalia anyone in their right mind would have disposed of long ago. It seems, though, the Devil has other ideas, ideas only conceivable in some sick intellect. However, I’m just an unwilling courier, beckoned to deliver and I do as I’m told: I’m not supposed to feel sorry for the junk, no matter what twisted fate it now faces.

The gates creaked and groaned with the rust of eons, warning me of what lied beyond. A long cobblestone driveway wound up to the front door. I felt like running away, but I was already too far into the ordeal. Slowly, I began to walk.

A derelict garden lay either side of the path: the plants had clearly given up long ago, but the defiant grass was at least waist-high. I almost completely missed the white stone statues, what with them having developed an intricate camouflage of lichen and moss.

Before I knew it, I was an arm’s length away from the threshold. It was now or never, and in a fleeting moment of either courage or stupidity, I laid three quick raps upon the ancient wood.

Footsteps echoed from inside, triggering a profuse bout of sweat. They got louder and louder. Then they stopped. Silence.

Without notice, one lock was rapidly unbolted, then a second. The door was whisked open, and I flinched in terror. Slowly, I slitted my fingers, and saw I what I’d dreaded.

I was face-to-face with my Mother-In-Law.