's 2018 Horror Write-off:

Rotten Fellers

Submitted by The Bee Keeper

Rotten Fellers

(Warning contains references to domestic violence. This piece doesn't necessarily reflect the author's views on how violent disputes should be settled. Mind, you, this is a work of fiction. Please enjoy my final pasta for 2018.)

"Aye, Aye. Aye... weel did he now? Mm hmm. Aye." I responded to my great friend Mabel automatically. She might as well have been chunnering to 'erself. But I didn't want t'be rude. We had been pals since practically birth, we gels living in a small seaside town, where every one knew each other's names n' titles. Though, as of late her conversations revolved around nothing but this oh so great fiancé of hers. A man which no folks had ever once seen or heard of. And to be 'onest that was probably fur the best. He sounded to me like nothin' more than a lusty blaggard n' slave driver. Poor Mabel got so little slumber with 'im around, worked her t' the brink o' insanity in the sheep barns and fur half the praises she spoke of... there was an equal amount of complaints. But naturally she believed it be the destiny of hers to be with the rotten blighter.

The next Sunday we had our nice high tea, I felt more than a little queasy. It wasn't bad food though. No, it was the purple marks on Mabel's wrists that had deepened and expanded up her dainty arms.

"Ock! How ken yew be livin' with a man like this!!!" I shouted at her. I really didn't mean to shout. I just exploded upon me friend. How could she sing high praises about some wretch that dared lay hand upon her, my dearest friend! She was such an innocent thing, o'course this blighter knew she'd never fight back. The bastard!

Mabel sat back in her chair as if hoping it would swaller 'er up and save her from looking into my wrathful eyes. Then she looked at me with the most placid bewildered expression, "Whatever, d'you mean? He's fair n' loyal. Never would he run out with some Colleen he met at a pub. In fact, he never's set foot inna pub! He's as fine o' catch as I'd ever hope fur!

"I doon't care if he's never had a drop o' spirits since he was a bobbay! I doon't care if he be as rugged as the mountains or handsome as a stallion! I doon't care if he works in the barn from dawn 'til oblivion! I doon't care if he's as fair as a good king in yer eyes! Mabel, what he is, is bad, he be a devil!!! He hurt you, and there be no excuses fur that! Doon't try to be convincing me otherwise! That silver tongued fox may have beguiled you with his words, but oh ho, now do I have some choice words to be speakin' to 'im!!! I roared as I marched out the door.

As I neared the barn, Mabel dashed ahead of me and plastered herself flat against the double doors. "Mabel, I'm doin' this fur yer own gud!" I growled. Mabel glared at me. Even with here lacy vest and flower patterned bonnet, it felt like I was locking eyes with a great spade clawed bear. "Move." I bellowed in one great angry huff. Mabel looked at me with even more fierce determination. I felt the calm hills would soon hear the tussles of two foamy mawed badgers. Or at least that'd be what it sounded like.

I tried to talk her away politely. I waited her out for what must have been a bloody three hours. Clearly, she was getting tired, but still she clung to those doors. Then I felt I had no choice. I head butted her as gently as I could out of the way. She grasped my braided hair and tried to sling me across her knee. I bucked and sent her sprawling into the patch of white clovers. The bees buzzing around in there were none too pleased about this. Mabel ran into the house with bees in hot pursuit. Oh good lord was I feelin' guilty fur that... I wanted to lay down an bawl my eyes outta me skull. But I had no time fur that. There was an important matter to attend to.

I blasted through the barn doors and trudged through the thick layer of straw. Where was this "hard workin' " soon to be husband? Twelve sheep lay in the straw chewing their cud with leisure. A stack of baskets full of raw uncarded wool lay against the back wall. But no man was to be seen.

"Come on out yew coward!!!" I was greeted by no response. Then a smell like several barrels of rotten fish on a warm summer's day hit me in the face like a bloody wood club. I gagged and out came the parsnip n' penny bun pastie I'd eaten earlier that day. I clutched my stomach and walked unsteadily backwards toward the doors.

The sheep stood up in unison. Each ewe had a belly that parted into two tattered flaps of skin and exposed an empty rib cage. Well, empty except for a large soft green rope, like a vulgar sort of umbilical cord that disappeared into the straw bedding. The ewes stared at me and opened their jaws. Putrid green vapor burbled and hissed out like the contents of a beached whale. A smaller green cord slid out of each of their mouths and split apart into five needle pointed fingers that scraped noisily against the lower teeth of the sheep. Some how this scraping and squeaking coalesced into a sort of voice.

MORTAL! I AM JOHNATHAN BROCK FURTHCHERR! THE KING LAMB! the large green cords tethered to the sheep shook themselves out of the straw revealing that each ewe was in fact attached to the rest. At their center was a man that rose up like Dracula out of 'is coffin. The man was rotten green too. Naked was he, with the bundle of jiggly cords attached to his navel. In place of hair he had what looked to be blades of grass and in place of eyes he had what looked for all the world to be sprouting potatoes. Otherwise he was but a naked man.

I am the one who provides for the wee gel! So she obeys, just as she should! And when she doesn't, she gets the punishment she deserves. For I am LORD of these hills! The beast shot its "hands" at me and pulled me up to its ghastly face. The cords squeezed my wrists tightly and the spiny fingers dug into my shoulders. Its breath rolled over me in heavy sheets of stench...

"Weel, I doon't care if'n yew be the bally devil 'imself!"

"No one *cough* harms me best friend!!!"

I broke my arm free from the beast's tethers. Green mucus sprayed everywhere as my fist crashed into the blighter's skull. It crumpled up with surprising ease.

He staggered backwards and then retracted his fingers back into the mouths of the sheep. His face looked now more like the rear end of a hog than the head of a man.

The fingers he had left scraped on the teeth of the ewes. "She wasn't even that pretty a lass, anyhow..."

"I'll have my bags packed by tomorrow. Just leave me be you awful old witch!"

"It be winsome witch as there ever be. Don't ever let me catch yew sayin' otherwise or I'll give that rotten mug yew call a face another make over! Now out with yews!"


Poor Mabel didn't want nothin' t'do with me for seasons. But in time we patched things up.

She got a nice new flock of baby doll sheep and her sister helped her out with tendin' them. Life was a lot more peaceful. And maybe I was "an awful old witch", those days before, but in the end even Mabel agreed that I'd done the right thing.

I just wish she had better luck dating.

I know she fears dying an old maid in the sheep fields, but, well... I've since had to banish two more rotten fellers.