Sweetums was leaning against her mother for warmth again. The large cardboard box was a step up from the underpass – offering much more privacy. It was the biggest box Sweetums had ever seen, and it even had a picture of a refrigerator on the side that wasn’t covered by the tarp.
The nice thing about the box, was that it was heated – or at least a couple of times a day. Half of it sat, wrapped in a brown tarp, over a large grate in the back-alley that hot steam would come up from. Everything around the vent would get wet, and then freeze when the steam stopped, but the tarp kept the box and everything inside dry.
Not that Sweetums or her mother had all that much in the box. There was a lot of crunched up newspaper covering the floor, which Sweetums liked to pretend was the bedding of a giant hamster cage. Since she couldn’t have a pet hamster, she could at least pretend to be one. Then there were a few blankets, some clothes that Sweetums’ mother had gotten from a donation bin, and the garbage bags Sweetums’ mother kept “off limits.” Those had her mother’s needles in them and the giant rubber band she had Sweetums put around her arm when she had to take her medicine.
Sweetums didn’t like it when her mother took her medicine. It made her mother sleep too much, which Sweetums found boring. What Sweetums didn’t find boring, was the new cell phone her mother had found, which the two of them were using to look at pictures of men on a dating website called NayborHoodHookups.biz.
“What about this one Sweetums?” her mother asked.
“Eew! Too old!”
“Yeah, you’re right. Next.”
Another profile was swiped onto the screen.
“Oh no, definitely a broke-ass! Probably homeless like us.”
“Aw, but he’s cute,” Sweetums protested.
“Cute enough, but we’re looking for a man to get us up out of this box child. And he can’t do that if he needs to move in with us first.”
Her mother continued swiping profiles, then gasped suddenly and turned the phone so Sweetums could see. “Ooh, look at this one!”
Sweetums looked and saw a handsome-looking man sitting in a yellow convertible car. He looked nice. He looked rich. Sweetums smiled and gave a thumbs up.
“SugarDaddio6969,” Sweetums’ mother read; “Likes long walks in the park, puppies, donating to charity, and slumming with the hoes! Oh baby, he sounds perfect! Should I?”
Sweetums nodded her approval and her mother clicked on the screen a few more times, before squealing in excitement – “He wants to meet tonight! Here! He wants to meet here!”
Sweetums beamed with happiness for her mother, but her mother suddenly looked troubled.
“Sweetums baby,” her mother began, “we can’t let SugarDaddio meet you just yet. We need to take this slow and not scare him away.”
“I won’t scare him away, I promise!” Sweetums replied.
“I know baby, but sometimes men don’t want children around. I know I can get him to like you baby, but we have to ease him into it slowly. You know what I mean right?”
Sweetums shrugged her shoulders, clearly having not a clue.
“Ah, don’t worry about it! He’ll love you, but you’ll have to hide for our first date. If it goes well, we can introduce you on the second.”
An hour then passed, as Sweetums’ mother gussied herself up. When the sound of a car was heard, slowly turning into the back-alley, Sweetums’ mother directed Sweetums out.
“Go hide in the dumpster baby! I’ll come get you after our date!”
Sweetums left the box and scampered over to the nearby dumpster. It smelled gross in there, but she had always wanted to see what it was like inside; so she climbed up and jumped in the top. Landing on some large black trash bags, she was disgusted to find them oozing their greasy contents all over her.
“Gross!” she gagged, shoving the offending bags away. In spite of her revulsion to those particular bags, Sweetums was hungry enough to root through others in hopes of finding something to eat. There didn’t seem to be any leftovers in this dumpster however, just a whole lot of wet plastic, black grease, old roofing shingles, and some fiberglass insulation.
Sweetums continued exploring the dumpster, wondering if the good stuff was at the bottom, and whether she could dig down to it or not – when she heard a sudden scream!
It was her mother! Shrieking in terror! “NO! DON’T! PLEASE!”
Sweetums was shocked! What was going on? What was happening to her mother?!?
Something then slammed against the outside of the dumpster and Sweetums could hear her mother scream one last time, before making an incoherent gurgling sound. Petrified with fear, Sweetums held her breath, not making a sound, lest whatever was out there hurting her mother come for her too.
“This is the best part, hey hey hey!” a man’s voice was heard nearby, followed by a wet slicing sound. “There you go darling, be free! One less homeless crack-whore to burden society! Really appreciate you sucking my dick before you went though, hey hey hey!”
Sweetums felt like she was about to have a heart attack, when the lid to the dumpster lifted up abruptly, and something was tossed in. It was he mothers head.
Sweetums couldn’t process what it meant.
Her mother’s bloody body then came crashing down on top of her, and the dumpster lid closed after.
The body was still warm. Sweetums curled into a ball beneath it and began to cry, as the sound of a car could be heard leaving the alley.
The man had killed her mommy! The man Sweetums had helped her mommy choose from the dating app!
Sweetums didn’t move for a long time. She didn’t want the man to come back and find her. She didn’t want to leave the comfort of her mother’s warmth – though that left on its own after a while.
It was early in the morning, when a loud noise and movement awoke Sweetums. A garbage truck was making its rounds and was lifting the dumpster to tip it into the top of the truck!
Sweetums banged on the inside of the dumpster and yelled for the garbage truck to stop, but couldn’t be heard over the noise of the engine lifting the heavy load. A moment later and Sweetums tumbled out of the dumpster and into the top of the garbage truck – followed by her mother’s body – and a couple thousand pounds of industrial waste.
The landing atop the refuse in the truck wasn’t that bad, but the rest falling down over her, flattened Sweetums and forced all the air from her lungs. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the compactor engaged, and a suffocating, immobilized, and completely helpless little girl was slowly crushed to death in the dark belly of that garbage truck.
Something unexpected happened however, and Sweetums stumbled out from under the truck. She wasn’t sure how she had gotten beneath the vehicle, but was glad that she was no longer being crushed or suffocating in the darkness.
The garbage truck meanwhile, lowered the dumpster back into place, and pulled away toward the next set of dumpsters, a little further down the alleyway.
“Hey! My mother is in there!” Sweetums yelled, realizing the truck was going to drive away with her. Running after, she caught up to the truck as it began lifting another container.
“Hey! Stop!” My mother is in there!”
The man in the truck wasn’t listening, so Sweetums jumped up onto the running board to bang at the door – only she couldn’t feel the door! Her little fists were passing right through it, as if the door wasn’t even there!
“Wha… What’s going on?!?” Sweetums asked herself in alarm – “Am I a ghost? Am I dead?!?”
The truck finished its work and drove off, leaving a very bewildered girl floating there in the air.
Sweetums had wandered aimlessly for days following the incident in the dumpster. She was confused, lonely, and missed her mother – not having anywhere to go.
If she was a ghost, then she must have died. Why didn’t she go to heaven like her mother? Was she bad? She had no answers for that, but did feel as though she was supposed to be doing something. She had no idea what that could be however, so maybe she really was bad.
At least she was no longer hungry.
At some point, a group of children caught Sweetums’ eye. They were playing on the other side of a chain-link fence. These were the young wards of the city orphanage. Sweetums walked through the fence and hung out around the children, watching them play their games. It felt nice to be around other children, even if they couldn’t see her. Not that it was any different when Sweetums was alive. Nobody ever paid attention to the poor homeless kid or wanted to play with her. In fact, this was actually better; at least now, they weren’t chasing Sweetums away from their games or throwing rocks at her.
When it was time for the children to go in, Sweetums followed. She watched them march to a cafeteria and all sit down to eat dinner. It was the most disgusting slop Sweetgums had ever seen! Even the stuff in the dumpster out behind the Waffle House looked more appetizing that the sorry gruel they were feeding these kids.
‘How could these kids even choke that stuff down?’ Sweetums wondered. It was probably a good thing she had died. If she had ended up here in the orphanage, the food would probably have killed her sooner or later!
After diner, the children were all sent to bed. Sweetums didn’t sleep, so she roamed the halls, exploring the orphanage. Down in the basement, she found a strange door, hidden behind the boilers. The door had an old padlock on it and looked as if it hadn’t been opened in a very long time. As Sweetums had already found out, locked doors, fences, and even walls, were no match for her ghosting powers – so she went right into the chamber beyond the door.
It was a strange room, with an old hospital bed in one corner that had leather straps and buckles on it – for holding someone down by the arms and legs. The spring-coil mattress was very thin and encased in a light blue vinyl coating that was cracked and peeling in spots. A large number of dark stains spattered the top of the mattress, which had no sheet or covers of any kind.
The only other thing in the room, was a metal cart on rotting rubber wheels, which had a battered and moldering Bible resting upon it.
‘What is this place?’ Sweetums questioned, walking over to the bed and bending down to look under it. Something under the bed caught her eye – an old number two pencil. Something about the pencil pulled at Sweetums, and she instinctively reached under to retrieve it.
It was only after she had done so, that she realized she was now holding the pencil. But how? She was a ghost and couldn’t touch physical objects. Was it a ghost pencil?
“GET YOUR DAMN MITS OFF MY PENCIL BITCH!!!” someone behind Sweetums screamed.
Sweetums startled and dropped the pencil back to the floor, turning around just in time to see a boy, about her age, throwing a fist right into her face!
The punch knocked Sweetums down and made her begin to cry. “Hey! Why did you do that?” she wailed, holding a sore nose.
“NOBODY TOUCHES MY PENCIL; NOBODY!” the boy yelled angrily, his hands still balled up into fists.
“Okay okay! I won’t touch it!” Sweetums surrendered.
Something about the boy frightened Sweetums; and she realized what it was, once she had a better look at him. He was practically see-through, like a real ghost, and had dark disturbed eyes that held deep deep madness. He was dangerous, and Sweetums could sense that immediately. She needed to get away from him and his stupid pencil!
“Well done boy…” a deep dark voice breathed from the walls of the room. Sweetums felt a sudden wave of panic wash over her. The voice was not human!
“Can I have her? Can I play with her?” the boy asked the disembodied voice.
Sweetums did not like the way the boy emphasized the word ‘play.’
“Perhaps,” the voice replied, “but she has unfinished business that must be attended to first.”
The boy frowned, slumped his head, and slowly vanished away.
Sweetums did not hesitate, and ran for the door to pass through it, back into the basement. As she went, she heard the voice speaking to her – “You are trapped in this world girl, until vengeance is paid. You must avenge your mother to move on. Kill the man who killed your mother! Kill him! Kill him! Kill him! Ha ha ha haaaaa!!!”
Sweetums ran from the voice and didn’t stop, until she was not only out of the basement, but out of the orphanage entirely, and about two or three blocks down the street from it!
Whatever that thing was down in the basement, it was scary, and it seemed to control the boy. Sweetums hoped something like that didn’t come to control her. What had it said though? She was trapped in this world? Is that why she was a ghost? She had to avenge her mother in order to go to heaven?
As she thought about it, it suddenly made sense. Of course! It was not fair that the man had killed her mother and got to go on living. She had to find him and make him pay! But how? She was a ghost. How was she supposed to do anything to him?!?
While Sweetums had no idea about any of that, she knew she could never do anything at all, unless she found the man first.
‘The cell phone!’ They had used the dating app to meet the man in the first place! Maybe he was still using it; maybe that was how Sweetums could find him.
Armed with a new purpose, Sweetums ran down the streets, searching for a particular back-alley. A few days later, she found it – her old home, the giant cardboard box over the steam vent!
Going inside, she was saddened to see her mother’s things still there. It was a cold reminder of everything they had lost, even when they had so little to actually lose. Looking around, she found the cell phone, but she couldn’t pick it up or move it in anyway of course – and it was quite dead. ‘Why couldn’t it be a ghost phone, like that kid’s pencil?’ Sweetums lamented.
After wallowing in loneliness and sorrow for a while, Sweetums left her home and began wandering aimlessly again. At length, her travels took her past a library.
‘Hey, don’t they have computers in libraries?’ Sweetums thought, turning to go inside for a look.
Sure enough, there was a row of computers for patrons to use inside the library. Sweetums went over to see what people were looking at. Surely, if she waited long enough, someone would look at that dating app.
“Ewww! Gross!” Sweetums gagged, happening upon some college student surfing porn with a hand down his pants. The rest of the patrons were no better; looking at boring stuff, checking emails, or playing games. It looked like this, if it had any chance of working, was going to take a while.
And truly, Sweetums haunted the library for weeks, before something finally happened to put her back on the path of her holy crusade…
An old undocumented migrant woman came into the library one day and sat at a computer to start surfing; mumbling something about “old widows, anchor babies, and green-cards.”
Sweetums didn’t have much hope by this point, but went over to see what the old woman was looking at. She just about feinted, when she saw the NayborHoodHookups.biz website!
Over the next few minutes, the old woman set up a profile for herself, and then began swiping through the men’s profiles. Sweetums’ excitement grew with each swipe, knowing it was just a matter of time, before SugarDaddio6969 would show up.
Then it happened! The woman brought up the profile, barely glanced at it, and kept on swiping!
“No! Go back!” Sweetums cried, grabbing at the mouse without thinking. Of course, being a ghost, Sweetums couldn’t actually touch the mouse or move it, so she was genuinely surprised when the mouse moved like she had wanted, and clicked back to the profile of SugarDaddio6969.
Looking down, Sweetums saw that her hand was inside the old woman’s hand – as if she was wearing a glove. Sweetums moved her own hand and the woman’s appendage followed suit!
The old undocumented migrant woman meanwhile, was on the verge of freaking out – watching her hand do its own thing without her input. She shoved herself back away from the computer desk and was about to stand up to leave.
Realizing it would be hopeless if that happened, Sweetums threw herself on the old woman to try keeping her in the chair – accidently slipping into the woman’s body and inadvertently possessing her.
“I’m inside?” Sweetums whispered to herself at first, then clapped her hands and shouted, “I’M INSIDE!”
A harsh “SHUSH!” from the librarian, and some weird looks from the other patrons, got Sweetums to contain her excitement and slink back down into the chair. Focusing on the computer, she then figured out how to arrange a date with SugarDaddio6969, using the old woman’s profile address as the meeting point.
SugarDaddio6969 would be going there, and Sweetums, in the body of the old undocumented migrant woman, would meet him, and stick him with a knife. Just like he did to her mother. It was perfect!
Once everything was arranged, Sweetums looked up the address on a Map-Jew and saw that it was not far from the library. She got up and began walking over there.
While happy to have a physical body once again, Sweetums did not like how this one felt. It ached all over, was covered in wrinkles, and smelled funny. Even so, it would all be worth it, to avenge her mother’s death!
Eventually arriving at the old woman’s apartment on the top floor of a rent controlled high-rise, Sweetums dug the key out of the purse the woman carried and went inside.
“Ugh! Nasty!” Sweetums gasped in the old woman’s voice. The place was filled with cats and piles and piles of their shit! It was almost more than Sweetums could take, and she went over to the sliding glass door to open it, allowing some fresh air in. A horde of cats followed around her ankles, making her wonder how the old woman didn’t fall and break a hip over them.
SugarDaddio6969 would be there in an hour, so Sweetums made a quick trip to the kitchen and grabbed the biggest chef knife she could find. She then sat down on the couch, facing the door. When SugarDaddio6969 arrived, she would tell him to come in, then lunge at him without warning!
The minutes dragged by slowly, and Sweetums was beginning to feel stiff, having sat there the whole time covered in cats. Then there was a light knock on the door! This was it!
“Come in!” Sweetums replied to the knock, tensing what shriveled muscles the old woman had left, in anticipation of her ambush. The door opened and sure enough, it was SugarDaddio6969!
Not wasting a moment, Sweetums lunged at her mother’s killer – promptly tripping over half a dozen cats, falling to the floor, and breaking a hip!
Seeing the old woman flailing helplessly around on the ground in pain with a large knife in her hand, SugarDaddio6969 grinned wide and quipped, “who says opposites attract? It looks like we both had the same idea hey, hey, hey!”
Kicking the chef knife out of the old woman’s hand, he then drew a wicked-looking bowie knife of his own, and grabbed the old woman by the hair, lifting her head back so he could more easily draw the blade across her throat. He hesitated however, asking, “I don’t suppose you would be willing to give me some head, before I take yours, would you?”
‘Eee! He’s going to cut my head off!’ Sweetums realized, not getting the double meaning, or wanting to know what getting one’s head cut off felt like. She got up and fled away from the man, leaving the old undocumented migrant woman’s body in the process.
“Oh gads! My hip!” the old woman cried suddenly, then went wide-eyed, as she became aware of her unfortunate predicament.
“So that’s a yes then?” SugarDaddio6969 asked, unzipping his fly.
As this was going on, Sweetums suddenly had an epiphany – she didn’t need to possess the old migrant woman to get SugarDaddio6969 – she was a ghost – she could just as easily possess him!
So she did.
Flying into the knife wielding pervert, whose wiener was now hanging in the old woman’s face, Sweetums took over and made him drop the knife. She then thought about having him put his junk back into his pants, but ew! She didn’t want to touch the gross thing!
So she then went out through the sliding glass door, onto the balcony, and right over the railing.
“Wheee! Hah hah!” Sweetums laughed, as she fell sixteen stories to the hard concrete below. There was a jarring splat, and Sweetums was abruptly ejected from SugarDaddio6969’s ruptured body.
She felt fine though, and got up, feeling like she has just finished what she was supposed to have done this whole time.
Unfortunately, SugarDaddio6969 also got up from his wrecked body. He was a ghost now too! Uh, oh! Did this mean he could touch her now, like the ghost boy could?!?
“Girl, I don’t know who you are, but you have messed with the wrong man! I’m going to enjoy getting off on that pretty little body of yours, hey hey hey!”
Sweetums felt a terror take hold of her and she was paralyzed in dread! “You… You killed my mommy!” was all she could say.
“Is that so?” SugarDaddio6969 asked, still stalking lustfully towards Sweetums.
“Yes, I suppose it is,” another voice answered, a voice like Cuban cigars and rich Corinthian leather.
SugarDaddio6969 and Sweetums both turned to see a very tall, very slender, figure towering over them, cloaked in cloying black smoke that seemed to form itself into flowing robes and a hood – initially obscuring the figure’s face. His forearms and hands however, not so much –as they were the cracked gray bones of an ancient skeleton! Then the darkness in the hood withdrew, just enough to expose the hollow sockets of a skull recessed within. Pinpoints of red light flared to life in those sockets.
“Who the hell are you supposed to be?” SugarDaddio6969 sneered; “Skeletor?”
“Why do you ask? Do you want me to fuck you up the ass with my Havoc Staff or something?”
“Well that’s rude!”
“I suggest you develop a thicker skin mortal. Rudeness is the least of your worries now.”
“What do you mean by ‘mortal’?”
“I’m the Grim Reaper, you degenerate retard.”
“Wha…what? No! Don’t take me yet! What about all the souls I have been sending to you?”
“Hardly the most choice of souls I’m afraid; a blind beggar woman and a homeless crack-whore. Not to mention you couldn’t even finish that undocumented cat lady with a broken hip. Not very impressive. Not in the least. Why, it barely even qualifies as ‘serial’ killing. I’ve seen better work from drunk rednecks whose last words were, “here, hold my beer…”
SugarDaddio6969 turned red in the face with indignant rage. “How… How dare you insult me like that! You think you’re better than me? I come here devoted to the profession and you just dismiss me like that? Like I don’t even matter?”
“Trust me, you don’t.”
“Well guess what, fuck you! I demand to see your boss!”
“It’s just me, sorry.”
SugarDaddio6969’s rage quickly went from indignant to impotent. “You should be fired for being so mean! I will make you pay dearly! I will make your life a living hell! You have not heard the last of me! I am going to form a secret alliance with all the other disregarded serial killers in here, and we’re going to *URK”
The death-scryth had come out from under the Reaper’s robes so fast that Sweetums wasn’t even sure that she had seen it at all. One moment, the dead newb was ranting on about admin abuse or some such nonsense, and the next, his head popped off his neck and both it and the body were unceremoniously absorbed into the darkness enveloping the Reaper’s robes.
Sweetums was completely awed by the Grim Reaper’s gravitas, but didn’t feel like she had to fear him. Respect, yes; Fear, no. “What about me?” she asked.
“You can't come with me kid.”
“What should I do then? Why didn't I go to heaven like my mommy?”
“Heaven you say? Oh my, how innocent. Tsk tsk.”
Sweetums’ lower lip quivered and she began to cry.
“Sigh... Come on, follow me.”
The Grim Reaper flowed silently across the ground with supernatural grace. “No, I’m not on roller skates,” he said, preempting the question Sweetums was about to ask.
Leading the girl down the street, the Grim Reaper stopped in front of a large church.
“Now go inside and pray to the cross or something. I don't know, you'll be fine.”
“Okay, thanks Mister,” Sweetums said, hugging the tall slender figure around the knees. “You really are nice.”
“Of course I'm nice! Why wouldn't I be nice? I'm only not nice to annoying little fucktards that don't know their place. Tata.”
The Grim Reaper then disappeared in a puff of rolling smoke. Somehow Sweetums knew it was the last time she would ever see him.
With her mother avenged, and all things made right, Sweetums pushed the door to the church open and entered the chapel. Finally, she was going to go home to be with her mother once again.
My vote goes to this story.
There weren’t any art, nor were there any animation.
There's that pumpkin at the start, which counts as art. I also created... something.
Whoever sees this pumpkin is obligated to read the story above!
Edit: Here's an imgur link in case the image method I'm trying out doesn't work.
The blood probably belongs to the two reunited ghosts in the background, making their way to heaven.
I'm definitely nowhere near MHD's level but wow, that's a high compliment!
The story was good, and I liked it, though, like Lux, I found the description about the box, the tarp, and the vent confusing.
The only ‘bad’ thing here is the lack of comments this story is getting. It’s great, honestly. I’m not being too productive right now so I might as well praise this brilliant work of art (and I don’t just mean the picture at the top haha).
I like the corruption arc of the innocent main character, who starts off as a naive young girl. This character trait remains consistent throughout the entire story, which makes for an interesting read. The mother seems like her character foil, focusing on more materialistic things while Sweetums is sort of idealistic (which makes sense since her motivation of ‘revenge’ is based on the notion of righteousness).
Although it’s a retelling, it encompasses a rich and vivid world with a multidimensional main character and an intriguing plot. There’s just enough that it resembles the source material too. As I stated in a previous comment, my vote would definitely go to this story if it were in the duel; from the well-written characters and their unique dialogue styles to the comedic theme throughout, it keeps me reading from the very start (and I don’t usually do much when I’m at this stage of tiredness, much less get inspired to write text walls).
I laughed at the thought of a little child fearing that she’ll somehow scare away a man, who later turned out to be a serial killer. But then she did much more than just scare him; she ended his life in the end. Immaculate foreshadowing there. This story balances out the more emotional parts with lighthearted comedic lines very well.
The third person limited pov really works well for the story, since it allows the readers to feel Sweetums’ confusion and slowly familiarize themselves with this new, ghostly side of the world. During the orphanage part, the story takes a slightly darker turn, keeping with the dark undertones of the story it’s based on. Not everything that happens is explained, yet that is believable since the perspective is that of a young girl.
In keeping with Sweetums’ naivety, she charged into the library with an oversimplified plan that somehow, after the accidental possession, managed to actually work. Her taking control of the old lady is certainly a funny scene to visualize. This is followed by an even more hilarious scene (and I had to turn off my webcam in order to laugh it out). The anticipation, followed by the subsequent fall with a knife still in hand, was vivid in my mind. Then there was the shocked lady who suddenly regained consciousness and realized what a strange situation she was in. Lastly came the epiphany, which led to the satisfying death of the serial killer.
The Grim Reaper’s insults and the killer’s reaction reminds me of all the noob executions I’ve had the privilege to watch. After all, nothing makes an all-powerful mod more apologetic than the threat that the site would be denied awfully-written games if a noob is continued to be bullied, right? (that’s sarcasm, if any passing noobs can’t tell).
As I’ve grown attached to the main character, I’m glad that this story strayed away from the tragic ending in the other one. Overall, this story is amazing; more people should definitely read it!
This was a pretty good read by itself, but, compared to the "original" it's like comparing a lump of coal to a diamond. I think the biggest difference to me was just sheer ease and clarity of reading. It took the original and just made it a nice, cohesive, and entertaining story. The few flaws I see mainly have to do with the random details that had to be taken from the prior story in order to maintain the different aspects of Fem's story. Like the pencil, which was barely explained in any degree in the original, was still used in this one, but ultimately didn't lead to much except the knowledge of the existence of ghostly objects. Overall really enjoyable.
Also, love that End says "Tata." For whatever reason I find that funny.