Mrs. Blumer's Dustbins


Ee Pin Pang

Mrs. Blumer's dustbins had been emptied again. Not just the large one underneath the kitchen sink, but all seven of them. The four small dustbins in both bedrooms and bathrooms, the metal one in the study and even the recycle bin. They had all been emptied once again.

Of course, that was not at all frightening in itself. Emptying dustbins was simply another chore to be done, like the idle sport of dishwashing. But what really disturbed Mrs. Blumer was the fact that she was not the one who had done it! She took care of the garbage every Thursday night -- removing the liners and sealing them with twist-ties, piling them all together and depositing them on the sidewalk. She had been doing that every week without fail, being well aware that the consequences of failure would be awfully smelly.

But two weeks ago, all the dustbins had been empty ... on a Tuesday.

It must be explained that Mrs. Blumer was not one for easy hysterics. A stern teacher of English at Beallyoucanbe Elementary (pronounced beal-lyouc-anbe -- a Welsh name, she suspected), she was known to her students and colleagues for being unflappable and for having very little patience for outlandish behavior -- 'outlandish behavior' being anything that deviated from established routine. She herself never strayed from a routine once it had been tested and found to be effective.

So when she first discovered the empty dustbins on a Tuesday morning, she didn’t immediately run out of the house screaming ‘Ghost! Ghost!’ as her mother -- a very flappable woman -- might have done. Rather, she frowned a little at the missing rubbish and checked the sidewalk to see if the seven plastic sacks were there. They were not.

She then quietly sat down and with a blue pen, drew up a list of rational explanations for such an occurrence. Twenty minutes later, she had narrowed the list to ‘mistaken rubbish day’, ‘perhaps it’s my imagination’ and ‘a very large rat’. The first two were trivial; the third item Mr. Blumer could investigate later, if more problems occurred. She went off to school and thought no more of it.

However, the second time it happened, Mrs. Blumer decided that she would not have bundled up the trash on the wrong day two weeks in a row. Even if she had done so, she would not have forgotten about it. And surely ‘a very large rat’ would not have been so -- tidy.

Something was wrong and frowning at the seven empty dustbins would not make it any better. So as any happily married lady of forty-six years (not exactly her real age) would do, she consulted her husband.

"Well, the rubbish is gone, isn’t it?" said the very practical Mr. Blumer. "All the better! I don’t have to take it out then! Saves me the trouble!"

It should be noted that Mr. Blumer received many an icy stare after that and regretted making that practical (as he still believed) remark for quite a bit.

Having received her husband’s sage (but unhelpful) response, Mrs. Blumer sat down once more with her blue pen and proceeded to list more explanations for such an unusual phenomenon. However, her normally quick mind failed to produce a logical explanation. At an impasse, and with much more productive ways to spend her time, she decided to stop thinking about it for a while.

Until now that was. As she stared at the confounding vacant rubbish storage facility, Mrs. Blumer decided that really, enough was enough. Her routine had been disrupted too much by this issue. She wasn’t eating well, her students thought her a little less stern that week and honestly, she had been having dreams about carnivorous dustbins eager for a quick bite of forty-eight year-old (still not her real age) flesh. Something had to be done. Her garbage had to be thrown out on Thursdays, not Tuesdays! And that was assuming that it was, indeed, being thrown out, and not handled in some fashion that deviated even more from routine.

So the deep-thinking Mrs. Blumer devised a plan. It took her less than five minutes to patch it together and while simple in nature, the plan still required warm clothes, a blanket, and many, many cups of coffee. She was going to watch the kitchen dustbin the night before, and wait patiently for the rubbish-disappearing phenomenon to occur. This way, she would finally discover the cause behind her current distress, and perhaps even put a stop to it.

On that cold Monday night, dressed in her warmest purple pajamas and wrapped in a similarly-colored blanket, Mrs. Blumer sat ready by her kitchen table. There was a full pot of coffee on the table and a rose-patterned teacup right next to it. On her lap was a book she had been reading -- The Trials and Tribulations of Teaching English to Children Who Just Won’t Listen. This was the night, she thought, excited yet slightly annoyed at the pains needed to protect her smelly property.

She had asked her husband to accompany her, emphasizing that married couples should strive to do things together. Being the practical person his father had raised him to be, Mr. Blumer had simply laughed. He had even gone to bed early, saying that standing guard over rubbish was just that -- rubbish!

There Mrs. Blumer waited, vigilantly sipping her coffee and reading her book through the night. Midnight passed, then the various hours after it. Yet nothing happened. No loud bang, no smoky apparition, nothing. At last, dawn came with its happy promise of a great Tuesday morning to all its denizens. Mrs. Blumer sat stock-still, praying for something, a fireball perhaps, to whisk the garbage away. At eight in the morning, she checked the dustbins once more and sadly enough, they remained unmolested. Dejected and still high on caffeine, she dressed and made her jittery way to work.

The following week was pretty much a grand disaster for this schoolteacher. Her night without sleep had twisted her body-clock upside-inside-down-out, which in turn led to a major buckling of her normally-tight schedule. Now, the students found her lethargic manner even more amusing than before, and many opted to test her limits and patience. And the man-eating dustbins in her dreams merely became meaner and had sharper teeth.

Almost on the verge of a small mental breakdown, Mrs. Blumer knew she needed to end her suffering. Her thoughts were all full of haughty dustbins and she needed some form of relief. Her whole world had somehow become balanced on the apex of a vanishing heap of trash -- she had to find the answer, or that world would come tumbling down.

She decided to stay up once more. It was not a hasty decision by far, no. She had pondered over it for more than an hour, wondering if it would be worth the risk of further damaging her already shattered life. Finally, she came to the decision that if she did not at least attempt to seek out some form of explanation, her mind would simply go berserk!

So she found herself, once more staying up late on a Monday night, determined this time to catch the giant (but tidy) rat, or otherwise thwart the crime of Unauthorized and Unscheduled Disposal of Household Waste. However, Mrs. Blumer was certain that this phenomenon would occur only when the hypothetical rat thought she was asleep.

This time, she again prepared her purple pajamas and matching blanket, but stationed herself not in the kitchen, but on her semi-comfortable living-room couch. Once again, she asked her dependable husband if he could join her on her vigil. And once again, he waved her away, although he wisely chose to conceal any hint that he thought her actions ridiculous. She had only just starting serving his dinner at above room temperature after the last time; he had no desire to find himself chewing on frozen dinners that were still frozen.

As Mrs. Blumer lay on her almost-comfortable couch, underneath her much-more-comfortable blanket, her mind was whirling. She had to feign sleep, while keeping an eye out for her dustbin thief. It would not be an easy thing to do. She usually retired early (around ten to eleven at night), and did not relish pulling an all-nighter once more. More importantly, it seemed like a hard task to pretend to sleep, without actually succumbing to the temptations of Dreamland. In fact, the couch was actually becoming rather comfy at present. So... very... com... fy.

It was the tiny rustle of plastic that pulled Mrs. Blumer out of the jaws of a giant man-eating dustbin, and back into her favorite world. She was dazed at first, still seeing images from her horrific dream. The dustbin monsters were bigger than ever, and she wasn’t faring very well at escaping them.

The second rustle instantly caught her attention. In the dense silence, even the slightest of sounds could be heard, amplified as they were. It was the subtle rubbing of plastic bags, barely a hint of noise, the same sound that had roused her from sleep. It sounded as if somebody was trying to be as quiet as possible, but still making that small inking of sound.

Mrs. Blumer carefully peered over the couch armrest, staring intently in the general direction of her target. Sure enough, her night-eyes instantly picked out a vague shape near her kitchen sink, busily hunched over (what she was pretty sure was) her dustbin.

As stealthily as a woman of fifty years (nope, still not correct) could, she crept over her couch and slithered across the carpeted floor. It could almost be considered comical if not for the intense concentration on her face and the determined set of her eyes. She was near now, within grabbing distance, though she wondered if such a move would be wise.

Ah, ribbons and fishsmacks, she thought, and leapt out at the shadow.

She grasped fur in her hands. Thick, shaggy, slightly bristly fur. It was like holding on to a hairy pine tree, one with extra-sharp needles. And if you ever found yourself trapped within the confines of a pine tree, you would soon realize that pine needles cause excruciating pain when driven into uncovered skin -- pain similar to what Mrs. Blumer was experiencing at present.

As she held onto the now-struggling shadowy figure, the thousands of prickly hair-ends stabbed into her hands repeatedly. The pain was intense and ultimately mind-numbing, yet the wiry woman still held on, her teeth desperately biting back a cry. Finally, she let one hand go and with a brief manic laugh of triumph, thumbed down the light-switch.

Molten fluorescent light blazed throughout the kitchen, piercing the darkness in an instant and finally revealing the writhing creature Mrs. Blumer was painfully holding onto. When she rested her eyes on the prey, she couldn’t help but gasp in surprise.

It wasn’t as if the creature was a grotesque amalgam of nightmarish parts sewn together like a Frankenstein project gone wrong. It was simply strange. The creature was covered in spikey fur, and had four sharp-clawed arms, three emerald eyes on its forehead, and a gaping maw lined with serrated teeth that Bruce the Shark would have envied. It looked vicious and possibly deadly, even though it was a full head shorter than Mrs. Blumer’s (not the tallest of women).

Mrs. Blumer honestly had no idea what to do at this point. All her hours of planning had only covered events up to the hoped-for capture. And truth be told, she had expected a giant rat -- not a four-armed, three-eyed, sharp-toothed Creature From Beyond. So she remained frozen on the spot, hand still gripping the creature’s body tightly. The monster itself had already given up the struggle and was now standing stock-still, intently staring at its captor.

"A -- a wish if you let -- me go," it hesitantly said in a deep raspy voice not unlike a heavy smoker’s. Its words came out slow and thick, as if pronouncing the words was a burden. The monster had to open its immense mouth and shape it carefully to emit sounds that bore any resemblance to English.

"A -- wish --," repeated the monster.

Hearing it speak jolted Mrs. Blumer out of her semi-shock.

"A wish?" asked Mrs. Blumer, still dazed. Talking to a monster in the middle of the night seemed very surreal to her.

The monster sighed at the thought of more talking and opened its mouth once again.

"You -- get a wish. I -- will grant you -- a wish -- if you would please -- let me go. Please."

"That simple, huh? A wish if I would just let you free? Any wish?" asked Mrs. Blumer, thoughts of an unlimited wish racing through her mind. The haze that at first clouded her had now dissipated, replaced to something akin to (sad to say) greed.

The monster nodded slowly, its three emerald eyes gleaming oddly in the fluorescent light.

With that affirmation in place, Mrs. Blumer caved in, and with many thoughts of changing her world with that one wish granted to her, she let go of the creature.

"Sucker," said the monster in a perfectly-pronounced English-accented voice, and promptly disappeared in a blink, leaving a very surprised Mrs. Blumer standing alone in the kitchen. Shaking with intermingled disappointment and anger (to say nothing of pain -- her fur-prickled hands still stung), she trudged off to bed.

Mrs. Blumer woke up late the next day. Due to the circumstances the night before, it had taken hours to get to sleep. When she awoke, it was already late in the afternoon. She opened her eyes, stared blankly at the hot afternoon sun, stretched a little, and then proceeded to curse and swear in the most unladylike manner possible from a rigid English teacher. She stopped cursing long enough to telephone the school and apologize for her absence.

"My throat's very sore -- I can barely speak," she told the secretary. Having spent half an hour cursing and growling, it was actually true. A good thing, as lying was not something Mrs. Blumer tolerated.

Her meeting with the monster, and that mortifying trickery that followed after, had been one of the lowest points in her life. Not many people could claim to have captured a four-armed, three-eyed, hole-for-a-mouth monster. Even fewer would admit to just letting go it free due to simple idiocy. Worse still, she hadn’t found out why it was taking away her trash!

With a groan, Mrs. Blumer slumped back into her bed once more. This was really too much to take.

The rest of the week went by with an agonizing slowness. Her failure and lack of sleep had impoverished her lifestyle, reducing it to shambles. Her students had by now picked up on her sudden lapse in discipline and were taking full advantage of it. When she corrected her students’ homework one night and discovered that they were very poorly done, she came to the conclusion that something seriously had to be done.

"It’s all because of Alex!" she ranted one day to Mr. Blumer, Alex being the name she had fixed on the monster. Alex was one of her naughtiest students, always up to mischief and forever lying. "It’s all Alex’s fault! Rummaging through our garbage, taking it away, disrupting my life!" she continued on to her ever-patient husband.

Mr. Blumer wisely kept silent and poked miserably at his cold mash potatoes. He would have to go out for supper later that night, seeing as the food was even less edible than usual. He sighed softly. This was like the time when their neighbors’ dog wouldn’t stop barking at night. The Mrs. had become obsessed with 'dealing with the problem', and no good came out of it. Suffice to say, the dog dying from bad meat was not entirely an accident. He shook his head and prodded the potatoes once more. When Mrs. Blumer was like this, the whole world basically collapsed around them. And most of it landed on his head, of course.

"I will have to find a way to catch that monstrous creature!" said Mrs. Blumer. "Catch it and string it up! Make it regret ever making trouble here! Yes, that’s what I’ll do! No more trickery, no more lies! Just pure punishment and for me, satisfaction!"

She had a cheerfully psychotic look in her eyes that made Mr. Blumer even more determined to spend a few hours at the pub. Maybe he would run into Alf there. Alf would let him sleep on the couch at his monster- (and Mrs. Blumer-) free house ...

After Mr. Blumer made his exit, Mrs. Blumer just sat at her table, notepad and blue pen in hand, and began to plot.

Monday night came around again. It was a cold night, one for sleeping early, safe and warm beneath the sheets -- precisely what Mr. Blumer was doing. His semi-crazed wife, however, was hiding a fishing net underneath the couch. She had borrowed (or stolen) the net from her school’s storage room. Nobody used the net anyway, she reasoned as she stuffed it beneath the couch. She then put on her pair of garden gloves, thick enough to grasp thorns without much trouble but flexible enough to allow quick movements. Finally, she slipped a butcher knife, personally sharpened by her just that afternoon, next to the net.

That done, she changed into her purple pajamas, propped up a suitably comfortable pillow on the couch, and drew the blankets over her. She fell asleep with an evil grin of anticipation still pasted on her face.

This time, she awoke instantly alert. There were no ravenous giant dustbins harassing her in her dreams this time. Rather, she was enjoying herself, cleaving them into tiny little pieces, watching the many bloody parts fall off as her knife sliced and stabbed into them with ease. In that dream, she was doused in crimson red and bubbling with excitement. It was a good dream, leaving her a tinge of regret when she had to wake.

Her ears strained to hear that familiar rustle and scrape of an intruder. There it was! The tell-tale sound of a Crime In Progress.

Unforgivable, she thought, the little bastard has come back! She scampered over her couch once more, clutching the net in her gloved left hand and the knife in her right. This time, as she feverishly crawled towards the kitchen, it seemed more like a scene from a war movie. And she looked more like a war veteran, a trained infiltrator sneaking into enemy territory, than the hard-hitting English teacher she was usually known to be. Or perhaps they were the same thing -- teaching school certainly seemed to more like fighting a war every year.

Mrs. Blumer was in her element. Now that she knew the perpetrator could be caught, and rightly so, she became a determined machine that desired nothing else but success. She reached the kitchen in record time, silently crouching near the familiar shadow. Coiled tightly like a dangerous viper, she poised to strike, hands gripping her large net. Suddenly, she gave an inhuman howl and lunged at the foul beast. Sharp bristles met rubber gloves and did no harm; her net fell over the monster heavily. And as her Alex struggled and thrashed about, the net wrapped around it more and more until escape was seemingly nigh impossible. A hand strongly locked onto one of the monster’s four arms, she flicked the kitchen light switch.

Her second time viewing the monster didn’t churn her stomach as much as it did before. Maybe it was because this evil being was currently trapped within her carefully executed plan. The feeling of power was very much euphoric to her, so much so that her body was preparing for a victory jig just that instant!

"Plee-a-sh, let me -- go," lisped the monster. The pitiful voice might have weakened the resolve of an ordinary net-wielding, knife-brandishing woman. But Mrs. Blumer was not ordinary.

"Don’t pull that stunt on me. ‘Once bitten twice shy’ as they say, you won’t fool me again!" With her free hand, she knocked the monster on the head hard.

"OW! Now this is barbaric," it commented in its perfect English.

"Now you be quiet, Alex!" retorted Mrs. Blumer, determined to not let it undermine her.

"Alex? Who’s Alex? My name is Griwshald. Now, please let me go. It is late and I have people waiting for me."

Mrs. Blumer laughed then, a dry withering laugh that held no warmth at all.

"Let you go? After all the harm you’ve done to me? I think not, Alex!"


"Alex -- you’ve been a very, very naughty boy. And that’s why it has come to this. So do answer my question, Alex, for both your soul and mine, why have you been taking away my trash? Why disturb my peace of mind?" asked Mrs. Blumer.

"Well lady, I wouldn’t know about your peace of mind, seeing as you do not seem to have a really good hold on your current one so far. But, I will answer that first question, if you would let me go of course," replied Griwshald.

Mrs. Blumer did not make a move and merely stared at Griwshald stonily.

"No? Not a trace of pity in that body of yours it seems. Humans, all alike. Fine then," it sighed and plumped itself on the floor. "If you must know, what you humans regard as trash, I devour for sustenance. Garbage for you is waste to be thrown away. To me, it is a buffet table loaded with delicacies just waiting to be snatched up. You can never understand. How could you? The sweetness of sardines several days old, the aroma of milk left out in the open for just that right amount of time. They are heaven to me. And to my family of course."

"Family? There’s actually a nest of you creatures around? Stealing other families’ stuff?" said Mrs. Blumer in surprise. The thought of a whole infestation of monsters doing as they pleased and ruining peoples’ lives, sent a chill through her body.

"Yes, my beautiful wife and two children. They wait for this bundle of meals every Monday night. I go around and take your garbage back to them. We feast for the week, reveling in our good fortune, and on the following Monday night, the cycle begins anew. In fact, I think the wife and kids are waiting for me to come home right now. So if you don’t mind, I beseech you to set me free so I can go about my duties and you can go back to your feigned sleep once more." Griwshald glanced about patiently, seemingly unconcerned by his plight.

The creature's nonchalance infuriated Mrs. Blumer and she did not hesitate to let it be known. "It seems you don’t understand the situation Alex," she started.


"You’re caught in a fishing net not just because I wanted to ask you questions, you ghastly-furred beast," Mrs. Blumer growled. "No no no no no! I’m here to punish you! To punish you!" she cried out, her voice echoing in the 2 AM silence. She waved her wicked-looking kitchen knife in front of Griwshald’s three emerald eyes.

Those eyes had lost their gleam. Griwshald now understood that Mrs. Blumer would not be fooled again; she was beyond fooling, and quite possibly beyond reason.

"Now then, Alex --"

"Griwsh ..." the creature began, but fell silent when his captor's eyes narrowed and her lips drew back from her teeth.

"How do you think this ends?" she finished with a flourish of her blade.

"Now now, let’s not be too hasty. We can talk things out. No need for a sharp cutting knife to complicate things," said Griwshald unsteadily. Things were going downhill very quickly.

"But this is such a beautiful knife," Mrs. Blumer purred, running her fingertips lovingly across the face of the knife. "It sings to teach! It desires to right all wrongs! You know Alex, because of you, I can’t teach anymore! My students disrespect me; they don’t do their work properly. And me, I can’t do mine at all! I have nightmares, I barely sleep, and that affects my work, my routine, my life!"

Griwshald recoiled from the fury of her words -- as far as the net would allow.

"And it’s all because of you, Alex!" she ranted. "You and your sneaky ways! Stealing, lying and trickery! It’s all because of you! No more feigned innocence, you naughty pupil of mine, you’re going to be punished! And I know many ways, ways those fools at the school wouldn't allow ... but we're not in school now, are we?"

"Please -- please ... I have a wife and kids," pleaded the monster desperately. But Mrs. Blumer wasn’t listening anymore, already lost within her own little fantasy.

"A cut here, a nip there ...yes yes ... there could do it. I can make it last for as long as I want," she was saying to no one in particular. "Or perhaps large blocks of meat carved off. Oh, that is tantalizing... very painful and definitely rewarding for both of us."

Mrs. Blumer looked at the captive creature and smiled, showing far too many teeth. "Don’t you think so Alex?"

Griwshald met her gaze. "I think -- I think we should just drop this matter entirely. I've learned my lesson. I'll go home, and never bother you again. How does that sound?"

Mrs. Blumer walked right up to the quivering monster and gingerly touched its cheek with the tip of the knife. It easily sliced across Griwshald’s fur, tracing a dark, crimson line towards one of its emerald eyes.

"Not a very good idea, I think, Alex," she cooed, "that’s no fun then." She lightly scratched the skin next to its eye.

Brackish droplets of blood seeped across the knife blade and fell to the floor. Griwshald stood rooted to its spot, not even daring to utter a breath of hurt. This was serious stuff. This was bad!

"All right! I apologize, for real! It was wrong of me! I won’t do it again, I swear I wo--"

"Shh," said Mrs. Blumer, and with a delicacy of motion worthy of a neurosurgeon, she lifted her knife to Griwshald’s left eye -- and pierced it.

A pain never experienced before exploded in the monster’s head. It screamed, a raw howl that barely began to express the intense hurt that ate through its being. Instinctively, Griwshald threw its head back, pulling away from the woman and her knife. Black blood poured out of its ruined eye, splashing onto the floor like dark rain.

Mrs. Blumer stared at the scene before, examining it with genuine fascination. Now this was how things were to be done! This was teaching! With a satisfied smile, she raised her blade to the thrashing monster and with the enthusiasm English teachers are known for, plunged the knife deep into its right eye.

Griwshald had no choice but to shriek once more in white agony. Two of its three eyes were merely gaping holes now, cutting off its peripheral vision, causing the world to roll like waves in the most sickening way. The pain and disorientation it to its knees (if they could be called 'knees').

At that moment, with Griwshald kneeling feverishly on the floor, Mrs. Blumer uttered the most incredible thing. "Ah! Are you alright?" she asked, her voice unexpectedly tinged with care and concern. It was almost as if she did not connect the poor suffering thing at her feet with the bloody knife in her hands; she viewed it as she would an injured animal found at the roadside.

But then insanity bubbled forth once more in the form of a high-pitched shriek. With both her cold gloved hands holding the knife-hilt in an unbreakable death-grip, she relished in the power held over her once-tormentor. Legs spread out, she lifted the knife high above her, her eyes staring to the heavens as if offering this body of fur and blood to the Gods. An electric charge coursed through her whole being, the world suddenly so much more alive to her. Her senses took in every sound of whimpering, the scent of blood-soaked flesh, the grain of the wood in the knife-hilt, the coppery taste in her mouth and the myriad colors that filled her vision at present. This was her moment!

Griwshald turned its single eye up at its captor, its mouth stammering another plea for mercy. But the last vestiges of sanity had long left the woman and only wildness remained. Her eyes seemingly blazing, she gave a guttural howl of lust and swept her knife downwards, stabbing it into Griwshald. Over and over again, like an automaton designed to perform only this movement, Mrs. Blumer’s arm rose and dipped in frenzied ecstasy. In and out, in and out the knife went, punching ragged holes into every part of Griwshald’s body. Blood spurted from each wound as the knife left it, soon leaving a crimson puddle on the floor.

Stabbing motions changed to large swipes and swaths of fur flew out. These soon became pieces of monster. Swipe, stab, swipe, stab went Mrs. Blumer, adding in the occasional twist of the knife for variety’s sake. All the small monster could do other than writhe and turn in fits of agony, was to scream and beg futilely for some form of mercy but even those were reduced to mere gurgling as it began to choke on its own blood. All the while, the woman wouldn’t stop laughing. And when her knife finally thrust towards the creature’s last eye, that maniacal smile was what burned into Griwshald’s mind just before the curtain of darkness fell upon it.

At last, after a very long five minutes of pure chopping, slicing, dicing and mutilating, all was quiet in the house. There were no more cries for forgiveness. No more wet sounds of blade entering flesh. Only a woman’s labored breathing and the soft dripping of liquid onto floor remained.

Of the garbage-eating monster, only its head retained some semblance of before; even if it had been severed from the body, its single green eye staring lifelessly at the ceiling. The rest of Griwshald could only be found in large chunks spread over the floor. Nothing could actually describe the carnage which took place that Monday night. Nor even remotely explain the thoughts that shot through Mrs. Blumer’s mind as she summed up the consequences of her actions.

The euphoria she had felt earlier had faded with the last stab of the knife, leaving only exhaustion in its wake. Yet, she was still grinning, the whites of her teeth gleaming madly in the fluorescent glare. Who said revenge would avail her nothing? Who said that education was meaningless? She had proved the world wrong and herself the victor! She was a teacher and damn good one as well!

With what could only be considered as joyous, tired satisfaction, Mrs. Blumer ran some hot water, took out her mop and bucket, and started cleaning up the floor. She wiped away the stains as liquid was certainly bad for wooden floorings. And she cleaned up the knife as well, before the blood congealed about it and ruined such a fine instrument of cookery. The many, many pieces of monster flesh scattered all over the floor, Mrs. Blumer deposited into two large black garbage bags. At the stroke of five in the morning, with the kitchen moderately spick and currently span, she gave a yawn and headed off to bed. No dreams of Man-eating dustbins ever disturbed her peace ever again.

For weeks, Mrs. Blumer was in absolute bliss. Her routine was back and she poured herself into it with more intensity than ever before. With the help of an oversized ruler and large mountains of homework, her students who had once disrespected her frailty now feared her. There was magic in the air and she relished it.

Best of all, her garbage had resumed normal dumping schedules! She took the trash out on Thursdays now. No more irritating Tuesdays for her ever again!

Mr. Blumer didn’t complain. He had returned home in time to hear his wife’s inhuman cries of rage, and the low pleading of another person -- Alf's wife had scotched any chance of spending the night at Alf's place. He had entered the house when things quieted down, averting his eyes when he passed the open archway to the kitchen, and climbed into bed fully clothed. Whatever had happened, he did not know, and did not want to know, and would never comment about it. He certainly did not relish cold food anymore. As long as his wife was happy, the mood in the house became bearable again and life was perhaps, good.

Until one night, late past the hour of eleven, Mrs. Blumer trudged downstairs to her kitchen for a glass of water. The house was dark and silent; everybody should have been asleep. Mrs. Blumer wasn’t afraid of the dark, no longer anyway, and fearlessly poured herself a glass of water. Her mind on the various assignments she was to give her pupils the next day, she neglected to hear a scraping right behind her. The sound increased in volume and yet, still lost in her own thoughts, Mrs. Blumer failed to notice it. Until finally, something tapped her on the shoulder. Startled, the woman of definite fifty-two years turned around and dropped her glass in shock.

"I’m very hungry," said Mrs. Griwshald and bared her very sharp teeth. Her two children grinned along.


© 2005 by Ee Pin Pang

Bio: Ee Pin PANG is a struggling writer who wants to save the world. However, to do that requires mental abilities far beyond his own. Thus he writes. Sometimes he works to bring in the dough. A recent graduate from Melbourne, he posts his inane ramblings at FictionPress (under the nom de web of 'Maskerade'), and spends his time watching the people counters go up ever so slowly. His story The Boy at the End of the World appeared in the June 2005 edition of Aphelion.

E-mail: Ee Pin Pang

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