In the Park, In the Dark

(The following is an excerpt from my upcoming horror novel, ‘Sweet’.)

Determined to stop that psychotic Connie from killing, cooking, and eating their baby, Larry rode into town within twenty minutes, frantically racing on his bicycle as fast as he could.

As he rode down Main Street towards downtown, he saw City Hall and the police station coming closer on his left.  Upset from how the authorities were giving him no help at all, he turned his eyes away and looked to his right, where he saw a Mac’s Milk store.

Exhausted from both his lack of sleep and his incessant riding, he knew he needed another coffee.  He rode over, parked and locked his bike, then went in.

All this caffeine is really bad for me, he thought, but I just can’t stay awake without it.

He bought a hot coffee and got two creams, a sugar packet, and a stir stick.  He took them over to a table by the window, sat, and mixed the cream and sugar in.

He took a small sip, but found it uncomfortably hot; so he decided to get up and look around while his coffee cooled a bit.  He went to the magazine stand across from his table and noticed an issue of Psychology Today.  He picked it up and began flipping through the pages.

He found an article on psychiatric drugs and their relevance in therapy.  Interested, he began reading.  Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the automatic door to the store opening, and a person with long, black hair coming in.  Not bothering to see the person’s face, he kept reading, then reached over to take another sip of his coffee.  Still too hot.

He went back to reading the article, standing by the magazine stand.  He heard someone pass behind him slowly, but never looked away from his magazine.  After reading a little more, he took the magazine with him back to his table.

He read some more, snorting with disgust at the author’s recommendation of certain psychiatric drugs, ones Larry felt were especially bad for patients in terms of side effects.  He took another sip of his coffee: it wasn’t so hot now, so he began drinking it faster as he continued reading.

A few minutes later, he’d finished drinking his coffee, wincing at its oddly bitter taste.  He also finished reading the article, sneering at the author’s advocacy of the use of other psychiatric drugs.

When am I going to find a psychiatrist who advocates natural settings for patients, instead of chemicals? he wondered.  Am I the only one?

He put the magazine back on the stand, then left the store.  He unlocked his bike, got on, and started riding, continuing toward Connie’s house, where he was ready to risk everything and get their baby daughter from her.

It was a dark night, with clouds covering the stars and cutting across the quarter moon.  Only the street lights gave any substantial visibility.  He rode on.

He crossed the road and passed the elementary school.  Unless I can save you, Candy, you’ll never see one of those, he thought.  I must hurry and get to Connie’s house.

Now he’d got to that park, with all its tall trees and their foliage blocking what little light was coming from the moon.  The street lights weren’t working around the park, so it was practically pitch black.

And it was here that Larry started feeling dizzy, light-headed, and unable to concentrate.  What little he could see was blurry, and he felt a quickly growing lethargy taking him over.

He fell off his bike.  Landing on the park grass, he didn’t hurt himself, but he hadn’t the strength to get back on his bike.  He clumsily tried to get up, stumbling and staggering.  He felt like a drunken man, though he’d had not a drop of liquor that night.

“Larry,” a voice whispered.

He was too disoriented to figure out where it was coming from, but he was pretty sure whose voice it was.

“Larry, I’m over here,” the voice, female, whispered again.

Thinking it had come from behind, he swung around, then fell on the grass.  He could feel his consciousness fading away, but he fought as best he could to stay awake.  Remembering when Connie had tried to bury him alive eight months before, this was the scariest sleepiness ever.

He clumsily got up and tried to focus on anything visible in the darkness.  He could see nothing, but he couldn’t be any surer than he was of who was with him.

“Didn’t see me in the Mac’s Milk store, did you, Larry?” she said softly, her voice seeming to rotate in all directions around him.  “I was counting on that when I dropped the pill in your coffee.”

“Connie…you…crazy…bitch,” he slurred, trying desperately to stay standing.  “You haven’t…eaten…our daughter yet, have you?”

“No, no,” Connie said.  “She’s at the house, the babysitter taking care of her.  I’ll make sure the babysitter is gone when we’re there, though.  Don’t want her to see what I’m gonna do to you and Candy.”

“Don’t…hurt…the baby.”

“Why don’t you just let yourself lose consciousness,” Connie said, apparently walking in circles around him, for her voice seemed to continue moving that way around his head.  “You’ll be knocked out in a minute anyway, no matter how hard you try to resist.”

He kept trying to stay awake, building anger and fear to give himself adrenaline to counteract her drugs.  He was standing and moving with the clumsiness of a man who’d had over a dozen glasses of whiskey.

“Oh, well,” she said, tapping something in her hands that was obscured in the darkness.  “You’ll have to be knocked out in a more literal way.”

He then felt a wooden stick crack against the back left corner of his head.  He fell on the grass, and everything went black…


Larry woke up, tied to a table in a room in Connie’s dimly-lit basement.  The fibres of the ropes binding him were digging into his bloody wrists and ankles as he struggled futilely to break free.

Connie was standing to his right, looking down on him and holding little Candy in her arms.  Connie grinned as she watched him blink his eyes to focus better.

“See, Larry?” she said, bringing the baby up close to him.  “This is our baby Candy.  Candy, look down at Daddy.”  She held Candy so she could see Larry, who tried to hide his fear and despair with a loving smile.

“Connie,” he said with a raspy voice.  “Or should I call you Wilma Sweeney?”

“Oh, so you’ve done a little research on my past, eh?” she asked, walking away with Candy and placing her on a table by Larry’s feet.  Then she picked up a butcher’s knife.

“No!” he screamed, and began crying.  “Don’t hurt her!”

Connie put her finger to her lips to tell him to be quiet.  Candy began crying, and Connie calmed her with caresses on her belly, gently shushing her.

“I guess that farmer dug you out of the hole I put you in,” she said, grinning down at Candy and swinging the knife in the air in a chopping motion.  “Lucky you.”

He strained his neck so he could see Candy on the table.  The baby smiled and giggled innocently as Connie tickled her belly and smiled lovingly down at her.  “Please, Connie,” he begged.  “Don’t.”

“I will, Larry.  You won’t stop me.  Just accept it.  Then I’ll kill you; but this time, I’ll make sure you’re dead.”

“How?” he sobbed.

“I’ll eat your flesh after I eat hers.  That way, the whole family will be together, in my belly.”  She gestured with her arm, about to bring the knife down on Candy.


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