“The Haunted Lawnmower”

A summertime nightmare.

His father scowled.

“So, you’re telling me that the lawnmower is haunted?”

“Probably possessed. Maybe not haunted.”

“Is there a difference?”

“I think so.”

“Possessed by what?”

“A demon.”

“A demon?”

“Or maybe Mr. Hutchinson. He never really liked me and I didn’t go to his viewing at the funeral home.”

“That sounds more like a haunting.”

“I’m not sure what’s really happening. The mower runs whenever it wants to run. It turns on and shuts off. The gasoline somehow leaks out but I can’t find a leak. The grass clippings go everywhere.”

“Sounds like an old lawnmower to me. I didn’t have any problems mowing when you went to visit your grandparents.”

“Yeah but this mower is trying to kill me. It literally just ran away from me in the front yard yesterday. That’s what I tried to explain to Mom. I couldn’t keep up with it. It turned and came right at me! It has a mind of its own!”

He kicked the mower. His foot caught under the deck and he nearly flipped the machine over.

“Hey! Knock that off. This is the one mower we have right now. Are you trying to get out of mowing the back?”

“No! Not at all!”

“Your mother told me your trying to get the neighbor girl to go to the movies tonight. I told you that you needed to have the grass cut. I even drove out and filled the gasoline can for you.”

“I know. I’ve waited for a year for her and her boyfriend to split. This is my big chance!”

“And the mower is haunted?”

“Possessed.”

His father shook his head.

“We had a deal. I pay your cell phone bill and your car insurance. You handle the garbage, wash the dishes, and keep the yard looking the way that I would.”

“I know.”

“Go inside and help your mother put away the groceries. I’ll cut the lawn. I’ll be sure to let you know if I have any problems.”

“What about tonight?”

“You’re staying in tonight. This is ridiculous. You can ask that girl tomorrow. I’ve got plenty of weeds in the garden that you can pull to make up for this nonsense. Just pray that this girl and her man don’t reconcile tonight.”

He didn’t want to argue with his father, so he held his tongue and walked purposefully into the kitchen. The mower roared to life just a few minutes later. The lawn was cut without any supernatural occurrences.

The neighbor girl run away that night. The neighbors actually didn’t seem too concerned.

“This kid she’s seeing is bad news. I’m sure she ran to his house. She’s done this before. The wife and I are going to drive over there before church, and I’m probably going to end up arrested. I’m absolutely done with that kid.”

That made perfect sense. The neighbor girl was heartbroken and desperate to win her boyfriend back.

When the neighbors returned later that morning without their daughter, shredded jeans were found between the houses. The denim was soaked in motor oil and blood.

Author: joshuajscully

That’s my picture up there. I’m not totally sure why I look so angry. I may be thinking about how much I hated the Crypt Keeper as a child. I grew up faithfully watching reruns of The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt. Unfortunately, I missed the boat in terms of writing for either of those programs. I do consider both to have been wildly influential when I think back to my earliest thoughts about becoming an author and I’m grateful my parents let me watch those shows as a kid (although there were probably some nights early in my childhood my mother wished she hadn’t let me watch those shows). If you’re familiar with either program, then you know what genres are my focus. I thoroughly enjoy science fiction, suspense, the twist ending, and some horror or supernatural elements as well. Honestly, when I was a kid the Crypt Keeper scared the hell out of me. As an adult, I’ve really learned to embrace the puns. Historical fiction is a favorite of mine as well, and the root of that is shared with my profession. I am an educator by trade, and I teach American History. I consider some of the best writing I’ve ever done to be within the realm of historical fiction and I really enjoy saturating my mind in the research end of those projects. I would make the argument that storytelling is in my blood. Even my sister mulled, very briefly (about 45 minutes), launching a career as a screenwriter! My last name is one of those Irish (and, apparently, formally Manx) ones with a wonderfully researched history -“the story-teller’s descendant”. On of the first day of school each year, I do share that “my name is Mr. Scully, and that rhymes with Kelly”, just so I do not hear the myriad of mispronunciations on the first day. Several years ago, I started a blog similar to this one to highlight my middle years as a teacher. If that aspect of my life is of any interest to you at all, you can still find that blog online. During my summers, I really have time to pursue my writing projects and this blog will highlight some of that work. My first attempts to sit down and write extensively occurred when I was 15, but only a few years ago did I make setting time aside to write a priority. I’ve also benefited wildly over the years from many willing readers among my family and friends. The direction and feedback from those individuals has been invaluable. Outside the world of the written word, I am an educator, basketball coach, lecturer, and (very, very occasionally) a landscaper. I have only ever known Western Pennsylvania as my home. Although I love a good novel, I am absolutely unable to resist the power of the short story. The latter is really what I hope to be remembered for one day.

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