Happy Halloween, my Pretties! It’s my favorite time of year. In celebration, I bring you an original short story, read by me, and written by Stephen Mier. Yeah ok, he’s my little brother, and we sorta collaborated… and by “collaborated” I mean that I asked him to write me a very short story about a cursed or haunted sewing machine. MWAAAAHAAhAAAAA! This is what he came up with. It’s the last 7 minutes or so of the podcast. The first bit has two book reviews, and then I talk about what I’m sewing, briefly.
Relax, it’s just PG-13 or so
The Cursed Quilt
I wiped my sweat as I leaned over the sewing machine, frantically stitching in a vain attempt to finish the quilt before Halloween. I had one day left to complete the quilt I had promised to raffle at the party the following evening. It was by far the largest and most intricate I had ever undertaken, borne of thick and luxurious fabric for the cold of the coming winter. It was becoming clearer by the moment that I had bitten off far more than I could chew. Hour after hour I worked at a nearly inhuman pace, and just when it looked as though I might finish, as I set my eyes upon the last few stitches needed to complete my creation, the thread in my machine ran dry. My last spool.
I had special ordered the thread weeks ago, as no local shop had stocked the one perfect color I needed, a color which no other could approximate, and which no other could so perfectly complement the shade of the fabric. I stood, clutching the sides of my head in my tired hands, expletives erupting from my heathen mouth.
In a fatigue and frustration induced stupefaction, I bundled the quilt angrily, though I loved it so, and threw it into the backseat of my car. I set out for the one quilt shop in town with which I was less than familiar, hoping against hope that it might have my thread. It was very old, and an unnerving mood hung all about the place. There were stories, warnings really, that the owner was not quite right, and that a couple of noteworthy local quilters had walked into the shop and never walked out. Silly stories, I always told myself, though I never did tempt fate by going there.
Have you ever felt such a chill that it snapped you from near-sleep to full alertness so suddenly that you felt as though waking from a dream? That is what I felt as I stepped into that grim place. The air was dusty and stale as I walked to the counter where an old woman stood, staring through me.
“Do you have Aurifil in teal feather?” I asked, nearly tripping over my words for the anxiety belaboring my every word and every thought.
“Teal feather?” She croaked with a crooked smile. “Yes… You have distinguished preferences, I see?” She smiled. It was scarcely a question rather than a statement.
“I guess so,” I nodded. “Look, I just need to get my thread and get home so that I can finish this quilt,” I didn’t have time for idle conversation.
“I don’t get many visitors anymore…” She lamented. “Let me show you something,” she said, wholly ignoring my previous request. She opened a drawer beneath the counter filled with unusual threads, most of which I had never seen, and plucked a spool of Aurifil, teal feather. “Come with me,” she said as she walked towards the back room. I pursed my lips and stepped around the counter to follow her, still clutching my quilt.
We stepped into a room which could have immediately curdled the blood of the devil himself. Blood red carpets streaked with black in indescribable, arcane patterns stretched across the floor. The walls were entirely black, and seemed to have been sloppily painted over and over with little regard for technique, with uneven runs and bubbles riddling every inch of the paint as though mess after mess had been hastily covered up. In the middle of the room stood an ordinary chair, and an ordinary but old machine on a dusty table.
“Please, finish your quilt here,” she said. “My old fingers can’t sew anymore, and it would bring me so much happiness to see my sewing machine used again, if only for awhile.”
I have no idea why I acquiesced despite my mind screaming at me to flee with every step I took towards the middle of that room. Her words were gentle, yet they made me want to vomit with fear, and still I sat down in that old, wooden chair. She handed me the thread with a cruelly affectionate smile, and I loaded it, somehow without any difficulty despite knowing nothing about this machine.
I brought the bobbin thread through and up to the surface of my quilt, set the presser foot down, and took a shaky breath as I pressed down on the pedal. My eyes brightened as the machine started to sew the straightest, most perfect line of quilting stitches I had ever seen.
“Wonderful, isn’t it?” She asked from behind my shoulder.
“Yes, I-” my reply was cut short as the old woman erupted into an unholy cackle, and I looked on in horror as my hand was drawn under the presser foot, the needle ripping into my flesh, splintering bone and severing sinew with ease as I screamed in agony. My blood sprayed viciously, caking the walls around me as I was drawn in all the way to the shoulder, my arm disappearing into the machine as the old woman’s laughter grew to a deafening level. I caught a final glimpse of my precious quilt which my face was now nearly pressed against, and saw that the thread being sewn into it was not teal feather. It was my own tendons. The fabric itself was being replaced by the supple skin being stripped from my body, and dyed red with my blood.
I awoke with a start, and looked down at my machine. The nightmare was real. I was still out of teal feather.
Written by Stephen Mier copyright 2015
Go spook something!
Podcast: Play in new window