The Whistling Man
600 word short by Sheri White
The Whistling Man walked quickly through the little country town, on his way to nowhere. His breath materialized in front of his face in the brisk October air. The tune that passed between his lips was an old cowboy song. He remembered it from when he walked among cattle rustlers on hot summer nights, back when coyotes howled at the moon and rugged men cooked over fire.
The Whistling Man came upon a small house. Inside he could see a couple watching TV as they snuggled together on a loveseat. The Whistler heard them chuckle through an open window. He stood in front of the house, hands on his hips. He resumed his whistling, but this time he emitted a low, suggestive fox whistle. Suddenly, the man in the house began yelling at the woman.
“You’re cheating on me, aren’t you? Who is he? Tell me right now, you whoring bitch!”
The woman’s mouth dropped open. “Billy, my God! Where is this coming from? I would never cheat on you, you know that!”
“Shut your filthy lying mouth!” The Whistling Man watched, smiling as the angry man stormed over to a closet and pulled out a shotgun.
The woman screamed. “Billy, please! NO! Stop this, you’re acting cra-“
Her brains hit the back of the couch before she could finish her sentence.
The Whistling Man chuckled softly to himself and moved on. His boots crunched dry, dead leaves into the gravel road. The pungent odor of firewood burning in the distance filled his nostrils. Ripe pumpkins in a nearby field glowed under the full moon.
An elderly man walked his aging dog, both of them wobbling on shaky legs. The old man didn’t notice the Whistler; nobody ever did. The Whistling Man put his index fingers to his mouth and whistled sharply at the grizzled mutt. Immediately the dog growled and lunged at his master’s leg.
“Trevor, stop that!” The old man screamed hoarsely as the dog’s teeth sank into his flesh. He tried to push the dog away, but his feet got tangled up in the leash and he fell onto the grass. The dog, adrenaline providing him with renewed strength, pinned his master to the ground and ripped out his throat. The old man’s legs twitched for a few seconds as blood pumped from his neck. The dog continued to rip and chew his master’s flesh.
The screaming of horrified neighbors as they emerged from their homes was music to the Whistling Man’s ears.
He walked on through the sleepy little town, the misery of his victims nourishing his empty black soul. Jack-o-lanterns sat on porches, paper towel ghosts hung from trees. The Whistling Man snickered at the innocence. Most of these people didn’t know the true meaning of horror.
Suddenly, his attention was drawn to a young woman sitting on a porch swing while a tiny baby nursed at her breast; the mother softly hummed and caressed the baby’s cheek.
Unseen, unheard, the man whistled a gentle lullaby. A few moments later, the mother took the baby off her breast, a puzzled look on her face. Her wailing shriek pierced the night when she realized her baby was no longer breathing.
She clutched the infant to her dripping breasts and ran inside her house. The Whistling Man knew the grieving mother would phone for help; he also knew it would do no good.
Satisfied with the evening’s accomplishments, the Whistling Man resumed the old cowboy tune, leaving the small town, now in shambles, behind him.
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