Katherine and Pop



Photo credit: https://a.playmoss.com/

It had been some time after the ritual ended. And yet that thing still was following her. It wasn’t like Katherine minded that much; in fact, it was nice to have the company for once. However, a detached soul with the skull of a deer over its face wasn’t exactly the best conversationalist.

“Hey,” she addressed the creature from her tiny kitchen as she turned on the stove. She looked over her shoulder to look once more at the ritual circle in her living room where it stood.

It turned to look up at her. Its extended limbs drifted through space till it was hovering behind her just next to her potted lavender.

“Do you like coffee or tea?”

The soul said nothing.

“Alright, well I’m having tea. If you don’t like that, you should say something now.”

Silence once more filled the room.

“Tea it is then,” she said.

She snapped her fingers together as ingredients merged and mixed themselves together by her will. A mortar and pestle appeared from underneath the kitchen sink, and a few herbs started to fly into the mortar as the pestle ground in a rather monotonous manner. A small tea bag lifted itself before the bowl as the contents were neatly dispensed inside. Once the tea mix was ready, the bag tied itself together before plunging itself into the boiling pot on the stove.

“I like to make my own spice blend,” she explained to the lost soul. “Store bought is fine in a pinch, but there’s nothing like making the perfect blend of flavors yourself, really invigorates you.” She looked up to see the creature’s boney face pressed against her window, its tongue hanging from underneath its non-existent jawbone.“Okay, nope, no eating my robins or my blue jays. The neighbors would not like that,” she said. She dragged the soul back into the kitchen and distracted it by explaining her process once more so it didn’t wander off. “So,” she continued, “how’d you die?”

She looked up at the creature before the skull began to lift from the emaciated creature revealing a rather terrifying and maniacal grinning face underneath. Its visage was lined with blood, and its eyes were almost popped out of its head. Its smile extended far too high up its face, past its cheekbones and almost over its ears. It grinned as its tongue lolled out of its mouth, swollen and almost detached from the rest of its mouth, barely hanging on by a handful of ligaments. The breathing was weary and laborious, and its breath smelled like fresh maggots out of a rotting corpse. It allowed Katherine to stare into its reddened eyes for a few moments before letting its skull fall back into place, hiding its true form once more.

“Ah, I see. Rather brutal that was, sorry to hear it.”

The creature shrugged in apathy before turning back to the boiling pot and watched the water bubble.

“You gonna stay here for very long?”

It looked from side to side and thought about the prospect for a moment, considering its options. At long last, it nodded.

“Well okay, you can stay, but just don’t cause any trouble you hear? I can and I will perform an exorcism on you, understood?”

The soul nodded.

“You got a name I can call you?”

Katherine turned off the stove and removed the tea from the heat. Two mugs lifted themselves before her as she poured their drinks. One of the cups hovered before the creature before it hesitated and took the cup. It settled in a chair at the kitchen table while the used pot made quick work of cleaning itself.

“Well?” Katherine asked, approaching the kitchen table.

The creature looked around for a few moments then shrugged once more.

“Alright then. I’ll call you Pop, cause you popped out of my floor. That cool with you?”

Pop nodded its head and took a sip of tea as Katherine settled down in the seat across from it with her drink. She watched as the small pattering of rain began against her window and dissolved into the thought that it would be nice to have the company for a while.  

Benji Gutsin is a senior. They are an English major with a concentration in creative writing and a History minor. They like to write short stories in their spare time and have been writing a novel that they hope to publish one day.

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