Readers Gazette Short Stories


Short Story Thats My Mercy Girl

That’s My Mercy Girl by by Renee Travis Horror short story

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January 1892

Exeter, Rhode Island

“Mercy you look sickly, you had better come inside and rest.”

Mercy paused, dragging on her coat, hand on the door, almost out, almost free. Her father, George, was looking thin and pale himself, but she knew better than to comment on that.

“I have stuff to do.” It was as good an excuse as any.

“With your mother gone I need you here, your brother isn’t doing so well and you need to tend us both.” George gave a thin lipped smile.

Mercy shivered, she knew that smile alright, knew it too well, just like she knew what he really meant by “with your mother gone I need you here.”

“I am going to pick up the milk from Mrs. Larkin, she promised it yesterday in exchange for mushrooms.” Mercy held out the basket she had swiped from the cook, it held about ten sad looking mushrooms. Pitiful really, but with the ground so cold and Edwin recently ill it was the best her father could do.

“Alright then, but when you get home I want you to bathe before I see you.” George’s cheeks turned beat red as he left the room.

Mercy pushed against the solid wood door and lifted her face to the bitter wind and ice blue sky. She wouldn’t bathe, hadn’t in a week, simply to keep him off her, keep him away from her. It wouldn’t last much longer however, last time he drew her a bath himself and dragged her into the bathroom, forcing the water and himself on her.

She pounded her boots against the frozen ground to warm them up and tucked a strand of dirty blonde hair farther back under her hat and hood as she made her way down the path to Mrs. Larkin’s home. Their family owned a large dairy farm.

It was growing dark and colder as Mercy reached the door to the house, the Larkin home was far more cheerful than her own of late. Mercy wasn’t afraid of the dark, she welcomed it, so much easier to hide, even if she almost froze to death, anything was better than what awaited at night, in her own bed.

“Mercy! I didn’t think you were coming.” Mrs. Larkin opened the door, a forced smile on her face, a ruddy, chubby woman in her late 30’s.

“Sorry, I had chores, here are the mushrooms.” Mercy held out the basket, her bare hands numb.

“Goodness child! Here.” The older woman took the basket and then pressed some worn mittens into Mercy’s hands, “Didn’t your mother teach you anything before she died? You are 19, these are skills you should have.”

Mercy’s mother and older sister had died of consumption almost four years before, Mercy had been 15.

“Kind of, but I’m only good enough to mend things, not make them.” Mercy put the mittens on gratefully and then looked down at her feet. She tried to appear as sickly and feeble minded as possible.

It prevented people from keeping to close and eye on her or trying to marry her off to their horrible sons. She had perfected the art of invisibility, it helped keep George away from her in longer intervals.

“Well you best learn, especially with a father and brother to help care for. Here’s the milk.” She brought out a pail with fresh milk, then with a curl of her lip she also handed Mercy a bit of cheese wrapped up, “keep that for yourself, you look like you could use a decent meal.” A few seconds later she shut the door.

Mercy went back home and gave the food and drink to their cook. Cook was a pleasant woman, if not a tad abrupt, who only came a few hours each evening. She made supper and then baked and made food to put in the pantry for the next day. She also tidied up a bit, helped with the things Mercy’s mom and oldest sister used to do. Mercy had long ago made it clear she was too incompetent to help with the more complex and difficult house hold chores.

Mercy had considered asking the older woman for help, but knew the woman would be able to do little if anything….plus cook might not be believed and then she would lose employment all over town. Mercy couldn’t do that to her…it was too risky.

“Girl you best get out of here before your father catches you. He wants you scrubbed clean and I don’t want him to punish you.” Cook told her, eyes full of sympathy…

Then there were times like these that Mercy thought, “You horrible hag…you KNOW!”

Mercy nodded and fled the house, she made her way down past the church towards the cemetery. It had grown dark, but the moon was full and shining and Mercy knew her town and its roads like the back of her hand.

She wandered through the tombstones until she found her mom and sister’s graves. A cold hard feeling in her stomach, eyes and throat burning with hate.

“They are there the way you wanted them.” A voice from behind her said. She spun around quickly, gripping the crucifix at her throat. She knew the speaker, had known him for years, but it didn’t mean she trusted him.

He was a tall pale man, with long fingers, eyes that burned yellow and hair pale white. He wore the finest of men’s attire and still looked complacently out of place for the time period. He was ageless, looking not young and not old; like he was carved of stone and frozen in time.

“Bartholomew, I have asked you not to sneak up on me.”

“Why would I obey such a command when I get a kick out of it?” He smiled, his teeth gleamed white and perfect. He took a deep breath and wrinkled his nose.

“Mercy, would it kill you to bathe?”

“You know it just might.” Mercy bantered back, for the first time in a few days she relaxed and gave him a genuine smile.

“Why are you here mourning these women?” He asked.

“They were my family, sometimes I miss them.”

“Do you regret your choice?”

“Never, they deserved it…” Mercy swallowed, her stomach churned.

The first time her father came for her Mercy had been 10. She told Mary Olive, her sister…. Mary Olive had tattled to their mother who had beaten Mercy for lying and having impure thoughts. For over a year she had tried to get them to help her, to believe her and they had ignored her. One night she had run away, hidden in the cemetery and prayed for death.

Death hadn’t come, but Bartholomew had and it was better.

“Do you want me to take Edwin tonight?” Bartholomew asked.

“No….it won’t matter…George will keep coming for me until I can get out of the house. That will never happen, I am stuck there. I will never have enough money and food saved to run away.” Mercy slouched against the tombstones, defeated.

A few months ago Edwin had walked in her room after George had just left it, he had put two and two together easily enough, but it had come out 5 instead of 4. He had accused her of being a harlot; tempting their Christian father into evil.

“Why have you never asked me to kill your father?” The vampire asked.

“I don't know...when we first met I was simply hurt and betrayed by Mary Olive and mother....then later... I guess I never even considered it, this has been my life for so long. Meeting you here at night, our talks...was all I had to look forward to. I guess now though you should kill him.”

“What if I had another option? I could make you like me and we could run away together.”

“Together?” Mercy narrowed her eyes, she never wanted another man to touch her…ever.

“Yes, in any way you would like….You know I would never ask more than what you are comfortable with…But I could use a change of scenery and some company. I know under all that dirt you are a smart pretty girl.” He raised an eyebrow.

“Alright.” Mercy made the decision quickly, she pulled off her necklace and let it drop to the ground.

Bartholomew wasted no time, he lunged forward and grabbed her shoulders, almost painfully, dragging her to him and buried his fangs in her neck. He had been telling the truth, he was fond of her, had been since the day he offered her a kerchief to wipe away her tears.

Though over the years he had yearned to taste her, but she always wore the damn cross. He wasn’t a hero after all. He moaned against Mercy’s neck, she did not disappoint; her blood was strong and vibrant. He fed until she was a limp doll in his arms, light fading from her eyes. Pulling back, he bit his own wrist and allowed his blood to drip into her open mouth.

Bartholomew carried her back home and placed her in bed. He covered her gently, tucking her in and made sure no trace of his bite was left to be seen before disappearing into the night.

How George wailed when he found her, presumably dead, the next morning. A grief stricken papa, he basked in the warmth of his neighbors. Two daughters dead, and a sick son? His friends brought food and drink, prayed with him, and comforted him as he regaled them with tales of a simple, plain daughter forever loyal to her father.

Two nights after she was buried, Mercy rose, she bathed in the ice cold river, not even feeling it, she stole good clothes from beautiful neighbor girls and dressed like she had always wanted to. She wandered her town finally making her way home. When Bartholomew found her she was standing in the middle of her parlor, stained red, blood everywhere, her eyes sparkling. Edwin and George’s bodies at her feet, gutted and torn up. She smiled at her maker through blood stained teeth. The air stank of fear and revenge.

Bartholomew held out his hand, a grin splaying over his own mouth. She reached for him, palms crimson, gore under her nails.

He said:

“There, there now… That’s my girl.”

To see more of Renee Travis, click the link to her website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view her member details
Visit Haunted Grave Books

Images used for the story are Enchanted Woman at Pixabay

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Short Story written by Renee Lake (Travis)

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