Walking on Sunshine

Finn Rivedal

 

The day dawned brightly.  It was the kind of morning that songs were written about.  Not a cloud in the sky.  The world paused and everything felt a little warmer.

The axe was just leaning up against the side of the barn, waiting.  The metal glinted in the sunlight, the shine reflecting the rays so that it gleamed like new even though it was old and rusted.  He had no intentions when he picked up the blade.  He was simply fascinated by that gleam.  It was like the flash of her smile.  It drew him across the yard and he found his hand running down the smooth wooden handle.  It was heavier than he expected and he leaned forward with the weight, his hat tipping forward on his head.  It felt right in his hands.  He held it up and even in the dull polish he could see his reflection in the bright sunlight and he smiled that winning smile that charmed so many.  The reflection smiled back.  He liked how his hat had fallen, blocking the light from his eyes and he tipped his hat back with the blade of the axe before hefting it up onto his shoulder.  

That winning smile.  The sunshine smile, the girls called it, although he knew better.  Still he laughed as he always did.  The bright spot in the world.  He liked the weight of the axe on his shoulder.  It gave him purpose without meaning.  He stood there for a long moment, his face lifted up to the sun, everything in the world felt perfect.  He swung the axe and felt his muscles ripple.  He thought about Michelle, about her long hair and the way she smiled at him when she saw him.  He wondered what she would think of his axe.  Maybe he would walk over to her house and show it to her, the way it caught the sunlight.  She liked weird horror stuff.  He could make it poetic, maybe write a poem, really impress her.  Maybe she was at home watching a horror movie and he could surprise her.  It might scare the hell of her but she would love it, if she didn’t kill him.  But charm had always won out for the sunshine smile and today felt like the perfect day.

He whistled while he walked.  His face held a grin that spoke of thoughts far from the surface if one had known to look, but no one ever did.  He was the smile on his face.  He came to the top of the first hill and saw old lady Johnson out for a walk with that little dog of hers.  She waved brightly and opened her mouth.  He didn’t know what happened.  Her head was suddenly rolling down the hill, a really long way.  That little dog chased it the entire way, barking with every step.  He could see that her mouth was still open every time her head rolled over.  His grin faded and his mouth dropped open, shocked.  The blood dripped off the end of the axe and onto Mrs.  Johnson’s body.  He nudged it gently with the toe of his boot and then looked around, feeling a little sick.  The head had finally stopped rolling and the dog was barking at it madly.  He looked down the hill and watched the dog drag the head off into the bushes.  He winced.  He looked back down the road and made a quick decision.  He rolled Mrs.  Johnson’s newly headless body to the side of the road and then wiped the blade of the axe off on her lovely sweater set.  He smiled his winning smile at her acephalous corpse in silent apology.

He really didn’t know what to do other than continue to Michelle’s.  It made the most sense.  She might know what to do.  She certainly knew more about murder than he did.  The more he thought about it as he continued his journey, his axe now at his side but still gripped firmly, the more he knew that best plan was to get to Michelle’s as quickly as possible.  Three blocks.  Just three blocks, turn right, turn left, then one block over.  Suddenly he felt conspicuous.  The day, although still bright and sunny felt dark and his bright smile felt twisted.  Everything felt twisted.  He summoned up a whistle but the sound was hollow and chilling to his own ears, sounding as if it came from another time and he froze.

A figure ran towards him, waving its hands frantically, one of them full of papers.  The figure’s face seemed to leer at him as he approached.  His left hand just reached over and joined his right, unbidden.  Together they hefted the axe and split Brad right up the middle.  He didn’t think it was possible.  Brad screamed a lot.  The flyers floated down, bright band flyers; the faces s