“Nobody’s seen The Smiths for weeks,” Jon told Rich on their walk home from school. “My mom said they moved, but at night I can see blue flickering, like a TV is on in there. Nobody moves and doesn’t take their TV.”
“True.” Rich feigned interest. They’d been friends since Kindergarten. Jon had always been into conspiracy theories.
“So I think we should go over there. I think something happened to them. What if they got abducted or died?”
“Jon, I’m not breaking into your neighbor’s house with you and getting arrested,” Rich told his friend.
“Okay so the legalities of it are a bit of a grey area, but once we solve the mystery we’ll be celebrated.” Jon stopped on the sidewalk, putting his balled up fists on his hips and puffing his chest out like he was posing for a Superman poster.
“Yeah, or we’ll be arrested and never graduate high school.”
Jon deflated and rolled his eyes. “Are you still coming to sleep over tonight? I’ll prove it to you.”
“Sure, whatever. See you tonight.”
“See? Look. Right there in the living room.” Jonathan had his eyes squinted against a pair of binoculars. He handed them to Rich.
“Huh.” Rich thought Jon was seeing things, but there it was. The tell-tale blue flickering of a television. Could Jon be right?
“Let’s just go look. Just for a second. A tiny peek.” Jon pleaded.
“Alright fine but we’re not breaking in,” Rich scolded.
The boys crossed the threshold between houses and poked their heads slowly up over the window ledge. They saw a television set to a station playing some soap opera. Wherever Jon’s neighbors were, they certainly hadn’t moved house. The place looked filled with furniture.
“They must be home.” Rich was saying. He looked toward Jon but his friend had vanished. “Jon? Jon!” He whispered into the dark.
“Over here!” Jon whispered from around the corner of the house. He was at the front door.
“Shit. I said no breaking in!” as Rich rounded the corner, Jon had turned the knob of the front door.
“It’s open.” Jon’s eyes were wide as he entered the house.
What hit them first was the smell, like soured fruit. Next came the buzzing of flies and what sounded like whispering.
“We shouldn’t be here Jon. Let’s go.” Rich reached for Jon’s arm, but he was already walking toward his neighbors kitchen. Rich followed, covering his nose from the smell.
Ahead a few paces, Jon gasped and as Rich caught up, he understood why. There were Mr. and Mrs. Smith, sitting at the table. Their faces were turned toward the ceiling in matching purple grimaces, their mouths gaping, their throats bulging with… was that fruit he could see sticking from their mouths? The whispering they’d heard stopped abruptly as they entered the room. The boys screamed as an apple rolled from the table and fell on the floor. Rich couldn’t peel his eyes away from the Smiths. He looked closer. Their eyes had been gouged out and replaced with grapes. Banana peels draped from their mouths. Their faces were morbid fruit salads.
The boys backed away from the ghastly scene.
“Don’t leave. You’ve only just joined us!” A tiny voice, inhuman, from under the table. The boys looked down and saw a small brown creature dragging itself from beneath the stained and disheveled tablecloth. It was a slimy, rotten banana dragging itself with sections of peel that had been pulled away from a hollow-eyed face that seemed to be sneering at them.
More movement came from the floor, the counters, cupboards, and even the mouths of the Smiths. A shriveled apple rolled toward them, a section cut away to reveal a mouth, screaming their names in a shrill voice. An orange, with a blue furry spot that blinked open into an eyeball, watched them from the darkness of a cupboard. There were thousands of voices. The room was alive with them. Panicked, they turned to run but the rotten fruit moved quickly. Jon stepped backward into a watermelon that collapsed in on itself. Its insides looked like blood. Rich slipped on a banana peel. As the two tumbled to the ground, they felt the fruit slurping over their bodies toward their mouth. The last thing Rich remembered before passing out was his first taste of wine sliding down his throat as thick fermenting grapes cut off his breath.