KINDLE EDITION WILL BE FREE AGAIN ON WEDNESDAY 5/20/15
Publisher Sebastian Bendix
Published in Science Fiction & Fantasy
KINDLE EDITION WILL BE FREE AGAIN ON WEDNESDAY 5/20/15
Tired of living under mother's oppressive, cross-dressing demands, Andy finally summons the courage to take matters into his own murderous hands.But the day he kills mother also happens to be the same day as a global apocalypse, and Andy soon finds himself cast adrift in a sea of the flesh-hungry undead. Forging a fearsome identity for himself from the rag doll scraps of mother's Raggedy Ann collection, Andy takes to the streets of his small town armed with his trusty kitchen knife and fire-poker.
On his eighteenth birthday, he decided to kill mother. Enough was enough. He didn’t want to wear the clothes she laid out for him anymore; the dresses, the blouses, the frilly socks. The panties. For eighteen years he had lived under her roof and abided by her rules, but he was a big boy now. A man. It was time for him to make his mark on the world, and he started by jamming a screwdriver into the back of mother's neck.
Once the deed was done, he found himself at crossroads. Like a farm animal suddenly liberated from its cage, he was flummoxed by freedom. Where would he go? What would he do? What would he wear? As these questions plagued him, he began to feel his first pangs of regret. Maybe he had been too hasty to kill mother. Maybe he needed her guidance after all. His dreams of independence seemed to slip through the cracks, like mother’s blood through the weathered floorboards, retreating into the dark unknown.
But it was too early along life’s great journey to submit to despair! Mother had a saying, “First things first.” It was a saying he loathed – it always came up when Mother saw fit to wash his private areas raw in the tub. But now he understood its value; he must face these challenges one at a time. And as he stood there naked and soaked in blood, he resolved that the first thing to do was to fashion some proper clothing for himself. “Clothes make the man,” someone said to him once. Not mother of course, and not father – he had abandoned them long ago. No, the person who had given him this timeworn advice had been one of his teachers at school.
School. Now there was a place he truly despised.
That six room schoolhouse on Old Mill Road had been, for him, a place of never-ending ridicule and torment. And this was largely thanks to mother. Her penchant for dressing him as a girl brought an endless torrent of jeers and bullying, mostly from his male classmates. The teachers did what they were obligated to do, but he could tell that most of them would have been happy to turn another cheek. But as the years went on his appearance became old hat, and eventually the boys stopped their tormenting. Then Sally Myers came along.
Sally Myers was a pigtailed monster in patent leather shoes and baby doll dresses. On her first day of school (she had been a transfer student) he walked right up to her in the playground and held out his hand in friendship. Sally Myers looked aghast, mortified, and slapped his hand away. The other girls laughed and scooped up fistfuls of dirt, throwing them at him as they were prone to doing. But Sally took it a step further. She pushed him over, right into the dirt, and ground a patent leather shoe into the back of his head.
"Don't ever come near me again, Tranny Annie!" she said.
"Tranny Annie! Tranny Annie!" the other girls repeated in a chorus. And from then on, that was how he was known. Not just from Sally, but everyone. He had even heard some of the teachers whisper it as he passed, giggling amongst themselves.
One night, at the supper table, he asked mother what "Tranny" meant. She slapped him for it and sent him to his room without dessert.
He understood the "Annie" part of the taunt – the clothes he wore were fashioned to look like a Raggedy Ann doll, like the many mother kept around the house. Blue skirt, white apron, red and white striped socks. Mother even had him grow his hair out into pigtails, though his thin mousy locks were never red enough for her liking. He often begged her to dress him like Andy, Ann’s brother (or was it lover?), but mother wouldn’t have it. In her mind, the question of his gender had been settled, nature be damned. Raggedy Ann it was and forever shall be.
Until now. Now he had the freedom to dress however he pleased. If he wished to dress like Raggedy Andy, who would stop him? The very idea made him tingle. Why that’s exactly what he’d do! Dizzy with excitement, his path now laid out for him, he grabbed the nearest Andy doll and sat down at mother’s old sewing machine. He had spent many hours tethered to her side, watching her create his clothing, and had a pretty good understanding of how it all worked. Disrobing the doll, he studied its clothing like a builder going over blueprints.
This shouldn’t be too difficult, he determined. He went to the closet, gathered bundles of fabric and focused on the task at hand.
But his work proved to be more challenging than expected, and many attempts were scrapped as he labored through the days. So lost he was in his work that he did not notice the sounds of screaming and chaos outside his windows, the madness erupting in the streets of his sleepy rural town. There was neither television nor radio in the house – mother believed them to be evil – so the catastrophic events that were transforming the world outside had no bearing on his work. When he at last stood before the antique, freestanding mirror in his Raggedy Andy regalia, he hadn't the slightest clue that Hell had been unleashed upon the Earth.
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Sebastian Bendix is a Los Angeles based writer and musician, as well as host of midnight horror film series, Friday Night Frights. He attended school at Emerson College for creative writing and spent his formative years in Boston playing in popular local band The Ghost of Tony Gold. Upon moving to LA he transitioned back to writing, contributing articles for the entertainment site CHUD.com and the print publication Mean Magazine. Stepping into the world of horror fiction, Bendix has found success both online and in print with numerous stories published in the genre imprints Grinning Skull Press, Encounters Magazine, Sanitarium Magazine, Xchyler Publishing and noted podcast The Wicked Library. Bendix self-published his first horror/fantasy novel The Patchwork Girl in 2013, and his second novel, The Stronghold, is a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller that has been published and is available for order. Also an avid film lover, Bendix has a sci fi/horror script that has been optioned and is in development.