Larry kicked at the pile of leaves despondently. He hated this period. Halloween, or the sorry excuse the British made for Halloween, was over for another year, bonfire night had flown by in a flurry of bright lights, whizzes and bangs, and it was yooooooonks till Thanksgiving. Would they even celebrate it here? All he had now was the dragging dreary run-up to Christmas in this silly town with far too many syllables. Why couldn’t the English keep things simple? He wished he was back on Long Island, fall was much more fun there. Yeah it was cold and damp in November, just like Gloucester, but at least his friends were there to play with, and there was definitely a higher caliber of leaf in which to stomp out his prepubescent sulks. Urgh! Poop! All over his shoe! Larry was about to wipe it clean, when he had an idea….
It was Christmas Eve and Larry was again kicking his feet. This time, though, the leaves had all rotted away. The trees were bare, skeletal silhouettes against the slate grey winter sky. His mother cast a similarly dramatic outline in her black outfit and her fancy feathered fascinator, black lace concealing her tear stained face. His father stood straight and silent, his Vietnam general’s uniform almost bright amongst the black of the mourners. Only little Sammy was smiling, his dimples raising watery smiles which didn’t reach the eyes and faded as fast as the wintry afternoon speeding towards dusk.
Larry wasn’t listening to the priest, instead gazing out across the huge graveyard and wondering about all the bodies now interned there. He bet none of them had died of a rare breed of giant alien tapeworm crawling in their brain. He’d thought it would be a bit of a joke, haha - Casey ate Doo-doo stew! It was Mum’s fault really for trying to be a British housewife - where would you hide pooh in pizza, after all! He hadn’t expected this! A week later Casey had been gaunt and weak, and two days after that the migraines had started. A trip to the doctor and the reassurance that both the weight loss and headaches were probably hormonal. The next day though, Casey hadn’t woken up. The worm had worked fast, having pinched her breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week, the post mortem revealed that it had wriggled up into her cerebellum and eaten the bits of her brain necessary for movement and replaced them with its eggs. When they hatched, just a couple of days later, that was it. They found her in her hospital bed, maggoty worms working their way out of her eyes. The experts had advised incineration, of her, the sheets, and the bed. They had no precedent for this, and after emptying the ward, quarantining the other inhabitants, staff, and family for 10 days observation, and taking away a dozen or so hatchlings for analysis, the body had been burnt.
Larry’s attention returned to the scene, as Casey’s empty coffin was lowered into the hole, and he wondered if he might get away with dispatching Sammy so easily. Life might be much more interesting as an only child...