(Late) Short Story Saturday: SMILE

           Because this is an eerie piece, I decided to not post it in the middle of the night on Saturday, and instead to do it on Sunday. Also, Part 2 of The Other Side is delayed so that I can do better planning. So here you are, my new short story SMILE

           It was going to be a good day. The sun was up and beaming in the very blue sky, the workday was over, and she was going back to her apartment to finally watch this Jessica Jones show that Sarah had been raving about. It was supposed to be very dark and realistic and grungy. That was basically her entire queue of shows anyway. As long as it stayed clearly in the realm of fiction, unlike that last weird show about serial killers that Sarah had talked about, she would be glued to her laptop for the night.

She walked along the bustling city street until she saw a cab coming. She raised her hand. The taxi stopped, thankfully, but not before someone walked by her, saying only one word:

“Smile.”

She was flustered. She’d heard it many times before, but it still annoyed her. Who was this person to tell her to smile? She had just come off of an exhausting day of work. She would smile if she wanted to, not because someone had told her to. And why was this command so common with men on the street anyway?

The person walked past, then turned so that part of his (or her, she wasn’t sure) face was partly visible. It was then that she noticed there was something odd about the person’s face. There wasn’t one. There were no clear eyes or nose, as though this person was a victim of a particularly bad burn.

But there was a mouth.

And as he stared at her, that mouth began to smile wider and wider… and wider… and… far too wide…

She nearly puked in her mouth.

“See?” the person asked.

She launched herself into the taxicab and slammed the door, exclaiming her address so fast that she was surprised the driver understood her. But the driver was not very quick about getting there, she thought. Maybe this was how fast they normally drove. But it did not seem fast enough to her.

When they finally arrived, she immediately rushed to the apartment. She quickly microwaved some popcorn and headed for the laptop. She was too flustered to do anything. She hoped Netflix would be some consolation. Probably not the time for dark and grungy, she thought. She found an old 90s sitcom and watched that until she fell asleep on the couch, no longer worried about the faceless person with the wide grin.

She awoke to a clatter in the kitchen. She sat up for a moment, doing nothing. That was partially due to her having just awoken. Secondly, she’d seen enough horror movies that she wasn’t sure if she actually wanted to go to the kitchen or not. And this certainly seemed to be turning out like one. She sat still for a while longer. The clatter came again.

She wouldn’t let herself be like this. It was pure paranoia over a disabled person with a large mouth. She walked over to the kitchen.

A mouse scuttled across her feet. She groaned. She had been paranoid, after all. She turned back towards the couch to see a faceless person staring back at her. He stared at her, only inches away, breathing heavily.

The smile widened again, wider and wider until it stretched back to where ears ought to have been. She could see red muscle above and below long, sharpened, shark-like teeth. A faint glow came from where eyes ought to have been. It brandished a knife, pressing it to the corner of her mouth. She breathed quickly as its face came closer and closer to hers. She began to sweat.

“I thought I told you…” it said in a deep, growling voice, “…to smile.”

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