Sequel to The Monkey's Paw by Edgar Allen Poe (must read original story to understand)
The streetlamp had been there before even the only two houses nearby were built. The glass was cracked and the marble lost its shine, but it was lit up every night to help wandering people.
But on the same night the dead walked and a woman cried out for her lost son, it flickered.
It lit with a dark luminance unlike the old warmth from before. And if one was to look closely at the strange tendrils of fire on that night, they would have walked away confused, for they would have seen
* * *
Herbert White was sitting patiently by the chess table, his eyes downcast as he focused on the imaginary play he was going to make. The doorbell rang in the empty silence but he did not move.
"Just come in!" he called out. By the door, an aged, tall, burly man entered with sullen steps. He looked pitifully at the sight before him.
Mr. White nodded. "Sergeant-Major Morris," he said, emphasizing each word sarcastically and didn't make any motion to stand up.
Sergeant-Major Morris heaved a deep sigh and sat himself down on the other side of the chessboard. For a few moments, there wasn't a peep as Morris waited and Mr. White concentrated.
Finally, Morris rumbled, "Why have you called me here?"
"I think you know fully why you're here," Mr. White retorted back, and without a sweeping glance, he threw the monkey's paw onto the chessboard. Morris paled and started to quiver.
"You know," Mr. White continued on, "my son and I used to compete against each other on this very chessboard. And he ALWAYS won." He chuckled a raspy laugh and started to stand up. "Such a smart young fellow
" Suddenly, he grasped the Monkey's Paw and flung it with full force at his opponent. "UNTIL YOU DESTROYED HIM!"
Years of being in the military had hardened him with lightning instincts and the sergeant-major caught it with ease. He barely managed to whisper, "I didn't know it would happen
He scoffed rudely and started around the table. "You knew. YOU KNEW!" he pointed out.
"I had warned you
" he whispered.
"NO! Why did you show us this thing in the first place?" Mr. White hovered around him like a vulture, waiting for the kill.
"Just stop," his voice growing louder and angrier.
"You have no right to say that! You ruined my family-"
"JUST STOP! I wish you would listen!" Morris yelled out and the monkey's paw, which was held in his hand the whole time, writhed like a snake and granted his wish.
* * *
Sergeant-Major Morris froze as he realized what had happened. He turned slowly towards Herbert White to see what had happened. Mr. White stood still, sensing a change. He gazed back and tried to say something, but he could not speak. He tried to move forward, but could not. He tried to give one final glance, but fell to the ground motionless. All he could do was listen. The sergeant was stunned. All he could think was What have I done? His mind raced drastically and dangling the talisman, he threw it into the burning fire.
"Tut, tut. That isn't going to work you know."
He gazed at the fire where he threw the talisman and a face lied there: a monkey's face.
"You're pretty special, you know. To have gotten four wishes. Who knows? Maybe you can have five wishes, six, maybe infinite. Just make another wish."
He stared at the monkey's paw lying in the corner of the fire, curling up from the heat.
But he knew that more wishes was worthless, no matter what he got. That Herbert White would still be motionless on the ground and more lives would be lost. So he watched by as the monkey's paw crumbled away.
The voice resonated again. "You know, maybe you can change your fate. Just maybe, since you actually have some common sense, I'll help out a little."
And the monkey's face died away along with the paw.
* * *
Sergeant Major-Morris walked out into the open countryside. Herbert White had begun to stir and somehow the old soldier knew he was going to be okay. He probably wouldn't want to see him anymore but everything was going to be okay. As he trodded down the path, he took a deep breath, filling more vigorous and younger than ever. If he survived a cursed monkey's paw, life was going to be a piece of cake.
* * *
Meanwhile someone moved toward the house. He ran hurriedly on the path, bits of dirt falling of his hair and clothes. He moved with a purpose that many didn't have.
Down the path, past the streetlamp, and towards the house where everything began.
* * *
Herbert White moved the knight on the chessboard, waiting for an opponent who'll never return back. His wife stared past at the burning fire in the hearth, her skin pale and clammy despite the warmth. They waited there, not entirely sure what they were waiting for. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Husband and wife glanced at each other. No one sane enough would want to come back here. Nevertheless, Mrs. White sat up and opened the door. Suddenly, she cried out and burst into tears.
Startled, Herbert White raced over and saw a young man at the door. The young man turned toward him and smiled a toothy grin. "Hi Dad."
And Mr. White cried with tears of joy and fell into his family's arms.
Behind them in the hearth, the monkey smiled.