The Mower (Short Story)

“Excuses? You never have nothing but more pathetic fucking excuses!” His voice was rough, slurring from the alcohol, even though it was only one in the afternoon.

Bobby backed from the room, heading for the shed where they kept the mower. He knew his step dad wasn’t going to accept his reasons or ‘excuses.’ He wouldn’t care that Bobby was supposed to be at his graduation ceremony or that he’d planned on visiting his mom in the hospital afterwards. All his step dad knew was that on Saturdays, Bobby was supposed to mow the lawn.

Blinking back tears of frustration, Bobby fought with the lock on the decrepit shed door, finally breaking it loose enough to get out the old mower. The damn thing never seemed to want to start and when it did, it seemed to have a mind of its own.

Bobby wrestled it out into the heat of the yard. It was barely the end of May and the temperatures were always sweltering. He heard the back porch door slam and knew his step dad was coming out to follow up with more yelling, more criticizing.

Bobby just muttered under his breath, “I wish this stupid freaking mower would just run him over.” He pulled at the ancient cord, amazed that the thing didn’t just turn to dust in his hand. The mower coughed and belched out some black smoke. He yanked the cord again, tears threatening to spill over, ‘Damn it! Just START!”

“Bobby! Why aren’t you mowing yet, you useless lazy ass?” He heard his step dad laugh, that sick, twisted laugh that made Bobby’s skin crawl.

He yanked the cord again and nothing. He kicked the mower, “Start damn you! Make yourself useful!” He started to turn away when suddenly the mower sprang to life. Bobby practically jumped out of his skin. He looked at the mower, humming along like it was brand spanking new. Just as he touched the handle, before he could even push, the mower started moving.

Bobby shook his head, thinking he was surely imagining things. The mower was moving on its own accord and it was running in zig zag patterns across the yard.

“Bobby! What in the sam hell do you think you’re doing!” The mower kept going, Bobby keeping his hands on it, trying to steer it to no avail. “Damn it Bobby! You keep away from my gardens or you’re going to be sorry! Quit horsing around before I take my belt to you! I don’t care how big you think you are!”

The mower headed straight for his step dad’s pride and joy, his vegetable garden. Bobby yanked on the handle, trying desperately to turn the machine, “No, no, no, no! Not the garden! Oh god!” He was pulling with all of his might, but nothing was stopping that mower. He saw his step dad coming towards him and had to fight the urge to turn tail and run.

The mower seemed to speed up, right towards the garden. The motor got louder, he felt it hit the first edge of the stones that lined his step dad’s plants. Jerking back on the mower, he felt it give for a second, then it jerked forward, spilling Bobbly straight onto his backside.

“Damn it, Bobby! If you think your mother is hurting from last night, you just wait until I get ahold of you! I’ve listened to enough of her bitching and your useless whining. Stop that god damned mower right now!” Bobby watched as his step dad took a last swig from the bottle he was holding before he threw it aside.

The mower suddenly stilled. His step dad paused mid step, staring at the machine idling right at the edge of the garden. Bobby stared, scrambling backwards without even trying to stand up. Something was wrong here. There was something almost palpable in the air, and oily, creepy feeling something.

He saw his step dad reach for the handle of the mower just as the machine belched out another great cloud of black smoke. It lurched backwards, trapping his step dad’s foot under the edge of the body.

Bobby’s eyes went wide, his step dad screamed as his foot got trapped in the blades of the old machine. He thought for sure the mower would stop, but it just backed up with another jolt, knocking his step dad onto his back. The mower kept coming, like it was a death trap, monster, feeding on the flesh of his asshole step dad. Bobby felt the bile rise in his throat as he heard the crunch of bones in the blades of the monster machine with a mind of its own.

His stepdad’s screams cut through the fog of his mind, blood curdling screams as the mower blades ate away at his feet, his legs, tearing through the old denim, spraying blood all over his precious plants. The mower stopped as it reached his upper thighs, but by then Bobby knew it was too late.

The screams had died down to moans, whimpers, even. His step dad lay flat on his back, his face pasty white, his eyes nearly bulging out of his head. “Help me, son” he whispered.

Bobby stood and watched as the last bit of life drained from the man’s eyes. He couldn’t be sorry, not for this man who had abused him and his mother all these years. He didn’t feel bad at all, other than the fact that he felt like he should feel a bit of guilt because he didn’t feel bad.

He glanced down at his watch. He still had time to get to the hospital to see his mother before visiting hours were over. He wondered how she’d take the news. No matter about the house and the money. He was a graduate now, he was an adult. Bobby would take care of his mother and she wouldn’t have to worry about being beaten. Not ever again.

He stepped over the stream of blood that was gathering just outside of the little garden and whispered, “Thank you.”

The mower let loose a tiny little belch of smoke.

Things were going to be different now.


This is my freewrite for @mariannewest’s daily freewrite challenge. I went over my five minutes today 🙂

Photos 1, 2 & 3


NaNoWriMo Update: I took the day off yesterday because I had my grandsons all day for “Grandma Day” and today I spent the day baking and hanging with my other kids. I’m going to try to get in a couple thousand words yet tonight, but if not, I’m okay with that. I plan to do a big writing day tomorrow and Thursday. Hopefully I can hit 70,000 by this weekend!

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