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Uncle Eddie by Robert Crow

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Grace doesn’t understand why Mama always drags her to see her creepy Uncle Eddie. The victim of a horrific gunshot wound, Uncle Eddie is literally missing half of his brain. The devastating injury has left him near-catatonic, with only some basic motor functions and cognitive ability. But is there more to Uncle Eddie than meets the eye? As Grace will discover, not all ghosts are dead.

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Not all ghosts are dead.

Grace doesn’t understand why Mama always drags her to see her creepy Uncle Eddie. The victim of a horrific gunshot wound, Uncle Eddie is literally missing half of his brain. The devastating injury has left him near-catatonic, with only some basic motor functions and cognitive ability. His interaction with Grace is nothing more than mispronouncing her name and occasionally shedding a tear. So when Uncle Eddie gives her a cryptic warning seemingly out of the blue, she doesn’t know what to think. When his words prove prophetic, Grace begins to wonder if maybe there’s more going on behind her uncle’s disturbing eyes than anyone sees.

 


Uncle Eddie will also feature in the anthology, Restless, coming soon from Frith Books.

Robert’s Author Page

Additional information

Writer

Robert Crow

Read an excerpt


UNCLE EDDIE

© Robert Crow. All rights reserved.


Mama always just walked in the front door without knocking, and this time was no different. Mamaw Gina had Uncle Eddie by the arm, walking him back from the bathroom to his balding recliner in front of the TV, a cigarette hanging between her lips.

“Come on, now, Eddie, you’re getting sideways on me,” she said through the other side of her mouth.

could walk was a miracle, even if he needed help steering. His right foot wanted to follow his left one in a straight line instead of moving ahead like it was supposed to, and sometimes he couldn’t raise it all the way off the ground, so he’d pitch forward like an overloaded wheelbarrow. Mama hurried over to take his other arm, helping him sit down.

Mamaw Gina didn’t say nothing, just pulled the little handle on the recliner to prop his legs up before covering them with a blanket. Mama turned back and motioned Grace over from where she’d been hovering by the door.

the right side of his skull should have been. That or flick his ear where it stuck up into space above the fold on the side of his head, like the surprised survivor of an explosion in one of his cartoons.

Mama leaned over and kissed his cheek on the whole side.

“Eddie, Grace is here to see you,” she said, then turned and followed Mamaw Gina into the kitchen.

Slowly, Uncle Eddie’s head lawn-sprinklered around to point at Grace, his eyes still doing their wild dance. The corners of his mouth turned up in a shaky smile and he half-whispered her name, the best he was able to anyway.

“Gace.”

The right eye stopped its shaking and the pupil floated inward until it aimed at his nose, then jerked back to Grace and began its shuddering again, or at least the slightly more controlled version of it that happened when he really tried to focus on something.

“Gace,” he said again, and his smile faltered and disappeared.

Looney Tunes, and Wile E. Coyote was plotting and failing to catch the Roadrunner. Grace didn’t understand why this show appealed to her, since anyone who’d watched it for five minutes knew darn well that he would never catch that bird, but it made her giggle just the same.

She could hear Mama and Mamaw Gina talking in the kitchen, their voices low so as not to be heard.

“So they’re not going to put the plate in at all?” That was Mama.

“They said if the swelling ever stops, they can still try, but at this point it’s been five years and they done all they can and it still won’t stop. They said at this point, he’s done so well, they’re afraid it might do more harm than good.”

They were quiet for a minute, then Mamaw Gina spoke up again.

“What I want to know is when are you going to tell her?”

“I don’t know. Maybe never.”

“Emmy, that girl deserves to know.”

“I know, but I just don’t think she’s old enough yet.”

“What, are you gonna wait until the funeral?”

“That ain’t fair, Gina….”

“Grace,” said a man’s voice, deep and strong, freezing her and making her forget trying to decipher the code of Mama and Mamaw Gina’s kitchen conversation.

Every muscle in her body tensed up. Slowly she turned her head toward the sound of that voice, knowing there weren’t supposed to be any men in the house besides Uncle Eddie.

Her blood cooled fifteen degrees when she saw Uncle Eddie looking at her again, but not like ever before. His eyes weren’t doing their crazy jitterbug anymore. They were lasered in on her own, locking her into place. And his head… oh dear sweet Jesus, his head. The smooth line down the center of his scalp was gone, because his head was whole again.

“Don’t pet that dog, Grace,” he said, loud and crystal clear.

Grace jerked her gaze free from his and checked every direction, looking for some rabid, snarling dog, but she and Uncle Eddie were still the only two living creatures in the den.

Confused, she turned back to see Uncle Eddie staring at his cartoons again, as if nothing had happened, except… except she was sure she saw the soft side of his head suck in just a tad, like a balloon losing the very last of its air.

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