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The last time I had seen the mole, he was face-first at the bottom of a goddamn ditch. That was, of course, before I buried his ass in dirt and planted a single tulip on the mound.

“That outta keep those fat two-lips from flappin’,” I chuckled to myself, patting the brown pile with the back of an old, rickety shovel. It was a stupid joke, really, but at the time, I thought it was funny as hell.

Rest assured: I’m not laughing now.

Thefrigginmole

The poor bastard who was supposed to be six-foot under’s name was Arnold “Arnie” Reynolds—a soft-spoken son of a bitch with the beadiest eyes you’d ever seen, which made him look like a hamster on coke. And it was coke—the family’s, shall we say, stuff of choice—stuff we liked to jokingly refer to as soda—that prompted Arnie to petition for adoption into our little crew. Not by his own accord, of course. ‘Cause Arnie Reynolds was a goddamn mole. A pretty bad one at that, but a mole nonetheless.

I was surprised at how terrible he was at it. Really, I was. I mean, of all people, I thought I would’ve been the last person on earth that Arnie would’ve left his dear ol’ wife alone with.

And I was. The last person.

Perhaps I ill-assumed Arnie’s mistrust of us—the family, that is, ‘specially me and Ma and Rocko and Sam—because of our mistrust of him. Mistrust, I might add, that was completely justified and proven—proven when we discovered that he was a goddam lil’ mole working for the piggies.

It was like we were dealin’ with the whole friggin’ barnyard.

“I’m tellin’ ya, Rocko,” I said, stirring some Rye into my morning coffee, “he’s a goddamn mole.”

“Arnie? A plant?” Rocko said with arms crossed from across me at the table. Rocko was the muscle of the family and very protective of Ma ever since her husband, the Don, croaked. Despite his rather hulking appearance, he didn’t have the highest body count (that belonged to me) nor the highest IQ. Nevertheless, he was family.

“Yeah, Rock,” I said, lifting the warm mug to my lips and taking a swig, “I think he’s a pig.”

“What makes you say that?”

“The other day. Me and Sam were having some soda-”

“So?” Rocko interrupted.

“I’m gettin’ there. Arnie comes in. He starts talkin’ to the both of us. And you know what he says?”

“What?”

“He calls it ‘crack’.”

“So?”

“So, what friggin’ guys you know of call the stuff ‘crack’? The only guys I’ve ever heard call it ‘crack’ were the goddam piggies.”

“I don’t know, man,” Rocko said, “doesn’t mean he’s a cop. You think everybody’s a cop.”

“I do not,” I said, biting off a hangnail and taking another warm gulp.

“Yeah, you do,” Rocko said, “you think everybody’s out to get ya. You must got one of them ‘guilty consciences’ from all your whackin’.”

“Nah,” I shook, “I just don’t like moles, alright? And I just need to find out if he is one.”

“How?”

I thought about my plan and grinned, “You’re taking Ma to that ballet tonight.”

“And?”

“Take him. Tell him you got a spare ticket. And I’ll take his wife out.”

And, believe me, I took her out.

“It’s ‘bout…a mile or so on the left,” I said, “big ol’ clearing in the trees, can’t miss it.” I flicked my cigarette ash out the window as the car sped down the one-lane road. The sign we zipped past a good five minutes ago read fifty-five, but he was doing well over eighty.

“If she’s dead, I swear to God, Pitty-”

“Goin’ a bit fast for being a cop,” I said with a cheeky grin, biting down a little too harshly onto the cig and tasting the rich flavor of tobacco smearing against my tongue. See, Arnie was stupid enough to give us his real name. Or at least the alias the pigs told ‘em to use. Either way, we found out who he really was pretty fast. But he never figured out me. Nope. He only knew me as Pitmaster—called me Pitty. Bernie “The Pitmaster” Demarco, ‘cause I sure knew how to smoke ‘em.

“You’re breaking your own law,” I said. “And you’re not even wearing a seat belt-”

“It’s not my law, man,” Arnie said, his voice weighed down with worry, “I was just doing my job.”

“And I’m just doing mine,” I said, narrowly staring down the man whose eyes were glued to the abandoned street. They began filling with the salty tears I had seen all too often, and I rolled mine.

“She had nothing to do with this,” he said, “nothing.”

I chuckled morbidly in my throat.

“Y’know what the funny part is, Arnie?” I asked. The man shook his head, eyes still focused on the road, headlights and moonlight indistinguishable from one another, the turn quickly approaching on the left. “The only thing she had to do with this…was marrying you.”

He sniffled and sniffed the cool nightly breeze that jetted through the open windows before wiping a warm tear from his smudged and reddened cheek.

“Is this all one big, sick game to you? Our lives? Your life?”

I thought about his question. And it was on the subject of games that I remembered that I was about to whack a mole. I throatily laughed and coughed and nodded at ol’ Arnie. He firmly pressed down on the brake and turned the wheel, simultaneously turning to face me, with his demeanor robbed of its sadness and filled with pure, visceral malice.

“So…are you winning?”

We pulled up to the dirt mound as Arnie leaped from the driver’s seat, rushing to the trunk and grabbing, from within it, the old, withered shovel that I had told him to bring along. I slinked out of the passenger’s seat and meandered my way to the front of his car, which was a crappy ol’ Honda Civic with headlights about as bright as the mole himself—which wasn’t very. He met me in front of the hood but didn’t make eye contact as, instead, his eyes widened at the sight of the dirt pile that, he thought, might’ve been final the resting place of his precious ball-and-chain.

“Oh, Barb,” he cried, “forgive me, baby.” He hesitantly approached the small mountain of dirt with the shovel dragging behind him and froze in his tracks. I assume he had something on his mind but was either too afraid or too confused to speak it. I laughed, real hardily-like.

“Did you really think that shovel was for digging up?” I smirked, shaking my head an obvious ‘no’. He turned from me to face the hole that lay just beyond the mound. It was deep, a good seven to ten feet—which was hell to dig, but the look on his face told me my efforts were well worth the trouble.

“Is…she down there, too?” he gasped, staring down into the void.

“Y’know,” I said, twisting the silencer onto my nine-millimeter and raising it to the back of his head, “I don’t think I’d tell you either way.”

Before he had time to turn around, I popped the son of a bitch, and his body flopped over into the pit with a loud, yet delayed, thud. I took a few steps and peered over the jagged edge as I watched the blood ooze from his face, which was flat against the earth. A fitting end for a bastard as ugly as he was.

The next hour or so I spent covering up the body. When it was all said and done, I planted that little tulip and said my goodbyes, which meant I spat onto the ground and turned for my new ride—though not one I was enthusiastic about. Thankfully, the Civic would wind up in a nearby creek about an hour later, and I’d never again have to see that miserable piece of shit.

And I thought the same could be said for Arnie.

It was two in the friggin’ morning before I finally got tired. Coke will do that do you. I had to swallow a couple shots of Templeton Rye just to rest my bloodshot eyes, as a matter of fact. I was deliberating whether I should crash on the couch or attempt to make it to the bedroom when my eyes caught something outside. It was just beyond the yard. I could see it through the window—a good fifty feet or so away and standing upright just beyond the pale glow of the overhanging streetlamp.

I leaned toward the glass and pried the blinders apart. I must’ve had too much soda, I thought, because the shape I saw was most definitely that of a man’s—with a lanky stature and a head that was stretched out to multiple pointed tips like a Christmas star.

It was when he stepped forward into the harsh, overhead light that I realized who exactly it was: Arnie friggin’ Reynolds—although, somehow, he was uglier than before, with a gaping hole straight through his face and skin peeled back in every direction like a star-nosed, goddamn mole. And though he didn’t have eyes anymore, I could tell he was looking straight at me.

He began to trudge forward as the dirt shuffled off his shoulders, forming a trail that, for a moment, resembled the track of coke I had huffed not even three hours prior. And thinking about the soda reminded me that what I was seeing could’ve merely been my imagination—a sick hallucination. Coke will do that, too. Hell, I could’ve been passed out on the couch and dreaming the whole ordeal for all I knew.

But it was when the doorbell finally rang, all too audibly to be in my head, that I realized that it wasn’t the drugs.

Shit. Goddamn mole came outta the ground for me.

I assumed he was saying something when I opened the door—which was probably not a good idea, but I figured if he made it that far, he’d get in somehow. He didn’t talk, but there was blood and shit spewing outta where his mouth oughta be, like a gurgling Gerber baby, though far less cute. I thought I was gonna retch right there on the carpet from the mere sight of him, but I was too afraid to look anywhere else and take my eyes off him.

He gripped me by the shoulder and shoved me toward the door. There wasn’t much I could do. I still thought I was sleeping on the couch. Hell, I slapped myself silly all the way to the car, but the only thing that got me was a red cheek and an even bigger headache.

And that wasn’t so silly. But I did have a good chuckle when I finally noticed the freshly plucked tulip sticking outta his breast pocket.

I turned the key as he eyelessly watched from the passenger’s seat, blood and shit leaking all over the leather.

“I just cleaned that, dammit,” I said, rolling my eyes—they nearly rolled into the back of my head. The mole gurgled some more at me, and I slurred an intelligible insult back, then floored it outta the drive and down the street. The sign read fifty-five. I was doing a hundred. And then the mole sputtered and gurgled some more.

What?” I snapped, “I didn’t say anything.” He kept burbling and reaching out for me. I shuddered at myself in the mirror.

“Oh,” I said, pressing down on the brake with a lead foot and pulling my seatbelt across my chest until it clicked, “happy now?”

We pulled into the spot again—the same dirt mound where the hole used to be. I stepped outta my car, the grass crunching beneath my slippers like brittle until the sound of the passenger’s side door slamming shut jolted me to a semi-sober state. The mole turned to face me with his lack of a face and pointed to the ground—the mound.

“What?” I asked of him, begged, pleaded, “What?”

He just kept pointing, no expression to be read within the hole through his head. I turned to face the pile and began sifting through the tall, dead grass surrounding the tiny hill with my eyes until the cold, hard steel silencer of a nine-millimeter pressed against my temple. I froze.

I am frozen.

Not just because there’s a gun against my head, but because that mound of dirt is undisturbed.

And that damn lil’ tulip is still stickin’ outta it.



Written by MakRalston
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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