MTO Sean Seebach

It’s funny, the things you do, not because you don’t have the mettle or even the will, but because you’ve had your quota of annoying conversations, and when a man gets home from working a 12+ hour shift at Aldi, he’s plumb out of energy.

Enter Sean’s neighbor, Harold. Ensconced on a folding chair in the shade of his man-cave garage, Harold spied Sean taking his kids for a walk. It had been a grueling day at the store, but a good dad, no matter how weary, spent his remaining energy giving his kids a smile.

A normal person would wave, maybe say what a scorcher day it had been. Not Harold.

“Hey, you don’t happen to have a chain saw, do you, Sean?”

“Actually, I do.” (He’d been using it just last week. Certainly Harold saw, or heard.) “Come by and get it any time,” Sean said.

“You can bring it over now. You’re already out.”

And you’re…where?

Many non-complementary adjectives and some dirty nouns crossed Sean’s mind. He could’ve told Harold to grab the chainsaw himself, that he (obviously) was already engaged in a walk with his kids…Or Sean could just get the chainsaw and keep the peace. The guy was old.

Sean got the chainsaw.

Some weeks later, Harold decided the two of them ought to go rabbit hunting. Harold became more of a pain. Sean put it off as long as he could. Harold pulled the I’m-not-going-to-be-alive-much-longer card. The this-is-my-legacy card. The my-son-won’t-speak-to-me (I wonder why?) card. He lamented that his bucket list had rabbit hunting at the top.

Which was how Sean found himself in rural Ohio balancing a 20-gauge shotgun on the trunk of a fallen oak tree. Harold was beside him with a .22 rifle. Both wore blazing orange safety vests and thick, tick-stopping clothing that melted Sean. Harold had a pistol strapped to his belt as well.

“You expecting trouble?” Sean joked.

“You gonna give me any?” Harold didn’t smile. At first. Then, when Sean’s face screwed up in confusion, Harold burst out laughing, probably scaring every rabbit, squirrel, chipmunk, and mole within a mile radius.

Finally, a rabbit. Long ears. Exquisite. Sean had it in his sights.

“Take him,” Harold uged.

How he knew it was him, was anyone’s guess. Maybe that’s what gave Sean pause, the him. Regardless, Sean wanted to watch the creature. He smiled at the wary, timid hops and the fluffy tail. He’d read Watership Down, thanks to Stephen King, and he couldn’t help but murmur, “Hazel-rah.” The rah after Hazel’s name an honorary title given later in the rabbit’s life. It meant lord, and Hazel was a reluctant but great leader. Sean’s own managerial style was informed by Hazel. He’d ask himself: How would Hazel handle this situation? And then he’d do it. No way was Sean shooting Hazel-rah.

Harold nudged him. “What are you waiting for? He’s right there.”

Sean narrowed his eyes. He was tired of Harold. “I don’t want to.”

Harold swung his .22 around. The black barrel was inches from Sean’s face.

“Are you insane?” Sean asked. Bad, bad rhetorical question.

Harold chuckled. “Shoot that sonvabitch, you yellow-belly.”

It wasn’t a difficult decision. Him…or the rabbit. Still, Sean had a rebellious streak that was just strong enough to make him pause, finger on the trigger.

“I mean it. You’ll be sorry,” Harold threatened.

Sean took a deep breath. Closed his eyes. Harold wouldn’t hurt him. Would he? He swung the shotgun way off and took a shot. It was so wide, the rabbit bounded a few times and came to a stop beneath a hemlock tree, hardly startled.

Out of the corner of his eye, Sean saw deft, unexpected movement. Harold dropped the .22 into the grass and drew the pistol. Sean put up his hands in a vain attempt to protect himself.


Harold laughed. “That there rabbit’s been turned to confetti.”

Sean rose. Started off without a word. Harold had driven them there, but Sean didn’t care. He was out.

“Uh uh,” Harold shot another round, a warning. “We’re still hunting, me ‘n you.”

Sean turned, slowly. Both hands up, one holding his shotgun.

Even before he was done turning, Harold squeezed off another round, tearing off half of Sean’s right hand and neatly bringing the shotgun to the ground.

“I’ve been waiting my whole life for this,” Harold said, “Now, get yerself along. I’ll give you till I recite the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ of this great country of ours. Then I’m coming for you.”

True: Sean had a rabbit in his sights and did not take the shot. I, for one, am glad. I love animals. Just ask my husband how I scream when squirrels get too close to the road. He loves that. It doesn’t bother his heart or blood pressure at all when I scream unexpectedly while he’s driving.

Also true: Sean is a fellow horror writer I met through HWA. You can find his amazing work here.

Want your own MTO Horror? A new horror every Wednesday. It only takes a minute. Go HERE if you dare.

6 thoughts on “MTO Sean Seebach

    1. I know it’s a trope that’s been done exhaustively, but Sean wanted a horrible ending. As I was talking with my husband about it, we came up with the idea that a truly unexpected ending would’ve been for Harold to molest or worse…or to just be silly-in-love with him. I’m thinking of the character in American Beauty and the surprise of his attraction for another man. If you haven’t seen it, do. If you have, tell me what you think.

      1. Lol that would have been a riot. Pointing the shotgun at him and telling him to take off his clothes. The in love angle would have been great too. Confessing his feelings and then shooting him when the affection isn’t reciprocated. I’ve seen American Beauty two or three times. Repressed sexuality making someone crude and vulgar is now a common theme, but back then it wasn’t. The ending was unexpected. I didn’t think unrequited love would lead to murder, but it did. The movie explored so much from ennui to conformity to anguish.

    1. I have a ton of fun with these! I equate it to throwing lots of ceramic pots. You know that experiment where artists were put into two groups: one was told to make one perfect pot, and the other was told to make as many as possible. The group that made the most beautiful pot (can this even be measured?) was supposedly the group that threw lots of pots and wasn’t paralyzed by perfection. Here, my many ceramic pots. 🙂

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