New Flash – The Question

I like painting creepy, weird little scenes and this one made me smile. Sort of a Supernatural/Pulp Fiction taste in my opinion. Have a look at a little bit of flash fiction I like to call…

 

The Question

The cherry glowed red at the end of the cigarette pursed in her lips as we rode in silence through the long night. Smoke snaked lazily from her nose, coiled around her head in a gray halo made green by the radio dial glowing from the console in between us. Her window was down but still the smoke clung to the inside of the car as if it were afraid of the darkness that surrounded us as we drove. It had been a long day, an even longer night now that we were struggling to make it through the long expanse of rocky, backwoods roads between Nashville and home. We could have taken the interstate but neither of us relished making it back any time soon.

 

“What do you think happens,” she asked meekly, breaking the silence with her demure, almost childlike voice. “When we go, you know?”

 

“Above my pay grade,” I said, struggling to keep my eyes open. I’d been up for two days straight. “I try not to think about it.”

 

“Yeah, sure, I guess I understand that but, still, don’t you just ever wonder?”

 

“Wonder what?”

 

“What it’s like,” she said. “What happens when it all shuts down?”

 

“I know what happens,” I told her, trying not to laugh. “Your body gets cold and stiff, you shit yourself and they put you in a box.”

 

She was glaring at me. I could feel her eyes burning a hole through me in the darkness, could hear the angry thoughts coursing through her mind as she processed my response.

 

“I don’t know,” I offered apologetically. “Maybe there’s something better. Maybe there ain’t. Maybe we just go to sleep and never even realize that we’re dead until the dream ends and we’re left with nothing. You know, kind of like sitting through the end of a movie and waiting for the credits to finish rolling. You never know if they’re going to throw something in at the end or if the screen’s going to be blank ’til it happens.”

 

She laughed.

 

“That’s the stupidest damned thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” she said through her chuckling fit.

 

“Okay, smart aleck, why don’t you share your insight into the matter, then?”

 

I regretted it the minute the words left my lips. A devilish, troublesome grin I’d seen so many times before curled her ruby lips as she flicked the last of her smoke out into the night. The cherry sparked and splintered into a dozen red embers that were quickly swallowed by the blackness.

 

“Pull over and I’ll show you,” she said, matter-of-factly.

 

“No,” I said. I’d seen this show before. “I’m too tired for this crap tonight.”

 

“Please,” she pleaded. I couldn’t say no to her. I was a sucker that way.

 

The car bumped and grumbled as we pulled off onto the shoulder and then further into the grass and trees. Last thing I wanted was anyone passing by and seeing us. I popped the trunk release then grabbed her by the wrist. She looked up at me from the passenger seat with wild, giddy glee in her dark eyes.

 

“Two minutes,” I said. “And nothing crazy this time.”

 

She nodded and ran to the trunk. I shook my head and joined her.

 

The body was wrapped up in a sheet and bound tight in four or five places with rope. There was some blood from the gut wound still seeping out on the white linen. I hated this. Without a word she reached into her pocket and pulled out a silver chain. At the end of the chain was a medallion with a nine pointed star with a serpent eating its own tail wrapped around it. She started babbling some pig latin ancient tongue I never felt comfortable learning and then pressed the medallion to the part of the sheets where the head was. The body wrapped inside began to jump and wriggle, then settled down. The head moved from side to side as if it were looking for something. That’s when the screaming started.

 

It wasn’t the scream of a man in pain or fear but something worse, like metal scraping metal as a bridge collapse or cars collide. It was the scream of something incomprehensibly evil trying to force itself into a world that didn’t want it through a conduit that, in life or death, could never hope to accommodate it. Blood began to gush from every orifice and wound in the body, saturated the white linen until it was a soggy cherry.

 

I couldn’t take it any longer. I snatched the medallion out of her fist with one hand and slammed the trunk with the other. The screaming stopped.

 

“Every time,” I said, glaring at her. “Every damned time.”

 

“One day, someone’s going to come back long enough to answer the question,” she argued as we got back into the car.

 

“Unless he’s coming back to give me the winning powerball numbers I don’t give a damn,” I told her as we took off down the road. “It’s above my pay grade and I don’t want to know. Let’s just get that thing home and get some sleep. Boss man will want it fresh.”

 

Again there was silence. She lit another smoke and blew a cloud through her nostrils that swirled angrily across the center console and into my face. I coughed. She laughed.

 

“And so you know,” I said with out ever looking at her. “You’re cleaning that shit out of my trunk tonight.”

 

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About Danno

Dan Lee is a horror fiction fiend, freelance writer and photographer living in the outer edge of a large, southern metropolis. His stories, articles, and photos have been featured in several ‘zines and websites and his fiction and other prose continues to be developed through this blog.
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