""Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed. Evil thoughts became my sole intimates-the darkest and most evil of thoughts.""
-Edgar Allan Poe, The Black Cat

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Based on Vamplit Publishing's Friday Flash Theme: Little Shop of Oddities

The speedometer on the 1974 Gremlin teeters between fifty and fifty-five as it makes its way down the lone highway toward the setting sun.  Cassie reaches out with her right hand and turns the radio volume up as high as it will go.  
“Seasons in the Sun, my favorite!”  She flicks through the overflowing ash tray and pulls out the tiny remnants of the Columbian Gold she spent half of last week’s pay on and pushes the lighter in and bounces her head from side to side.  "We had fun, yeah, yeah..." 
The Gremlin spats and sputters to a grinding halt.  Cassie looks at the darkening dashboard and watches the gas gage land on E.  With the last of the engine's momentum, she swerves off onto the right shoulder of the road and pulls the lighter out of its holder and presses the glowing tip against the singed joint.  “Thank God!”  
Cassie’s state of self-induced euphoria vanishes with the sudden surrounding thickness of black and she frantically searches for signs of hope through every window.  After searching hour by hour through the endless dark, she realizes her only hope is in the rising sun.    
Waking to a flickering light, Cassie holds her left hand in front of her face and sighs.  “Thank God, a police man.” She sits up and winds the window down. 
“Ya alright, Miss?”
 “Yes Sir, my car ran out of.” She pauses to catch her breath.
“Why I just live up the road a piece.  Be’d happy to give ya a lift.”   
“I. . . think I’ll wait until a police man comes by.”  
“Reckon, ya'd  be waiting a long time.  My mama made a big pot of stew tonight, if ya hungry.”  
Beyond the munchies, Cassie smiles and grabs her purse.  “I guess since your Mother went through all the trouble.”  
The truck makes a sharp left turn and the beam from the headlights shines across a freshly painted sign.  “Mr. Strange’s Shop of Weird Things.”  Cassie checks the lock on the door.  “You’re name is Mr. Strange?”  
He presses on the gas and throws his head back in a spine chilling laughter.  The truck bounces across the rough terrain and Cassie grasps at anything that resembles a door handle, but she soon realizes the only hope she has is that her death will be quick and painless.
The vibration of the hybrid engine blends with the surrounding silence of the lone highway as Jeremy drives toward the rising sun.  He reaches out with his right hand to adjust the angle of the GPS when his phone rings.  He pushes the handsfree option on the steering wheel instead.  “Ironside Realty.”
“Hey, Jeremy, heard you were coming back into town!  Wanna party tonight?”  
“No, Steve, I’m only back in town on business.   I don’t plan to hang around any longer than I have too.  You know how I feel about this place.”
“Yeah man, I know.  I just thought...”
“Steve, are you there?”  Jeremy taps the steering wheel and looks at the GPS.  “Shit, I lost all signals.”  
Familiar with the unchanged landscape Jeremy drives straight toward the blaring sun with only his memory as a guide.  He pulls the visor down and randomly selects a CD.  “Humm, Hits of the 70‘s.  Oh why not.”  He pushes it into the player and hits the play arrow and clicks the volume button on the underside of the steering wheel three times.    
“Seasons in the Sun, please, anything but that!”  He hits the seek button several times.  “Now that’s what I’m talking about.”  He clicks the volume switch up two notches and nods his head up and down to the beat of ‘Sundown’ by Gordon Lightfoot.
A tall tower of overgrown vines captures his attention and he slowly veers the car off to the right.  The leaves wiggle in the breeze and suddenly a gust of wind blows them open enough for him to read, “Mr. Strange’s Shop of...”  He makes a right turn onto the dirt path and follows it to the very end.
He waits before getting out to take in the sight of the abandoned building.  The shutters were rotted through, the winter winds blew all the roof shingles off and every window had a rock size hole in the middle.  The only thing untouched by time was the sign swinging over the front door.
“Mr. Strange’s Shop of Weird Things.”  He steps out onto the gravel driveway of overgrown dandelions and makes his way toward the door. 
He pushes through the remaining slats used to make the door and walks into the dust covered room.   Stuffed roadkill made to look like two headed rabbits, a unicorn deer, eight legged armadillo's and a rattle snake dog covered the walls.  Buckets lined the floor with tiny versions of the wall hangings. 

“Now that is strange, but not surprising.”
Jeremy makes his way down a small hallway, looking into the dilapidated kitchen, bedroom and bath.  He notices a door with a padlock around the handle.  “Oh, why not, no one lives here.”   He gives a shove with his right side.  “Crap that hurt.”  He stands back and lifts his right leg and kicks his foot hard against the aging wood.  
The door breaks wide open and he steps inside.  Covering his mouth, Jeremy hopes he’ll make it to the bath in time to add his breakfast to the filth covered toilet.   
He paces up and down the hall.   “What do I do...what do I do?” Unable to fight the urge, Jeremy slowly walks toward the door and again steps inside.  Stuffed roadkill made to look like a German Shepherd with human legs, skunks with human eyes, turtles with human hands, and the weirdest of all the oddities, a half bear, half human creation.
Jeremy walks closer to look at the decayed face.  “Cassie!”  
“Never did know her name.”
Jeremy spins around and splatters his remaining breakfast across Mr. Strange’s hatchet.  

Total word count: 1,000    


  1. Your best flash yet! Blaze loves this!

  2. Thanks Blaze, I quite enjoy too! :) I told Efi Loo the pawsome compliment..meow