I am at church. It’s very dark and I am waiting for the music to begin. I know a lot of people there and I feel like my family is there. I am looking for a place to sit with someone who reminds me of my sister, but it isn’t her. There is an empty row of seats but she chooses a seat between a couple of people. I feel uncomfortable sitting next to people when there are empty seats right behind where she has chosen. Following her lead, I begin to sit but I notice there is a beige sweater draped over the back of the chair next to an older lady with gray hair signifying the seat is being held. I asked the woman if the seat was being held and she said yes, but she will move over one seat so I can sit there with my sister. I feel bad because now she is sitting at the end and is having trouble seeing the screen. I ask her if she can see and she says not very well. I tell my “sister” that we should move back so this woman can have her seat back. We move to the very back of the church and my mom and dad are sitting across the aisle. They seem indifferent about being there. They seem like they’re supporting that I want them there but they don’t really want to be there. My dad wants to say something rude. He doesn’t. The pastor comes up and begins to speak, about what I don’t know. My friend Aimee is there now and she is complaining about needing a massage. I tell her that there is a massage chair in the Celebrate Recovery room and after the service I will take her there. I am wondering where Ezekiel is. Melanie comes into the main service area but she looks like Aimee’s sister Heather, and I ask her how she got out of class without Theresa coming to get her? She said they just let her go. I start worrying that they let Ezekiel go too and maybe he is wandering the church. I get up to start looking for him. I am looking in dark rooms and asking people where he could have gone. Someone warns that he may have been taken into one of the pastor’s living quarters. I find the room, go inside and I hear the shower running. I start to open the door to the bathroom thinking he is in the shower with the pator. I am worried that he is in the shower with the pastor and as I start opening the door I shut it immediately assuring myself that he wouldn’t be in the shower with a grown man. Aimee is in the room again wearing a yellow sweater. I mention the color of her sweater and she says of course it’s yellow. As if there were any other color in her wardrobe. She is asking about the chair I was telling her about. I forget about Ezekiel and bring her to the room. I can hear the congregation speaking to the pastor in a mumble I can’t distinguish any specific conversation. The chair is not what I remember. It is large and has a lot of buttons and I’m starting to wonder if it actually has the kneading properties I had told her about. She lays down on the chair and I start pressing buttons. The chair shifts from supine to an upright position. She is very uncomfortable but I keep assuring her that it’s great it feels so good, but I am thinking about how I’ve never actually used it so I don’t really know what to expect. She finally says she doesn’t like what the chair is doing, so I change the setting. She is then suspended in the chair hanging by chains and begins swinging back and fourth. Rising up and coming down. We are outside now, but she is still attached to the chair. She doesn’t look like Aimee anymore. She looks like a monster. Dressed in all white, long hair. Reminds me of Skrillex but her face is just a mouth with lots of teeth. She swings around and the chains lower enough to lay her on the ground. The sun burns half her body and she is half ashes. The machine lifts her again and now there is an audience growing to watch her. She swings so hard that she wraps around a bar that the chains were attached to. Seven times. My mom is there and mentions that she flipped around seven times and didn’t even seem like she felt it. When the machine decided to release her she still looked like a Skrillex monster and she mentions she felt every whip around the bar and never felt so amazing. Everyeone is suddenly assembled and Aimee is in her yellow sweater again. We are looking for the car. I am holding hands with Aimee. My cousin Jusin seems to be there and I am worried about him not having any work. I am excited to show Aimee my new car. She sees it from a distance and notices the tires on the driver side are missing. She asks how we are going to drive with only two wheels? We get closer to the car and realize it isn’t my car but feel bad for who ever’s car it is becaue it has been vandalized. We are suddenly in my car and Justin is driving. I am not sure who else is in the car. I am telling him Sprouts is hiring and I know someone who works there so maybe I could put a good word in for him. He seems interested but indifferent.
This is my first attempt at Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge, from his blog. We picked a title from a random title generator he provided. I haven’t written since I was, like, seven… So, I think it’s a pretty dumb story… I look forward to, hopefully, getting better.
The Madman that Should Not Ride
“Faster!” He yelled. “You’re not going fast enough!”
I glared into the rear view mirror back at him, cringing at his mouthful of teeth, “If we go any faster the fucking thing is going to fall apart! Why the fuck did you chose a 1948 Ford De Lux for our get away car?!”
He didn’t answer, but the “Greased Lightning” scene from Grease flashed into my head. I sighed.
This hunk of metal was pre-Greased Lightning, the tires were wobbly, the exhaust was puffing something blue and the whole vehicle was not made for this kind of speed. The upgrades were created by his mind, and even though he was not a very good judge in the host, it was a pretty sweet ride. I don’t know much about Max’s abilities. So far I have seen him teleport from one place to another, and manifest hemis on old cars. We met a few weeks ago at a survivor’s meeting, and decided to survive together. Non-romantically.
“It’s gaining on us! You have to go faster! Let me drive!” He closed his eyes and in an instant I was in the back seat, and he was at the wheel.
“Dude! I fucking hate it when you do that. You can’t fucking do that!” The car was really shaking now, and the animal after us was not backing down.
Our world has been taken over by Sendletarns. Our job every day was to survive. A sendletarn is a human beast hybrid that hunts alone. They’re large, fast and disgusting creatures. They hunt to feed, but on occasion they hunt to convert. Though, you were never sure of their intent until they had you. They are especially attracted to people with “special” abilities, like my friend Max here. They’re vicious, and enjoy their meals alive, so they eat you very slowly. This is not something I wish to experience first hand.
Thinking about it now, Max probably isn’t the best survival buddy. He attracted them. They craved him. Sometimes I think he enjoyed the attention, and the adreniline. He really liked the excitement of a good chase. Me, not so much. But, being hunted was a part of everyone’s life now.
The land is barren, and flat. There were more tumbleweeds than vegetation. Brown, everything was brown and dead. There is no where we can turn off to lose this one. He is drooling and right on our tail. I can smell him. He reeks of rotting, that funk your sink gets when you leave a cereal bowl unrinsed on a hot summer day. Sour.
We have no weapons. We have no way of knocking him out. We’re fucked, absolutely positively fucked.
“Can’t you manifest a turret or something?” Max looked back at me, furrowed his brow, and put his eyes back on the endless road. Guess not. “We have to brainstorm then, we can’t just keep dri–” Just then, the rear wheel flew off. It flung back and the sendletarn dodged that shit like a ninja. Sparks were flying and the car was slowing down. The sendletarn leapt, and landed in the car. The smell made me vomit instantly. Luckily he had no interest in me, because of Max… But I had to think of some way to get him out of the car and away from him. I wiped the puke from the corner of my mouth, and was about to go Chuck Norris on him when I noticed Max had vanished. Just as it grabbed at the essence of Max, he realized he had disappeared and his attention changed direction to me.
With no driver, and the alignement off the car was in the dirt and slowly coming to a stop, but not slow enough to muster a duck and roll. I slumped into the back seat as the sendletarn came closer, and closer. His mouth oozing the most noxious liquid I have ever had the pleasure of being around. I dry heaved. I am petrified. This is it, I am going to be gnawed to death. Savored by this creature. This stench is the last thing I will ever smell. I closed my eyes and suddenly felt saturated in warm sludge. That dirty sink smell, just got fifty times worse. I began salavating, and just kept swallowing to avoid being sick. I open my eyes and I am covered in something. I look up at the creature, and it has been impaled by something, what I don’t know, I can’t be sure. Blood was everywhere. It took some time for my mind to catch up with my eyes, but it didn’t take long to realize I was covered in its viscera. The smell, oh the smell. The sendletarn collapses over the back of the bucket seat. Dripping, oozing, reeking. The car is almost at a complete stop, dust is settling around us and I look around for the impaler.
I turn around to find Max is standing on the back of the car, all superhero like with his hands on his hips, he might have had a cape on, I don’t know. Max smiles a crooked, satisfied smile and tosses me a towel. I catch it with one hand and immediately began wiping myself down, never taking my eyes off of him.
“That was exhilarating,” he said, stepping into the back seat.
“The fuck it was, I almost got eaten. What the fuck, dude! Where did you go?”
“I improvised. It’s been weeks since I’ve eaten, and I have waited long enough. That near death experience has surely filled you full of delicious adrenaline, let’s have a taste.” His eyes began to glow vivid and bright amber, and that’s the last thing I remember before he ripped my throat open with his teeth.