“Turn left then continue to the end of the road.” He
heeds the disembodied voice. “Let’s hope you got it
right, this lane looks like it’s going nowhere,” a strange
man, as if he had a choice. Thin fingers turn off the satnav
swinging on its cable from the rear view mirror. Appearance
not his thing, yet he has something, the Devil’s grin? Why
else would she stand so close, appeal beyond reason,
the reason why he’s here.
That was an hour ago, the village car boot sale, he goes
most Sunday mornings. Not much else to do, he doesn’t
have friends, neighbours turn away, ignore him. Midst
rows of functional tables straining with the weight of
stuff no one ever wanted she’d laid her goods out
in wicker baskets on a faded lace shawl. Her wares
all silver, unpolished, dented, had limited appeal
to anyone but him.
Her curves he first noticed, fluidic, not an inch of
her ever still. Let’s get real; it wasn’t going to be her
smile or eyes or anything remotely subtle that would
work on him. Lust not his only weakness, two pairs of
candle sticks, dull, unloved, caught his eye. He stared;
since a child he’d had a need to touch old silver. His
finger-tips worn through endless rubbing; his prints
faded almost gone.
“How much for a pair” he asked, “Which pair do you
like most” she almost moaned as she leant forward. “I’ll
take all you’ve got” he grinned, “That’ll be quite a
handful –sure you can manage them”, her words hung
as she appeared beside him, stroking the stick he was
holding. “I’ve more to show you – if you’re interested
that is?” He didn’t need to say a word, his body
answered for him.
They got talking beyond innuendo. She found his
weakness, her way in beneath the shallow of his desire
to subconscious memories of the only one he’d ever felt
love from. Orphaned on his fourth birthday by an open
fire, a wicked lick of flame spat out, ignited his mother’s
waist length hair. No one there to save her, his father tried
to reach her, but his frail heart failed; her screams all the
louder as he fell and burnt.
Gran took care of him; well she tried too, unscathed,
least that’s how he first seemed. Her house, old, terraced,
of another era, privy at the end of the tree hedged
garden. A shadow walk of fear at nightfall, looking
over shoulders, even now he never locks the bathroom
door, or even closed it then. He had to see the light
beckoning, the pale glow of candles, he had to see his
way back to her.
In bright God’s day noon sunlight he told this young
clinging nymph everything, more than he even knew. She
asked no questions, sucked on his naivety, his need of
complete release. Her green eyes never left his grey, seen
through, his restless soul exposed. He gave a cough
and shivered, she pressed uptight against him brushed
her lips upon his ear and whispered, “We’re ready
now, let’s go.”
He took direction, her postcode familiar, local, he keyed
it in, looked up from the dangling satnav, to see a now
vacant slot where her baskets lay, grass undisturbed. The
field around flat from wheels and footfall, he scratched
the stubble on his chin. His mind on amber, his desire on
green, he turned the ignition key. That lane, just a mile
away, one he’d not seen before, no matter, he’s on
a promise, he believes.
Not one for rural bye ways, hemmed in by hedges,
overcast by trees he took the first bend slow and
wound the window down. No sound, he drove on, a
long straight, ditch either side, a smell, faintly
sulphurous, he wound the window up. Another bend,
much tighter opened up and dropped away to a stream,
it didn’t look too deep. He nosed the front wheels in,
inched his way through.
Too late, beyond return, he saw her standing before
him. Old and bent, a grubby lace shawl around her
shoulders held by long fingered purple veined hands
at a bleeding creped neck. Blood oozed from her face
too, raked by circling crows, she shuffled closer. He
stamped the accelerator pedal to the floor, wheels spun
on mud, the tarmac there no more. The engine cut,
fuel vaporised and vented.
Sudden darkness took its hold, he’d never felt so
cold. Windows steamed up, condensation froze,
metal groaned, lightening jolted to his core. Neurons
fired uncontrolled, thunder rolled, tyres exploded one
by one. He rubbed the windscreen with his sleeve, a
mistake, as if it mattered. In that moment her ravaged
face seeped in, needing sight of him, glass dissolving
as she took his tongue
His scream an inner thing, resonating through bones,
his bowels voided. Adrenaline filled veins, throbbed,
nowhere to run, arteries disconnecting, the ruin of
her body permeating, corroding every cell of his. His
eyes forced open, lids ripped away by curved nails,
in agony to witness his passage into hell. A green eyed
beauty rose, her mortal form released her soul reborn,
his taken … destination reached.
I once wrote a few long poems, this the longest, I’ll leave here a while this Sunday of a Halloween weekend.
Copyright © 2017 by Eric Daniel Clarke. All rights reserved.
Published in ‘The Box Under The Bed – an anthology of scary stories from 20 authors’ complied and edited by Dan Alatorre, October 2017.