Fast! Three Questions.
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| Category: || Horror and Thriller Flash Fiction |
Posted:|| August 4, 2020 Views: 58|
Just when you think you're lucky things change.
"Summer Fun Has Begun"
by Mia Twysted
Moaning Robert rolled over, hitting the snooze button on his alarm clock. Opening his eyes, he looked at the large red numbers that read "9:00 AM." The first day of summer vacation and he had to wake up early to go to work. Letting out a heavy sigh, he yawned. If he was going to have that car up and running by senior year, he needed the cash. Throwing off his blanket, he forced open his eyes, dropped his feet to the floor, and headed to the shower.
"Shit!" the long-legged teen jumped as cold water pelted his skin. "Lyla!" His head popped out the door into the hall. "How hard is it to turn off the damn shower head when you're done?"
"Oh, bite me," his sister's muffled voice filtered down the hall. "It's just a little water. You're going to get wet anyway?"
"You couldn't give me a brother, could you, Mom?" Robert yelled down the opposite hall before closing the door and climbing in the shower.
The hot water ran down his skin, bringing his body and mind to life. Rolling his neck, he tilted his head side to side, sighing as it all popped into place. He allowed his mind to wander forward to the party after work. He did not know how John did it, but he had convinced his parents to let him through a "summer kick-off party" while they were away for the evening.
Robert's mind still set in the future; he wrapped a large cotton white towel around his waist. Wiping the moisture off the mirror, the soon to be senior shook the dew from his hand. Lathering on the shaving cream, he thought tonight could be the night that he finally gets to ask Mary out. John had noticed how Robert looked at his sister, and when confronted, Robert did not deny a thing. The two boys talked about the situation and how it could affect their friendship, and John said tonight he would let him know if he had his blessing.
"Ouch," a sudden shiver shook the razor nicking the teen's chin. "What the hell?"
The young man turned around, expecting to see who had just walked up behind him only to find no one there. A quick check of the area and a look in the hall suggest there was no one about. In fact, he could faintly hear the echo of everyone's voices from downstairs. Closing the door, Robert returned to the mirror to finish the other side of his face.
"Mother. Father," he greeted his parents as he strolled into the kitchen.
"Breakfast is on the table," his mother smiled at him, still frying bacon. "Sit down and have a bite to eat before you go."
"Don't mind if I do."
Raiding the mini buffet that his mother created--a piece or two of sausage, eggs, potato, and of course, bacon, he sat down.
"I'm not sure this is all to healthy Mom," Robert said, shoving a link of sausage in his mouth.
"I'll do nuts and berries tomorrow," she giggled, "right after I pick up your long-lost brother at the airport."
The two smirked at each other without saying a word. Picking up a folded piece of the daily newspaper Robert fanned it out like his father.
"Anything good in that their section, old-timer," Robert said to his father.
"My stock has gone up three points," his dad's voice was gruff but lighthearted.
"It might be time to sell. I'd keep a close eye on that."
"Thanks for the advice. How are things on your end?"
"I have to say it's not giving me a lot to work with." Robert sighed, "'Beware,' it says," he crinkled the paper a bit. "Going outside your house today may prove unfavorable in the long run.'"
"Not the damn horoscope again," his sister rolled her eyes, taking her plate to the sink. "If you want a ride to work," she turned to her little brother, "be in the car in five."
"Be vigilant," Robert's Dad tilted down the edge of his paper, "the cosmos have warned you."
"I shall go through the day with open eyes and alert to my surroundings," Robert nodded at his father, who smiled before going back to reading his section of the paper.
Giving his mother a kiss on the cheek, Robert snagged her piece of freshly buttered toast and ran out the door with his vest and mask.
Saluting his sister, Robert jumped out of the car and headed inside Wal-Mart. Putting on his mask, he headed to the back of the store, to punch in then went to work.
"So, how's it feel to only have one more year of high school?" The greeter asked the young lad as he returned to the front of the store. "You make any plans for your future yet?"
Robert smiled under his mask. He knew Ralph was going to ask him something like that. The old man was always interested in the plans that people make. Ralph looked unusually thin today, and the wrinkles on his skin almost seem to have grown into mountains overnight. Robert nodded to the people who entered, waiting for his young friend to answer back so the two could start a dialogue.
"I plan to be here tomorrow," Robert said.
"Top of your class, and that's the best plan you've got," the old man slowly shook his head. "I fear for the future."
"The future will be just fine, Ralph," Robert headed back outside, "I shall return."
"Well now, don't you come back empty-handed."
The two men chuckled.
Running his hand through his fluffy brown hair, the teen started compiling a line of carts then headed back up to put them inside. The morning was quiet, which gave him and Ralph a change to banter back and forth. He didn't want to admit it but talking to Ralph made his job easier to handle. He admitted, to himself, that things always seemed still without the old-timer showing his smiling face to the public as they entered. At least before the mask covered up that cheerful grin. The afternoon brought a fresh batch of people to the store keeping Robert busy fetching carts and dodging cars in the parking lot.
"What the hell?" Robert jerked himself and the row of carts in front of him to a halt.
"Watch what you're doing asshole," a driver yelled, sticking his head out the window, "You fuck up my paint job, I'll fuck you up."
"Who the hell do you think you are?" another driver yelled out his window.
As the two men exchanged more words, Robert took a deep breath and then dug in his heels to get the line of carts moving again.
"Jesus!" the non-athletic teens jump up on top of the carts only to roll off and thud onto the pavement.
"I should have you reported to your manager," a small red-headed woman jumped out of a little blue car.
"I'm sorry," Robert's forehead wrinkled.
"You about hit my car with those damn carts."
"I...I," he picked himself up, dusting off his jeans with his hands.
"Just," the woman huffed then paused for a moment before continuing, "pay attention."
Getting back in her car, she backed out and drove away, leaving Robert confused and relieved that it did not turn into an embarrassing situation.
Recounting the incident to Ralph, who had quite a laugh, Robert went out for another row of mini steel wagons. After Ralph left, Robert kept an eye on his watch, hoping the time would move faster. When it was time to punch out, he ripped off his vest and was outside waiting for his ride before his mother entered the parking lot.
Flopping down on his bed, Robert tried to free himself of the long day he had. People just hadn't been friendly. It was like there was as amber in the air, and everyone was catching it and being lit on fire. He darted and dashed cars and customers as he rounded up the shopping carts and rolled them in their waiting area.
After sitting down for dinner, Robert returned to his room to change for the party. Eyeing himself in the mirror, he carried on make-believe conversation with Mary. He laughed at her jokes and took her hands in his as he asked her if she would like to go out on a date with him this coming Saturday.
Since John only lived two streets over, Robert waved to his parents and headed out. The night airbrushed his light tan skin as he looked up at the glowing moon. The sidewalk was firm under his feet, causing him to randomly skip a few steps.
"Robert, my man," John greeted him as he entered the two-story house. "How was your first day of summer vacation, man?"
"It was long. Work was brutal," Robert said.
"It's for a good purpose though let us not forget that."
"I'll be rolling up in style next year," Robert said.
The boys chatted and snacked on chips and dip while people filed in. Before they knew it, the party was in full motion. Music was blaring, kids were laughing, dancing, and even drinking. John motioned to his friend to meet him in the kitchen, and the two trolled off together.
"So, I've been thinking about it," John said, "I don't have any problems with you dating my sister."
"You mean it, man?"
"She could do a lot worse?"
"Thanks," Robert chuckled, "I feel the love."
Laughing, the two did their best bro handshake and returned to the party. Robert bounced around to the music and found his way to the laundry room where the night's most special brew was being served.
Grabbing himself a couple cold ones, Robert wondered off to Mary.
"For you," he held out a red solo cup.
"Thank you," Mary smiled, taking it.
"So," he sat down beside her on the loveseat, "how did John convince your parents to let him throw a party?"
"He told them I would be here."
"And that did it?"
"It appears that way," the corner of her mouth curled. "I'm the good child, remember?"
"The goody two-shoe, the teacher's pet," Robert sipped his beer. "I know the image."
"Yeah," Mary laughed, "I guess you do."
The two sat on the loveseat, chatting when John crept over, leaning his left shoulder against the wall.
"Well," John said.
"Well, what?" Mary questioned.
"Well, did he ask you?"
"Did who ask me what?"
"Robert, buddy, come on."
"John," Robert snapped.
"Well get to it then."
Robert rambled a few words before asking Mary out. Her smile spread across her face, and her cheeks turned red. She moved her glasses up with her knuckles and agreed. Robert was overjoyed. The moment she said yes, he let out a deep relaxing sigh.
"Robert," John waved his hand in front of his friend's face. "You okay? She said yes."
"I know," he laughed nervously, "sorry. I thought..." he went silent.
"You thought what?" John asked.
"I saw a reflection on Mary's glasses. It looked like some dark hooded figure. It stunned me. Sorry."
Brushing the feeling aside, Robert threw himself back into party mode. Throwing his arm over Mary, the three clinked their plastic cups and downed their liquid. Robert enjoyed the rest of the party. He was having the time of his life. Everything was coming into place. As the party winded down John, his date, his sister, and Robert ran around the house with large super soakers trying to soak each. Stopping for air, they all collapsed in John's room tipsy.
Robert stared out the window into the deep blue sky. Crawling over, he pushed up the pane and took a deep breath of the night air.
"I just love the smell of night air, don't you?" Robert asked the group.
"Never really thought about it much myself," John said.
"I like it," Mary snuggled up against her new man at the window.
"Hey, look at that over there," Robert pointed out the window.
"The tree is starting to bloom," Mary said. "It makes such pretty flowers. I pick a few off every year and keep them in a vase in my room.
"You like the flower?" Robert's speech slurred slightly. "I'll get you one."
Before anyone could stop him, Robert was out the window and, on the tree, just outside. He wobbled back and forth, inching himself across the trunk.
"Shit," John looked down, "Don 't fall, man."
"Don't say that!" Mary slapped her brother on the arm.
"No," John's girlfriend leaned over watching, you're not supposed to tell him to look down."
"Look down?" Robert said.
"NO!" they all shouted.
Robert's hands began to sweat. He carefully inched himself backward on the branch. Hearing a slight snap, he froze in place. Hand up and feet out, Robert dropped to the ground as the limb broke off the tree. He slammed around like a pinball, his head flopping and thudding against a branch or two before hitting the ground.
The group screamed as they look down helpless at his lifeless body. Suddenly they let out a sigh of relief as the daredevil began to stir.
"Are you okay?" Mary hollered down.
"Fine," the alcohol influenced teen said as he swayed, holding up his arm. "I got the fower," he smiled.
"How's your head?" John yelled.
"It's gong smart in the morning. I can tell you that."
"You could have broken your neck," Mary lectured.
"But, I didn't."
Robert spun around in the grass. His liquid-like motion directed him to the sidewalk, then out into the street before he stopped spinning.
"Watch out!" John and Mary yelled.
Robert blinked his eyes, trying, and focus. Turning to his right, he saw a large white light. Unable to propel himself forward, he froze in place as an oncoming car hit him head-on, splattering his brains across the smooth asphalt.
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