THE DARK ROAD - MATTHEW MCBRIDE
I climbed into the van with limited assistance and noticed right away that everyone smelled like meat. Considering the humidity and the hot summer night, this came as no surprise to me.
What did strike me as odd was the Clown in the backseat that was holding a baseball bat. It was long and shiny and there was a big deep dent in the top corner. Right where the side became the end. I thought I saw dried blood.
“Thanks for the ride,” I said, and I meant it. After standing on the side of the road for as long as I had, it was nice to finally get picked up. Even if it was by a van load of crazies. I held my cane between my legs and tried not to smell the old guy beside me. The stench seemed to get worse as the rig picked up speed, but nobody said anything. They never even asked where I was going.
I wasn’t sure how many of them I was dealing with but, it looked pretty dark in the back. What little light there was seemed dim, and every time we hit a bump the light went out.
“My car threw a belt, that son of a bitch,” and the guy behind the wheel gave me a look that said he didn’t know much about belts. Nobody else said anything.
“What about that Clown in the back?”
I had to ask.
There was a terrifying stillness in the air that made the hairs stand up on my the back of my neck, and the only sound I heard was the distant popping of static on the radio. I realized this ride was a mistake.
“Aw, don’t mind him,” came a slow and broken voice from behind me.
At last someone had spoken. I turned around to find the Clown was burning holes into my face with his hollow gray eyes and saying things to me that a Clown shouldn’t say. Even in this situation.
“He’s simple, don’t mind him,” but it was the guy in the clown suit that was doing all the talking. The guy with the baseball bat. He looked at me with curious intentions and talked like he was someone else. His lips were moving much too slow, and his mouth seemed to open too wide.
“He’s harmless,” he said, but his voice was deeper than it should of been. Deeper than I wanted it to be. His words were sharp and jagged, and I watched blood run from his nose and over his lips until he soaked it up with his tongue. Then I turned away and squeezed the cane a little tighter. That’s when I bumped into the shoe that was laying in the floorboard and it still had a foot inside of it.
“His nose bleeds like that when he’s hungry,” said the old man behind the wheel, and I saw the Clown come for me through the reflection in the windshield. His white porcelain face was at my shoulder and his elongated teeth danced like razor blades against my flesh. The stench of his breath washed over me like a thick cloud of raw sewage as the aluminum bat made contact with my skull. Over and over again, with one powerful blow after another, untill my head was soft, and the warm mess of brains ran from my ears like oatmeal.
The Clown began to slurp.
BIO: Matthew McBride lives on a farm along the river and one day he will own his own machine gun. He’s been published at A Twist Of Noir, Powder Burn Flash, & The Flash Fiction Offensive. He currently has a novel under review at DHS Literary Agency and he never accepts rides from strangers.
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