Puttering around in the garden

I saw a picture on twitter yesterday that got me thinking. Not thinking in any sort of productive way, but that way that writers start thinking, as in: There’s a story here and I’m going to find it. So, here is the story. It’s not well edited or polished, but here it is. 

To say Samantha loved her garden would paint a dramatically understated picture of bright days filled with every shade of green complimented by brilliant flowers in every color of the rainbow. She luxuriated in the smell of damp earth and gentle buzzing of a thousand types of insects. It was her one sanctuary from the hectic bustle of domestic demands, and a job that would make even Einstein’s brain hurt.
On a day as perfect as any she could recall, she went back into her garden, eyeing a big, horribly bland patch of grass. That patch of grass had been on her landscaping shit list for entirely too long. Sure, lawn was nice, but it was boring. She wanted more color, more vegetables, more greens, and most importantly, less grass to mow. She took out her shovel, she took out her hoe, she took out her gloves, and she faced the grass. 

Armed with the tools to convert a perfectly good lawn into a far better garden, she set to it. First, she removed the sod, then began turning black dirty digging ever deeper. With each shovel, she got the satisfying shuck of the shovel sinking into the earth. Then, a resounding clang rattled the shovel handle. 

Samantha frowned. Rocks of any notable size weren’t common in this area. The topsoil should go for many feet, not just a few inches. It certainly did in the rest of her garden. She tapped the bit of rock with her shovel and found it was, indeed, a substantial obstacle. It was deep enough that she could have left it, but leaving it would bother her. She got down on her hands and knees and set to finding the edges of the rock so she could move it.

A few minutes with her hands in the dirt and she uncovered not a rock, but a perfectly round metal object some sixteen inches in diameter. She continued to remove the dirt until she revealed an old rusted car wheel rim. It was absolutely embedded in the ground and wouldn’t so much as wiggle. More digging revealed the entire rim. It sat neatly in the hole as if she might just be able to pick it up and move it, yet it still wouldn’t budge. She pulled it, she kicked it, she even jammed the shovel under it and tried to pry, but nothing seems to help. It was almost as if it were still attached to the car. The thought made her feel cold, as if a great curtian of rain clouds had rolled over the perfect blue sky and quenched the sun.

In an attempt to reassure herself that this silly bit of debris was not still attached to a vehicle, she cleared yet more dirt from further around the rim. It took little time before she struck something else. This time, she hit what proved to be a fender. She nearly stopped and covered the whole mess, but curiosity pressed her on. Who would bury and entire car? 

As the morning wore on to afternoon and threatened to become evening, Samantha revealed more and more of the car, finally coming to the driver’s side door window. She tapped it with her shovel once, then twice, and on the third tap it shattered. It was so sudden and unexpected that she let out a little scream. Then she looked around to make sure nobody had noticed. They hadn’t, she was quite alone. The kids were with dad at soccer practice. 

Curiosity continued to push her, so she took her shovel and pushed it in through the broken window. She tentatively poked the interior of the car. The shovel stopped. Something pulled on it. She pulled back, but the shovel wouldn’t come free, then it shot clean out of her hands. She stared, absolutely dumbfounded and more than a little frozen by fear, staring at the broken window where her shovel had disappeared. 

A skeletal hand reached out of the window. Samantha screamed and turned to run, but something grabbed her leg. She screamed all the harder as she fell to the ground and something pulled her inexorably toward the broken car window. No matter how hard she grabbed at the grass and thrashed about, she kept moving until she reached the very edge of the car window. Then, she felt more bony fingers grasp her legs, pulling her yet hard, and in one very hard, swift yank, she was in darkness.

When her husband and children returned from soccer practice, they found a shovel, and a hoe, and a pair of gloves laying next to a small hole where an old car rim sat partially covered in dirt.

Flash fiction – Lucky 13

I haven’t posted anything in a while. Summer has been busy, with the nice weather I’ve been focused on trying to get outside stuff taken care of. Anyhow, here’s a bit of flash fiction. Needs work, but I’m not likely to do much more with it.


 

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“That’ll be four seventy-five,” Allison said, picking up two white paper cups and a black sharpie. “Can I get a name for the order?”
The moment she said it, she felt stupid. The place was, after all, empty. Except for a smelly, hairy hipster-type clacking away haughtily at his laptop in a corner drinking his stupid soy latte, there wasn’t anyone else in the shop.
The man looked up from counting exact change and squinted at her. He glanced over his shoulder, “You must be new. The name’s Albert,” he said in a raspy voice.
Allison could feel her face go red. She slide the cups over the counter to the barista who took them without looking up.
Albert dropped a couple of quarters into the tip jar and picked his folded newspaper from the counter, tucking it under his arm.
It was her second day at the Lucky 13 coffee shop. So far it hadn’t gone well. Aside from the place having the feel of a funeral parlor, the young woman making the coffee hadn’t so much as introduced herself, the tips had been awful, the A/C was always too high and nobody had been particularly friendly. and she couldn’t imagine why two of them should be there on such a quiet afternoon.
“Here you are Albert,” The barista said, handing the two cups over to the man.
“Thank you miss,” Albert said.
Allison watched him slowly make his way to a small table against a tall plate window overlooking the street.
“He’s a regular?” Allison asked, struggling to remember the name of her coworker.
“Been coming in every Tuesday afternoon since long before my time,” The barista said, picking up a rag.
“Not much for words is he?”
The barista shook her head, staying focused on cleaning up her station. “Not really.”
While she was talking, Albert set one cup on either side of the table for two. He took his seat at one of them, and proceeded to unfold it.
Allison eyed the cup on the other side of the table. “Is he waiting for someone?”
“No. It’s for his wife.”
“Oh,” Allison said. “Does she come in often too?”
The barista ignored Allison’s question. “I’m stepping out for a smoke, ring me if you need anything.”
For most of an hour, Albert sat at his table, sipping his coffee and reading. Every so often he would look over the top of his paper, squint, say a few words, or smile, and return to his reading. Something about it made Allison feel cold. The barista hadn’t returned from her smoke break, but as there weren’t any customers, it hardly mattered. Finally, Albert took a last sip from his cup, folded up his newspaper, and stood up. He looked at Allison, and tipped his hat again before leaving.
Allison sighed as she looked at the two cups he’d left on the table. He’d forgotten his other cup. It hadn’t been touched the entire time he had been there. She ran around the counter to retrieve the cup in the hopes she might be able to catch him before he disappeared. The moment her hand touched the cup, she froze and every hair on her body stood on end. It was empty. On the edge of the lid, right where the drinking hole was, she saw the faint smudge of red lipstick. She thought about how Albert glanced over his newspaper, talking with someone who wasn’t there. With a deep breath, she set the empty paper cup back down.
Trying to convince herself there was a perfectly logical explanation, she looked up at the large plate glass windows. Her faint reflection stared back at her. Her heart thumped hard in her chest and she clinched her fists. Unlike the room she was in, her reflection was in standing in a crowded shop. All manner of people could be seen reflected in that window.
Doing her best to suppress a scream, Allison slowly turned around face the empty room. The sudden rasp of a chair being pulled out echoed off the red-brick walls. It was too much. She let out a clipped scream. With slow, shaking footsteps, she edged her way toward the door. Even if there had been a logical explanation for what she’d seen, she had no interest in hearing it.

photo credit: caution contents hot via photopin (license)