Hullo, hullo! 🙂
It’s Day 6 of #marchmadness and I’m STILL not on par, but at least I’m writing. That’s all that matters at the moment. 🙂 I will get there eventually. I will, I will!
The prompt for today was — minivan — and at first I had no idea how I was going to incorporate it. Was Loren going to have his headquarters inside an old broken-down minivan? Maybe his compound was surrounded by the vehicles. Maybe a near-dying Henry would wake up inside of one, somehow. Or maybe… it was all a dream. If all else fails! 😉
Today’s Wordcount: 1604
Total Wordcount: 9177
And onward to the story!!
The minivan sped across the sugarcane fields then swerved onto the adjacent road, weaving in and out of cars that appeared as though they had stopped but were merely frozen in a moment of time, their difference in speed the one thing that kept his vehicle going and those he passed stationary. Henry pressed his foot down harder, literally putting the pedal to the metal as the minivan he had stolen reached impossible speeds. He and the van were as one, a white blur on the congested road, and nothing would stop them.
Woolworths loomed in the distance —a giant supermarket that rose over the horizon like a colossal tower— its green apple signage flashing with storm-white lights on each corner, beckoning his approach. Their approach. He and the van were one. A giggle rose from his throat and vibrated against his teeth as he urged the vehicle to go faster.
Jake Harclyffe was flinging a rope over a line of trolleys and preparing to pull them back into the collection area. His gut dangled below his fluorescent shirt, above jeans that were a size too small, and his triple-chin glimmered with sweat, visible even from this distance. He had to die.
The van surged faster, despite the laws of physics that held him bound —that held them bound. Faster. Faster. Jake turned, a sharp movement unlikely for one of his size, and stared directly into Henry’s eyes. The van stopped, throwing him from the seat and through the glass, the shards as knives that stabbed into his face as he landed on the concrete at Jake’s feet.
Trembling on the ground for what felt an eternity, he finally looked up, and shuddered as Jake’s head expanded into a shape akin to the typical ‘grey alien.’ His body pressed in on itself and became thin and lanky, as gnarled as the scrub-land trees, and his eyes sunk into his ballooning head as a caricature of a skull, his toothy grin slowly widening as his gaze never once left Henry’s.
That obscene grin couldn’t possibly get any wider, but it did. His face, though as wide and round as the full moon, couldn’t handle it. Within moments of reaching optimum grin-width the bulbous head exploded, showering Henry in a thick mist of blood and brains. He whipped his hands to his own face and wiped the gunk from his eyes, shrinking back as Cassandra manifested where Harclyffe once stood, towering over him as calm, collected and regal as a Queen. She bent down and caressed his cheek before turning and walking into the colourful sky, the aqua-hued clouds as pillows beneath her feet as she ascended and faded into the nothingness.
His eyes snapped open. It was dark and his head felt as though it had been struck with a mallet the size of the gargantuan trees outside. Where was he? His arm ached as he raised it to his face, sharp pains shot through each fingertip as he tried to wipe at the gunk glued to his eyes, and winced as the gunk reminded him of his dream. Thankfully, what was stuck to his tear ducts was just thick dust-piles of sleep and not blood and gore… or was it? He jumped to his feet, and yelped as a burning pain whipped from his shoulders down to his toes and then back up again, like a bungee-cord of agony as it bounced up and down his body. How much had he drunk yesterday —it was tomorrow now, right?— surely it had only been one jug.
Faded memories spun about one another in a thick, impenetrable fog, not once stopping to allow him focus. More people had entered the pub and it had begun to seem more of a proper watering hole. The air that screamed ‘CULT!’ disappeared. Sebastian had started talking again too, hadn’t he? Despite his assertion that there was an unknown voice cutting in and distracting him. Cassandra had downed the entire jug in one long, continuous gulp, and then had placed her hand on his knee. Or was that his imagination? Or part of his dream? No, she had caressed his face in his dream… or was that more of a nightmare?
His eyes adjusted to the darkness and suddenly he became aware of a sweet scent. Overly sweet. Almost like fresh molasses. He scratched at his head. That was a smell he hadn’t had the distaste of breathing in for a long time, the region he’d once called home having been a large producer of the disgusting gunk. Another breath in and his eyes watered. It was too much —he had to get out of there.
Wobbling about like a newborn horse finding its legs for the first time, he searched for a door, a window, an anything. Fresh air. He needed fresh air. The faint glimmer of light formed a rectangle ahead and he stumbled towards it, cursing the agony in full-flow through his bones with each slow, jarring step.
After what felt like years of walking, he reached the door and fumbled for the handle then fell flat on his face as it swung open and deposited him on the filthy floor of the pub. Apparently it was a swing-door —just his luck. The dull light, brighter than that of the dark room he’d just emerged from, touched his eyes and he groaned. His eyes ached almost as much as his bones!
Chatter heightened at his groan and then quietened. Skeleton-Bob slowly turned around and raised an eyebrow, confusion evident behind his glassy stare.
“You’re meant ta be dead,” he intoned, flatly.
Henry stumbled back to his feet, his pain ignored as his blurred eyes focused on the bartender’s skeletal face.
“Missus Loren demanded your death. You should be dead,” he repeated, taking a lanky step towards him
“Loren? Missus Loren?”
Chairs scraped against wooden floorboards in a grating choir that vibrated his eardrums and the same floorboards shook as twenty people simultaneously climbed to their feet, their eyes and faces as lifeless as Skeleton-Bob’s. He shrank back, stopping as the wall pushed against his spine. Missus Loren —Cassandra? Cassandra was Loren? Or was she his daughter, or wife? Did it fucking matter? His hands flew to his pockets. His coat was gone, along with Harclyffe’s diamond. Where the hell was Sebastian? Was he dead?
A large knife had appeared in one skeletal hand whilst the other skeletal hand reached for him. The glassy-eyed patrons moved towards him in synchronous steps more creepy than their methodical drinking the last he had seen them.
The knife stopped its approach and everyone paused, simultaneously turning to see what had made that noise. Henry didn’t care what the noise was —he was getting out of here. He kicked Skeleton-Bob in the back of his knee, sending the gaunt man buckling to the ground, and leapt over the makeshift bar and towards the entryway door, ignoring the pain pulsing around his heart and the throbbing that sought to waylay his entire body.
Splinters whizzed through the air as the wall adjacent to the entrance exploded inward, each shard as a miniature arrow that easily travelled from the broken wall to the other side of the establishment, lodging themselves deep into the faces of two or three patrons who stood trapped in their path. Sunlight filtered in through the gaping hole before being blocked by a monstrous shadow… a shadow with crimson eyes that glowed bright beneath what appeared to be a mane of ginger hair. It raised both arms up —large, muscular arms that generational bodybuilders would be envious of— and tore at the remaining wood, then stepped aside as gracefully as a quick and flighty dragonfly just as one of the fiery metal drums that circled the village flew into the building, crashing into Skeleton-Bob’s bar.
What he’d give to be back safe in Harclyffe’s princess tower right now. This place was going to go up in flames any moment! Henry edged towards the door, hoping that neither the cultists nor the beasts would notice him, sweat beaded his forehead and upper lip as his pulse raced and body rebelled, his throbbing veins likely still carrying whatever poison he had ingested… poison —he knew that something wasn’t right! Damn it, Cassandra, he inwardly swore. What had that bitch done? Where was Sebastian? Would any of them even make it out of here alive?
The door creaked as he opened it and the glowing red eyes snapped towards him. He froze, hoping that the thing was like a tyrannosaurus rex and would be blind to him as long as he didn’t move. With a step the length of the minivan he had stolen in his dreams, it closed the gap between them, ignoring the cultists as its similarly ginger-maned brethren poured through the broken wall like a flood of giant orangutans. Of course the thing wasn’t blind to him. Fuck!
He ran out the door but only made it three steps before the thing burst through it and grabbed at him, hauling him over its shoulder like a burlap sack. That was it. He had gone from almost being murdered by Cassandra, to being murdered by her cultists, to now being hauled off by a giant monkey man creature. It was going to eat him —what else would it want with him?
Unable to squirm, to kick, to free himself from its grasp, he pounded at its back to no avail. He was powerless.