Monday, July 19, 2010

The Cycle: A Short Story

The other day, I was digging through my archives in my computer and found an old short story of mine. I don't know if you'll enjoy it or not, but I wanted to show how much I've grown to everyone. So, I'll post this up today and a new short story on Saturday to show you, dear readers, the difference. 

“Mom, I’ll be there in a few short hours. I’ve been driving all the way from California; I’m going to reach Texas, and I’m going to see dad regardless of what you say. I want to see him. I can’t drive around with a cell phone in my ear, I’ll call you later.” I press the ‘END’ button, throwing it onto the passenger seat.
I look directly at the road ahead. Nothing but concrete for twenty-five miles now. I feel as though I’m the last man entering Texas. Dad, why did you have to get sick again? Always on the verge of dying. Always drinking. Always.
The cars headlight’s flash a shiny glow on the pavement. A bright flash of light that mesmerizes me with its dance, I begin to follow it with my eyes. I’m lost in some sort of hypnotism caused by the lack of sleep from driving non-stop. Why couldn’t I have just caught a plane instead?

Because I can barely afford it, that’s why. Being a writer doesn’t make you rich. Though gas prices are high, it still beats airline prices in my neighborhood.
I see a bright orange light at the edge of the road. It releases ashes into the air like a dragon breathing fire. It is a burning car.
            What happened here? I stop the Honda, and to get out of the car to see if there are any survivors.
The deserts of Texas are cold at night and pitch black. The fire was like a small sun that lit up the wasteland. Cactuses cover the terrain and animals hide under blankets of darkness. “Hello?” I scream. “Hello?” I don’t go near the fire, but look from afar for anybody inside the flames. The fire covers the car like a blanket of color, peeling and blistering the paint.
“Is anyone there?” Only my echoes call back.
God lit a birthday candle and forgot to blow it out. Whoever did this escaped ‘cause there are no traces of anyone in the car.
I walk back to my car, start the Honda, and let the engine purr back at me furiously. “Piece of junk,” I say to myself as I adjust the rearview mirror, looking at the reflection of my red eyes.
I push the gas pedal and the car responds with a roar of a lion. This Honda is just a piece of trash and nothing but. It’s what I get for borrowing a car from a realtor.
Driving a few more miles through the desert, I see nothing but the same terrain repeatedly. Cactus, sand, emptiness.
Then, out of nowhere, a woman appears on the edge of the road. She’s like a magazine model; a flashy, red silk dress covers her from her back down to her knees, and nice fur-coat top and golden bracelet on each wrist. She holds out her thumb, her nails colored red like her dress.
She’s a hitchhiker.
I bring the car to a screeching halt and reach over to lower the window. “Hello, do you have room for one more?” Her voice is calm. She struggles with a giant suitcase. It is probably overstuffed with clothes. What else do girls need?
“Hey,” I say to her. She stares at me with strange violet eyes. “Was that your car back there?”
“It was,” she laughs nervously, “I’m glad I got out of that thing alive.”
“How about you put your suitcase in the trunk?”
“I’d rather keep it with me. I have a very important heirloom in it.”
“May I ask what the heirloom is?”
“No!” she says in a quick reaction to my question.
“Okay, calm down.”
“Just drive me to the next building we see or something, I’ll use their telephone, and call for a ride.” She snatches the door handle and steps inside.
“Okay, miss.”
I’ll just drive her to the next stop. Easy.
“So do you know what the problem with your car was?”
“I don’t know cars much, but probably a gas leak or something,” she shrugs, without a care.
“Yeah, okay.” I stare back at the road.
“I don’t want you asking anymore questions about my car.”
“Okay, miss.”
“And don’t call me miss. It’s too formal, just call me Rhonda.”
“Rhonda, that’s an interesting name. The name is Allen.”
“Allen, fairly common name,” she says.
“Whatever.” I gaze at the woman; she is stunning with short blonde hair, pearl earrings, and a pearl necklace to boot. She talks to me as if I am inferior to her. She’s a rich woman, who happened to meet an unlucky poor man.
“Stop staring at me and look at the road,” she says.
“I’m staring at you because I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in the desert.”
“If you’re planning to do anything with me, I won’t. I am a very dangerous woman.” She stares back to see my reaction.
I begin to hear singing in the car. Did I leave the radio on? A female voice that sings a soft melody. Is she singing?
I stare back at her, but no movements from her mouth. She sits there, gazing straight at the road.
I reach for the radio. I feel the dial. ‘OFF’
Am I going insane? Sleepy from the long drive?
The car begins to swerve slowly from one lane to another. She only stares at the road, and doesn’t move an inch. Is she doing this?
A truck comes up in the opposite direction, as I turn the steering wheel towards its way, a sixteen wheeler. Imagine being crushed by all those wheels.
“No,” she yells and grabs the steering wheel, turning it back toward the other direction, “not while I’m in the car!” The truck honks its horn as it passes us. “Pull over.”
I do as I’m told, hypnotically.
“Get out of the car and sit in the passenger seat,” she demands. “You’re going to take a rest before our next stop.”
I switch sides with her, not knowing why. I don’t care I’m just tired. I fall asleep almost instantly.

I awake to see a giant neon sign shining in my face saying: “BAR.”
My eyes were burning because I am staring into a bright light after awaking from the darkness of sleep. I sit up.

“What is going on?”
I unbuckle the seatbelt and I step outside. I can smell the harsh odor of heavy cigarette smoke, whiskey, and vomit. In the bar, I notice another sign saying that it’s karaoke night. Rhonda is singing to a group of strangers who sit staring at her: “You see I'm sick and tired of our confrontations/ sick and tired, you stick to me like glue /all that I could do/is make your fears come true. Then multiply/multiply/tears will multiply/multiply. Your love for me will die.” Her voice amazes the men and women around her. It leaves me in a sort of daze. I feel sick after hearing her voice, which begins to echo in my mind. Is this the same voice from in the car? Is this only happening to me?

She waves at me but I just stomp out of the bar immediately. I can’t control myself. Did I catch some cold or something? Am I sick?
I get back in the Honda. I try to look in front of me for a pack of cigarettes I keep in the glove department with a lighter, but I bumped into something. Rhonda’s suitcase.

“What in the hell?”

…An heirloom was in it…she didn’t want me to touch it…but…why? Did she think I was going to steal the heirloom from her?

I take the gigantic leather monster out of the car and open up the zipper on the end of the bag. Slowly. As I open it, my hand is covered in some strange liquid. I open the zipper and flip the suitcase open to see a body, covered in blood, crunched up into a giant suitcase. I raise my hand to the neon lighting; it’s covered in blood. I am about to scream before a hand comes up and covers my mouth. Rhonda?

She covers my mouth, puts her other hand into a fist and holds out her index finger, “Shhhh…” she says as I faint from fright.

I open my eyes to see the sun shining my face. I try to rub my eyes but can’t move. My hands are tied.
“What are you doing?”
“I told you I’m a dangerous woman, Allen.” She smiles as she drives through the sunrise. I hear ocean waves splashing, seagulls cawing at each other, and the sound of the wind.
“What are you? Did you drug me or something?” I ask.
“Not really. See, Allen, I am sort of like a siren. Have you ever heard of them?”
“No! What is that? Some sort of mafia business? Look I won’t tell anybody, just please let me go. I was just being a good Samaritan.”
“Good or bad it doesn’t matter. I want you for my collection. That’s why I have that man in the suitcase. That’s why you are only affected by my singing. Sirens are magical creatures, but humans don’t see much of these days. They are deceivers, who trick men into killing themselves. That’s why you saw the car burn the way it was on the highway, I killed that man.” She stares at me with her violet eyes.
“You do want to be part of my collection, don’t you?” She laughs. “You’re kind of cute? What a priceless heirloom you’ll be for my children.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“It’s a cycle, Allen. I have to keep special men for my daughters just like for my mother did for me. Sirens cause men to kill themselves, but I think I’ll just do it the old-fashioned way. I’ll kill you instead.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Curiosity killed the cat, Allen,” she laughs, “plus it’s getting harder to find better men for our collections. That’s why I didn’t kill all those people in the bar. I think you’ll do just fine.” The sun rises with a strong blast of light beneath the clouds. The sea glimmers like stars in daylight.
“No! Please, no!” I scream my lungs out. She is about to drive the car into the ocean. We collide with the water. She opens the driver’s door, and escapes. I fall into unconsciousness as the car dives deeper into the abyss; no longer can I see the sparkle and twinkle like stars, but the darkness of a watery grave.
The last thought that pops in my mind is this: Rhonda steps out of the ocean and runs on the beach. She steps onto the road again and begins to walk with her thumb up and hitchhike as she sings, “You see I'm sick and tired of our confrontations/ sick and tired, you stick to me like glue /all that I could do/is make your fears come true. Then multiply/multiply/tears will multiply/multiply. Your love for me will die…”
Because it’s a cycle…

Musical rights belong to Placebo for their song, "Long Division."
Will you, dear reader, ever pick up a hitchhiker on the side of the road? 


Anonymous said...

when i read the title, i assumed u were gonna write about the cycle women go through. i assumed u were currently on yours, but this is good too.


Vatche said...

Rafi, you're always the funny man. I was actually thinking of changing the title, but I eventually just kept it the same because it's the title I remember it by.

As for me being on my cycle, I am NOT a woman!

Also, I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

(For those of you readers who do not know, Rafi is one of my best friends and has been reading most of my writings for sometime. He's only joking with whatever he says, so do not take it as offensive, at all.)

Thanks for your comments, Raf.

The Words Crafter said...

I think he's funny. I liked the story, what a unique, original story idea, wow. I can't wait to see the new one....

Vatche said...

He's a really funny guy, The Words Crafter, but sometimes people think he's offensive, so that's why I need to put up my little comment. I enjoy his sense of humor too, almost a David Sedaris feel to him really. I admire that trait about him.

As for the story, I'm glad you thought it was good; I wrote it two or three years ago. It's good that it still has that effect on readers, such as yourself.

The new one will be up before you know it, so write on until then!

Shadow said...

that's a spooky story. and no, hitchhikers? never!!! i must admit, i felt quite a few emotions reading this, and that makes it good in my books!!!

Vatche said...

Hey, Shadow! I agree with you, hitchhikers never in my car! I'm glad that you enjoyed the story and felt a few emotions while reading it, though it's not my best of work.

Thank you for your kind, kind words and write on!

Anonymous said...

i love how u need to put a disclaimer for my comments....


Vatche said...

People might attack you and think you're a troll, which you are, but you're also my best friend. I know you don't care, but still I don't people getting the wrong idea, so the disclaimer was to set that straight.

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