Maybe you have driven by it and wondered if anyone actually lived there because it looked so still and it looked so dusty. There were a few cars parked in front of a few houses and at the end of each gravel driveway was a mailbox with the names and addresses nearly worn away by the weather.
The unsettling thing is, even in a moving car you could feel the stillness- it seemed to creep up from the road into the car with you and you could feel it- that stillness, that quiet, that nothingness.
On the day I drove through Alsina, I saw a dog trotting down the sidewalk, it didn’t turn it’s head as I passed it- it just kept trotting along and when I looked into my rearview mirror I saw it.
It was still trotting along, it’s tail was wagging, it’s chin was up and even though it was trotting at a good clip, I could swear it hadn’t moved an inch.
I guessed my eyes were playing tricks on me.
A minute or so later I drove into the heart of Alsina and there standing in front of the General Store I saw a man and a woman window shopping.
It wasn’t a very big window and the store itself wasn’t big either, but they were glued to the front of the window.
I saw the woman raise her hand and point at something and then the man next to her leaned forward, peered into the window and nodded.
I don’t think they noticed me.
I glanced back up into my mirror and I saw that dog, still running, still not moving and then I saw the couple turn back to the window and I saw her raise her hand and point at something in the window .
He leaned forward, peered into the window and nodded.
I was in Alsina for five minutes tops, but I think that in Alsina- even after seeing the buildings, the window shoppers, the dog, I think that five minutes is the only thing that really lives in Alsina and I also think
This is a really old story. I wrote it in 2009- but it’s aged well so I thought I’d put it up in my #100DaystoHalloween project-besides the story takes place on Halloween so there is that too.
This story is titled Body Talk, I hope you like it,
“You couldn’t have wished for more in body” Sydney Poor was telling the other ghost about his corpse as they sat out in the corridor waiting for their autopsies to be finished.
The other ghost was a woman named Tamara and she told Sydney, “ Well I could have. I would have asked to be taller and blond and impervious to speeding cars. So do you know what…” she shook her head “ sorry, what’s your name again?”
“ Sydney. Sydney I could have asked for more. In fact, this time I’m going in with a laundry list of things I want this time around.”
“ I’m not sure you can not do that.”
“I don’t care what you’re supposed to do. Do you know why? Because not only did I get hit by a car, it rammed me into another car and it nearly cut me in half. I didn’t die right away. Also the woman who hit me drove off and I’m willing to bet you dollars to donuts that someone driving an expensive car like hers will ever find herself in a court room explaining her actions of October 3oth 2009. So as you can imagine I’m feeling a bit wronged here.”
“ She might.”
“ She might what Sydney?”
“ Get caught.”
Tamara rolled her eyes up and slouched down in her seat.
“ I wonder how long this really takes.” She mumbled.
“ Well. Until they’re finished I suppose.” Sydney said.
“ So what happened to you?” Tamara asked Sydney.
“ Well. I’m a little embarrassed to say…”
Tamara straightened up in her chair and leaned over to Sydney and said “ Go on, your secret is safe with me. Dead men tell no tales you know.”
“ But you’re a woman.”
“ Oh come on. Tell me.”
“ My neighbors -this man and woman. Well. They thought….that I was…well …”
“ A what?” Tamara said suspiciously as she leaned away from Sydney.
“ They thought I was a Vampire.”
Tamara’s mouth fell opened.
“ They snuck into my house, dragged me down into my basement and drove a stake through my heart. Then they stuffed my mouth full of garlic and cut my head off.”
“ Oh wow Sydney. Oh wow.”
Sydney’s face was turning bright red.
“ Oh wow. That was a freaking weird death.”
“ Yes” Sydney agreed “ yes it was.”
“Still. What a way to go.”
“ I’ll say. But Tamara a vampire? How could anyone mistake me for a vampire?”
Tamara shrugged. “ I don’t know Sydney. People are funny things if you ask me.”
Tamara hopped out of her chair and went to the doors and waited. When they whispered open she told Sydney. “ Sydney. Come take a look. They’re right in the middle of working on you. You have to see this- a woman is pulling the garlic out of your mouth with her fingers. I must say, that doesn’t seem very hygienic to me.”
“ That’s my dead body you’re cracking wise over you know.”
Tamara snorted and then she focused on what was going on in the autopsy room.
“ Sydney get over here, I’m stuck to the inside of the body bag.” Tamara laughed.
“ You’ve got a very odd sense of humor Tamara.”
He got up and when he got to the door Tamara grabbed his arm and dragged him into the autopsy room.
“ I really hate these places Tamara.”
“ Don’t we all.” Tamara said as she dragged Sydney up to the table her body was laying on.
“My word you are mess.” Sydney said.
“ Yeah.” Tamara said with a tinge of pride in her voice.
“ I mean it. A mess. You look like you melted. Wait. What’s that on your head… are those scars?”
“ Bullet wounds.”
“ You’ve been shot?
“ Yep. Good thing for me the people who did that were lousy shots otherwise you’d be sitting here all by your lonesome.”
“ And what about those marks on your hands?”
“ Knife wounds.”
And before he could ask she said, “ I caught on fire a couple of times.”
“ You’ve led a very interesting life Tamara.”
She didn’t answer.
“ So. How long until …”
Tamara didn’t answer. She was trying not to laugh and failed.
“They thought you were a vampire.” Tamara grabbed her stomach as she doubled over laughing. “ What city were you living in? Stupidville? “
“ And that woman who hit you and drove off what town did she come from? “ Sydney asked
“ Very funny Sydney. The woman who hit me was a cold hearted wretch. I got in her way and smoosh here I am. I was no more then a dog to her. “
“ Well. At least you weren’t mistaken for a vampire in your final moments…speaking of- how much longer do you suppose.”
“ It’s a full moon tonight, this is going to go pretty fast. So tell me do we keep the old models or snag ourselves some new ones?” she asked pointing to the room where the bodies were wrapped in plastic and neatly stacked on shelves.
“ Well. I can tell you this much. I never want to be mistaken for a vampire again.”
“ Oh come on Syd, I’m sure there are a lot of vampires who have been mistaken for Werewolves before and I’m willing to bet they aren’t as bent out of shape about it as you are.”
Sydney looked over to the autopsy tables and then through the doorway.
“ Once we take possession, they’ll be fine- on the other hand- you know we could get some new digs. What do you think?” Tamara asked.
“ As far as bodies go, like I said before, was a good one. It used to belong to a writer. His name was Bancho Church”
“ Hey. I read his stuff. He was cool. I didn’t know he, you know moved on.”
“ Yes, well he did.” Sydney looked down and cleared his throat. “ Sort of.”
Tamara watched her body being washed and then it was bagged and someone took it to the backroom.
“ Cheer up Sydney, it’s Halloween, there’s a full moon and the night is young.”
Sydney’s body went through next and Tamara followed it “ Come one Syd, if we shake a leg I’ll bet we could get a little Trick or Treating in.”
“ You don’t…” he said.
“ Yeah. I shift and knock on doors. I swear last year I scored about five pounds of candy and got my picture taken about a thousand times. Imagine that, people have a picture of real …
“ Mental case.” Sydney interrupted her “ Okay after what we’ve been through we could use some fun. It’s a date let’s go.”
Tamara said “ Yeah. It’s a date. Happy Halloween Syd. And just so you know, I’ve ruined lives of those who stood between me and Choco-Bursts.”
Sydney waited for Tamara to laugh and when she did not, he did it for her.