Keisha Heathman wrote this Friday Sudden Fiction based on the following prompt:
Consider any of the following: woods, street lights, a wet dog, coffee, a telephone.
Here’s her piece…
Marla and Dennis were drinking their usual cup of coffee. Every morning they met up at the coffee shop. This morning felt different though. Dennis showed up almost 20 minutes late and looked disheveled. Marla didn’t question it though.
Their normal routine consisted of coffee and gossip from 8am to 9am, actual breakfast from 9 am to about 10am and then the 10 minute walk to their offices.
Dennis wasn’t very talkative this morning and he actually yelled at Marla for talking too much. “Woman do you ever shut your pie hole?” he barked at her. Confused, she stopped talking. They ate breakfast in complete silence. When it was time to go, Dennis spoke. “I’m sorry for blowing up on you earlier, it’s just…well…” he sighed. Another sigh immediately followed. “Marla, do you remember that night in bar? You know the night I got drunk?” Without giving her time to answer he continued, “You know how you stayed with me that night? You said you were worried about me. You were a friend to me that night and right now I need a friend,” he told her.
“What’s going on, Den?” she asked him still confused.
Dennis opened his mouth to say something but he stopped short. Instead he pulled out a picture. He gave it to Marla and told her to keep it and to remember them that way. He stood up from his seat and walked out of the coffee shop.
Marla threw a 20 dollar bill on the table and ran out to look for Dennis, but he was nowhere to be found. She decided to go to work, thinking he would be there by now. He wasn’t. She called his phone endlessly, to no avail. She was completely and utterly confused.
After about an hour she told her assistant to cancel all of her appointments for the rest of the day. She went home and grabbed the spare house keys Dennis had given her. She jogged to his house and knocked on the door. When no answer came she took a deep breath as she put the key in the lock and turned the door knob. Slowly she peered inside expecting the worse, but everything looked normal.
She walked in and checked every room looking for any clue that would let her know where Dennis could be. She got to the bedroom and then she saw it. The exact picture Dennis had just given her. She got an eerie feeling from seeing the big 8 by 10 version of the picture. The whole room was lined with that exact picture, all in different settings.
She opened up a drawer and saw more pictures. Same settings as the ones she was in except with different girls. She realized what she was looking at but it was too late.
It was happening and she couldn’t stop it. Her head began to hurt and her body began to go numb. Suddenly she remembered everything. The accident, the other girls and even the horrendous crime that had taken place. As much as she wanted to just leave, she couldn’t and she knew this. She knew she was in trouble, she knew she needed help but she also knew that what was making her body go numb was an odor she was familiar with. It was slowly coming back to her. That night at the bar when she first began talking to Dennis she smelled it that night and blacked out. Dennis had told her she stayed with him because she was worried about him now she knew that she was the one who had actually blacked out and needed helping.
On the floor as her body was rapidly numbing, she managed to look up. Dennis was standing over her with a mask coving his face. “You just couldn’t remember us the way we were huh?” he asked in a muffled voiced. “You just had to investigate?” he asked.
Dennis decided to explain to Marla what she had just figured out. “See Mar, my dear, that night at the bar, you asked me about the incidents at the dock. I thought you were just trying to make conversation but you screwed up. See, you made a statement that was well….an accusation. A true accusation but still an accusation.”
Marla interrupted him. “Dennis please,” she cried. “Don’t hurt me,” she whispered to him. He laughed and continued on with his story. “Oh silly Marla, once you figured out that I had something to do with those missing girls, I had to do something about it. You took some pills for the headache that night that wiped your memory of what had happened to yourself and those girls,” he yelled at her.
Dennis pulled out some pictures and threw them at Marla. He laughed and told her she was getting ready to meet her maker. Like the others had. She was tied up and thrown into the closet and a light came on. She looked around in horror when she realized that she recognized the area. All of the girls who had “already” met their maker had their picture taken right here where she now was. She closed her eyes and prepared to die.
Just then she saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Before she had left work, she sent her best friend Alicia an email saying that something was wrong and she was going to go check on Dennis. She also added that for some strange reason she felt unsafe and if she wasn’t back by lunch to call the police.
She smiled and prayed that Alicia had already read the email. She began to fall asleep and knew that if she did she might not make it out alive.
After what seemed like hours, the closet door opened and there were 2 police officers and Alicia standing there. Marla was barely conscious but she knew she was alive.