You Never Know What You’ll Find- Friday Flash

Yard Sale Northern California May 2005. This i...

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You Never Know What You’ll Find

By Melissa L. Webb

The car’s tires crunched in the gravel as he pulled over and stopped. Looking over, Dexter snatched the paper from his girlfriend’s fingers. “Come on, Ash. We couldn’t have covered them all.”

She shrugged. “We did, Dex. The only one left is on the outskirts of town.”

Dexter lifted his sunglasses and glanced down at the newspaper in his hands. They had indeed covered every single garage sale. He looked over at Ash and raised his eyebrow. “Well, what do you think? Is it worth it?”

“We’ve come this far.”

With a sigh, he glanced back at the road. “Might as well cover them all.”

She smiled brightly as her boyfriend pulled back onto the road. “I do love the thrill of the hunt. You never know what you’re going to find.”

Dexter grinned. “I know, Ash. What I can’t figure out is how you got me hooked on them. It’s not like I need any more useless junk lying around.”

She playfully slapped his shoulder as he drove. “It’s not all useless junk, Dex.”

He smirked slightly as he glanced at her. “So you say.”

Silence slipped around them as the car headed outside of town. Following the directions in the paper, they soon found themselves on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

“Are you sure this is the right road?” Dexter asked as he drove slowly, glancing at the trees lining both sides of the car. “There doesn’t seem to be anything out here.”

Ash glanced back down at the paper in her hand. “The add says 245 West Cooper Ave. This is West Cooper Ave.”

“Well, we haven’t seen one single house yet, Ash.” He looked at her and shrugged. “Maybe they got the address wrong?”

She glanced up at him. “Why would they get their own address wrong, Dex?”

“I don’t know,” he said with a frown. “But there’s nothing out here.”

“Wait,” she spoke suddenly, pointing at something. “Is that a driveway?”

Dex stopped the car and leaned forward, staring at the break in the trees next to the car. “It might be.”

“Yeah, look. Further down. There’s some balloons.” She looked over at him. “This is the place.”

He thought for a moment. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, this is the place.”

“Okay,” Dexter said as he turned down the driveway.

They came to an old two-story farmhouse. Rows of tables lined the long driveway in front of the garage.

Stuff was everywhere. Piles of clothes, stacks of books, and various odds and ends covered the tables everywhere they looked. It was a garage sale addict’s dream.

Dexter killed the engine and looked over at his girlfriend. “Well, you must be in heaven.” He got out of the car and glanced back. “Are you coming?”

Ash got out of the car slowly, looking around. “Where is everyone?”

He glanced at the space around them, noticing the lack of life and shrugged. “They’re all inside. They probably don’t get a lot of people out here.”

She glanced up at the house. “I guess.”

“What? You’re not scared are you?”

She frowned as she walked past him, towards the tables. “Knock it off, Dex.”

He laughed as he watched her glance at the things on the table in front of her. “Poor little Ash is terrified of a garage sale. I’d never thought I’d see the day.”

“Shut up, Dexter.”

“Oh, come on, baby,” he said, walking over to her. “I was just teasing.” He kissed her cheek softly.

She kept quiet but couldn’t keep the grin from tugging at the corners of her lips.

“That’s my girl.”

They walked around the tables in silence, examining the wares for sale.

Ash was just reaching out for a pink dog figurine, when the door to the garage opened and a man and woman stepped out.

The woman smiled at them. “Hello.”

Ash returned the smile. “Hi.”

The man glanced over at Dexter. “How y’all doing today? Is there anything in particular you’re looking for?”

He shook his head. “Not really.” He glanced over at Ash. “My girl just likes to look for everything.”

The man nodded. “I can understand that. That’s how we ended up with all of this stuff in the first place.”

“I know the feeling. You should see our place.”

Ash frowned. “I’m not that bad.”

The woman stepped forward. “Don’t let them upset you, sugar. That’s just the way men think.”

The man laughed. “That is the way men think, darlin’. I didn’t mean anything by it.” He looked back over at Dexter. “Hey, I have several cars out back for sale if you’re interested.”

He shook his head. “No, I can’t say that I am. I really don’t need another car.”

“No problem. Just thought I should ask.”

The woman watched Ash as she looked at the stuff on the tables. “We have more stuff inside. There’s sure to be something in there that you can’t live without.”

Ash glanced over at Dexter, who shrugged.

“It’s up to you, baby,” he called over to her. “But you might as well see everything while we’re here.”

“Well then, come on in,” the man said and headed back into the garage.

She looked over at the woman, who smiled before stepping in after the man, before frowning at her boyfriend as he approached her. “They’re a little weird, Dex.”

He nodded as he slipped his hand into hers. “Yeah, a little,” he said and glanced at the garage. “I don’t think we have anything to worry about though.”

She hesitated a moment longer and then smiled sheepishly. “I know. I’m being silly. There’s nothing out here to be afraid of.”

He gave her hand a squeeze and led her forward. “That’s my girl.”

They walked into the garage and looked around at the tables lining the walls; more stuff covered all the available spaces.

The woman looked at them as they approached. “There’s more stuff in the house, if you guys want to start in there and work your way back out here.”

Ash smiled at her. “That sounds like a great idea. Thank you.”

The woman returned her smile. “No problem,” she said as she stepped in the backdoor and into the house.

Dexter led Ash in the door behind her. They stepped into a huge empty room.

The woman turned and smiled at them again. “Here we go.”

“Where’s all the stuff.”

“Oh, it’s just in the next room,” the man said, stepping into the room behind them. “You can rest assured, little lady, that there are plenty of surprises just waiting for you through those doors.” He grinned as he shut the door to the garage firmly.

Ash glanced over at her boyfriend. “Dex.”

He stepped closer to her. “It’s okay, baby. Everything’s going to be fine. Just breathe,” he whispered to her before he looked up at the man. “I don’t know what you have planned here, but you need to let my girlfriend and I go…right now.”

“I don’t think so, honey,” the woman said and grinned. “It’s been so long since we’ve had someone to play with. We’re not just gonna let you walk away.”

“Please,” Ash begged. “We won’t tell anyone. Just let us go. You really don’t want to do this to us.”

“Oh, but we do,” the man said, baring his stained teeth. “The family hasn’t had a proper kill in months. We can’t take that away from them, now can we?”

Dexter glanced down at his girlfriend. “Get out of here, Ash. Run.”

She shook her head. “I won’t leave you.”

“There’s no place for you to go anyway, sweetheart,” the woman cooed as she looked around the room.

Doors opened around the room as more people poured in. Men, women, and children all stared at them, grins on their dirty faces. Each one had a weapon of some kind in their hands and a deadly glint in their eyes.

The man looked at Ash and Dexter. “It’s time for the Warren family Bar-B-Q to begin.” His eyes darted to the people standing around. “Everyone pick your pieces.”

Dexter turned and glared at the man. “You can’t do this, you dumb bunch of hicks,” he yelled.

A little boy stepped forward and clubbed him hard in the back.

Dexter crumpled immediately to the ground.

The boy stared down at his body. “You can’t talk to my Papa like that.”

“No, Dex…” Ash cried as she looked down at her boyfriend’s lifeless body.

“Come on, everyone,” the woman shouted. “Let’s get to it.”

They all started towards Ash.

She looked around frantically, looking for a way out of this mess. There was none to be found. It was no use. Death had come to this room and nothing she did could stop that. She threw her head back and cried in anguish. Her wail shifted into a howl of rage as the skin started to flake from her body.

The Warrens stopped and stared in horror as tuffs of brown fur started to form all over her suddenly misshapen body.

Ash’s claws ripped the remaining flesh and clothes from her body as saliva dripped from her protruding muzzle. A low growl erupted from her throat as she locked her yellow eyes on to the crowd of people.

Dexter rose slowly from the ground and tossed his sunglasses in a corner. His bright red eyes flickered over his girlfriend’s hairy form. “Boy, you guys have no idea the amount of trouble you’ve brought into your home.” He grinned, exposing long white fangs. “You’ve picked the wrong couple to mess with,” he hissed sharply.

The woman’s eyes flickered to a window and then back to Ash and Dexter. “But it’s daytime, you shouldn’t even be here.”

Dexter smiled as he and Ash started forward. “You shouldn’t believe everything you read.”


Ash looked down at the pink dog figurine in her hands as she and Dexter got back in the car and smiled. “I do love garage sales, Dex. You never know what you’re going to find.”

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb


Confessions From An Apocalypse- Friday Flash

A Common Raccoon (Procyon lotor) seen near a b...

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By Melissa L. Webb

It started with a raccoon. A dead raccoon. I don’t know how everything escalated so fast from there. Maybe we brought it on by our lack of compassion. We honestly deserved no less.

The raccoon’s body was found in the gutter next to our house. Its torn coat matted with blood as its eyes remained forever unfocused. I wanted it gone. Death and disease that close to our little slice of suburbia was unacceptable. What if the kids played in it? What if the dog rolled in it? The filthy thing had to go.

My husband refused to dispose of it. He wasn’t going to touch the germ-ridden corpse. That’s what they paid garbage men for. Let them do it.

So with that refusal, it left me with the responsibility to deal with it. I called the City and complained. What else was I going to do? It’s not like I was going to touch the damn thing, especially with a fresh manicure.

The city worker told me they’d send someone out if they had time, but I could hear it in her voice. It wasn’t very high up on her list at all. Yes, that was my tax dollars hard at work.

Days went by and the raccoon continued to lay there, its corpse bloating by the minute. I was certain any moment the blasted thing would pop and spray the entire neighborhood with its filth. And the smell was the worst. Summertime was here and the long days of endless heat had caused a stench to waft through the breeze. I couldn’t enjoy my “me” time out on the patio because of it.

How could that animal be so inconsiderate as to die outside of my home? I was at my wit’s end. Something had to be done.

So, I did what any irritated woman would do. I grabbed a broom and marched outside. As I got closer to the beast, I realized my mistake. The smell was overpowering this close to it. It was all I could do to keep my breakfast down. This stench was something no proper woman should ever have to deal with.

But I was here and I wanted the vile thing gone. I looked around, hoping for inspiration to come to me. Luckily, it did. There was a storm drain leading to the sewers not very far from the rotting abomination. I knew what I had to do. I was going to shove that wretched thing down into the sewers.

I brought the broom to the corpse’s side and pushed with all my might. The body slid forward, breaking open as it did. Putrid liquid flowed out of the remains, coating the straws of the broom. I gagged, trying to advert my eyes from the gore, but kept pushing with all my strength.

The body continued to slide, my efforts made easier as more fluids ran. My shoes tried to slip in it and I cursed the animal as I went. How dare it choose my curb to rot against. I damned its soul to the worst torment Hell could offer. No one subjected me to this and got away with it. It would pay.

I got it to the grate and shoved it towards the opening. With a satisfying crunch, it dropped through into the darkness below. With one final glance at the rot smeared across the blacktop, I turned and headed back to the house to burn the broom and my shoes.

I gave no thought what-so-ever to the life that had been taken on this road, only to the inconvenience it put me through. I had cursed the creature with all the hate I could muster.

I think about that now as I sit here in this dark abandoned house, trying to purge my soul of this sin by the dying candlelight. I have lost everything because of my selfishness. I’m alone now, my family taken from me. This is my punishment. I know that…

Wait. I hear them outside. The zombies must have been drawn to the flickering light of the candle. I don’t know how long my barricades will last. I have to get this out. I need those of you left to know the truth.

The zombie plague is my fault.

I knew my curses had been heard by someone’s ears. I had cursed that raccoon’s soul to the worst torment Hell had to offer.

That night, after I had shoved the body down in the sewers, the poor doomed creature had crawled into my bedroom, dragging its broken body behind it. There was nothing I could do as the reanimated corpse launched itself at my husband, its dead eyes watching me as it tore the flesh from his bones.

So this is my confession: my selfishness created the first zombie.


© 2011 Melissa L. Webb

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Campfire Tales


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By Melissa L. Webb

Something lives deep in the woods where I grew up. Most people only talk about it in hushed whispers, nervously glancing over their shoulders. The rest use it as a cautionary tale, warning their children not to venture too deep into the trees there.

My parents were the latter. They used the legend as a way to keep me out of the forest behind our house. I always got a laugh from their warning. I knew things like that didn’t exist. Yet they would swear by it. “The Patchwork Man walks tonight. He’ll steal your children and taint their souls.”

Yeah, right. Tell me another one. I wasn’t a naive child. I was a street-smart teenager; they couldn’t fool me with their fairytales and lies.

It didn’t matter that they wove tales of an entity so depraved that not one adult would set foot near the forest at night. The fact he was said to slip past lit windows searching for his next victims to play with didn’t bother me; it wasn’t real. A creature who stole the flesh from children’s bones wasn’t something that existed. It was only a campfire story, nothing more.

So I decided to prove them all wrong. Everyone told me not to look for him. I was only inviting danger because once he’s set his sights on you, nothing would stop him. I didn’t listen. I had to prove to them how wrong they were.

Now I know the truth. I was the one who was wrong. Everything you have heard about the Patchwork Man is true. He is your worst nightmare, personified. The stories people tell are but a pale reflection of what he truly is. I know this. I know it very well.

I’m now one of the damned who lingers in these woods, my life snuffed out by he who dwells within. I issue this warning; lock your doors, keep your lights on, and hold your children close. The Patchwork Man walks tonight.

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb