Hello folks! I'm back for another installment of Wendig's fancy pants Flash Fiction Challenge. This time the man teased us with this wicked picture as a prompt, giving me many story ideas.
I finally settled on what follows.
So sit back, grab your popcorn, and enjoy this week's version of a Twilight Zone-like tale.
It was always in the middle of the night.
That was when his wife would send him for ice cream at the corner grocery.
She wasn’t even pregnant. His friends told him that’s what he got for marrying a spoiled daddy’s girl. Tina was a lousy cook, an even worse housekeeper, and bitched at him constantly, but she was drop dead gorgeous and great in bed. She also refused to work, but he made enough money for both of them to live comfortably.
The shopkeeper was so used to seeing him that he nodded and welcomed him by name.
He found the butter pecan right where it always was. As he reached for it, a searing pain shot through his head causing him to tumble forward into the cooler. His vision became blurred, and everything he heard was magnified temporarily. The shopkeeper came running and he could hear his name echoing inside his head. After a few moments, things looked and sounded pretty normal and he was able to stand by himself.
The same thing had happened a few days ago.
He refused to let the shopkeeper call for an ambulance, and paying for the ice cream, he left.
The night air was crisp.
Walking past the other shop fronts, something caught his eye. Slowing his pace, he looked more closely. In the hands of a mannequin was a doll head. No body, just a doll head. What made it more disturbing was the fact that it was missing its eyes. Now he was reminded of the strange dreams he had been having. In them he was pulling the heads off of dolls. As a child he would take his sisters dolls and pull off their heads. Once, the eyes had popped out when he had distorted the plastic head. Recently he had been having dreams about doing this again, and there was a sinister quality to them.
He shook off the thought. It was late and all he wanted to do was get back home and go to bed. Figuring someone had played a prank, he moved on.
A few doors down, in the display, there was another doll head, just like the other, sitting on a stack of books.
He stopped and rubbed his eyes, putting the package down to place his hands over his face. After a few seconds of deep breaths, he opened his eyes. It was still there.
Becoming a little spooked, he quickened his pace until he was almost running. Along the way he passed a trashcan under a street lamp. Just on the top was another doll head.
He broke out into a sprint.
Planning on taking a shortcut, he turned sharply down an alley. His foot caught and he went down hard.
Upon impact, he scrambled to right himself. It was dark and he couldn’t make anything out. He was lying on top of something strange, something lumpy.
As his eyes adjusted, he saw that he was crouched on top of a pile of doll heads.
A maniacal laughter filled his ears. Many voices, high-pitched, giggled through his head.
He grabbed his ears and started yelling.
The man was still screaming when the police found him.
As they fastened the straight jacket and stuffed him into the back of the ambulance, the call came in.
His wife had been murdered.
It looked like she had been dead for days.
Her head had been twisted backward, and her body was covered with doll heads.