So the NYC Flash Fiction contest thingy begins the second round tonight. I didn't place in the top 15 for round #1, and I'm not really in a place to participate in round 2 (and therefore likely not going to compete). That said, I'm posting the first round entry because here I want to. It's not my best work but considering I hate horror and have trouble reading and writing it (I get creeped out to easy) but I think it's decent.
Jeremy giggled and reached out to grab onto the stack of lumber that sat on the ground waiting for tomorrow’s shipment. As he tottered around the corner, he saw the wiggling tail of the puppy he had been following disappear into the shadows up ahead.
As he turned the corner again his bracelets caught on the stack of wood. The one with the baseball bat had gotten stuck, so he slipped it off and dashed forward. Ahead, he saw the puppy scrambling into a metal tunnel.
When Jeremy reached the tunnel he climbed in after the puppy, the tinkling of the baseball charm on the remaining bracelet echoing around him.
Suddenly a loud noise erupted and the tunnel began to shake. Jeremy tried to back out, but couldn't. Instead he began to slip forward.
As he saw the blades coming closer, he screamed.
Walter Minkis walked up to the counter and dropped his purchases on it.
"Did you find everything okay?" asked the blond standing at the register. Walter avoided eye contact, and nodded.
She carefully placed each item into the bag as she rang it in. "That will be $24.50."
Walter reached back and pulled out his wallet. He stared down at it for a few seconds, stroked it twice and reached in to take out the money inside.
"Where did you get that?"
"Wha-?" he said, looking up quickly at the lady behind the counter, panic spreading across his face.
"I asked you where you got that." Her voice quickly shifted from surprise to anger.
"Lisa? What's wrong?" asked the only other customer in the store.
"This guy has Matthew’s wallet."
Walter turned to see who Lisa was talking to and nearly wet himself. Striding up the aisle was Michael Davis, town sheriff.
Walter tossed the wallet at Lisa, who threw up her arms and screamed as he bolted towards the door. He reached it just as the sheriff came out of the aisle. As Walter ran he glanced through the store windows, seeing the sheriff stopping to check on the counter girl. When he reached the corner of the building he cut sharply left into the alley that ran alongside and ran for home as if his life depended on it. Which it did.
The door shattered. Walter flinched away from the suitcase he had been packing, covering his face and head from flying splinters. The wood was still falling when the sheriff and several state troopers swarmed into the room shouting and barking orders. Some yelled for him not to move while others were telling him to put his arms up. Still others kept shouting to get on his knees.
He darted for the back door, dodging the officer that dove over the worn and frayed couch trying to tackle him. The plywood and cinder block coffee table crumbled under the impact of the officer. Walter grinned and hoped he had been hurt.
As he turned the corner into the kitchen he ran into another group of officers. One grabbed him by the shoulders, wrapping his arms around Walter to prevent any further attempt to escape while another fought to get his arms pinned behind Walter’s back and slip on plastic zip cuffs.
The officer holding Walter by the shoulders shoved him hard up against the refrigerator, shaking the appliance so violently that it knocked everything from the top. In the pile of mess that fell was a single silver bracelet with a baseball bat hanging from the end.
Another officer reached down and picked up the bracelet along with the paper box that sat upside down with its lid slightly askew. As he turned over the baseball bat charm he saw the name 'Jeremy' engraved on the back. He showed this to the sheriff, who motioned with his head for the officers to sit Walter at the round linoleum kitchen table.
"Why, Walter?" the sheriff asked quietly.
Sheriff Davis reached out, backhanding Walter. The other officers looked away. They all knew the sheriff’s son was one of the first to disappear.
"I won't ask again."
"I remember you now," said the officer that had grabbed Walter by the shoulders. "You're Walter Minkis. You used to work down at the lumber yard when I was a kid. My dad worked there and would bring me in sometimes. You ran the big saw."
Walter glanced at the officer, not making eye contact.
"You had an accident there didn't you?"
"He lost his hand when he fell into the chipper. Said he was rescuing his puppy," said Sheriff Davis, turning the bracelet over in his fingers.
"Damn kids had hung Roger by his neck," screamed Walter.
"Is that why you used a puppy to lure kids? Because some kids killed your puppy what, twenty years ago?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Witnesses say they saw the kids that disappeared following a puppy into the lumber yard. Is that how you did it? Using a puppy?"
"I don't know anything about no damn puppy but those kids deserved everything they got!"
The Sheriff frowned and stood up. "Get him out of my sight."
The state troopers yanked Walter up so hard he yelped. They dragged him out of the house, kicking and screaming "They deserved it!"
Just inside the woods that surrounded Walter’s house, in the dappled shadows of sunlight cast by the leaves of the trees overhead sat a small red and black puppy. His eyes flashed red as he pulled out a small bone and began chewing. As the puppy shifted his paws around to get a better grip the leaves covering the other end of the bone slid to expose the skeletal hand that still remained attached. Around the hand was a small silver bracelet with what looks like a baseball hanging from it.