Saturday, March 8, 2008

Short Story Saturday

Lauren sighed as she looked out the window. The weather was overcast, grey and murky. It seemed like winter was never going to go away.
"Oh well, it's no use" she thought to herself as she pulled her black hoodie over her head. Forgetting, she let the hood settle half way onto her head, and immediately pulled it off. Not fast enough, though, as she caught the fleeting glance of the old man in her mirror.
"Damn it" she thought, cursing the fact that she didn't have the money to buy a new hoodie, or something warmer. Her mother, a waitress at the cafe in town, didn't have two dimes to rub together, either.
Grabbing up her school books, she flung them into her black backpack, wondering what had possessed her to promise Meg that she would walk over and help her with her homework. Meg was the closest thing to a friend she had, though, and at sixteen, one needed all the friends they could get.
Stepping out of the house, she was careful to lock the door. Her mother wouldn't be home until after midnight, and Lauren was half hoping for an invitation to spend the night at Meg's. Her mother wouldn't care. Shaking her head until her long black hair swung in the breeze, Lauren started the walk to Meg's. It wasn't a long walk, just about 10.5 miles down a windy, country road. If she was lucky, she could catch a ride. Shivering a little, Lauren increased her pace, thinking about the day she discovered the secret of her black hoodie.
She'd been in the local thrift shop, last October. The weather was getting colder, and she didn't have a whole lot of money to spend on a warm jacket. Fingering her ten dollar bill, she'd gone through every rack, despairing that she'd not find anything, at all. Finally, on the last rack, there it was. Conveniently, it was reasonably priced. $8.99. Looking it over, she didn't find any holes, tears, or stains. "Some rich chick probably got tired of it" she thought as she pulled it over her head to see if it fit. It had. Leaving it on, she went up to the counter, and paid for it, and, pocketing her change, left the store. She'd planned on walking over to the nearby Jack in The Box to get a hamburger with her change when the first, fat drop of rain fell. Pulling up the hood, she gasped, and felt like she'd been electrocuted. Passing by a car window, she'd gasped even more when she saw not a reflection of herself, but the reflection of a tall, blonde woman, wearing the black hoodie! Pulling the hood down, she'd felt the same feeling, and her own reflection returned. Sick to her stomach, she hurried home, forgetting the hamburger.
Since that October, she'd done a few experiments with the hoodie. Sometimes, she really liked whom it turned her into, other times, she couldn't get the hood down fast enough. She also learned that the longer she left the hood up, the stronger the other person became, until, in a sense, she lost herself. It wasn't always easy to get the other person to pull the hood down, either.
Lauren got pulled out of her reverie when a black jeep sped by, spraying rain water across the pavement as it hit a puddle. Sticking out her thumb indicating her need for a ride, Lauren then flipped him off as he continued to speed right past her, spraying her with water."Asshole" she thought, dodging to avoid the splatter. Looking back up, she squinted as a drop of rain hit her in the eye. "Great" she thought. She was less than half way to Meg's house. She now had a choice. Take a chance on the hood, and whom she would become, or, arrive looking like a drowned rat?
Looking about, making sure no one was watching, Lauren carefully pulled up the hood, hoping for the best. Feeling the electricity she'd halfway gotten used to, she looked down at her hands, then sighed gratefully when they were only slightly modified. Wandering over to a puddle, she peered in, looking at her wavy, grainy reflection. Staring back at her was a woman, looking to be in her early 30's, with red hair, and big, brown eyes. "Not bad" thought Lauren to herself. "Of course not bad! I take care of myself!" was the echoing thought returned immediately. "Oh, sorry" said Lauren. "Of course you do."
"Can we go to a bar?" the voice in her head asked, hopefully. "No! said Lauren, as she thought "great, another one of those." One of the people she'd changed to, once, had a penchant for rum and coke, and Lauren had woke up extremely hung over the next day.
"We are going to help my friend with her homework, and as soon as we get within viewing distance of the house, you are gone" Lauren said to the red headed woman. "So you might as well settle back, and enjoy the walk".
"That's what you think" snarled the red head. "I will be in control shortly here, missy".
Angry, Lauren pulled the hood off her head, not willing to take the chance. She hated the bossy ones! A scream of rage sounded in her brain as the red head faded away. Sighing, Lauren walked a bit more, hoping it would not rain hard.
Sadly, it only seemed to get worse. Again, Lauren pulled up the hood, sending a silent prayer up for someone nice. Glancing down at her hands, she sighed. They grew large, and hairy, quickly. She didn't need a puddle to know that she'd somehow, morphed into a man. Men were harder to deal with, they always wanted to go and do things like work on cars, or pick up women. Lauren had NO desire to do either. Reaching up, she touched her face, feeling a beard and mustache. "Well, at least if I am a big hairy man, I will be warm" she thought, trudging along, waiting for him to let his presence be known.
"Cool" was the first word she heard. "But why are we walking?"
"Because I have to go somewhere" she answered tiredly. "We don't drive?" he answered, shocked.
"No, we don't she retorted, irritated. She COULD drive, if she could afford a car.
"Oh well, he replied, easy going. "Were are we going?
"To my friends house, to help her with her homework." she answered. Hearing another car on the road, she stuck out her thumb, hoping for the best, and that the people wouldn't be intimidated by a hitch-hiking man. To her relief, they did pull over. "Where you going, buddy?" asked the man leaning out the passenger seat window.
"Oh, just over to Blue Owl road" answered Lauren, in the deep voice of the man.
"We are headed near those parts, climb on in". Answered the driver. Gratefully Lauren climbed into the backseat of the Bronco they were driving, coughing at the obvious scent of marijuana that pervaded it. Blaring Metallica, the Bronco took off. Rounding the corner, though, the Bronco hit a patch of water, and, hydroplaning, it cartwheeled, and rolled across the pavement, and down an embankment.
"Fabulous" thought Lauren, as she hung upside down, suspended by the seatbelt she had only just managed to get on. Her hood had come off in the accident, and she was back to herself. Slithering out of the bronco, backpack in hand, she studied the wreak for a moment. "Strange, I don't see the others" she thought to herself. Unhurt, she climbed up the embankment, and started again towards Meg's house, where she could call 9-1-1. She couldn't afford a cell phone, either. She did not notice the ghostly two men following her. A bit further down the road, she passed by the black Jeep, now upside down, as well. She laughed at the obnoxious sticker on the front window that read "if you can read this, turn me right side up". She looked around for it's driver, as well, and couldn't find him. "Now I have to report two accidents" she thought. "Bad day to be on the road." She didn't notice two more ghostly people now fall into line behind her.
The farther she walked, the more people she didn't notice walking behind her. It started to rain, yet again, and pulling up her hood, all she felt was rage and anger, so she yanked it back off, determined that cold weather or not, she was going to throw the hoodie away as soon as she got to Meg's house. She was tired of it all.
Finally, hours later after she'd left, she found herself at Meg's house. Or what was left of it. The house was a smoldering remains of bare wood and scorched belongings. Meg ran up to her, crying. "Who are you, who are all these people with you? Where is my family? What is going on?
Turning, Lauren finally noticed the line of people around her. Meg, crying, went to join the line. "What are you doing?" cried Lauren, suddenly very afraid. Pulling at the hoodie, she tried to get it off, and yet, was unable.
"We are waiting to see where you will lead us, Death" answered the first person in line, expressionless. "Where you go, we will follow."
Sorrowfully, Lauren pulled up the hood. No longer caring who she changed into. And death walked down the road...


sybil law said...

My favorite one yet!
I am so glad my damn internet connection is back! (Damn snow!)

holly said...

good god! this was good. and now, i no longer want a hoodie.

well, i didn't really want one to begin with. ..

Daryl said...

WOW .. this is sooo good maybe the best ... girl you have a way with words .. I didnt see that end coming at all ..

mielikki said...

MM actually contributed a fair amount to this story. He has a great mind for tales, as well, it seems..
And I would rethink the black hoodie for sure, Holly!

Celtic Rose said...

I am afraid to ask . . . . where has your mind been? I am not overly fond of scary stuff but this was very well written . . . and scary in a creepy sorta way . . .

Still like my hoodie though.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow, that was fab. Scary and cool and really well written.