Just Say No by Charlie Wade.

We’d do anything for a hit. Gotta take you low though. None of this happy up shit. Why d’ya want that? Why go up so you have to come back down?

Tried everything. Brown was too messy. Sure it was deep and low, but it fucked us up for weeks. Jellies, not hard enough, not intense. We needed more. We were always looking for something different. Always needed to go one more.

Then, last night, looks like we found it.


Lynn’s on the other sofa finishing off the scotch I nicked from that house. She looks rough this morning, bleary eyes with big bags.

Me?

I woke a minute ago when Lynn was screaming and crying. My head hurts, feels like there’s spanners rattling around inside. Every move I make they clang together louder and louder. She finishes the scotch. Don’t ask if I want some. Can’t blame her, I’d have done the same. Should’ve nicked two bottles, but there weren’t enough room for them and the Xbox. Daz’s beside me on the sofa. Looks like he’s waking up. Fucking shock he’s got coming. Biggest shock of my life waking up, and realising what had...

“The Runt’s got a lot to answer for,” said Lynn.

I nod my head. The spanners clang.


After doing over the house, I went down the Crown. Saw Billy the Runt straight away, didn’t bother getting a drink. No point, I weren’t there to drink. The runt was stood by a table, eyes shifting, peeking into corners, seeing things and people that weren’t there. Seeing danger where there weren’t none.

“What you got?” I said.

“I only got pills.” He looked round, sure he was being watched.

“Don’t want fuckin e’s. Wanna go down not up.”

“They ain’t fuckin e’s. Brand new they are. Straight from America. Blast off’s they called. Take you lower than a ...” He paused, tried to think of a phrase he ain’t overused.

“Any good?”

“Damn right. Designed by the military. Chemical warfare and that. Gen-ate-ick-aley designed they are.” He sounded like he’d been practising but was never gonna get it right. “They slip them to the enemy. Mongs them out for hours. Can’t remember nothing afterwards.”

I weren’t convinced. “You sure they’re good?” The runt sold me laxatives one, claimed you get a buzz from the dehydration it causes. He weren’t the only one full of shit that day.

“Fuckin A man, fuckin A. Best fucking hit this side of...” He stopped again, I swear I saw his brain whirring as he tried to finish the line.

“Not sure.” I tried to look uninterested. “I got an Xbox, how many?”

“Do you eight for it.”

“Go on then,” I said.

Back at the house, Lynn was fucking fuming. “An Xbox for eight pills? You get any fucking magic beans as well?”

I explained where they’d come from. “Military mongers,” I’d said. She shrugged her shoulders for a bit, but I won her and the rest round.

We settled down, all four of us and took one each, washed down in the finest stolen whisky.

Then I woke up. Just now.


Daz is awake now. He looks rough as shite. His eyes are pin heads and his mouth’s hanging open. He’s seen her. Seen Susie. Seen her lying on the floor.

“What the fuck happened?” The words croak from his mouth.

Lynn shakes her head. She’s still got tears dribbling down her cheeks. “What we gonna do?” She looks at me, like I can help. I’ve always had a soft spot for Lynn. She’s looking at me now, hoping I can make this go away. Looks like I’m gonna let her down again.

I force myself to look away, down at the floor. My eyes move past the beer cans, then turn left at the hub-cap ashtray till I see Susie, just lying there.

I see her eyes first. They’re like old milky coloured marbles. Her face’s grey, the wrong colour. Like all the blood’s drained out. I look past her shoulder and down her arm. There’s blood on her t-shirt. It’s dried out giving it some hippy tie-dye look.

I take another breath then look further down her arm. Down to the elbow. The stub. The stubby mess of bone and blood where her forearm's missing.

That ain’t the worst part.

Around the stub there’s teeth marks, bite marks, like the arm’s been bitten off at the elbow. I gag as I look further. The rest of her arm, with the hand still attached, it’s lying loose on the carpet. It’s covered in teeth marks. Strips of flesh have been ripped away to the bone. The teeth marks are human, no doubt about it. I look back at Lynn, her t-shirt’s covered in dried blood. So is Daz’s and his hands are red. Stained with it. Stained with her blood.

Me? Yeah I’m covered too, and my mouth tastes of metal. I know what that means. Means I can taste blood. Reckon Lynn could too, that’s why she downed the whisky.

“What do we do?” Lynn says, her voice breaking up.

I look at the table. The little baggy with four pills left. I look round at Daz, he’s eyeing them too. Lynn reaches first and grabs them. She takes one, forces it down before chucking the bag at me. I ram one down, retching on it before giving the bag to Daz.

“See you later,” said Lynn.

“Hope so,” I replied.

Charlie Wade lives in Derbyshire, England and has written three books, a comedy spy thriller, a post credit crunch dystopia and a crime thriller. He's had six short stories published online and his story, Pleading and Bleeding, was in Out Of The Gutter Magazine issue 7. He blogs at http://spiesliesandpies.blogspot.com/

10 comments:

Paul D Brazill said...

Corker!

Joe Clifford said...

Well, that wasn't at all creepy... Well done!

David Barber said...

This story has everything a piece of flash fiction should have. Can't say any more, Charlie, apart from thanks for sending it my way.

Well done!

Groovydaz40 said...

Another corker from the ever talented Chaz Wade. Great character names too ;)

K. A. Laity said...

Fantastic.

Chuck Caruso said...

Great narrative voice with a nasty tale to tell. Nice work, Charlie!

ajhayes2 said...

Man I love stories that start at the end and don't have to use flashbacks to make it clear what happened. I never lost a step in this one, knew where they (and I) were and had been straight through. Like David says, this one's got everything good about flash in it. Cool.

Graham Smith said...

Great piece of flash fiction which bites deep into the soul.

It was told in a very strong voice as well.

Cool beans.

Bill Baber said...

Wow-like a flash of lightening and a thuderclap so close it knocks you on your ass... Wow. Really good. Thank you Mr Wade.

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