Tag Archives: horror story

Flash Fiction Friday: Retail Edition

Dead On Her Feet

“I really appreciate you understanding,” Jane said over the phone. “I promise to make it up to you as soon as I’m feeling better.”

“Sure,” I croak out. The sound of a crowd in the background makes me doubt her claim of being sick but I’m not high enough on the totem pole to demand a doctor’s note and the store manager is out with pneumonia.

“Ah, don’t tell me you’re catching whatever is going around, too,” she laughs.

“Sounds like it,” I say, flipping over my box of cold medicine. It’s only been six hours since I’ve taken it and it stopped working an hour ago. I wonder if two hours would make that much of a difference.

“Well, feel better and call someone if you need to go home sick.”

She hung up before I could ask her to not have me cover her shift tonight.

Fuck it, I decide. I’m taking another dose. I can sleep it off when I’m off in a few more hours.

I throw the pills back with the last of my water and wait for the inevitable cough that comes with the cold. It never comes and I’m grateful for the reprieve.

The rattling cough had been persistent for the last few days but it seemed to have past. My lungs feeling like lead probably meant it wasn’t a good thing but I was willing to not think about it for the rest of my shift.

Everything ached, including my hair and eyelashes. Blinking had become an effort of will as had thinking beyond the next few minutes.

I shuffled back onto the floor and my cashier huffed at me.

“It’s about time. And before you ask, no, I can’t stay. I have plans tonight.”

“That’s fine. It’s slow tonight, anyway. Enjoy your plans.”

She paused and looked at me. “You look like death.”

“Do I look bad enough to make you stay?” I ask.

The indecision flashed across her face and I shook my head. “Go home, Lauren. Enjoy your plans. I’ll be here.”

“If I didn’t already have plans,” she started and I waved her away.

“I understand. I’m the only one here without a life. Go on.”

Lauren didn’t need anymore nudging. She bolted to the back and came out a minute later with her purse. “It’s not fair for you,” she said as I walked her to the door. “You deserve a life, too.”

“Yeah, yeah, I croaked. I’ll go get one when I have the chance.”

She laughed and ran out the door to the only car in the parking lot with it’s headlights on. When she climbed into the passenger seat, I could see her lean across and kiss the driver.

New boyfriend, I thought to myself. Guess she has those kinds of plans tonight.

The store is dead, the only sounds the inappropriately upbeat pop music, the rattle of the air conditioning and my shuffling feet as I move around straightening shelves and stocking product.

I sit down for a moment in the chairs by the fitting rooms and feel my last breath gust out of me. The achiness in my limbs disappears and I look around.

It’s still hard to move and think but there’s not much to do so I just keep working.

A customer comes in and tells me she’s just looking when I mumble a greeting. A handful of clothes later, she calls me to the register and I get there as fast as I can.

My movements are slow and deliberate as I ring up her purchase and I can see her checking her phone distractedly. I tell her the total and she hands me cash.

I have to put the amount in twice, my fingers barely activating the touch screen and the drawer startles me when it pops open.

“Here’s your change,” I groan, trying to get her attention.

“What?” She snaps, finally looking up at me.

Anger flashes in her eyes and I’m suddenly hungry.

“Chaaaange,” I moan, trying desperately not to lick my lips.

“It’s about damn time,” she says, taking the money I hand her.

I watch in horror as I reach out and grab her. I pull her across the counter by her arm and ignore her screams. Each blow of her fists thuds against my arms but do nothing to stop me.

A wet cracking noise draws my attention to where I’ve grabbed her head, the red, sticky fluid running down my palms.

She looks like a watermelon and makes me think of steak as I take a bite of the first thing I’ve wanted to eat in months.

When I’m finished, I throw what’s left in the trash and grab the disinfectant. There’s a procedure for dealing with spilled fluids and I’m moving better after my snack.

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Flash Fiction Friday: Evening Edition

The subject of this story refused to come out before dark. Enjoy!

Working Prick

Honey, the vampire’s here.

I chuckle at the joke and the woman on the bed turns to look at me.

Hey, you look just like that horror author. The one who’s in all of his movies. Are you working here to research your next book?

Nope, just an unfortunate coincidence. I tell her, rolling my cart up to her bed. I’m a working vampire.

I thought vampires were supposed to be rich and glamorous.

Only if they start that way, I say, focusing on the vein in her arm.

Well, watch your investments and maybe you’ll manage the rich part.

Are you saying I’ve already managed the looks part? I look up at her and smile, the vials of blood slipping easily into their holders.

Honey, you have a face for radio.

Thank you for the compliment, Mrs. Sanders. The last person who noticed said I was a two-bagger.

Mr Sanders laughed and his wife giggled. They’d been keeping me company for the last week while they waited for her hip to heal. A feisty older couple, they looked like they could have been my grandparents.

In truth, they could have been my grandchildren.

I wave as I head out to finish my rounds, the vials clinking gently as I roll my cart through the hallways.

Everything is hushed in the hospital at night, even the machines take a quiet tone, as though unsure they want to wake the bodies they monitor. I wave to the nurse who’s working the desk and she waves back, her eyes focused on her paperwork.

The next room has no visitors, just an angry old man who snores in his sleep. A long list of contacts runs down the board on the wall with relationships next to them. Some have been smudged and moved around, as though there’s a pecking order in the old man’s health decisions.

Melanie Holmes is the last name on the list and the only person I’d met. She’d been in the night before, the smell of fries clinging to her uniform, just sitting by the old man’s side. I knew the old man was completely oblivious to her presence and told her so.

I  know, she’d said. I’m here for me. For a few minutes of peace before I have to go back out there.

She was so sweet, her face just showing the lines of stress two jobs and a crazy mess of a family can make. My heart had thumped hard in my chest as she watched me do my job and it made me envy the elders of my kind.

Ages ago, I would have scooped her up in my arms and taken her away, made her my bride before the end of the week.

Of course, ages ago, it was unlikely that we would ever have crossed paths. Rich and glamorous vampires didn’t meet a whole lot of waitresses unless they were skulking down back alleys looking for victims. And she likely wouldn’t have been missed.

Now, though, I have to at least attempt some form of seduction. Wooing her away from her normal life is the least I can do and far safer than abduction. And hey, as popular as vampires have been lately, she might even be interested.

For now, though, her grandfather was having blood drawn. A couple vials more than strictly necessary but he wouldn’t miss them. A couple patients like this every night was enough to curb the hunger. And the graveyard shift paid better than the day light ones because nobody wanted them.

It took only a moment to apply the bandage and put the vials in the cart. On the way out, I snapped a picture of his contact board.

Normally I would say it was too late to call but Melanie struck me as the kind of girl who liked to stay up late.

Besides, who calls anymore?

Taking a break in the lab, I pop open a vial and drink it, my fingers moving quickly over my phone’s screen.

Hey beautiful, missed you at the hospital tonight.

Had to work late. Who is this?

Just your friendly neighborhood vampire. I send with a chuckle.

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