1. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ralph's side of the island.

    Past Contest Submissions CLOSED for contest #172 Theme: "Teeth"

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by GingerCoffee, Mar 19, 2015.

    Short Story Contest # 172
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: "Teeth" courtesy of @Lancie

    Submissions will be open for ~2 more weeks.


    If you wish to enter the contest post the story here directly in the thread. It will show up as an anonymous author.

    This contest is open to all writingforums.org members, newbies and the established alike. At the deadline I will link to this thread from the voting thread. The winning entry will be stickied until the next competition winner. As always, the winner may also PM me to request the theme of the subsequent contest if he/she wishes.

    Entries do not have to follow the themes explicitly, but off-topic entries may not be entered into the voting.

    Word limit: 500-3000 words
    Deadline for entries: Sunday the 5th of April, 2015 1600 (4:00 pm) US Pacific time

    There is a 10% word-limit leniency at both ends of the scale. Please try to stick within the limit. Any piece outside of the suggested limit may not be entered into the voting.

    If we reach 20 entries, the maximum number of stories for any one contest, I will consider splitting the contest into two. Only one entry per contest per contestant is permitted.

    Try to make all your entries complete and have an ending rather than be an extract from a larger one and please try to stick to the topic. Any piece seemingly outside of the topic will be dealt with in a piece by piece basis to decide its legitimacy for the contest.

    A story entered into the contest may not be one that has been posted anywhere on the internet, not just anywhere on this site. A story may not be posted for review until the contest ends, but authors may seek critiques after voting closes for the contest. Members may also not repost a story anywhere, or bring attention to the contest in any way, until the voting has closed.

    Please remember to give your piece a title and give its word count in brackets [xxx words] at the top of your story.

    If there are any questions, please send me a PM (Conversation). After the voting ends, posting in the thread will re-open for comments.

    ***And thanks to even more long hours put in by our very special mod/member @Wreybies, winners are now awarded with olympic style medals displayed under their avatars.

    Thanks, and good luck!

    Be sure to preview your entry before you hit 'reply'.
    Check italics and bolding as sometimes the end code for bold or italics doesn't copy/paste affecting large stretches of text.
    If you need to fix the formatting, hit 'control a' to 'select all' and clear all bold and italics code. Then re-add it back in using the board's font controls before you hit 'post reply'. Watch those extra line spaces. Delete them directly from the post before hitting 'post reply'.
  2. Lancie

    Lancie Senior Member

    Oct 20, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Tooth Fairy (2550 words)

    It’s a clichéd urban legend. Something, a picture or a video or a phone call, will trigger horrible events leading in messy and senseless death.

    A friend of a friend’s cousin’s colleague’s sister who knew someone who had a heart attack after not forwarding on cursed chain mail.

    That sort of thing.

    My friend Mike and I were always combing the depths of the internet for the unusual. I loved games. I loved the escapism. As I became a teenager, I lost interest in Mario and started looking for games that appeased my twisted sense of surviving fear, that rush of winning against darker and darker odds.

    That night, as I flicked between forums and hugged my mug of strong sugary tea, I heard the bloop of a message on one of the open chat boxes.

    Mike’s avatar popped up. I found it!! He was typing furiously.

    When nothing coherent came through I typed back: Found what?

    The game! I found it! I found Tooth Fairy!

    What is that? I asked after a moment, trying to think what he meant. I’d not spoken to Mike in a few days, I didn’t remember him mentioning a game called ‘Tooth Fairy’

    It’s a game with a real vengeful ghost inside that rips your teeth out if he catches you!!I It’s really freaky!!

    That makes no sense I responded with a wry smile. Then I suppose curiosity got the better of me. I raised a cynical eyebrow. Where did you get it from?

    Another message pinged onto the screen. I got some weird link from a guy I game with in like Honduras and it took me through all these levels and I played some freaky mini game and then I got a download as a prize! It’s Tooth Fairy! I tried to find the site again but it’s moved. It’s like some black market floating island of downloads!!

    Are you sure it isn’t a virus? I replied.

    No Virus!!!!!!!! Mike typed back almost instantly. I could sense he was jittery, eager to get this going. I looked at the clock and saw it was after midnight now, and I should really begin to think about winding down for work. Let’s do it. I’m game if you are!

    Mike had emailed me the download. Come on. It’s quick. Let’s have a look. This is a multiplayer mode. Talk to you in a minute.

    Fine. I replied and set my mug down. I accepted the download and watched as a string of white bars ran across my screen. A folder appeared in the centre of the screen with a single icon inside. I looked closer at the black and white pixels, a strange smiling little pumpkin head grinning, almost leering at me. I hesitated just for a fleeting second and then clicked. I picked up my headphones and slotted them over my head.

    “Yo!” Mike said, his voice echoed a little as though he were far away.

    “Yo?” I laughed. “Is ‘yo’ back in fashion?”

    “Just play, dude!”


    But there was no time to berate Mike for speaking like an out of touch teenager. I watched the screen dissolve into thousands of tiny black and white squares. Mike and I were low resolution men with square heads standing in a room with square blood splats on the grey walls. Writing flickered across.

    Come and find me. If you don’t play, I’ll kill you!

    “This looks cheap as hell, Mike.” I said, almost scolding him. “Who made this?”

    “Just play.”

    We moved our characters over to a door and stepped into an identical room. This next room had a square desk with a scattering of white on top. I approached.

    These are the teeth of those who came before you. Use these as breadcrumbs to find your way. There is one way in and one way out.

    I collected the teeth. In the bottom left corner of my screen: 61 Teeth.

    “Kind of gross,” Mike said in a voice filled with awe. I sighed.

    “How do you drop a tooth?”

    We button mashed for a while and then I heard Mike woot in triumph. “It’s T!”

    “Of course,” I said. An oddly realistic looking tooth now sat on the floor between us.

    We continued through five more identical rooms, then finally into a long corridor which began to split off in different directions. As we moved left another message flicked up on the screen. Come and find me.

    Another series of rooms, one after the other, all the same graphics of grey and dull red began to make me feel like a hamster on a wheel. There were grey tables- I guess they were meant to be beds. Sometimes pixel skeletons would appear in corners as I went passed, vanishing again into the artificial darkness.

    “Is this meant to be a hospital?” I said. “Not very original, is it?”

    “Come on, it’s brilliant!” Mike said. His voice was so excited, like he was on the verge of laughing.

    Finally we walked into a room with bars across the windows. In the centre was a reclining grey chair and more of those square blood splatters on the floor.

    “What’s that?” Mike asked. He dropped a tooth.

    “Don’t know. Looks a bit like a dentist’s chair?”

    “Come and find me.”

    I paused. “Mike?”

    “Where did that come from?”

    I lifted one of the sponge leather headphones up and tentatively turned in my chair. They began to crackle and whine. I winced and removed them. When I spun back round to the computer the game had gone, and I was back to the original folder with the leering pumpkin head. Except now he looked more like a skull, and below it was another folder entitled ‘Single Player’.

    I put the headphones back on. “Mike? Did your game crash? You there?”

    I checked his chat window and saw he was offline and cursed sharply under my breath. His stupid game must have been bugged. And yet, I couldn’t seem to stop myself from clicking on the new folder. “What the hell is this?” I clicked on the new folder.

    Again, the white bars loaded across my screen and I was back in the corridor. Come and find me! The white words jerked quickly and then vanished. “Ok then,” I muttered, half amused. I began to trek through the corridors, turning left and then right into identical rows of nothing. On the third left turn I came to a set of double doors which I passed through.

    The graphics seemed to change on the other side. They were more realistic. I was in an outdoor space, a courtyard or something with walls tangled up in ivy and bloodied skulls.

    I dropped a tooth and began to move through this new area. It was the same as the previous corridors, identical at every turn. I passed another right then left, or was it left then right? As I decided I should probably back track and drop some more teeth I heard the soft padding of footsteps.

    Don’t Turn Back flickered on the screen. So I pressed on, though I could still hear the footsteps. More teeth, more corners.

    Finally though, I began to feel irritated. I didn’t know what I was looking for, the game wasn’t scary. I began to hunt for a save button but there didn’t appear to be any menu.

    “Whatever,” I groaned and tried to minimise the game screen.

    Don’t Turn Back flicked up again. Come on, dude, find me.

    “Sorry game, need to sleep.” I tried again, pressing the buttons. Every time I did the same message appeared. I frowned. “Weird.” I held down the power button and waited.

    “I said don’t turn back!” A voice snarled in my ear. I whirled around and froze. “I said don’t turn back!”

    My heart violently hammered against my ribs.

    I forced myself to calm down. It was just my room. It was just a game, and maybe Mike was right about it.

    On screen now was a new scene of a large stone block surrounded by candles. Who will you sacrifice? The selection came up as me or Mike.

    “What?” I whispered. I shook my head and crouched under the desk. “Bye, game,” I said and pulled out the plugs. I remained there a moment and breathed deeply, letting the rational side of my brain take over. Slowly, I backed out and stood.

    The game was, of course, still running. Haha! NOPE! Flashed up in red. I watched the cursor slide down the screen and select Mike’s name.

    The screen flickered and crackled, a puffy face with a big toothless grin flickered in and out. I yelped and shot backwards and hit the side table where my lamp sat, knocking it off onto the floor. With quivering hands I rested it back in its place.

    It’s just a game kept running through my head but I couldn’t slow my breathing, yet I forced myself to go back to the chair and view the screen.

    On the stone slab now was a mangled body, its face shredded and all the teeth missing from its mouth. I cringed and carefully moved my character around the edge. The footsteps had picked up behind me.

    Run! Flickered all over the screen.

    I moved on, heading for another set of doors. The next screen was a graveyard, with wiry trees reaching up to the dark sky like bony fingers crying for help. I felt a chill begin to crawl over my skin as I moved the character through the graves. Birds flew, and then a hanged body dropped down from a branch. I jumped back in chair, but clenched my jaw and carried on. There were more footsteps behind me. Not just the one person, it sounded like there were loads of people coming up behind me.

    Don’t Turn Back!

    So I moved on through the graves, dropping teeth as I went. There were names scratched on each one and as I hovered the mouse over the writing a text box briefly appeared with the names. Sarah-Jane Leigh, James Arkwright, Dan Pond, Tim Booker.

    Mike Carlson.

    I wiped my eyes and hovered over the last tombstone. It was still Mike’s name. “What the fuck is this?” I spat. Behind me, my small lamp began to flicker. Whispering began to fill my room. Low at first, just the one voice but within a matter of seconds more mumbling voices and laboured breathing began to rise around me.

    Beside the text box the little pumpkin icon appeared.

    Clicky! Scrawled next to the icon with one of those stupid sideways smiley faces. I paused, not liking where this was going. Click it!! Flashed again, bigger and bolder.

    “Fine!” I cried and clicked the icon and recoiled. It was the same scene as the mangled body with the teeth missing from the mouth, but now it was real. Now it was Mike’s living room, his laptop flung to one side and real blood pooled around him, making his blue sofa crimson.

    You’re almost there! Come into the house!

    “And what if I don’t?” I shot back. I waited for a response, looking around my room. The whispering stopped as suddenly as it began. All I could hear was my own ragged breathing and my heart humming in my chest. The picture was gone.

    You’ll end up the same way. Wanna see some more?

    “No! I’m playing the fucking game, aren’t I?” I screamed and steadied myself. I felt hot and sick. My stomach was in my chest and my heart was pounding in my temples.

    Let's go! The voice hissed loudly. MOVE IT! The screen crackled again and the big grinning head glared out. In the dim light it seemed like the glass of the monitor was bending and blistering.

    A sudden searing pain began to clamp on my wrist. I screamed and clawed at the pain, watching as a crescent of teeth marks punctured my skin.

    It'll bleed next time. Let's go.

    Hands quivering, I moved forward into the house. I heard laughter, a low slow chuckle of twisted pleasure. What’s the matter? I thought you wanted to be scared?

    There were shadows lingering at the edges of the room and up the grand stair case. They hunched away from me as though they were cowering. Their shoulders shook, maybe like they were crying, but they made no sound. I went up the stairs. Red footsteps seeped up from the dusty floorboards to the left. I took a breath, dropped a tooth, and followed the footsteps.

    “Almost there,” the snarling voice whispered into my ear. I closed my eyes and held myself firmly in the chair. I was finishing it, real or not, I was finishing the damn game.

    I went through the maze of corridors and after a few minutes I came across a red door.

    Come on in!

    I narrowed my eyes and looked at the tooth count in the corner of my screen. No teeth left.

    I entered through the doors and stopped. A twisted figure with limp dislocated limbs handing by his wonky hips hovered above the ground, dripping blood on the floor beneath him. The droplets hissed and crackled as they evaporated into smoke. He began to half laugh, half sob. His empty mouth opened from ear to ear, jaw gaping down to his chest. I recoiled.

    “What the fuck are you supposed to be?” I wailed. “What is this game? Are you some kind of dead internet paedophile? A serial killer with a coding hobby? Did a dentist murder you??”

    Laughter shrieked through my room, splitting my ear drums. I'm the Tooth Fairy!

    Behind me I heard the bulb in my lamp pop. The light went, and I was bathed in the fuzzy glow of the computer screen. My body seized up.

    “Follow the teeth. Quickly. Run. Let’s play.”

    The figure lurched at me, his long arms flailing as he moved, flickering in and out of view.

    “Shit!” I cried and smashed at the keyboard. “Follow the teeth?” I held my breath. I could hear the laughing and the crackle of his movement behind me as I tried to guide the character back. Don’t stop! Don’t look back! Run Rabbit Run!

    Back through the house and the shaking shadows now still and starring at up. Back through the graveyard. Round the courtyard with the skulls in the ivy now weeping blood and screaming. Through the pixel hospital, the skeletons upright and grabbing at me. Following my teeth breadcrumbs

    I scooted round the dentist chair and back to the first room.

    I panted, though I’d not been the one running.

    The game went silent, the screen went black. “Did I do it?

    I drew in a breath, every fibre in my body shaking.

    “Did I do it?”

    It felt like an age before the searing pain started to swallow my body up. It felt like I was being crushed and expanded all at once. It's OK. The final voice I heard wasn't the sly snarl of the game, it was Mike. His calm, soft voice reassuring me from the pixilated dark. It doesn't hurt for long.

    He was right. It didn't hurt for long. I was the 62nd tooth.
  3. VirtuallyRealistic

    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Wisconsin, USA
    The Dentist (1932 words)

    My eyes felt like they were open but the room was so dark I couldn't be sure. Feeling groggy, as if I'd just awoke from surgery, I attempted to sit up. As I leaned forward I realized my arms were strapped to the sides of a cushioned table. It felt like a stretcher below me. Panic set in and I began hyperventilating, yanking my arms upward full force. I tried to kick my feet only to discover they were strapped to the table too. Each foot was strapped separately to the opposite sides of the table, holding my legs apart about a foot.

    What the hell is going on? I thought to myself, trying to grasp reality but the grogginess keeping me from getting a hold. I'm only dreaming... I must be. I continued wiggling my hands and feet trying to loosen the tight grip of the straps. My whole body broke into a sweat which I may be a good thing; maybe the sweat will help me slip free. After what seemed like hours I gave up, the straps just as tight as they were to begin with.

    I wanted to scream but didn't for fear of what would hear me. The grogginess was beginning to settle and I attempted to pull forward my recent memories; tried the remember how I'd got here. I tried so hard that my chin was dipped into my chest with the muscles in my forehead tensing, trying to physically force the memories to come. All that came was a fleeting image of me leaving a bar, heading to my car. I wasn't drunk, at least I don't think I was. I never drive drunk; I'd get a cab before I did that. So, I must have been sober when leaving the bar. Either that or this memory is completely false. It all felt like a distant dream right on the edge of forgetting. Please let this be more dreams.

    As I laid there hopeless, arms and legs aching from my attempt to get out, I heard wet footsteps coming down a set of stairs ahead of me. I blinded by bright white lights flashing on above me; three large florescent light bars hung above me. When my vision came back, I saw a man standing at the base of the stairs staring back at me. I couldn't make out his features since he was strapping a white surgical mask on.

    “You're awake! Wonderful.” The man said in a happy tone, “I was afraid you'd still be out when I returned.”

    “Where... where am I? Who are you? What the hell is going on?” I said back, exasperated. He just stared down at me as he walked closer.

    “What do you mean? You're in my office, can't you tell?” He said matter-of-factly. “Isn't is splendid? Built it all myself.” He said as he threw on a white lab coat.

    The walls were pearl white, making the bright lights above even more blinding. It was like staring into snow on a bright winter immediately after waking up. There were draws on either side of me, all pearl white with black outlines and silver handles. I now realized I wasn't on a stretcher, but a dentist's operating table; a long arm with another light hanging right above my head.

    “So, shall we begin? I checked your teeth while you were sleeping and I must say, you should have taken better care of them.” He was pulling a pair of rubber gloves out of a box on a counter to my right. “Oh, I almost forgot! You don't have a latex allergy, do you?” He looked down at her as if nothing was amiss.

    “What are you talking about? How did I get here? Please...” I was on the verge of tears. I knew I wasn't suppose to be at the dentist, but this room was so identical to a real dentist's office. And the man acted so naturally that I was afraid I was going crazy, simply loosing my memory of how I got here. The only thing that kept me from believing him were the straps and the stairs; I've never known a dental office to have a stairwell leading to it.

    “Well, to start with, you've got cavities on every tooth. Some of them are nearly rotted away! Those molars on your right side really need to go.” It didn't make any sense. I could feel around my mouth and know my teeth were impeccable. I had always taken care of them.

    “You're lying! Please, tell me why I'm here...” I shouted at him, panicked. “Who are you?”

    “Well, I'm the dentist. Your dentist today. I know nobody likes getting their teeth fixed but you can't avoid it.” He was acting as if everything I said was in relation to a dental visit. He pulled a syringe from one of the drawers. “Now, just lay still. I'm going to give you a numbing shot, you'll feel a little prick. Open wide.” He said with what would be calming smile but in the current situation was the most terrifying thing I'd ever seen.

    “No, you're not a dentist. Why are yo-”

    Yes I am!” He said throwing the syringe across the room, causing it to shatter against the wall. “I'm sorry. I shouldn't have lost my temper. Now, if you could just open your mouth.” He said as he pulled another syringe out of the drawer.

    I looked up him in the eyes and tried a gentle plea, “Please, just... why are you doing this? I haven't done anything to you. I just want to go home.” For a moment I thought he listened. My shoulders tensed in hope.

    “Because your teeth need to be fixed, and I'm the dentist. You'll go home after we're finished, I promise. Now, like I said, open up. Either that or I'll have to open it myself.” My shoulders loosened in defeat. I looked away from him, staring into the ceiling but not really seeing it. He held the light attached to my bed directly in my face then flipped it on. The light blinded me and I had to close my eyes. When I did I felt his hand grab my upper lip and him jab my gum with the needle.

    “There we go. Now was that wasn't so bad, was it?” He grabbed a small swivel chair and slid it next to her, taking a seat. He began to rummage through another drawer. “Now, where are the pliers. Ah, there they are!” My heart was pounding out of my chest but I felt hopeless to stop him. I couldn't move, let alone fight him. Not that it would do me any good; he was a large man and I was a petite woman. I wouldn't stand a chance.

    “So, from my examination last night, I think eight molars are going to go. One canine and three incisors. No worries, though, I'll set you up with some artificial teeth then you'll be on your way! This won't take long if you can stay still.”

    I laid still, tears rolling down my face. He'd wipe them away if they got too close to my mouth, which appeared to be the only thing he paid any mind to. I was a mouth on legs to him; not a human being. My mouth was completely numb at this point. He put the pliers into my mouth and began to yank. He did it with an expertise I doubted even real dentists could match.

    “There's one molar gone. This one was really nasty.” He said holding it up for me to see. It was pearl white with not a mark on it. A perfectly healthy tooth.

    “I see. You know, I think maybe we shouldn't do the rest today. I could go home and come back some other time...” I said to him, thinking if I played to his insanity he may go for it. I thought he might be so convinced he's a dentist he'd fall for the trick.

    “Oh, no, no, no. We gotta get them all today. If we don't they're just going to get worse, and bother you even more.” He acted as if I had set up this appointment. He reached the pliers back in to pull another. This went on for the next nine teeth.

    “Alright, we're done with that. Now I'm just going to put some artificial teeth in then we'll be done! I told you it wouldn't be so bad.” It was bad. It was horrible. He pulled out a canister of dental glue and a box of fake teeth. He ran his fingers through it, seemingly looking for the perfect match.

    “Aha! This one is perfect.” He pulled a molar out of the box. “I'll just apply some glue and... voila! Good as new.” He had slipped the tooth into place and held it there for a moment. When he pulled back it was cemented into my mouth. It felt surprisingly natural. He continued to do this for the rest of the teeth.

    “That was the last one.” He said, sitting back in his chair with a look of satisfaction. “I must say, that was some of my best work.”

    I was still crying, unsure of what came next. “So... I can go home now?”

    “Certainly. Just a few more moments.” He said as he turned back to his drawers, rummaging again. “Alright, I'm going to give you another quick shot. This one in the arm.” And he did. Within a few seconds my vision faded to black.

    I awoke lying on the side of a country road. I looked around and there was nothing in sight; no house, no cars. Nothing but trees and road for miles. I felt around my mouth with my tongue and could feel the fake teeth. It wasn't a dream. I couldn't believe I was out, though. I was free now. I thought hew as going to kill me or worse, keep me to do feed his sick insanity. But he didn't, he let me go.

    I walked a long time before I was able to track down a car. I was terrified, thinking it could be the man, but I had no other choice. I was starving and I was thirsty. I didn't know how long it would be before I came across another person.

    “Where ya headed?” The man said in the car said. He had a scruffy beard which verified this wasn't the same man.

    “Atlanta, hopefully.” I said, unsure of where I even was.

    “Ay, that's where I'm headed.” He said as he opened his passenger door. “I'd be more than happy to give you a lift, if you like.”

    I got into the car, still frightened. I was almost positive this wasn't him, but I still couldn't trust him. No matter how much I wished to. I was afraid to tell him what happened because he'd think I was crazy.

    We rode in mostly silence, except for Rick's – Which is the guy who picked me up – occasional attempt at small talk. When we arrived in Atlanta, I had him drop me off at a hotel close to the police station. When he was gone, I made the short walk to the police.

    I told them everything that happened. They looked at me odd the whole time, but never acted as though they didn't believe me. They promised they'd find him, that they'd bring him to justice.

    That was two years and thirty-seven woman ago.
    Boger likes this.
  4. BeckyJean

    BeckyJean Member

    May 4, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Corpus Christi TX
    Lenny, Molly, and Me (1834)

    I don’t like the dark. What I really mean is – I don’t like the dark here. It’s dusty, crowded, there are strange, furry critters scampering about. And I hear things; frightening things. Sometimes I think it’s the wind – because it sounds like wind. Sort of. But then I realize there is no wind; just its sound.

    It’s a haunted, mournful moan that seems to come from everywhere - all sides, every angle. Once I thought I heard it from in here – from inside me. But I was wrong. I’m sure I was wrong.

    I’m still confused as to why I’m even here. I woke up one day – I ‘came to’ and here I was; in Alvin’s Junk and Salvage. I don’t even know who Alvin is.

    I have seen someone stomping about; a baldheaded, elderly man with a long, dirty beard. He’s always dressed the same; bare-chested under a stained pair of denim overalls, wearing big, black boots. Perhaps he is Alvin.

    Sometimes he comes out with one of those flashlight things; like the one that used to live in my glove compartment. He plods around; flash light in hand, with a long, metal devise that explodes with a burst of fire from one end while making a horrid, loud noise. It only does this if he points it at the furry critters scampering about, though.

    Sometimes they lay motionless afterwards. Other times they flail around on the ground, at which point the old man will run over and jump on their little bodies with those boots, twisting and laughing the whole time. It’s awful. Something about his glee makes it even worse.

    I wish I could leave. I want to go home… home to Molly. I long for the four walls of where I’ve slept for most of my life. I crave the close, cozy feel of the washer and dryer whirring and thrumming beside me, the lawn mower and weed-eater, their minty smells of fresh grass, resting in the corner, the purple bicycle hanging on large hooks on the wall, and mostly; the door… the one that leads from the garage into Molly's yellow and blue kitchen. I adore the smells that come from there, and am over the moon every morning when Molly walks through that door to take me for a spin.

    I really love her, my Molly. I feel safe and cared for with her, unlike how I felt with that other one that made me stay on the street when it was dark outside. Thankfully, he kept me for only three years. Then one day, he led me to a busy place with lots of color, and left me. I waited there, under very bright lights, with many others like me.

    Not long after, Molly came into my life. It was love at first sight; for both of us. The tender way she caressed my fender as she ran her hands over my red paint, the smile on her face as we sped down the 405 with the moon-roof and windows open, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blaring through my Infinity sound system... I felt alive! Oh, we've had such wonderful times together.

    Then one day we spotted a scruffy, sad little creature limping along a dirt road not far from Molly’s mama’s house. Molly pulled me over and called out to him. Almost immediately he came to her. And with little resistance, when she opened my back door, he jumped right in – as if he’d been doing it all his life.

    We were a perfect family; Lenny, Molly, and me. I couldn’t have been happier.

    But then there was the crash. I remember it; parts of it, anyway. Patchy images flicker in and out, mostly of the horrifying part; the moment my owner was dragged out one of my doors, bloodied and limp. I can still feel her sliding across my leather seat; feel one of her sneakers bump across the stitched seams.

    It was all such a surprise; a shocking, devastating, horrifying surprise. When the silver Chevy pickup, in the blinding early-morning light, ran through the stop sign, thrusting all of his weight into the side of me with the metal mouth of his bumper guard… there was nothing I could do. The force of it pushed us, spinning and rolling, into a stone wall.

    I must have blacked out. That’s all I can figure. And then I felt a heavy metal object lodged into my door, forcing it open. Molly was pulled free and laid on the ground beside me.

    I recall how terrified I was that I would lose her; how panicked and heartsick I was that I hadn’t been able to protect her. The air bag my creators had tucked into my steering wheel had failed to deploy. It remains here still, in this junk yard; coiled up, hidden and mute behind a triangle of soft plastic.

    Molly’s head hit that same soft plastic; only it didn’t prove to be very soft when she did. Or maybe nothing is soft when it’s hit with so much power, so much force. The feel of her facial bones breaking against my emblem at its center stays with me.

    I remember the blood… the slickness of it as it dripped and puddled onto my floor mats. I hated the smell. It was like nothing I’d ever smelled before.

    Molly’s perfume, I knew. The aroma of french-fries from that restaurant we often drove through – In-N-Out Burger – I remember it very well. I loved the smell of Lenny, the shaggy-dog remnants of his coat left all over my back seat. Even when he was wet, when she would call him ‘a stinky boy’, I didn’t mind it. He would roll and twist and rub his nose into the folds of my cushions, making sweet, contented sounds. He’d then fall asleep, the long hairs of his tail tickling my leather from the open window.

    Lenny loved me, I could tell. I loved him back. I think he knew.

    But this smell… this blood smell – I wasn’t prepared for it, no way could I prepare for it. The blood is still here, in irregular shapes of chocolaty brown on the floor. There’s more on the back seat, where Lenny used to lay, and all over the frame of the window, along with tufts of his black and gray fur. I hate feeling it, knowing it's there, his fur. I wish someone would come along and remove it. Nobody does.

    Lenny's body wasn’t pulled free like Molly’s was. His was thrown; rocketed right out a window that shattered into a gazillion pieces. I never saw where he landed. I prayed he landed safely, onto a pile of soft grass. But a sinking feeling tells me that's not what happened.

    It’s all dried and crunchy now, the blood, and the stench has finally abated. I can't describe the relief I feel. I was so certain it would drive me insane.

    Since arriving here, things have felt different. My body feels changed somehow. Not entirely broken, not un-whole… but not the same. Much of my glass is no longer intact, and all of my tires are gone. My passenger side door, including the door behind it, has a truck sized imprint the size of that Chevy bumper guard.

    Actually, if I’m completely honest – the damage is more than that. Half of the part that made up the outside of me is now inside… squnched over, accordion style. I have the sense that I’m thinner, more linear, less wide. It’s odd, but not painful.

    What is painful is the notion that I will probably never see my beloved owner again, nor her sweet dog. It’s been weeks, I’m certain of it, and they haven’t come to visit me once. I try not to think about it, but something tells me they will never come… that they can’t ever come. Something tells me they’re dead; that soon I may be, too.

    When I allow myself to dwell on it, I can almost feel my innards contract. I’m made too aware of the metallic organs under my bent up hood that no longer hum with energy and life. I’m overly conscious of the fact that my headlights, brake-lights, even my parking lights no longer glow or shine on the ground before or behind me.

    Yes, I must be dying.

    The light that lives in the sky for half the day – what Molly used to call Mr. Sunshine – is beginning to rise. Soon it will be hot, sweltering hot – sending squiggly rays of heat off my roof, glaring into what’s left of my windshield. Of all the things I dislike about my life here in Alvin’s Junk and Salvage, I hate this the most. Perhaps because of what it reminds me of.

    It takes me back to that day – that dreadful, horrible day. It’s in those moments – when I feel those smoldering rays baking into the metal skin of my body – that I get those flashes of memory; when I can feel the truck crashing into my steel bones, feel sweet Molly being pulled away from me; when I feel Lenny being launched through the broken glass of my back window.

    I hate it, this time of day.

    I notice some commotion next to the big wooden building where the old man stays. I see him walk over to an odd shaped, yellow vehicle – something similar to me, but not like me. He climbs into it, seating himself into a small metal box with a caged front. It rumbles to life, alternately purring and spitting. I watch as the old man operates several gears, maneuvering a tall, bent arm with four pronged teeth curled into a ball at one end.

    He swings it toward Blue Camry – one that I had tried to talk to the second night I was here. I wanted to ask him about the sounds; the groaning. It sounded almost like ghosts... tormented, lonely spirits. But Blue Camry had remained silent. He was already gone, I would soon learn. His body remained, but he was no longer in it.

    He’s the lucky one, I think to myself now. He doesn’t have to live here anymore.

    Then the long, swinging arm settles above him. It drops, landing with great force, crushing into his roof. The old man then raises it, drops it, raises it once more, and drops it again. He does this many times, until Blue Camry is demolished.

    Suddenly the pronged teeth open up, like a terrifying claw. It drops, jowls open, onto what’s left of Blue Camry’s roof, its pointy tips biting into him. They pull in, tightening, digging into his metal skin, gripping hard. The arm raises, extending tall, and then swings south, over a pile of corpses; the remains of others. The sound of Blue Camry plummeting through the air, onto that pile is thunderous, deafening, final.

    And then the metal arm spins, stretches, and comes for me.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  5. lustrousonion

    lustrousonion Senior Member

    Oct 7, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Voices (1,706)

    “—reminds me of my mother. Not exactly like her. I mean, just close enough to bring her to mind.” Joshua rubbed his jaw. It hurt like the devil. “Don't you think— I mean, isn't it more likely that I would hear my mother's voice as it actually is?”

    Dr. Fredrickson had not been writing. He gazed at Joshua with a look of such absolute seriousness and contemplation, a look of slit eyes and tightened mouth, a look so clearly infused with deep, psychoanalytical thought, that Joshua never thought to question his authority in regard to the position of the pen. Surely, if he chose not to write down the details of Joshua's first ten minutes on the leather sofa, there was a damn good reason for it.

    So, Dr. Fredrickson did not write, and, therefore, did not need to stop writing. He stared straight-on into Joshua's questioning face and said, “Not at all.”

    “Not at all?”

    The doctor uncrossed his legs, recrossed them the other way, and sighed. Joshua was slightly abashed.

    “The mind,” Dr. Fredrickson said, “is an unpredictable place.”

    The doctor looked down his nose, one eyebrow raised, a silent query about whether Joshua understood with so few words to go on. Joshua's reply was a befuddled squint.

    “Unpredictable,” the doctor repeated. “Take dreams. Have you not had the sensation in a dream that you are yourself but also not yourself?”

    “Sure. I mean, I think everyone has a dream like that.”

    “Precisely so!”

    He kept expecting the doctor to speak French. Or German. Or some other language of logic and profound meaning. He found the man's continued use of English more than a little jarring.

    Joshua rubbed his jaw. “But those are dreams.”

    Setting the pad and unused pen down on the small table to his side — and, to Joshua, gaining increased powers of perception by doing so — the doctor leaned back comfortably. He adopted a position one might take when talking to a colleague or very good friend.

    “What do you think separates us from our dreams?”

    In a position to show the doctor that he was not some ordinary schmo who had stumbled in off the street, Joshua felt it was his duty to give a really magnificent answer to this question. He drew, however, a complete blank. “I've got no idea.”

    “Well, nothing! Not a thing but wakefulness, and sometimes not even that.” The doctor smiled. It was a closed-lip affair, affable but quite dry. “Don't tell me you have never experienced a daydream?”

    Joshua laughed. He was beginning to feel better about this whole therapy idea.

    “I sure have. Some would say too much.”

    Dr. Fredrickson retrieved his tools from the desk. He held the pen poised and ready between his fingers, as if daring Joshua to get to the good stuff.

    “What else do you hear? This woman only?”

    “Nah. I mean, no. There are other voices that come and go. But this woman's voice — the one that sounds like my mother? — she's always the strongest.”

    The tip of the pen touched the page. Joshua nearly gasped.

    The doctor did not meet Joshua's eye as he asked quietly, “How many voices?”

    There was some importance to this question, that was obvious.

    “All together? I'd say about..nine?”


    “That's just an estimate,” Joshua said quickly. “Could be more.”

    Dr. Fredrickson pinched his nose. He did not wear glasses, so his nose was easy to pinch. Joshua thought the doctor really ought to wear glasses.

    “Are you telling me that you hear at least nine unique voices?”

    “I am.”

    At last, the doctor wrote. He wrote furiously and for several minutes, as if regurgitating their entire conversation onto the paper. When he reached the end, he shook his head slightly. The expression on his face looked akin to bewilderment.

    “My boy,” he said, and said it quite fondly, “have you ever heard of multiple personality disorder?”

    “What,” said Joshua, “like schitzos?”

    “No, no. Schizophrenia is something altogether different. What I'm talking about is break. A traumatic event that caused your mind to split and create a new person. One that lives inside you. To split, in your case, nine times.”

    Joshua shook his head. “No,” he said. There was no way the doctor could mean what he was saying. Damn it, that was exactly why Joshua hadn't wanted to come here. There was no way he was crazy. Just no damn way. “I think you've made a mistake. I don't—“

    “Hear voices? Experience headaches?”

    Joshua swallowed. “I've had a good life. Trauma...”

    “...comes in sizes big and small.”


    Dr. Fredrickson stood. It was alarming.

    “What I mean to say is— Oh, let me put it this way.” He paced as he spoke. “Do you remember when you were a very young boy? At school, or on a playground. A friend's house perhaps. And later, many years later, returned as a man. How do that house look with the eyes of a man?”


    “Small! Precisely. But it didn't feel small when you were a boy, did it? It felt average size, maybe even large. A shack might feel like a mansion to a young boy.”

    So far, Joshua couldn't disagree. “That's true.”

    The doctor smiled, relieved. He sat down once more. “It is the same for the mind. What might seem like a small occurrence to a man can be a huge trauma when experienced by a child.”

    Joshua had to admit that made sense.

    “Lie back.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “I need you to relax. I need you to close your eyes. Block out the world in front of you and recall your childhood.”

    He was hesitant, but he obeyed. The doctor demanded obedience. The leather of the sofa squeaked as Joshua settled in. He shut his eyes. The room fell away, went black. There was nothing in front of him, nothing to focus on expect the doctor's voice and the workings of his own mind.

    “Were you a happy child?”


    “Did you ever, perhaps on a dare, kill a small animal?”


    “Did you ever lift up a girls skirt to peak at what was underneath?”

    “Now hold on!”

    “Did you ever see your parents engaged in sexual intercourse?”

    “What?! No! Well, that is...”

    “Ah ha! Now we arrive. Tell me.”

    Joshua's head began to pound. The blackness behind his eyes was suddenly full of hidden beasts. “It's nothing. It was just an accident.”

    “It usually is.”

    “I was home one afternoon. The phone rang. It was for my mother.” Joshua started to feel sick. “I went, I went to get her. In the bedroom.”

    “And what did you see there?” The doctor's voice was a soothing sea, measured and mechanical as waves. It helped Joshua hang on.

    “I'd rather not say.”

    “Rather not, but you must! For the good of your mental health. Go on.”

    “They were...you know. Busy.”



    “And how did you, a small boy, react to such a sight?”

    Joshua thought back on the moment. Certainly it was an unpleasant memory. It had been awful. He remembered a jolt going through his body after he'd opened the bedroom door and laid eyes on his parents. It was like he had been struck by lightning. Could that have been...

    Joshua began to cry. “I was shocked. Really shocked. I closed the door, and I don't really remember what happened after.”

    He hadn't thought about this event in years, and thinking about it now, knowing it might be the cause of his undoing, was sickening.

    “That was it, wasn't it?” he asked. It made so much sense now. Such a small thing, but the end of the world to a young boy. Just as the doctor had said. “That is why I'm getting these headaches. Why I'm hearing these voices. My mother's voice. Oh, god!”

    Joshua cried until there were no more tears left inside him. Dr. Fredrickson soothed him when the time was right. He gave him tissues to blow his nose and explained that Joshua had made some very good progress today. They would have to meet on a weekly basis, the doctor explained, maybe for a few years. These things took time, the doctor said. But by the end of their hour, Joshua didn't mind the idea of coming back. He wasn't afraid of therapy any longer, not if it would make the voices disappear.

    “Nine voices!” Dr. Fredrickson said as he showed Joshua to the door. “It's a wonder you are able to function at all.”

    Joshua nodded. His nose was still a bit runny, and he sniffed several times. His jaw hurt more than ever. “Not just voices, either. Sometimes,” Joshua said, “I hear music.”

    Dr. Fredrickson and Joshua said goodbye. They had an appointment set for next week.


    “Dr. Feldman's office, DDS.”

    Dr. Fredrickson sat at his large oak desk, telephone in hand. “Jerry, please, if he's in.”

    “Sure thing. One sec.”

    He was put on hold, forced to listen to an obnoxious pop song, and then Jerry was on the line.

    “Eric!” Sounds of suction and muzak came through the phone along with Jerry's voice. “How are you?”

    “I'm quite well.” The doctor leaned back in his swivel chair. He doodled circles on his notepad. “I had a new patient today,” he said.

    “Oh, yeah? What ails him?”

    “I really couldn't disclose that sort of information.” A beat went by. Both men laughed uproariously.

    “That voice you put on,” Jerry said. “It gets me every time.”

    “It was a Joshua Haas who came to see me. Complained of hearing voices.”

    “Oooh, that can't be nice. Diagnosis?”

    “Multiple personalities.”

    “Joshua Haas. That name does ring a bell.”

    Dr. Fredrickson doodled bullseyes into his many rings. “I thought it might. The third one this month. You might want to be careful. The rate you're going, someone may put two and two together.”

    “Why, doctor, and don't know what you're talking about!”

    Dr. Fredrickson snorted in reply.

    “Besides,” Jerry continued, “we all know that a human head, no matter how many fillings it's got stuck in it, can't act as an antenna. Picking up the radio with your teeth – just think how horrible that would be!”
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015
  6. DeadMoon

    DeadMoon The light side of the dark side Contributor

    Dec 7, 2014
    Likes Received:
    fargo, ND
    Cutting your Toofers [500 words]

    “It was 3 AM as I ran thru the house half awake holding my crying son in my arms. I was Frantically searching thru a gauntlet of ideas that might sooth his deafening cries. Nothing I tried seemed to comfort him, not feeding, nor changing, not even singing helped calm him down. The tears streamed down his face. His cheeks grew red and swollen. The wide open blue eyes that once were filled with wonder were now turned to narrow slits as he looked to me to make this unknown pain go away.

    “What’s wrong buddy.” I asked him, hoping to have some sort epiphany as to what was causing the his cries of pain. This was the first time I was left completely alone with our son, My wife was out of town and I didn’t want her to know that I couldn’t handle our son alone. I did what any husband would do in a time like this, I called my mother for help.

    I dialed her number forgetting what ungodly hour it was hoping only for some sort of instant motherly wisdom. The phone rang and rang over and over mocking me in repetition. I started to panic when finally I heard a voice.... Damn, it’s her voice mail... “Mom, ” I said after the I heard the beep. “I need help, Jax won’t stop crying and I am out of ideas I don’t know if he’s he tired, hungry, or worried about collecting social security. Call me back... and soon.” I end the call in frustration.

    I noticed the source of his misery when he opened his mouth wide at just the right angle, allowing his lungs their full potential to howl out loud, muffled only by the fingers he used to paw at his own gums. The culprits came in the form of teeth. Small sharp new teeth cutting their way thru his tender young gums. “Your getting toofers buddy” I said with a surprised enthusiasm. “That’s why your crying so much.” instinct suddenly took over as I went to the freezer searching for a quick means to soothe the pain. I found a box of frozen pancakes that would work for the moment. I ripped open the box and place the pancake onto his gums. Almost instantly he takes to the frozen breakfast treat. His cries reduced to light whimper. “I’m glad you're too young to remember this pain buddy.” I told him as he continued to absorb to cool relieve to his gums.

    It was in the moment that I realized, as my once again calm son once again looked at me with a smile as wide as his happy eyes, that this past nine months I have in a way, have been “cutting my teeth” as a new father. Everything from all the sleepless nights to the stinky surprises to the very moment I was in, and that is an experience that I never want to forget.

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