Welcome to my weekly Wednesday Brief flash fiction entry! This is just a free piece of flash fiction (between 500-1,000) words based off of a prompt. I’m part of a wonderful group of flashers 😉 and I’ll have a link to a site where you can read other stories, after my piece.
Derek had one hand on the wheel, the other in his lap. I on the other hand had a duel handed death grip on the ‘oh shit’ handle as the car lurched and rocked over the grassy knolls and ridges. He was humming tunelessly along with whatever god-awful pop he was obsessed with at the moment ‘naw bro it’s like transcendent’ The windows were all rolled down, fog settling in all around us. Damp and mossy air filled the car riding along with it the scent of an overheated engine.
“We’re here” He announced proudly.
“The graveyard?” I muttered darkly.
“Yeah,” His face positively glowed as he unbuckled his seatbelt and turned to look at me. I winced hearing the way his legs stuck to the vinyl of the seats. It was hot as balls out, the humidity making everything that much stickier and hotter. “It’s an experience right? I mean we live such boring meaningless lives, let’s go see how these poor fuckers died.”
I jumped when he lit a match, bringing it to the end of a hand rolled cigarette that dangled between his thin lips. He barked out a laugh and shook his head. One large hand clamped down on my head, ruffling my hair. “This is a really bad idea Derek.” I managed to say. “It’s dark.”
“Of course it’s dark. What’s the point in going graveyard spelunking if it’s light outside?”
“We’re not spelunking idiot, that’s cave diving.”
“We’ll do that next weekend then.” The car door groaned loud and low, a metallic screech as the hinges popped then settled back down. He slammed the door hard enough for the beaten Honda to rock on its tires. “Get out.” He said.
“I’m scared of spelunking.”
“And the dark, and spiders.” His voice carried easily on the night air as he circled around to my side. “And Swiss cheese, lotus flowers, bees, oranges and the opposite sex.” He pulled my car door open, and while I was still attached to the handle I toppled out, caught by one strong hand before my face connected with the ground.
“I’m not scared of you.” I glared up at him. “Plus Swiss cheese has asymmetrical holes, I’m not scared of it, it triggers my compulsion.”
“Lotus flowers?” His hand was still at my elbow a constant source of heat. His fingers were so long and tan against my pale skin, his fingernails bitten down to the quick.
“That’s an innate human reaction to too much symmetry. It’s a predator thing.” I shook free of his hold. Derek didn’t scare me, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about the wash of heat that went through me at his touch. Derek was safe for the most part.
“You forgot one thing off my list.” I shut the car door and leaned against it.
“What’s that Cassie?”
“I’m scared of zombies. You know, the ravaging undead hoards raised by the unnatural desire to feed off of human flesh?”
“For someone who gets scared watching Disney movies, you’ve got an active imagination.” Derek snorted. “Come on Cassie, there’s no such thing as zombies.” He took my hand and started into the graveyard. “Ghosts, ghouls and demons yes. Zombies? No.”
“You’re an asshole Derek.” I trailed along beside him as he picked his way through the rows of graves. “What’s the real reason we’re here?”
“Photography assignment.” He pointed to the camera bag that banged against his other side with each step. “I wanted to come out and get some atmospheric shots you know? The moon, the graveyard, the fog…” He waggled the fingers of his free hand at me.
“You needed my help for what exactly?”
“Lookout mainly, zombie bait if it comes down to it.” The hand holding mine twisted, his fingers interlocking with mine. “There’s no way you can outrun me.” He squeezed my hand, which made my heart pound in my chest. “In all honesty Cassie, there’s nothing out here. And even if there was something, I would never let anything happen to you.”
“You sound almost serious about that.” I looked up at him, a wide grin on my face which quickly faded. The easy going loopy grin that was normally fixed on his face was gone. His eyes were narrowed, watchful, mouth a tight line. The clouds parted, the light from the full moon cascading down on us. His tanned skin seemed to glow under the silvery illumination, his blond curls a shining halo. Gone was the landlocked surfer I knew, and in his stead a stranger. Even his voice was different, deeper, stronger.
He inhaled, and with the exhalation, the layers were built back up, and he grinned down at me. “Just teasing.” He winked, though his grin didn’t quite meet his eyes. We walked over a few more hills, until the path dropped off. “Here looks good.” We followed down a hairpin trail to a flatter portion of the cemetery. The tombstones were ancient and crumbling, letters fading away into nothingness. “Hold this for me while I get the tripod set up.” I took the camera bag as he set up a tripod, handing over the camera pieces when he asked for them.
“You’re taking a long exposure shot?” I handed the cord over to him. Photography wasn’t really my thing, but accompanying Derek on his various assignments and searches for the perfect shot I had gleaned some knowledge.
“Yeah,” The cigarette bobbed between his lips, scattering cherry red ashes. “Thought it would look cool with the star movement and the moon and tombstones.” He pulled a blanket out from the bottom of the camera bed, spreading it on a clear patch of grass. “There’s no graves here Cassie.” He tossed that bit of information at me as he plopped to the ground.
“I swear to god if something grabs my ankle I’m going to kill you.”
“You’re out here at night with a man and you’re worried about something grabbing your ankle?”