#FridayFlash – Carrefour part 3 (mini-series), conclusion.

“Yes child, I have come” Baron Samedi said. The voice was calm, but the old man could hear the playful undertones dance across the words like a thunderstorm.

The old man sat dumbstruck. He had wanted this, prepared for it, but now that he got his wish he didn’t know what to do with it, or what to do with himself. Baron Samedi loomed tall over him and the old man wasn’t sure if it was a man or a giant crow standing in front of him. Yellow eyes webbed with red veins stared down at him. Under the ancient top hat thick dreadlocks rippled with their own life, twitching eagerly to grasp another soul. His skin was darker than any the old man had ever seen, it was like looking into the void. This must be like dying, the old man thought.

Baron Samedi poked the old man with his diamond tipped cane. “Now that I’m here, what do you wish of me?” His voice, deep, ruined by cheap whiskey and smoke, it raked the air.

“Mistake,” the old man said in a dry whisper. He wanted to look away, but couldn’t. Before him stood a thunderstorm, an ill omen, the harbinger of death. Hot urine streamed down the old man’s ragged trousers.

“No!” Baron Samedi exclaimed. The old man jumped at the deafening sound of that single word. He began to shiver.

Behind them the child looked up. Baron Samedi turned his head towards the boy and smiled. The child smiled back, only for an instant, before returning to what game he played.

“You called, I came. A prise will be paid,” Baron Samedi turned back to the old man, “One way or the other.”

The old man understood these deep unforgiving words well. In his secret heart he knew there was no turning back. He met Baron Samedi’s horrible yellow eyes and nodded.

“So I ask, what do you wish?” Baron Samedi held out his open palm, “You may wish for anything, but not everything.”

The old man’s jaw and lips shivered with fear, “Life”, he spoke, pushing the words through his white lips.

“The payment?” Baron Samedi looked down on the old man, so close to lives end. He wasn’t the first to ask for more, and he would not be the last.

The old man could speak no more, his lips quivered too violently. He raised his thin arm and pointed one gnarly finger at the child.

“Very well,” Baron Samedi smiled, eyes gleaming like hot coal. The demon held out his hand towards the old man who gripped it with his own shaking hand. Strong fingers squeezed, long nails dug into the old man’s skin.

“Seven years. If you want more, pay more.”

The End.

© Hugo Oddlane, 2014

#FridayFlash – Carrefour part 2 (mini-series)

The sun didn’t move, but time pasted. The old man knew this because his hunger was growing. Papa Legba had walked south, his promise that the other one would come soon still echoed in the old mans tired mind. Soon was an obscure promise. Time moved differently for humans and the others, the cross-road demons and the gods of the old world. But he would wait. There was nothing else. Food could no longer satisfy the deep hunger he felt. Only more life would.

The child still played in the dirt. The young boy had no worries and no complaints. If he was hungry he kept it to himself.

Time moved. The old man blinked, his eyes were dry from the dust and the sun, and suddenly the other one had come. The old man startled, he almost fell to the ground at the terrifying sight of the other one. “Baron Samedi…” he gasped.

To be continued…

© Hugo Oddlane, 2014

Find part one here

#FridayFlash – Carrefour part 1 (mini-series)

The old man had watched his grandson play in the dirt for hours. They had come to the crossroads at dawn and the sun stood high above the world, beaming down with merciless heat. The crossroads offered no shade where you could hide from the cruel gaze of the sun. Large beads of sweat rolled slowly down the old man’s forehead and cheeks, the child didn’t seem to mind the heat.

Crows flew across the blue sky like black clouds, cawing ominously. They were taunting the old man, challenging him to stay awake, to stay sane. The man’s eye lids were heavy with sleep. He was very old and they had walked a long way through the night, his bones felt brittle and hunger was in his belly. He had only brought an apple which he had split in half with his pocketknife. The child had eaten his half of the apple hungrily, like a dog, the old man thought. Himself he had savored the taste, eating the ripe fruit in thin slices until nothing but the core remained. He had eaten that as well, seeds crunching like ancient bones between his yellowed teeth.

Time slowed down and transformed into a thick black tar in the heat. The sun hadn’t moved in a long while now. The old man closed his eyes for a moment and felt the kick of sudden sleep and opened them again. A man older than himself stood in front of him. He was leaning on a crutch made from sugarcane and on his head he wore a wide straw hat to protect him from the sun. Other than the newcomer wore only ragged trousers held up by twine. He wore no shoes and no shirt. His black skin glistened in the sun and his belly was swollen.

He nodded towards the old man, “He comes soon,” he said with a voice dry as the desert.

“When?” The old man croaked. He hadn’t had a drink since they had left home during the night and his throat was swollen and dry. The apple had done little to wet it.

The man standing before him uncorked a small water pouch and drank from it, richly. He offered nothing to the old man sitting at the crossroads. “Be patient, Carrefour, soon,” the man repeated.

“I will wait then.”

“Yes you will, child” the man on the crouch said and started to walk south support his frail body on the sugarcane.

“Thank you, Papa Legba,” the old man tried to yell after him but his voice failed him and all that came out was a hoarse whisper.

The child was still playing in the middle of the crossroads, he had noticed nothing. Children are so busy with their own fantasies they have no time and forget the world around them. The old man envied the child.

To be continued…

© Hugo Oddlane, 2014

#FridayFlash – The Room and the Box

The walls were closing in. Rick could barely stand it. Time was lost to him, the monotonous red wallpaper kept it at bay. Rick had forgotten his wristwatch, very uncharacteristic, and the first thing he had done entering the room had been to look for a clock. There was none. In fact, the room was almost completely naked. An old rickety table stood in the centre of the room, and behind it a rickety old chair. So he had sat down, placed the box and his gun on the table and lost time.

   Rick knew that he had dozed off, more than once. He wasn’t worried about that, the door had squealed loudly when he had closed it behind him, and it would squeal when someone opened it, plenty of time to wake up and regain composure.

   He thought about opening the box but hadn’t, so far. As his mind slipped away from him it was harder to keep up being a professional. If someone didn’t come to collect the box soon he would open it. And after that, only god knew what would happen. Rick wished that they had put a lock on the box. As it were, they hadn’t, and the only thing standing between Rick and whatever was in the box was a small hook latch. He ran his fingers over the hook latch, the rough texture of iron burned. His senses were jacked up with fatigue and tangled nerves. He tried the gun, ran his fingers over the familiar shape and the steel was ice-cold. He put his hands in his pockets and they were too confining. Somebody had to come soon.

   That cursed wooden box, in this cursed room, where time was stretched out until you could see right through it. Rick put his palms on the box and the surface was oily and cool to his touch, inviting. He would open it soon, he didn’t care what happened.

   Suddenly he heard heavy boots walking up the creaking stairs. Rick looked up at the door. His eyes wide like those of small children on Christmas, so goddamn much anticipation. The footfalls grew louder. The boots came closer, closer, closer. Someone was right outside. Then the footsteps started to diminish until they vanished. Silence settled again. Rick couldn’t believe it. He just couldn’t fucking believe it. He grabbed the lid of the box carefully with the tips of his fingers, why not open the box, he had earned it, sitting in this dead room, waiting for no one to show up.

   He took a deep breath and steeled himself, unhooked the latch… There was a sudden and loud knock on the door.

© Hugo Oddlane, 2014

#FridayFlash – The Patient Man

Tonight he was going to kill a man. He drew a last hard breath on his cigarette and flicked it, casually, to the sidewalk. The night air was cool on his face. It coiled around him in a slow breeze. Above the tall buildings clouds darker than the night sky were gathering, muttering ominously, looked a lot like rain was coming. He didn’t mind, the only thing better than the cool wind blowing through the city was a good hard rain to wash the streets clean.

   He stood, leaning towards a red brick wall, just outside of the yellow spotlight from the street lights, watching the building across the street. Lights were lit on the second floor and in a dark night like this a lit window was just as entertaining as the films they showed at the drive-in. He had seen this particular movie before. Over the past weeks he had spent many moments standing right where he was standing right now. Watching and learning. Gangsters were men of habit, and the one he was watching right now was no different.

   The hooligan would scream at his girl for an hour or so, actually until he was red in the face and his throat was soar. At this point she would break down in tears and lock herself inside the bedroom. Sometimes she would sit at the window, sobbing, looking at the dark city streets with longing eyes. She was a beautiful girl. Tonight he couldn’t see her. He assumed that the nights she didn’t spend at the window were spent in bed.

   The gangster was combing his hair in the lime tile bathroom. He could see the hoodlum’s reflection in the mirror. The goon had his best suit on. It certainly was his favorite, he wore it a lot. It was a dark pinstripe suit. Soon he would be done combing every stand of greasy hair to perfection and jam a ghastly white hat on his head, which probably made him think he looked like Al Capone, but only made him look like a man that wanted to look like Al Capone.

   Lost in the moment of watching the scenes unfold in the lit apartment he hadn’t noticed the rain. Big drops of cleansing water landed on the street in great splashes. He pulled up his coat collar and walked away, following the ant trail of street lights that shone up his righteous path in the lonesome night. He knew where the gangster was going. No need to stand around on the street in the rain. It would look suspicious. Besides, gunning the lawbreaker down in the street wasn’t what he wanted. He needed to make a point. It had to be public. He had to show the low men in pinstripe suits that they weren’t safe anywhere. Not even if the cops and city officials had been bought of proper. He would get them a belly full of lead. It was the western way, the way of his forefathers who had come here looking for opportunity, but found that it had turned to corruption. So he walked through the city with determined steps.

   The bar was a bleak affair. Grey walls caked over with cheap burgundy wallpaper and a dirty floor hidden under second rate carpets. The yellow lights had been dimmed down to hide the cracks, but it gave the patrons a sickly look. Their teeth looked yellow and beads of sweat clung to their skin like flies. No one cared as long as the booze flowed freely. He hated places like this. It was sickness.

   He pushed his way through the rowdy crowd to the far end of the bar and sat down with the door to the bathroom right behind him. From here he could see the small basement door that served as an entrance to this horrible hole in the ground. The other advantage was that the bathroom was right behind him, and the bathroom was the key to getting out alive. In one of the stalls there was a narrow window that led into the dark, unlit alley outside. He had visited the day before to make sure that he would fit through. He did, barely.

   Sipping greasy coffee from a greasy cup he watched the crowd. There were a lot of big hitters here. Men he’d seen in papers, their mug shots displayed mockingly as justice failed to be served. He didn’t care about any of them, not tonight. The goon he hunted tonight was a rabid dog, a violent and savage beast, barely a man. And when it had gone this far there was only one course of action left to take. A dog sick like that had to be put down.

   As he waited he slipped his hand into his pocket and ran the tips of his fingers over the cold steel surface of his police badge and felt that it didn’t mean much anymore. The comforting bulge under his arm that was his heavy revolver meant so much more in this day and age. When the law went silent, the gun spoke.

   Time dragged on and he felt his nerves tangle into a right good bunch. He waited until he was sure something was wrong, the hoodlum wouldn’t show tonight. Right at that moment the small basement door swung open, he could hear the creak of the hinges rip right through the crowd, could almost taste it. The man who wanted to look like Al Capone walked down the narrow stairs, slowly.

© Hugo Oddlane, 2014