Sunday, June 8, 2008


Mack turned the key, listened for the telltale clack, and nodded in mute satisfaction as he stepped away from his bar for the evening. Evening... that was a misconception if there ever was one: it was 4 in the morning, for Christ sake! Mack chuckled, smiled at the softly glowing sign over the entrance of his pub, The Mack, and made for his truck parked in the back of the parking lot.

The soft crunching grind of pebbles beneath his footfalls was nearly the only sound, save for a siren somewhere miles away. Mack could finally make out the lone Ford sitting like a long-awaited island jutting from the horizon of some sea-lost ship. It sat under one of only two working parking lot lights: the others had long since died out or had been broken by hooligans. In the cone of glow that emanated from the lamp sat the black silhouette of the F-150. But, for the first time ever, it didn't sit alone.

Leaning against the hood was a form, obviously human, standing completely still. Mach stopped walking so rapidly he almost slid and fell. What was that? In the seventeen odd years he'd owned and closed his bar, he'd never, not even once, seen another shape leaning against (or anywhere near) his vehicle. Mack was more than a little frightened; slightly above nervous, to be honest, and the click his swallow made as it escaped his suddenly dry mouth gave every indication of the same. The figure stood, still as the evening breeze, and waited.

Mack ran a thought quickly over his options. He could turn heel and run back to the bar, open up, and escape to the familiarity of it. He could, change his trajectory and make as though he was headed somewhere completely different. Or, what he could do, was head to his truck and stop acting like a fucking baby. Somehow, the latter seemed the more natural thing to do. And so, with a quick persuasion of the blade from the pocket knife he'd always held with him, Mack started his pace anew.

But his stroll was slower now, somehow more purposeful and agitated. No matter how natural he attempted to be, it was still painfully obvious that his mind just didn't want his legs to do what they needed to do. Mack broke out in a cold sweat; he could feel a drip raising every hair on his back as it coolly trickled down to his pants waist. He took in a shuddering breath, let it out in an abnormal blast of fright, and plodded on. He was closer now, but the form, now not quite as human as he once thought, remained stolid and unchanged.

Damn it this is a fuckin' waste of time! Mack muttered to himself as he tried in vain to gather up any kind of waning strength. But somehow, as big and formidable of guy he was, every inch of him was literally scared shitless and, without his even realizing it, he had once again stopped walking. Staring straight ahead, unblinking, Mack peered curiously at the black shape hugging the front corner of his truck. It had legs, this was obvious, and it had arms dangling down by its side, also very apparent. And it even had a head... but wait, was that a hat? Was this person wearing a, what, Fedora? Mack had seen enough movies and men attempting to be cool wearing such head wear, so he was almost damn certain that that's what it was. So, it was a guy wearing a hat. Mack didn't know anyone, save for a few bar flies, who even sort of looked like this guy. The shadow stood firm.

Mack felt a bit better. It seemed he'd at least identified the form. So now, with every scattered bit of courage he had left, he approached. Once closer to the light, Mack's feeling of apprehension and worry sloughed off like a wet towel. The object was a motorcycle with a helmet attached to the handle bars. Form a distance, with the coupling of many layers of mind tricks, Mack had made the form into something it wasn't. Mack chuckled to himself, just inches shy of hysteria, and that's when he felt the the cold steel pierce the side of his skull.

The End

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