Footsteps in the stairwell. A key in the lock. Heavy shadows under the door.
A brass clatter and the knob turns.
"So then I said, no that's not my finger, I can still count to nine!"
A pair of rough laughs roll from the figures silhouetted in the light from the hallway. Cheap suits, expensive haircuts and lots of stubble are highlight as they step into the room. Tall and taller, both are broad as houses. Taller tries to turn on the light but the switch doesn't summon illumination as it should. The bulb is missing from the ceiling. He drops a roll of duct tape and a bag of plastic bags on the floor.
"Heh, my finger, good one, Bobby." Taller sweeps the dark room with a pair of beady eyes like a rottweiler taking in his territory. The space above the dresser shows only cardboard where a mirror should reside. The mattress on the bed is bare except for a pair of long stains. A mid-century copy of a bad reproduction of a 17th century oil painting hangs crookedly on the wall. Taller shakes his head.
Bobby heads for the closet.
"'Ore here." His voice is more grunt that words as he pulls open the flimsy door.
Both of them stand and stare quietly into the closet for a solid minute.
The empty is closet.
Taller reaches in and yanks the pull cord on the hanging bulb. A pair of heavy brows are illuminated in the harsh light. The closet remains empty, except for a bare coat hanger.
"'Eh hell, Bobby?"
Bobby grunts. "Was 'ere. Left 'em lying."
He ducks his thick necked head into the closet and looks around, pulls it back out. The closet is most certainly empty.
"S'what? He walk off?" Taller asks.
Bobby rubs his fat fingers over his stubbled chins. "Two inna chest and one in 'he noggin. No walking for 'im."
"So he vanish 'en? Poof, like a fairy?" Taller wiggles his fingers in the air dramatically.
Bobby glares at him, or maybe he only stares, it's hard to tell with that brow.
"I don--" He's cut off by a creak from behind the bathroom door.
Taller nods his head and they move toward it, thick soled shoes quiet on the threadbare carpet. Bobby wraps his ham hock of a fist around the door knob. Taller slips his stub nose .45 from inside his jacket and nods. Bobby yanks the door open so hard that the ten cent screws holding the hinges in place call it quits and the doors flies into the middle of the room. They manage to surprise a pair of mating cockroaches who, having seen worse, ignore them and go about their business. Except for a lot mildew and some questionable and poorly aging design choices the room is empty.
There's a sound like silk on sand behind Taller, or maybe wind on grass. He feels a breeze on the back of his neck. Strange as the room's window had been closed.
"Good job, asshole," A voice says casually behind him. "There goes the room deposit."
His head makes it a quarter turn to the right, enough to see a blood stained button up shirt below a bloodier face obscured behind lanky black hair. Then all he sees is the fist rushing towards his eye socket.
Taller is faster than his size belies and he actually starts to slip it but still catches it on the nose. Broken several times before it cracks easily, splattering blood across the wall. With the decorating in the room no one is likely to notice. In spite of the lights exploding in his vision he swings the pistol toward the man, but then something sharp and cold slides across his wrist and the gun falls from tendonless fingers.
Bobby curses and barrels in behind him trying to help. He doesn't do much good. There's another slicing sound, this one much closer to what you might hear in a deli down on 31st. Warm, wet blood sprays across Taller's neck and something that sounds about the right size for Bobby falls heavily on the bed. Never built for someone of Bobby's physique the bed collapses amid a twist of shrieking springs.
He staggers back towards the bathroom clutching his ruined wrist, trying to blink vision back into his eyes. Something hard catches him in the chest launching back into the bathroom. His heel comes down on the cockroaches, just about finished when his indestructible size twelve pulverizes them and his feet come out from under him. He falls badly, his cinder block of a skull plowing through the cheap sink on the way to the floor.
Groggy and dazed he tries to push himself up off the dirty tiles and dirtier grout when a bare foot pushes him back down.
"Don't bother getting up," says the same voice from before.
His head is sideways enough to see the same mop of dark hair, same thin face. Fresher blood has been added to the mix. There's something bright and sharp in his hand. Something that might have been a light bulb at one time. He sees the figure lean down.
Taller doesn't see anything after that.
The thin figure staggers out of the bathroom a minute later, leans against the sagging wall. It's a toss up which one will fall over first.
He rubs a hand uncomfortably over his chest then rolls up his left sleeve. In the light from the street are the tattoos of six skulls down his forearm. One's still fresh, there's room for three more.
He shakes his head and looks around. See's Bobby's glassy eyes staring from the bed.
"Shit," he sighs to no one in particular. "Two bodies to hide, and big ones too. I hope they brought enough tape."
YOU ARE READING
Mindnado ExpressShort Story
These sci-fi, fantasy, and horror flash fiction stories bounced around in my head long enough to survive brainstorming and wound up scribbled down out here in the wild. Enjoy.