Late one Saturday morning, in an almost bone dry town at the Arizona/New Mexico Border, two kids hatched a plan. The kids, Nicky and Carlos, both aged 12, wanted some new toys. And they knew where to get them.
This being a small dusty town, with nothing too much going on, the kids knew enough to pay attention to the tiny details of life. Specifically, when the UP-EX delivery truck came to town. Upon learning that their local branch of Comicly Toys was expecting a delivery in the morning, they left their dusty houses early and sat underneath a tree. This tree was in a convenient place, right across the street from the shop.
Nicky looked up from his silly Tales from the Crypt book when he heard the delivery truck step on its brakes. Carlos looked up from his Games2Go system and saw the truck as well. They put their books and games away as the driver calmly got out of the gray van. Nicky wiped his long yet itchy hair from his shoulders as the driver set the box down on the front porch of the shop. This was a quiet, peaceful community with few legal problems. The shop was next to the police station. Who would steal anything in front of the police station?
Well, this being Carlos and Nicky, that previous assumption turned out to be wrong. The boys darted and hid behind a parked brown hatchback and waited for the driver. The driver, not suspecting a thing and too focused on his Bluetooth headset, went back into his van without even a casual look-around.
The boys darted across the street. Carlos got to the box first and tried to pick it up. It weighed far too much for his feeble young arms.
"Help me!" he quickly asked Nicky. Nicky knelt down and together they lifted the box and began carrying it away, walking up the side road. A middle aged woman with curlers in her hair rode on by. Ahhh, how sweet! Boys helping each other! The world needs more of this! she thought with a smile on her face. She failed to notice the ultra-rare, endangered rattlesnake slithering in the road and proceeded to run it over. Because Arizona.
The boys continued their difficult hauling task down the street, eventually coming across the large town cemetery. Unfortunately, because online shipping companies are cheap, a hole formed in the bottom of the box and three toys fell out. The boys turned their heads and saw the toys.
"What should...we do?" asked Carlos.
"This box is really heavy! Let's get them later!" suggested Nicky. And so, they kept going, to their usual secluded hangout spot.
Sleeping in the mausoleum was Ernest, the traveling bum. His drunken slumber was rudely interrupted by a weird sound. He blinked, his eyes struggling to adjust in the rising sun of the morning. He blinked and and struggled to get to his feet. He scratched his long beard, and wondered where he was. The tombstones outside seemed to show him that he was in a cemetery. He looked up and saw the leaves of the memorial tree waving gently in the breeze.
Then, he heard a voice. The acoustics of the mausoleum and his drunken state messed up how he interpreted it. But, he could clearly hear it above him.
"Look! There are many souls here!" said the eager voice.
"Great! Let's divvy them up," said another voice, distinctly male, but somewhat scratchy. The voices slightly echoed in the chamber of the dead.
The man sat up, too frightened to speak.
"One for me, one for you. One for me, one for you," the eager voice counted each soul as if it were apples.
"That soul isn't very good. I don't want it," the scratchy voice said.
"Psss! You can sort them out when you get home and trade the rest with me!" said the eager voice.
"OK, let's continue. One soul for me, one soul for you. One for me, one for you," the scratchy voice repeated.
The town pastor and his wife walked into the mausoleum from the right side of the entrance. He was about to speak when Ernest turned around and blew on his finger to warn them to be silent. They stepped inside and heard the counting voices.
"What's going on, Ernest?" whispered the town pastor.
"It's God and the Devil. They're counting...souls, Pastor Smith," whispered Ernest.
The pastor's wife put her hand on her heart and the gathered all felt the same chill and thought the same- the souls of the dead here were being sorted and gathered by their God and Devil.
"Oh, that's the last one?" wondered the scratchy voice.
"Yeah...Oh, there's three more right under us!!" said the eager voice.
"I call dibs!"
The pastor's wife, a woman of already bad health, immediately had a stroke and died before falling face first on the mausoleum floor. The pastor's hair stood up. Ernest jumped to his feet and started running, followed immediately by the preacher. Chunks of tombstone were knocked off by their legs as they tore a path through the cemetery and towards the gate.
Cruynngg! They ran so hard and furiously, they failed to notice the gate and smashed it. Because it was old and poorly maintained, it fell off the hinges easily and barely slowed the men. They turned right and kept running up the road.
"We're not dead! Don't take us yet!" screamed the men as they ran at local record speeds.
A storekeeper opened up the door to brush out the dust when he saw the screaming men run by. He looked inside and said "It's a race! Pastor Smith and Drunk Ernest must be training for the marathon!"
"Good for them!" shouted back his wife.
The men continued their panicked charge away from the cemetery. They appeared in the intersection, right when an 18-wheel fuel tanker, driven by the obligatory sleepy trucker, entered the intersection. There was not enough time to stop, but he tried anyway. pplat! Both men were killed at the same time, the front end of the truck slamming into them. The trucker swerved too hard to the left, causing the fuel trailer to tip over. It skilled along the intersection, and slammed into a restaurant on the corner. KABTOOOM! The tanker hit a compressed propane tank inside. This triggered a massive explosion, because nobody follows OSHA regulations in Arizona.
The boys climbed down from their hiding place on top of the mausoleum. Bits of house, truck, and shop were scattered along the ground in from the cemetery.
"What happened?" asked Carlos as he adjusted the backpack straps to handle the weight.
"Don't know," replied Nicky. His voice was scratchy. He took a puff from his asthma inhaler. " Maybe Michael Bay is filming here again." He looked down and saw the toys. He picked them up, put two away, and read the label of one. DARK STREET KING, new addition to the Soul toy line, fresh from Japan. He passed the toy with four arms to Carlos.
"Let's get outta here before the comic guy sees us!" suggested Carlos. The kids started jogging away from the cemetery, completely unaware of the burning inferno that they accidentally caused.
Inspired by "Stories from Africa- One for Me, One for You" in Wattpad.