Categories > Original > Horror1 Reviews
A short about the danger of litter on the streets.
Under the sky that cared neither whether the human race succeded or crashed, a van turned upon the no outlet street traveling at the speed limit. It was an unremarkable brown van, and to the imaginative child it was the Mystery Machine from the old Scooby Doo cartoons without the famous paintjob and before the cartoons were replaced with questionably better programming. The van was something easily forgotten, the type no one looks at more than once, if that. The windows it owned were tinted to the maximum the law in Ohio would allow, barely letting any insight at all to who was driving the vehicle. As it slowly made its way down the street, appearing to be looking for a specific house amongst the similiar-looking dwellings that made up this cornucopia of abodes in a nameless suburb of Ohio - White house, light blue house, gray house, brown house, rinse, repeat, it seemed - and without having any directions except the most basics on where the house was located, it curiously slid down the window a good quarter or so down the street and there was no more than a glimpse of a few, ringless, slim fingers and a piece of litter, a half filled plastic Coke bottle, the cap securely fastened. It landed with a sloshing sound as it bounced off the empty street and slowly rolled its way to rest against the raised curb.
Then the window scrolled back up and the van continued its meticulously slow crawl down the street. House after house it past, without so much as acknowledging them, and then the window slid back down and out plopped a Burger King back with the top rolled in, as if the driver had wanted to keep the heat inside from escaping. It landed with a dull, on the verge of nasty, squelch-like thwack! against the street, resting close to the raised curb just like the last piece of trash.
The car had reached the end of the street and turned around to drag its way back out, apparently never finding the house it appeared to be searching for, and on its way out of the street it dropped two more items from the seemingly endless supply of garbage it managed to obtain over who knows how long of a period: A large Doritos chipd bag, and a plastic-paper cup that might or might not have gone with the previously mentioned Burger King bag, although the cup had a minor peculiarity about it - its lid was duct taped shut, as if the driver didn't trust the simple plastic lid to keep whatever fluid was sloshing around inside.
The vehicle catipillared its way off the street, turning and soon becoming nothing more but what it already was: another nameless van, searching for something, acting as transportation for the driver which controlled it. It had already performed the strange act of compulsive littering on four previous streets of verying distances, and still had more trash to dispose of before the beginnings of dawn aroused the early birds to its activities.
The music was loud, and it was good, the singer doing his best to shred his own vocal cords as he sang about his life - the shrinks, the depression, the medication, and the asylum. The boy felt that the way his life was leading him, the wonderful roller coaster that was life, and his emotions, he would sooner or later end up on a similar level as the singer, without the singing, but with the future joys of medication and possible institutionalism. Truth be told, the boy was correct about his future, although how sure of it he was at the time, its not entirely known, nor needed information. He had yet to become a full adult, had yet to come face to face with the horrible demons that were his problems, some hidden even from himself, others in plain sight for all to see, had yet to have those pesky problems blossom into what they had the possiblity to become: full blown obsessions.
The boy, a teenager, was a good boy, overall. He had his faults, he had his bad habits, but he was kind, he was generous, and he was good. He aspired to be a vetrinarian when he finished high school, for his heart was blessed to be too big for simply himself, and so he filled the large spaces of it with a love of all animals. The grades he recieved from his advanced classes were high, giving him a sense of pride, and to top it off he was a popular boy. Many would say they knew him, but only his friends truly knew him, the emotional wreck he had a tendancy to become over both simple and complex reasons, and he knew he shouldn't freak out but sometimes it just hit him and . . .
In his morning walk to the bus stop he spotted a piece of trash just laying there next to the curb, and how could he possibly resist? It was a half filled pastic Coke bottle, and he was going to punt that sucker into the atmosphere, damn if he wasn't! Watch it as that sucker just went so high. . .
As he moved closer, he started to speed up, clutching the Skeleton Crew by his idol, Stephen King, in his hands (for he always had time to read a little during classes) as he rann and finally reached the vulnerable bottle, just sitting, half full, silent and calling out to be kicked, punted, smashed, stomped, exploded.
The teen's foot connected with the bottle, and then even his blaring music was drowned out in a loud, loud boom, as if a bomb had just gone off, followed by that high pitched droning that the child knew from the war games he's played or the movies he's watched, he knew what that meant, and he was wondering whether he just went deaf. He was instantly afraid, instantly horrified, and then the dawning realization that he couldn't feel his right leg suddenly blossomed in his mind like a terrible understanding that the world really wasn't the happy place it was made out to be. His mind was moving both slowly and at high velocity, his thoughts either coming too slow or too quickly for him to understand, and all he could think of was a repeated phrase of: why can't I feel my right leg, it was just there, why can't I feel it... And then, another dawning horror as he realized his left foot - his toes, in particular - suddenly felt very wet and cold, as if someone had dumped ice on his foot after removing his shoe. Another realization came, one that was shocked him more than anything else, for he felt no pain, he wasn't sure what just happened, but he realized that for some reason, his eyes were closed. He discovered he was afraid to open them, but didn't understand why; his subconscious had figured out what just went on, but it was slow on the draw to whisper into his conscious center just what happened; he was in shock.
No more than a second had gone by as his brain filtered in one realization at a time, and the ringing seemed to be doing their best in an attempt to pop his ear drums, and his momentum was still carrying him through the punt, most of his weight was about to come down on his right leg, but
his eyes snapped open even as he heard his subconscious whisper, in a child's voice, that it wasn't a good idea to do that, no way, not by a long shot was it a good idea to do that but they opened anyway. He shrieked, putting the singer he had been listening to, the last thing he had heard before the explosion, to shame, only the boy was not nearly as musical as the singer. He shrieked nearly incoherent phrases centering around his right leg, or, where his right leg should have been. His shrieks soon changed to no more than sickening gurgling sounds as he felt himself falling foward without anything to put his weight down, his leg that should be there to keep him up was, at the moment, MIA, with a good chance it was KIA.
In the Coke bottle that was, indeed, a Coke bottle, there wasn't Coke, but something a lot more hazardous to someone's health than a dose of sugar. It was a type of explosive that reacted very violently with quick, powerful momentum; the reason it hadn't exploded when dropped from the van was the litterbug had known what it was dealing with. It also required the presence of oxygen, which was why the now-murder litterbug had made sure the cap was screwed on tightly. When the target of opportunity, in this case, a teenage boy, had kicked it, giving it enough momentum and loosening the cap enough so that oxygen was able to seep inside, it reacted. It had blown off his leg from the hip down, along with burnng the front of his entire left leg and taking off his toes - although, perhaps blown off does not do justice to the wound; no, for it was not simply blown off, for blown off implies you might be able to find whatever limb was missing with a good amount of searching. Disintegrated was a much more... appropriate word; yes, that fits perfectly, his leg was not simply blown off but disintegrated.
The boy fell, deaf and attempting to scream but only gurling, and then even that turned to even more sickening chokes as his blood came up his throat to spill out between his lips as it already gushed out of the jagged, terrible stump from his hip; jets of blood squirted from the dieing child to cover the gray concrete street with blood that looked black in the light given from the five A.M cold, pooling into a great, horrible puddle of blood underneath the hateful October sky, and he bled out quickly, dieing in the steet, dieing before he put his teenage years fully behind him, dieing a virgin.
Someone had dialed 9-1-1 from the houses which crowded the street the explosion was .. being woken up from the noise. The man knew instantly for what it was, realizing it from the times he spent making bombs for a living, before the arthritis set in. He heard the screaming, but he was afraid to leave the safety of his house. He was not harboring any fear of continueing explosions, but his fragile old mind could not take another sight of what he expected. He knew he would be powerless to help, which would have only made it worse to see another die in front of him. He had seen the aftermath of two bombs he himself had put together, and that was enough for him for too many lifetimes. He sat on his padded chair in his dark living room, listening, and then he put his haead in the palms of his hands and wept, for the screaming had just ended at that point, and he knew whoever had owned that voice was young, and that the person was either dead or nearly.
The sirens wailed on their way to the scene, and as they turned the corner the driver instantly recognized the body of the boy for what it was. They knew he was dead before they even stopped to pick up the corpse. One of the EMTs on the scene had said, "Not again," but otherwise there was silence between them.
It was on the news, of course it would be. The diver saw it and smiled. The driver picked up the phone resting on its cradle in an unremarkable home that seemed to be the same home they had on all the TV commercials talking about home improvement. The driver dialed a number known to a select few, and because of the advanced voice modification technologies built into the phone, the voice was eerily monotonous, without sex or evidence of any feelings at all, and only muttered two words, two bone chiilling words to someone on the other line, someone who could be anywhere, or anyone, in the world:
And then the driver hung up, with a smile played across its lips, and watched the news tattle on the driver's deeds, making them immortal and spreading the fear to the public who couldn't begin to fathom the reasoning.
The EMT who was quoted to have mumbled under his breath, "Not again", was Lloyd Gerkin, aged 32 years upon the Earth, under the indifferent cosmos, and had the terrible experience to have been on fcall the last two times something as unfortunate - as horrifying - as the kid had happened.
One was a starving bum that no one could name, but not from being unfamiliar, for many had known the bum's face. The face ended up being the problem, however. He could always have been found on the streets, with the rags that had passed for clothes that he wore, begging for change but never pushing himself too hard on others, never making them feel guilty for passing by with a white lie, because it was that form of unnessecary guild and shame that had recuded the bum to what he was, and although he had discovered a growing resentment in his hear for all people - as unstoppable as cancer, and he found himself at times hating everyone for no reason - he still wished no one else in his shoes.
He saw the non-descript car but had thought nothing of it, at least not at first, until it dropped the bag of McDonald's out the window. The bag did not just drift out the window, my friends, oh no, it fell with a soft smack that made the bum's stomache groan, for there was food in that bag, for once! Food! The car had sped off after that, and in some part of the fogotten citizen's mind it registered as particular but most of his mind was raving: feast, feast, feast!
So with a sly grin cast about his features he walked towards it in his broken in sneakers, casting a glance around to see if anyone was watching to see what he would do. No one was out and about this hour, so there were no witnesses to what he believed would be his time of feast. He could already taste what was inside as he neared the bag, for no teenage asshole ever tricked him with dogshit in a similar bag before, or broken glass in a seemingly harmless salad, or a lethal dose of cocaine in a brownie, so he was not expecting any of those terrible, cruel jokes, he was only expecting some food for once, damn it.
He had bent down to open the bag, his hands brushing the top that was rolled in, as if the driver of the car which had sped off had enough compassion to not only give the bum some food, but attempt to keep it warm for him, as well. He had started to unroll the top of the bag, and then there was a click, and then there was death. The bomb had exploded in his face, eating him from the fingers to the shoulders in less than seconds and then followed up by biting his face off, more or less, off. There had been a single piece of recoverable shrapnel from the bomb, and it had been a jagged piece of glass. The only reason it was even recoverable at the murder scene was because it had lodged itself into the middle of the bum's forehead, the fatal blow that had driven its way into the middle of the bum's brain as his face was melted off, and his clothes were heated so intensely they had caught fire and charred themselves onto his skin, blackened beyond recognition. The worst of it, argueably, would have been the beginnings of his skull - not white, as one would believe them to be in anyone who died of natural causes, but black from the heat - had shown through the melted pockets of what no longer passed exactly as flesh but more or less a type of silly puddy that had been stretched around a human skull and left to slowly slip its way off.
The other was a grown man taking a drunken walk home when, of all things in this world, to take a very, very unfortunate place to preform the drunken half spin coupled with a fall that was always portraited in comedies featuring anyone who had somehow became intoxicated. The problem wouldn't have been the fall, he would have just grunted and laid there for a bit before deciding to get up and attempt to drive home, but the problem had laid in where the alcoholic decided to do his butchered version of a ballerina's twirl. He had half twirled, then started to fall on his back, but he had the terrible fate of landing on a glass bottle filled with a gas that was highly combustible to oxygen. As the glass shattered beneath him, it reacted and exploded underneath him. He was instantly split in two and flung a few feet in both directions before he could even blink; his hips and below tossed one way, his rib cage on up flung another, and the rest of his midsection had been vaporized on the spot from the intensity of the blast, complete incineration upon contact. The drunk had left a terribly gory mess for the EMTs to arrive at, and the corpse managed to make most of them sick.
Lloyd could not sleep after either of those incidents for two weeks, and he was questioning whether he would be able to sleep again for awhile. He always had these terribly visual nightmares of himself - or his wife, his kids! - blowing up.
A dark blue van with tinted windows, tinted to the legal limits in the state of Oregon, drove at a crawl, seeming to be simply looking for a certain house down a street that was just like any other street. While on its way down the neighboorhood, it appeared to be completely oblivious to the [No Littering] sighs as trash after trash as thrown out of the litterbug's window.