Friday, 7 June 2013

#FridayFlash - Along the old Corpse Road

Tanya sits on a low wall at the bottom of her garden, and she's already swigging from a bottle by the time I reach her. She's picked the label off so I've no idea what it is but it's pink and smells like floor cleaner. She hands it to me before I've even sat down.

"What are we doing here?" I ask her. She sent me a text earlier telling me to get down here before it gets properly dark but wouldn't tell me why. I can't help thinking she just wants to get drunk and brag about the stuff she's done with Mickey Tunnock.

"Found out summat int'restin' today," she says. She's already slurring and her eyes have that glassy, faraway look.

"What?" I pretend to take a swig from the bottle but I keep my thumb over the neck. Tanya doesn't even notice.

"This 'ere, this bit o' road, it's a corpse road." Tanya gestures to the rocky path that runs along the bottom of the garden, disappearing off through the fields.

"A what?"

"Corpse road. People din't get buried at church, so they had to get carried along 'ere," says Tanya.

"That's a bit creepy."

I look along the path, and think of the number of times I've used it as a shortcut to get to Jake's house. Tanya fishes around in her inside pocket and pulls out a battered packet of cigarettes. She's probably pinched these from her dad along with the pink rubbish in the bottle.

"Found out from one of them church lot in the village. Figured they'd frighten me into behavin' or summat." Tanya smiles but it looks more like a leer.

"So why are we sat down here?" The air's getting cold and I've just realised the stones are slick with damp.

"Told Mickey 'n he said he already knew. But then, get this, he says that if we sit 'ere on a full moon, we'll see a ghost." Tanya wiggles her fingers and makes childish ghost noises. I roll my eyes.

"And you believe everything Mickey tells you?"

"Most of it." She giggles, no doubt remembering something filthy he's told her.

I pass back the bottle and she takes another swig. I look up at the sky and notice it's a full moon. I can't remember the names of the other phases but there's no mistaking this one. I doubt we'll see a ghost, although Tanya will be seeing all kinds of stuff if she keeps drinking that pink stuff.

When I look at Tanya again, she's slumped against the tree by the wall. She's snoring gently, her mouth open and her eyes flickering. I'm half tempted to take a photo to put on Instagram but I notice something more interesting. People are coming along the path towards us. There are only about six of them, and four of them are carrying a box. It's long and thin, but wider at the top end. There's no mistaking what that is. The two at the front walk with their heads bowed. What's really weird though is that I can see through them.

I consider waking Tanya but I'm scared that the noise she'll make will ruin the illusion, and the vision will go away. I know I should be scared, but I'm not. All I can think of is I need to take a photo or no one will believe me. I fumble with my phone but the camera app won't load. I jab at the icon several times, knowing the people are getting nearer, and when the app finally opens, all the screen shows is static.

I groan in annoyance, and look up in time to see the people drawing level with us. One of the figures at the front finally looks up, and she stares me full in the face. I stare back, unable to believe what I'm seeing. I fall backwards off the wall and hit the ground with a thump. Only one thing springs to mind before I pass out.

The girl who looked at me is my absolute reflection.


Image originally by Nigel Chadwick. Edits by me.

16 comments:

Peter Newman said...

I thought they were coming for Tanya! Saying that, I could imagine Tanya outliving us all.

Sulci Collective said...

Oooh, nice payoff line Icy

marc nash

Larry Kollar said...

Loved the bits of humor in this, "Tanya will be seeing all kinds of stuff if she keeps drinking that pink stuff" being one of my favorites. I hope our good narrator hasn't joined the procession!

Kath said...

Loved the voice in this and the description is wonderful. I felt as if I were way too close to the girls on that wall. And when the people started coming down the ghost road towards them, I was convinced that it was Tanya they were coming from, so your last line gave me such a jolt. In the best possible way.

Virginia Moffatt said...

Brilliant...really evocative and I didn't see that ending coming...Great stuff.

Eric J. Krause said...

The whole thing was an excellent read, but that last line was absolute killer. Well done!

John Wiswell said...

I loved the dueling voices! Both so distinct. And I agree it would be a bit creepy, even if I didn't expect a grim ending to result from it!

Icy Sedgwick said...

Seems people prefer my ghostly forays!

Tim VanSant Writes said...

And here I thought a corpse road was a dead end. Nice and creepy!

afullnessinbrevity said...

You do this form so well; creating a genuine creepy vibe with a twist at the end.
Adam B @revhappiness

Helen said...

Neat twist! Loved the narrator's voice.

jackkholt said...

Great voice and dialogue in this one, Icy. Nice flow, too; I zipped through it. Love it!

Also, Tanya needs to lay off the Pepto-Bismol, methinks.

ganymeder said...

I thought she'd be the one in the coffin, especially when she fell off the rock!

Katherine Hajer said...

Been down this road before, has she? I liked that she's one of the ones carrying the burden.

I spent some time wondering what on earth could be pink, alcoholic, and stolen from someone's dad, and decided I didn't want to know.

deannaschrayer said...

Great story Icy with the perfect voice. I wonder if Tanya is a medium of sorts (unconsciously) to help bring friends to the other side.

Cindy Vaskova said...

Ooh nice twist there Icy! Loved it! I was expecting some parade of ghosts manifesting before the two (and maybe even going hostile) but what you delivered was far better.

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