This is a story for the Halloween contest over at FridayFlash.org. The rules are pretty simple: “Write a short piece of flash fiction, 500 words or less, that incorporate the title of your chosen [horror] flick.” In other words, I had to pick the title of a horror movie and put each word of that title in the story – just not all together. The fun part: guess what the movie is!
Warren couldn’t help looking around Hal’s bathroom when he got out of the shower. The place was cluttered with countless… things. Miscellaneous tchotchkes, like the little painted doll heads that were lined up in a row above the door, or a framed magazine ad for cologne that hung above the toilet and which had several cartoons drawn on sticky notes stuck to it. There were Mardi Gras beads hanging off the hook on the door and a little bowl of marbles on the toilet tank. Some of it was probably stolen, like the Denny’s sign that read, Por favor lavarse los manos ante de salir that was pasted in the corner of the mirror. Ever obedient, Warren washed his hands, adjusted the towel around his waist, and went out into the apartment.
The bedroom was the same as the bathroom, only larger. The bookcase probably held more miscellaneous knickknacks than it did books, and he’d had trouble the night before finding his way through the stacks of stuff that were on the floor. If it all weren’t so interesting, he would have to leave. No one wants to date a hoarder. Not that Warren was feeling too secure in his dating habits right now as it was. The thoughts he’d tried to wash away in the shower were back, and they made his stomach hurt.
“You okay?” Hal asked. He was lying on the bed, barely covered by a thin sheet, and for all that it covered him, it didn’t really hide anything. He stretched like a cat, and Warren had to look away for a moment. There were things to do, he had to go to work, and if he watched Hal stretch, then none of that would get done. Of course, that was really part of the problem.
He sat down on the edge of the bed and said, “Hal. I think we should talk.”
Hal sat up and wrapped his arms around his knees. “Uh-oh,” he said. “That’s never good.”
“No, no,” Warren said. “It’s just…” He shrugged, and a moment later felt a hand on his shoulder. “I just want to know where this is going, you know?” He patted the bed. “I mean, this is fun and all, but still.” He turned around, and saw his own concern mirrored in Hal’s face, and that gave him some measure of hope. Perhaps Hal the collector was willing to give him a chance. “Where do we go from here, Hal? What do we tell people?”
They sat in silence for a little while. “I don’t know,” Hal finally said. “I guess we just have to trust to fate on this one.” He knelt upright on the bed and held Warren close. Warren let himself lay back in his cousin’s arms, and felt the tingle of skin contact. “Some things just… happen.”
Warren nodded. “Fate,” he said. “Right.” And it was then that he knew that this – whatever it was – wasn’t going to last.