Cupcakes and Fingernails – Part Twelve

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A shouting match drifted from the inside of Gateau, catching her attention. No one had entered, so Alex had apparently been let out of the cooler. Jennifer’s fear returned with the force of a tsunami. If Alex had been capable of making the bastardized people in the car, there was no limit to what he could do to her if her found her there. Flight took over fight, in that instance. Without entirely thinking it through, Jennifer promptly flung herself into the trunk and slammed the door shut from the inside.

“Oh, God damn it,” she cursed to herself as she slapped her palm to her forehead. With Alex barely a hundred feet away, and only Dwayne’s shitty window paintings to block his view, she would have to stay where she was until the opportunity to escape presented itself. The problem Jennifer really found was that, secretly, this was exactly where she wanted to be. Wherever Alex went after work would be the best place to look for Wendy, and Jennifer hated herself for knowing that.

She froze as the sound of crunching footsteps approached. While they sounded relatively light from farther away, they evolved into an angry march the closer they got to the car. The whole vehicle shook as presumably Alex got inside and slammed the door. Jennifer listened for movement from the watchdog-corpse in the back seat, but it was placid.

“Shit-crazy bitch,” Alex cursed. “God damned psycho. William!” he shouted. “Bah len day see na gek uligg haan! Oorlock malatesch.”

Jennifer jumped as the car beneath her suddenly jolted from the gear shift. To her simultaneous relief and trepidation, they began to move. It was unnerving for her to be in a moving vehicle without being able to watch where it was going. The fact that she couldn’t move, speak, or even breathe too loudly for fear of death did nothing to calm her nerves.

They drove for ten minutes, with Jennifer’s regret growing larger with every bump and jostle. The thought of Wendy, being perverted by whatever the hell Alex was doing to other people, helped to supplement her fear with anger, instead.

After a short bump and the sensation of a soft, right turn, the van’s speed began drastically to pick up. The sound of the tires against the road held a different quality, as well. Jennifer didn’t need to see anything to know where they were: the Interstate. She allowed herself a silent, empty sigh and got as comfortable as she could to prepare for what would be a very long ride.

Over the course of the drive, which felt to take hours, Jennifer had quietly begun to pile Alex’s trash and refuse on top of herself. It wasn’t perfect camouflage, but it gave her the peace of mind it was meant to. Nearly fifteen minutes ago, the van pulled from the highway and drove along a paved, but bumpy and pothole-strewn road. After running over a string of bumps, Alex had chastised his driver with more shouts in a nonsense language that made Jennifer’s inner ear sore.

After a vague amount of time on that road, they turned onto yet one more long vein of the highway, one not even paved. Though she could normally only see straight up, Jennifer watched the dust and dirt hitting the rear window, kicked up by the back tires.

The van stopped.

It felt like the drive had taken years. In almost too abrupt an ending, they had taken one last, easy turn before grinding to a stop in what must have been a gravel parking lot. Jennifer heard the sound of a seatbelt unbuckling.

“William,” Alex said, his first words in hours, “Ooleck haa nilbon-hagh. Juspe kali hord, mot uungrret.” With an abrupt shift in weight she felt, rather than heard, Alex leap from the car as he slammed the door behind him. The driver pulled forward, turned around, and reversed until Jennifer was able to see the overhang of a metal building through the rear window. At once, the car shifted back into park, the keys were turned, and everything died.

She took a slow, slow eternity to decide when to get out. At first, she raised her left arm and grabbed the seat with her uninjured hand, then quickly drew it back in a wave of panic. She performed similar tests several times to test that she wouldn’t be stabbed, but Jennifer was still less than convinced when she raised her head to peek around.

The driver was slumped over in its seat in a similar fashion that the second corpse had been, exactly like a puppet with its strings cut. The body in the back seat had a similar air to it. The two figures finally resembled what they were: corpses.

Jennifer took a few more quick, guarded glances around the van’s windows. Only marginally satisfied, she bit her tongue, lips, and teeth together at the same time as she slowly unlocked the trunk from the inside and pushed the door up.



all chapters: Cupcakes and Fingernails


photograph by Tomasz Zagorski

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