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"The Old Tire Store"

A little horror story, not for the faint-hearted.

A sliver of a moon shone down on the old building.
It was well worn, and could have been a tire store in an earlier life,
or maybe a small wholesale produce warehouse.
It was actually two buildings joined by a shingled roof
covering a drive-through between.
The drive space was a single tarred lane,
held together by the oil, grease, and smell of ancient cars and trucks,
long buried in junkyard graves.

A few people stood and talked, or milled around the place.
They all looked vaguely like faces from my past,
but I wasn't sure.
Maybe they just resembled men and women I'd met somewhere.

An old board-sided truck pulled into the space between the two parts of the building,
and I recognized the driver as my uncle Dan.
He seemed to think I had bumped his truck with my car,
and was not happy about it.
My aunt Louise sat silently in the shadows of the passenger seat.
I didn't think this was a good time to mention
that they had both been dead for some years.

I went into the old office to avoid further confrontation with my dead uncle.
Several people sat in ragged tubular chairs, 
as if eternally waiting for work on their cars to be done.
One woman read part of a newspaper, 
and a couple stood against the wall, 
drinking aged coffee from scarred mugs and talking softly.

I crossed the drive tunnel and through a gray double door
black with greasy finger prints, and into a larger empty room.
The floor was pitted varnished wood, the ceiling was low, 
and it was devoid of furniture, 
except for the usual coffee urn on a counter against one wall.
It reminded me of an old Eagles club dance floor,
only there was one thing I had never seen at an Eagles...
the body of a murdered woman on the floor.

It was my Aunt Louise, 
and next to her was a cardboard carton full of money and checks.
She'd been shot, but obviously not in a robbery.

I heard some activity outside and went to the door.
Uncle Dan was shooting everybody in the place.
They started to die, but didn't quite finish the job.
They were wandering around, 
faces pale and distorted, like in the old zombie movies.
Maybe they were wondering what they were supposed to do next.

I found my wife and told her to hurry and come with me.
Nice old Uncle Dan was killing everybody in sight, 
and they wouldn't fall down.
We went back to the old dance floor room, 
where there were no undead tire customers to bother us.

A black man in his fifties came in.
He wore a wide mustache and was wearing a mustard yellow shirt, 
with his name sewn into a square patch above the pocket... Charlie.

Charlie was probably a delivery man who didn't realize the mess he'd wandered into.
He looked like an ally, so I said this to him:
"There's a man on a killing rampage out there.
We've got to get out of here fast!"

Then I noticed that Charlie had a gun in his hand...
a black Smith and Wesson revolver with a three inch barrel.
I stepped between the gun and my wife, 
and said "What the hell are you doing?"

He put the tip of the barrel up to his left eye and fired.
This didn't kill him, so he shot himself in the right eye, 
and it just got him angrier, 
so he pointed the gun at us.
I wrestled his gun arm, and four shots went into the ceiling, 
sending plaster flying, 
as Uncle Dan came through the door.

I said "This is just a bad dream, isn't it, Dan?"
Uncle Dan said: "I hope you're right", 
as he took aim.

Copyright  April 1, 2007 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission.

 

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