Guest Submission: Psst. I’ve Got A Boat

Candyland - Edited

How friggin lame is it that I brought two prescription pill bottles and a gun? she asked herself. Talk about overkill. She smirked; pun time was any time.

A perfect, dump-a-body pond was the predetermined spot, about an hour drive by backroads. Seated on its bank, ignoring the rotten egg smell, she dangled her legs in the water and laid the items between them. One. Two. Three. All lined up, an ever-ready death parade.

She’d already memorized the exact spot where her parents kept their meds when she stole them a couple hours ago. Sometimes, she’d stared absently into the medicine cabinet after her long, Sunday night baths–the ones when she made little Ice Cream Mountains on her knees with the shaving cream, then nicked herself on purpose with the razor to smear little frowny faces with the blood.

First on the bank, was her mom’s depression meds–looking like they’d plopped directly out of Candyland’s Lord Licorice’s butt–half bubble-gum pink, half lemon-drop yellow. But they were not like him nor the pink-haired Lady Lolly, (that fucking, uppity witch, or so that’s what she remembered her sister acting like whenever she chose that character in Candyland). No, these beauties were just present, nothing more. It was nothingness that beguiled her now, the stoppage of all personality.

Daddio pops one of these mint-looking babies in his mouth with each morning OJ, she thought, looking at the other bottle. Sorry Dad–I need these. Not like the devil-may-care Mister Mint in his Peppermint Forest, though. No, they wouldn’t utter a single, heartless word to her.

Neither would the handgun judge her, the one she’d kinda, sorta borrowed from Grandpop and Grandmop, as her family affectionately called them. They’d been in for a visit and Grandpop didn’t go anywhere without his Remi Semi .45–the family was big on cutesy names. She’d found it easily, wrapped in a black sweater inside their guestroom nightstand.

Her butt was soaked now, from the dewy grass, but she didn’t worry about that anymore. Before she’d snuck out of her house in the middle of the darkest part of the morning, she’d let a shallow question surface. Seriously, at a time like this even. What should I wear? She killed the trifling thought. No distractions. No setbacks. She went braless under her blue hoodie, laundry-day underwear, and grey leggings. Barefoot. A solid, no-cares-given outfit.

She didn’t even know how to check to see if the Remi Semi was loaded so she tossed it into the water. Kerplunk.

Thank god no one woke up and tried to stop me before I left, she thought. Her decision was as unwavering as Queen Frostine on her Snow Cone Throne. Come hell or high water, this was going to happen.

Should she have made a ceremonious statement or left a letter on a pillow somewhere? Forget it with the dramatics.

Several at a time, she swallowed all the pills with the help of a couple sips of pond water she scooped up with her hand.

Pssst. Hey, c’mon over here,” a man said.

“What?”

“I got me a little boat over there. You should come for a ride,” the stranger beckoned.

“Okay…sure,” she accepted. She wondered where he came from and whether he’d caught her in the act, but she didn’t worry too much just then, and the boat seemed the place to be for some reason.

The two stepped inside a motorless canoe. The man’s age was ambiguous. Dirt was smeared on his face and arms. Everything else about his appearance was ordinary, save for his spine; one could almost see the whole outline of every single vertebrae when he bent over.

“Where are the oars?”

“Who needs ‘em? The current will take us toward the falls,” the man gestured. She looked out ahead at what was now a river in place of the stagnant pond.

“Oh,” she responded, confused and in a haze. “So, who are you?”

“I’m Mr. Hypnos, but you can call me Sandy.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because, I’m the man with the sand,” he singsonged, resting his feet up on the edge of the boat, fingers laced behind his head. “Are you hep to the jive, bappu jee?”

“Is that, like, code for–” she gestured, bringing her finger to her nose to which he didn’t answer right away. “You know, booger sugar?”

Sandy belly-laughed. “Now why in hell would I need that in my line of work, for pete’s sake?”

The girl giggled awkwardly and shrugged.

“This isn’t the part where you bombard me with questions, is it? By my count, you’re already up to three, and frankly, I’d kinda just like to enjoy the ride.”

“Okay, I guess,” she said, stiffling her brimming questions.

The strangers sat in silence for a while.

“The mountains look so awesome.” She couldn’t help but to remark, having never noticed any there before; their silhouettes were daunting.

“Ha! Those aren’t mountains,” Sandy condescended.

“Then what–“

“Oh, just anti-matter or something like that,” Sandy answered, matter-of-factly. “Alright, forget about that. We’re getting close now.”

“Close to what?”

“Time for you to start thinking about your life and all the people in it and stuff,” he said, half-interested.

“People? As if I care about any of that army of mouth breathers?” she replied. She’d gone way past the point of wishing for life to change. Her mom’s Pollyanna, over-drugged wisdom, ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride’ was just dismissive and sickening.

“How adorable,” Sandy laughed. “That is the fakest crap I’ve ever heard. Lemme guess. You’re thinking that if only everyone would act the way you think they should, that somehow you’d be different?”

“No,” she lied.

“Ah…denial…So be it,” Sandy said flatly.

“What’s your problem?”

“What’d you expect? Be glad you haven’t met my twin brother yet, Mister Thanatos.”

“I don’t–“

“Nevermind–we have arrived,” Sandy interrupted.

The girl noticed some objects falling down from the mountain-like structures, which were now very close to the banks of the river. They looked like body parts, charred black. An intact corpse hung in the water, head submerged, legs on land.

“Flip the switch?” Sandy asked, his finger poised upon a motor that appeared out of nowhere on the back of the boat.

“What? Why?” the girl asked, puzzled.

“On or off? Yes or no? Pick one!” Sandy demanded. He’d had to raise his voice over the approaching, roaring waterfall. It appeared to be a drop of several hundred feet.

She hesitated.

“Bye-bye, then.” Mr. Hypnos waved to her.

“Wait, Sandy! Yes! Yes! Turn it ooon!” she screamed. The motor buzzed to life, sure and strong.

~

Drenched and lying at the shallow edge of the pond, she pushed her torso up out of the water. She projectile vomited liter after liter of muck, leech-looking creatures, and pond water–that had no business fitting into a person’s stomach. Then, up came the prescription pills, whole, undigested.

After burping up a few more still-fully-formed pills, she stood and took a couple steps onto the lush grass. The girl shivered, and not only her body; her long-term numbness ceased and she felt every emotion she was capable of, maybe even one or two a lot of us aren’t. She’d also seemed to vomit something else, intangible and dark.

Turning around, feeling the water drip from her hair and onto her back, she stared for a while at all the multicolored pills still floating in the water, not going anywhere.

“Candyland’s for babies,” she said aloud.

 

17626113_10155162394668792_1534172596578193865_nRachel Kallembach

Author Bio:

I’m from central Illinois. My favorite is a tie between Poe and King. Writing is a complex puzzle with so many nebulous factors to consider and I like the challenge. Also, the act of creating something that requires years and years of learning and enlightenment, provides me with so much fulfillment and hopefully makes things better for others in at least some, distant way.

You can follow Rachel on her blog Fitful, Fearful, Phantasmal.

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