Flash Fiction by
Tthe train appeared to move in a wheel spinning lurching motion like an old locomotive. The sound of diesel electric buzzed in the background and steam rose all around the platform in a hiss; really odd. I looked at Ash, “man that’s trippy”! Ash smiled and the laughter came knowingly. It was like an acid trip from our days, or maybe a flashback. I didn’t get those but had friends who did, they were never quite right after that.
The inside of the passenger car was empty except for one old guy wearing a Bowler hat sitting at the far end with his back to us. I expected a conductor to walk through and announce the stop for Willoughby, you know, from the Twilight Zone. It was early evening but stars were out as if there was an eclipse. I didn’t notice the scenery whipping past in the blur.
Grand Central Station whirred with the echo of the crowd, who seemed to part in front of us leaving a clear corridor to the avenue. A cab waited at the curb, thick exhaust poured from the tailpipe obscuring the street scene around it, and we got in. The driver turned, grinned like Jack Nicholson in the Shining and pulled into traffic.
What was only a few moments later we were on the upper east in front of a high rise. It was my grandmother’s old building. She’d been dead for fifteen years. How did the cabby know to take us here? I didn’t remember giving him directions.
“Let’s get a pizza”, Ash said and pointed across the street. The cars were bumper to bumper idling and everyone in them sat motionless. I waited on the sidewalk and Ash exited the restaurant carrying a large pie with mushrooms. Bryce and Chimes stood behind him holding a case of beer and a bottle of Absolut. “Where did you guys come from?” I said with amazement and they all just smiled.
The inside of the apartment was exactly like I remembered it, the same floral vases, crystal lamps and plastic covered furniture. It was spotlessly clean. Why did my family keep the place? I wondered how they paid the rent, it must cost a fortune. Maybe it was rent control. I sat in a wing back chair drinking vodka and fell out in a trance. When I awoke bodies lay sleeping all around the room. I didn’t recognize anyone. Empty bottles and cigarette butts were strewn everyplace. I had no concept of how long had I been out.
I felt a tremendous hunger and headed for the kitchen. The pizza box lay on the table, only a crust from a single slice remained. I looked in the fridge and saw a heart, a cow heart I imagined, on a plate. I freaked and screamed out loud. “What the fuck is going on!”
“Settle down dude, everything’s fine.” I could hear Ash faintly from another room. When I walked out I found no one to confront, only the open doors to the terrace. Looking over to the other building it seemed to be just feet away, the large Gargoyles at its’ corners grinned at me. Above me came a voice again. “What’s the problem?” Ash said smiling from a balcony across.
“I thought you were my friend? What is all this shit?” I was furious. I felt violated.
“Look behind you!” Ash directed. I wheeled around to see my grandmother. She just shook her head, turned and left the room.
“Nana!” I yelled in shock. How could it be? Then there was the ringing of an alarm bell, and everything went smoky…I sat bolt upright in bed, the clock shaking in alert. Sweat poured off my face and I fought to catch my breath. Man, that was weird! Then only one thought dominated my mind… Who the hell is Ash? And Bryce and Chimes for that matter!