Fitness Nuts

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: 'The Odd Ones'

Submitted: February 25, 2018

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Submitted: February 25, 2018

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The shrill buzz of the alarm clock shattered Gina's peaceful slumber, just as it had every morning for the past two years. She rolled over, cursed, and shut it off, just as she had every morning for the past two years.

"I am getting another job" She grumbled to her still sleeping husband, who snored in response. "This 3AM nonsense is for the birds.." She continued, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed.

It was an empty threat and she knew it, as well as Wally would've had he ever been awake for her usual morning declarations. She kissed his forehead

"Love you honey"

"mmhmm... you too baby" Wally mumbled before rolling over and resuming his soft, rhythmic snoring.

Half an hour later, showered and dressed, she peeked in on Wally one more time, planted another kiss on his head, and was out the door. Some days the monotony of it killed her; the same dreary midnight shift workers at the gas station,nearing the end of their shift, the half-hearted "'Mornin" offered in passing as she went through the door for her coffee. 100% Colombian, five hazelnut creamers, no sugar. As she pulled into the big, mostly empty, parking lot of the Gym, the same four cars sat in the same parking spots they had every morning since the place opened years ago. Early morning gym-rats... a species all their own.
Tanya and Bill, a senior couple, stood at the door as always. She never understood it, why at 4:30 they'd be standing there when they knew she never opened the door a second earlier than 5:00 a.m. Being somewhat introverted, the 20 seconds of forced small talk every day was something like walking through a gauntlet for her. Days when it was raining or particularly cold were her favorite; they waited in their cars then. They were friendly enough, if a little odd. To say Tanya was short would be an understatement. She stood at possibly 4'5, short-cropped bleached-blond hair, somewhat coarse features, and skin the texture of shoe leather from too many years of tanning. At 68, she was incredibly fit, and in almost every way the exact opposite of her counterpart. Bill stood at least 6'2, looked very much his age of 74 with deep creases in his pale skin, wispy white hair,he looked almost frail. Both were strange bordering on irritating, as seniors who aren't our loved ones often are. Gina tried to ignore it and was careful to not let on how off-putting she truly found them, as they seemed harmless enough.

After a deep sigh and a quick pep-talk she swung open the car door. Tanya waved, her typical Cheshire grin plastered on her face, and called out

"Good Morning Gina!!"

" 'Morning Tanya, 'morning Bill"

Bill nodded and stepped aside as she approached the door. The lock stuck, as usual, while Tanya prattled on.

"Happy Monday, Gina! How was your weekend?Mine was lovely!"

'Oh god..' Gina thought 'Please just once shut up....'

Click . Gina yanked the door open and slipped inside, relieved to be alone again.

The gym was always so lovely in the brief thirty minutes she had before opening the doors for the day.Dark and silent and empty;it was her favorite part of the day, and over all too quickly. After switching on the sound system, the last thing she did every day before unlocking the doors, she took another deep breath. "Here we go"

The usual crowd flowed in and Gina took refuge behind the big front desk; it always made her more at ease to have a barrier between herself and them... the general public...a mass of walking, talking nightmare. As required by her employer, she greeted every one of them with a "good morning" and a smile, some genuine, some more like a cattle prod to her backside. Tanya bounced merrily up to the desk.

"Gina, I'd like to tan please!" She practically skipped over to the far end of the desk where the controls for the tanning beds sat.

'As if you need to tan any more, Leatherface' Gina thought, smiling a little to herself.

She pressed the button, setting the bed for Tanya's usual 20 minutes.

"So, Gina, any big plans this weekend?"

"No, just going to stay home I think" Gina shuffled some meaningless papers, trying to appear busy.

'Just go into the damn tanning bed!' she wanted to scream

"Oh gooood! Because Bill and I wanted to invite you and Wally to dinner again!"

'DAMNIT!!' she cursed silently, knowing Tanya had set her up.... baited her into confessing she had no plans so that she could finally be forced into the dinner invitation Tanya'd been extended for at least a year. Gina struggled not to let her irritation show.

"Sure... I'll talk to Wally, make sure he doesn't have anything planned"

Tanya clapped her hands like an excited child and bounced around the corner to the tanning beds.

"Dammit" she cursed again,out loud, when she head Tanya climb into the bed. 'Wally will think of something to get us out of this gracefully.'

 

Moments later another morning regular, one who actually wasn't completely horrible, came through the door.

"Good Morning, Cassie" Gina offered "How are you?"

"I'm OK... tired" She looked utterly exhausted, and as if she'd been crying, just as she had every time Gina had seen her for the past month.

"Trouble sleeping?"

"Just... ever since Lila's been gone... I don't know... it's just so odd! I mean, she's just gone, no trace, no one's seen her...They didn't even find her car!" Cassie burst into tears.

Dammit

Not being an emotional type herself, this kind of display made Gina very uncomfortable, yet she felt compelled to comfort the poor woman. Cassie's twin sister had gone missing over a month ago. The most recent in a string of missing persons in the area, Lila was the first person Gina actually knew, and she remembered the day. Cassie and Lila had come in together to workout, as they always did. They'd been there about two hours and then went their separate ways to work. Nothing out of the ordinary... except no one ever saw Lila again. Since then, Cassie had worked tirelessly trying to find her sister, even went on local news. The police had been at the gym, questioned anyone who knew her, searched for weeks, and then, finding no sign of foul play, or any other lead for that matter, they called off the search. That was two days ago... and Cassie was obviously not taking it well.

"Oh, Cassie... I'm so sorry... I heard they called off the search... is there anything I can do?"

"Not unless you can convince those lazy cops to do something about it!" She managed between sobs.

"I know.. I cant imagine... I told them everything I could...it's just, you know, there wasn't much to tell.."

Cassie nodded, wiping her eyes. "I know... everyone has been so great, I just don't understand how a person can just 'poof' be gone like that"

Gina patted her shoulder, unsure of what else to say. Just then, Tanya came around the corner.

"Oh Cassie! you poor dear! how are you!?" She hugged Cassie sympathetically

"I'm okay, thank you Tanya" The forced tolerance of her tone implied Gina wasn't the only one who found Tanya a bit irksome.

"Oh dear, I still cant believe it. Your sister was such a darling girl. Such a shame! And I hear they've called off the search! My goodness you must be so upset!"

Cassie began to sob all over again.

'My god, woman, cant you see you're making it worse!? SHUT UP!' Gina wanted to scream at her. Instead, she attempted to change the subject.

"Tanya, I think I saw Bill heading for the squat rack"

Tanya's eyes widened "Ohhh that man! he knows he can't do squats!" and she rushed off to admonish her husband.

Cassie,wiping her eyes again, mouthed "Thank you" as Tanya left them.

"Try some cardio, hon. They say exercise makes you feel better when you're down."

Cassie uttered a half-hearted "yeah" before making her way toward the treadmills.

 

"I swear, baby, the woman just does not know when to shut up!" Gina told Wally exasperatedly that night over dinner.

"She's just one of those people" Wally said, scooping an oversized bite of salmon and asparagus into his mouth. "Mmm, honey.. this is so good"

"Thanks... she tricked me into a dinner invite, you know"

"Just tell her we have plans"

"I already told her we weren't doing anything before she asked about dinner... I was hoping you would think of something..."

Wally chewed thoughtfully, shook his head "I think we should just do it, only way she's gonna stop asking"

Gina stabbed at her salmon. "I don't want to have dinner with them, they're going to think we're friends or something"

"She already thinks you're friends, otherwise she wouldn't invite you. And you know you're not going to tell her you don't like her... lets just get it over with"

Gina sighed in defeat and flicked a stray breadcrumb at Wally. He grinned and kicked her shin playfully under the table "I'll be with you, babe. Quick dinner then we're out. They're old so you know they don't stay up late... how bad can it be?"

"Alright."

Gina procrastinated telling Tanya they would be at dinner, hoping something would come up. When nothing presented itself, she finally relented on Thursday morning to tell Tanya,who was ecstatic. She went on and on as Gina went about her business at the desk about what she would be cooking for them. When the phone rang Gina snatched it off the cradle, almost wanting to thank the person on the other end for the reprieve. Tanya, for once, took the hint and went off to workout. On their way out later that morning, Tanya and Bill both bid her goodbye.

"See you Saturday!" Tanya called, waving.

Saturday came quickly, Gina nearly went into anxiety attacks all day, wishing she'd never agreed to sit through what was sure to be an agonizing, boring meal, with a senior citizen couple she had no interest in knowing.

"Honey, lets not go. Lets say something came up.. I dont want to go"

"You know I'll stay home with you if you want, but I think we should just get it over with, otherwise she's just going to keep at you about it. "

"I don't like people"

"I know you don't, but it will be OK. They're just a couple of over-opinionated, annoying old folks. Not gonna kill ya'."

"You're right... as always" She sighed deeply and kissed his cheek. "OK, lets go."

They followed the directions Tanya had written down for her, and within minutes pulled into a small apartment community.

"Which building is it?" Wally asked as they slowly rolled over a speed bump

"Building... F, all the way in the back"

They pulled up to the last building in the row, which had only Tanya and Bill's cars in front of it.

Gina took a deep breath.

"You ready?" Wally asked, patting her leg.

"Ready as I'm going to be."

They were only a few steps up the sidewalk when the apartment door facing them was flung open, revealing Tanya, dressed in a ridiculous canary yellow pantsuit. She waved her usual giddy, over-enthusiastic wave, clownish grin slapped on her face.

"Hi Guys!! I'm so glad you made it! Come in! come in!"

She hugged them both, nearly pushing Gina over the fine line she was currently riding, testing the limits of her tolerance. She and Wally exchanged a brief glance;

'She hugged me' her eyes told him

'I know. Be cool.' his told her

The food smelled good, though, as Tanya ushered them upstairs, Gina tried to relax. The apartment was surprisingly enormous,opening up into a huge living room, and a kitchen which was far too large for an apartment in that building.

"Wow Tanya, this place is huge" Gina said, finally finding words

"Oh yes,when each of the other tenants moved out Bill and I bought the other apartments and had it converted into one big space!"

"That's really something. Was there a downstairs apartment?"

"Oh yes, that's where our den and bedroom are, there's a staircase down that hall" Tanya pointed

Bill was at the stove, stirring something. "Got some good food going here; Italian sausages and peppers, cauliflower, some flatbread.."

"Sounds great. How are ya', Bill" Wally strode over and extended his hand.

"Good thanks, you?" They shook as Wally replied and they continued to make small talk.

Tanya took Gina around the room, sharing family photos and the like, each thing with its own story. Finally, when Bill announced dinner was ready, Gina was all too glad to be seated at the table, feeling at ease and more secure with Wally beside her. The food was as good as it smelled, and Gina, having not eaten, was ravenous. She restrained herself from wolfing her food down while Tanya gave them a detailed recap of the meal preparation.

Somewhere between finishing the alien-looking but delicious purple steamed cauliflower and the low-cal non-fat ice cream bars Tanya scurried off to fetch from the freezer, Gina came to the realization that she could hardly hold her eyes open. The room seemed to be tilting left and right around her, and when she turned to Wally to tell him something was very, very wrong, she found him face-planted and unconscious in his food. Her heart began to race as she took note of Bill rising slowly from his chair, a strange smile on his face, for some reason holding a roll of duct tape and a taser.

"Whats....what'r you..." Gina found her speech thick and slurred

""What am I doing?" Bill finished for her, coming around the table.

"It's quite simple, dear." Tanya's sing-song voice came from behind her.

Gina tried to turn in her chair and instead fell on the floor, her body refusing to obey. Tanya,came into view,having not, in fact, gone to fetch ice cream but another roll of tape.

"We're going to kill you." She said matter-of-factly. "And if you try to fight, that is if you have the faculties to do so.." The taser sparked in Bill's hand.

"Seems Wally had a bit more of the broccoli than you did" Tanya continued, picking Wally's face up out of his plate by his hair. She released him and his head landed back on the plate with a thud.

Gina tried desperately to clear the fog in her mind, but to no avail. As Bill lowered Wally down to the floor and she felt Tanya begin taping her own hands behind her back, Gina could do nothing, could not force her limbs to move, nor will her voice to scream. The last thought Gina had before the darkness took her was as Tanya hoisted her onto her shoulder like a sack of flour.

"How is she so strong?"

When Gina woke in the dark, foul smelling room, her first thoughts were muddled; confused.

'I was at home getting ready for dinner... ' She tried to recount her day... and then it all came back; the dinner, Bill with the taser... Wally, unconscious in his food..

"Wally? Baby? Where are you?!" She whispered as loudly as she dared. Her hands were still bound, as were her ankles, and she dare not move in the darkness not knowing what was around her. A feeble groan came from her left, followed by a shuffling sound.

"Wally?"

Nothing.

The silence was unbearable, as smothering as the palpable darkness. Gina tried hard to control her breathing and not panic, failing only when the blackness surrounding her was split open. The door swung ajar, casting a shaft of light over the floor. For a split second before the lights came on to reveal the horror around her, Gina took in the mismatched forms of Bill and Tanya in the doorway, and Wally, a few feet away from her, bound and badly beaten on the floor. Her breathing quickened then as a thousand thoughts ran through her mind, the most prominent of which being 'We are going to die' . For a moment after she heard the light switch flicked and the buzz of fluorescent lights coming on, she squeezed her eyes shut, not wanting to see.

"Oh, dear, don't close your eyes so tight, it's not good for the skin, you know" Tanya chirped.

Gina felt the warm trail of involuntary tears rolling down her cheeks as she forced her eyes open. Wally, barely conscious, trying to crawl toward her, Tanya and Bill standing nearby, donning what looked like butcher's aprons... and on the walls...

'Oh God...'

On the stark white walls of the room, there were several heads, each in a glass case, each with a different body part in its own case mounted beneath it. Under each display was some sort of placard. Gina recognized Lila's face immediately, frozen in a coy smile, her calf muscles mounted below. Cold fear gripped her, robbing her of the scream she felt well within her.

"You see...." Tanya continued, moving over to a small cabinet. "We've found a new way to make art of the human form... and we've chosen the both of you to add to our piece!" She actually made it sound as if Gina should be excited.

"It's a shame, we wont be able to use Wally now because of the bruising..... We don't like to damage the face, but the sedative wore off so quickly on him! and then he ambushed poor Bill when he came to check on the two of you...such a shame..." She said, perusing the cabinet.

Bill, who was in fact sporting a black eye and nasty gash on his cheek, just stared at Wally with dislike.

"He had just the torso shape we were looking for! Now we cant use him." He spat angrily. "But you, dearie, you we'll do today. I just can't wait to have those buns and thighs on the wall!"

Gina, still bound and barely able to move her arms and legs, wriggled as fast as she could manage across the floor to her husband, so in shock with terror that she could only focus on her need to be close to him. They lay next to each other, whispering their final goodbyes and vows of love, while Tanya finally found what she was looking for in the cabinet.

"Here it is!" she sang out.

Gina and Wally, focused on each other, did not see Tanya with the cleaver, nor Bill with his roll of plastic. So lost were they in each other's eyes, resigned to their fate, that they hardly felt the plastic slid under their heads, and so the last thing Gina saw was her husband's sharp green eyes, filled with love. She never heard his anguished scream after the cleaver came cleanly through her neck. Her face, frozen in a peaceful expression stared back at him as he roared and strained as hard as his partially numb limbs would allow against the tape which bound him. He struggled only a moment more after Bill reached down and slit his throat, and then the room was silent again, save for the wet, grinding sounds of dismemberment.

********************************************

 

Jordan swung open his car door and strode toward the front of the looming building. Two people were already at the door, even though the gym didn't open for another half hour.

'Seems odd' he thought as he approached, then immediately chastised himself. 'Don't be judgmental .. it's your first day and they're just a couple of old folks'

As he reached the front door, he took them in. They were impossibly opposite, the woman short, fit and far too tan, the man, tall, fragile-looking and incredibly pale.

"You must be the new opener!" The woman piped up "I'm Tanya!! So good to meet you!!" She shook his hand emphatically

"I'm Jordan." He reached to put his key in the lock as the woman continued talking.

"That's my husband,Bill. You'll be seeing a lot of us! My goodness you've got some big forearms, Jordan!"

Jordan forced a smile, a bit uncomfortable. "Oh... thanks... well, better get inside."

As he slipped inside and the door closed slowly behind him, he heard the man, Bill, say something, though he was sure he must have heard him wrong.

"Yep... those are about right. Gotta get a look at those abs, though..."


© Copyright 2018 S.K. Anders. All rights reserved.

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