Crash

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
"Evelyn didn't mean to disobey her father..." Follow along as young Evelyn's strange obsession with her father's body shop grows and twists into something beyond belief.

Submitted: March 31, 2016

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Submitted: March 31, 2016

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Evelyn didn’t mean to disobey her father, but the urge to sneak out while he answered an important telephone call was just too great. With her weight balanced on the balls of her feet, Evelyn patiently treaded across the linoleum. With a small frame and delicate build, sneaking out wasn’t hard to do. As she approached the door, Evelyn listened reassuringly to her father mumble through the receiver. With a light hand, she reached out and carefully turned the rusted knob on the front door. Cautiously, Evelyn opened the door, which proceeded to produce a low, creaking sound. As her feet met the chilled cement, a shiver went down Evelyn’s spine. She slowly shut the door behind her, and let out a sigh of relief. The hard part was over. Evelyn peered out across the dark street and focused her eyes, fascinated, on the garage sitting across the street.

Evelyn’s father owned an automotive repair shop across the street from their house. The last car he repaired was a new, 1965 poppy red mustang, whose hood and windshield had been demolished as a result of being driven under the back of an 18-wheeler. He worked tirelessly day in and day out in his body shop, repairing annihilated cars, making them look new again.

Evelyn pictured her father as he routinely came back to the house after work every day, just in time for dinner. His deep, brown hair laid tussled and greasy on his head. He would have little beams of sweat dripping down his long face, creating small pools around his dark eyes. His hands were quite large and strong, always calloused and covered in oil stains. After he walked through the front door every evening he would slip off his rubber boots, and greet Evelyn’s mother- who was always working on dinner- with a brief embrace. He would always then make his way over to Evelyn and greet her with a soft kiss on the forehead, and ask, “How are ya’ doing, peanut?” If there was one thing that Evelyn adored more than the repair shop, it was her father. She always felt comforted by his shy smile and tight hugs.

Evelyn quickly made her way across the front lawn, which was lightly dusted with frost. The short-cut, damp grass felt cold on her bare feet. With adrenaline rushing through her body, Evelyn dashed across the street. The sharp breeze rushed through her long, tangled, ash-blonde hair. Evelyn could see her breath in front of her. The cool air rushed into her lungs, burning her throat. It was exhilarating.

Sneaking out to the garage started as a one-time thing. Evelyn’s father would always talk about the different cars that would come into his shop. An icy blue 1962 Chevrolet Corvair that had been smashed in a deadly head-on collision. A maroon 1963 Jaguar S-Type missing the passenger door that was t-boned. Missing hub caps, shattered windshields, banged-up bumpers. All of this fascinated Evelyn, but what intrigued her most was the story behind the car. Every scratch, dent, and bump on the car revealed something new, and unique about each one. Evelyn would sneak into the garage and sit in the passenger seat of the car being worked on, and she would close her eyes, and formulate a story for each one.

The first time Evelyn snuck out to the shop, her father had been working on a snow white 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The damage wasn’t completely detrimental, aside from the bashed in windshield. The door was locked, so Evelyn climbed onto the hood of the car, and then through where the windshield once was, careful not to cut herself on the remaining glass. She positioned herself in the passenger seat, and just sat. She inhaled. The smell of oil and exhaust filled her nose. Evelyn found herself comforted by this aroma. She brushed her hand across the dashboard, picking up dust on the tips of her fingers. She could feel the floor mat between her toes, and the dried blood stain crusted onto the cloth seat.

Evelyn’s mother oftentimes worked alongside her father, on the upholstery of the cars. She would pull up the floor mats, clean the windows, seats, really anything on the interior that needed fixing up.

As Evelyn brushed her finger across the blood stain on the seat, she could only feel empathy for her mother, for she would end up working tirelessly pulling up the upholstery and cleaning or even replacing it.

Evelyn finally reached the back door to the garage in the frigid, dark night. The door was locked, but Evelyn knew her father always placed a spare key under the welcome mat. As she reached down to lift up the mat she heard a sound. Evelyn froze. Her heartbeat grew stronger. Her palms became sweaty. This was the night, Evelyn thought. The night I’ll get caught.  Paralyzed with fear, Evelyn managed to make a quick glance over her shoulder. She sighed at the sight of a raccoon rummaging through the bushes. After she gained her composure, she continued to lift the mat, revealing a slightly rusted key. Evelyn jammed the key into the lock and wiggled it around until she could turn it all the way, unlocking the door. After carefully placing the key into the back pocket of her overalls, Evelyn proceeded into the garage.

Evelyn switched the lights on, which caused the fluorescent light hanging above to hum. Ah, another 1965 Ford mustang. A couple of weeks ago, Evelyn’s father was working on a mint green Ford mustang that had clipped a curb and flipped over, smashing the car and killing the driver and passenger. Evelyn remembered the lingering smell of rotting food, and the iconic “new car smell,” that hung in the air as she sat behind the wheel. She felt powerful as she placed her hands on the wheel. Evelyn closed her eyes and just breathed, in a meditative state. Something about those beat up cars made her feel complete.

As the weeks went by, Evelyn’s obsession became stronger and stronger. She spent more and more time sitting in the cars- examining all of the imperfections. On a particularly chilly night, Evelyn found a car that was so beaten up it was almost unrecognizable. There were only two tires left, there was no hood, and the car was smashed in on all sides, yet Evelyn felt drawn to this vehicle more than any others. She ran her hand along the dusted hood of the car, which was cold to the touch. The smell of metal on her hands made Evelyn feel comfortable; safe. She slowly walked the perimeter of the car, scouting out every little detail. Towards the back of the car, laid a torn up t-shirt. Evelyn could only imagine who this ripped, blood-stained t-shirt belonged to. She bent over, grazed her fingers across the scratchy cloth. She delicately picked the shirt up, and brought it to her face, inhaling the faint smell of men’s aftershave. As she went to put the shirt back, Evelyn’s heart dropped.

Frozen, in a state of panic, Evelyn didn’t know what to do. There, in the back of the car, not two feet away from her, laid a finger. A human finger. Evelyn was paralyzed- all she could manage to do was shift her gaze down. A pit formed in her stomach, adrenaline shot through her veins. Evelyn was terrified and yet- something made her look back. Trembling, Evelyn focused her eyes on the delicate finger. It was a small, thin finger; the middle knuckle was very rounded and knobby. Before Evelyn could even think about what she was doing, she found the finger being held delicately in her hand. She closed her eyes and pictured a small girl, much like herself, sitting in a car seat on a Sunday morning coming home from church. The surprised screams that would be produced when the car flipped. The helpless cries the little girl produced, after seeing her parents fly through the front windshield. The terror-filled howls the girl made when she realized she was trapped under the car, and couldn’t move.

Evelyn’s eyes welled up. She closed her eyes and held the finger a little tighter, as if she could somehow have held this little girl’s hand. As if she could have comforted her in her last few minutes. It was astonishing to Evelyn how much emotion this extremity drew out of her. She set the finger down where it once belonged, and collapsed onto the nearby work bench. She sat there for another hour, gazing hypnotically into the car. She would have sat there for hours more if the rising beams of sunlight hadn’t snuck through the small gap between the garage door and concrete, signaling morning.

This was the point at where Evelyn’s obsession had completely escalated beyond proportion. It was always her little secret. The guilt that was once there had slowly diminished. Evelyn didn’t need an excuse to look at the cars anymore.

Evelyn set her eyes on the baby yellow mustang. Headlights knocked out, bumper torn off. She felt good about this one. The paint was laid on the car impeccably, aside from a quarter-sized scratch near the front, left wheel. The windows were dark, but extremely well-maintained. It wasn’t until Evelyn made her way to the right side of the car that she saw the damage done. The passenger door was almost totaled, and the entire frame was disembodied. Evelyn barely had to touch the door for it to swing open. The smell of rot engulfed Evelyn’s senses. She couldn’t help but to gag a few times. Once the harsh smell had dissipated, Evelyn climbed into the passenger seat. The seat cover had been ripped off of the head rest. Evelyn lived for the feeling of adrenaline. She desired the mixture of fear and excitement that welled up in her body when she was in the garage.

After basking in the seat for a couple of hours, Evelyn began to make her way out of the car, but a glance in the rear view mirror send a shock down her spine. In the mirror, she could make out the figure of a female, about twice her own age, slumped in the back seat- lifeless. She was tempted to squeeze her eyes shut and run home. To make it all go away. However, something also drew Evelyn towards the figure. It was the same attraction Evelyn felt to the finger, but exponentially stronger. Hesitantly, she made her way to the back seat, and positioned herself next to the slumped figure. As Evelyn scanned the frail, frigid body, she noticed something quite peculiar. A thin-chained silver necklace with a pendant in the shape of a heart; just like the one Evelyn’s mother gifted her when she was quite young. Evelyn rested her hand of the angular, sullen cheekbones of the woman. She then lifted her hand to her own face, and felt the same angular structure. Looking at this girl was like looking into a mirror, and then adding a couple of years. Evelyn squeezed the girl’s limp hand. It made her feel safe.

Why was she drawn to the stories and people tied to the demolished cars that rested in the automotive garage? It was then that Evelyn identified the feeling the cars had given her. It was a feeling of relief, sorrow, empathy, all jumbled together and tied in knots. The fact that she was still safe, and with her family, versus in the position of the hurt, made Evelyn feel okay. What was once a one-time thing, had turned into a twisted obsession. Evelyn spent hours at a time, imagining the stories of the people tied to each wreck, it only made sense that she would eventually come face-to-face with herself.

Evelyn let go of the girl’s hand. She ran her fingers through the body’s tangled, ash-blonde hair, and she couldn’t help but to cry. She placed her elbows on her knees; her head in her hands. She sat, sunken in to the seat, until the morning rays of light crept between the garage door and concrete.


© Copyright 2020 Zoe Elizabeth. All rights reserved.

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