This week’s prompt:
Taxidermist, car won’t start, hair tie
Amber slammed the heel of her hand against the steering wheel before resting her forehead against the hot plastic. She hated this car. Not just hated it, loathed it with a passion. This was the third time this month it had stranded her somewhere. Though this time, she did kind of deserve it.
She knew she should never have come out here. She looked around at the here in question and grimaced and actually shuddered when her gaze landed on the things on the porch. Most of them she thought might have been some kind of fox. Or possibly a very small coyote? It had a brownish coat of hair that would blend into the dry desert surrounding her. Did foxes come in that color? She had no idea. She did not want to know. And she refused to even look to see what the other things were. She never wanted to see Dave again.
The sun was brutally hot and the interior of the beat up old Chevette was not going to cool itself if she did not get it started. Irritated, Amber pulled her hair back with the hair tie she kept around her wrist and flung open the car door. The smell of summer desert hit her along with a wave of intense heat. She pulled the tool kit from under the front seat and pulled the latch to release the hood. It gave with a dull clunk.
She looked back at the house, but saw no movement. She prayed Dave did not notice she was gone yet. She never wanted to talk to that weirdo ever again. They met while she was working the night shift at the little gas station across from the high school. It should have been her first clue that he was not quite right. No one came into the station after 1am if they were not on drugs or very very lost. But here was Dave, he seemed charming, and cleanly if not richly dressed. He came in looking to buy a jug of milk. And the next night it was soda pop. Then gum. Then he quit pretending to need to buy things and just hung out talking to her through the darkest hours of the night.
Amber looked under the hood. She was not much of a mechanic, but she knew what was usually wrong with her not so trusty rust bucket. She took out a wrench and gave a solid whack to a part. Then another. And a third for good measure. She held the hood propped up with her left hand while she wielded the wrench with the other. The prop was long since missing on this car.
Dave invited her out to his house last week, but something told her not to come. She put him off for several days, but for some reason today she gave in. She got off work at 6am, ran home and took a cool shower and changed into a comfortable pair of jeans and a tee shirt. She also chose her favorite running shoes rather than her black keds. That part of her gut that said this was a bad idea liked that wardrobe choice.
She glanced nervously again at the house. Surely he had realized something was up by now. She never thought she would actually run away by climbing out a bathroom window. She though that shit only happened in movies. But this was the house of a mad man. Yes, he had told her he was a taxidermist, so she expect a few deer heads, maybe something exotic, but this place was full, hoarder level full with dead animals. And most were not well done. Some she was not even sure were preserved based on the smell. Everywhere she looked was patchy dead fur and flat dead eyes. It was the scariest thing she had ever seen.
There was no way around it, she had to close the hood. She let it drop and the expected slam made her skin craw. He knew where she was now. The keys were still in the ignition and she did not bother with her seat belt. She turned the key and nothing for a long slow heartbeat.
Then it suddenly caught and the engine roared once and settled back into its silly little putter just as the front door opened and a very confused Dave stepped out onto the porch. He wore a leather apron, like a craftsman might and had something on his head. A hat? A helmet? She had no idea and she was not stopping to find out. She hit the gas and gravel spun and crunched under her mostly bald tires as dust rolled up behind her, obscuring Dave and his house of horrors from her view.
She was calling her boss, Bob as soon as she got home. She was done with night shifts from now on, starting today.