Anne’s hand trembled as she gazed into the oily rainbow of liquid inside the turquoise capsule. She saw her oblong face reflected back at her and imagined she could see her future, if she had a future. The capsule would decide that. The pop-a-death capsule. More exciting than heroin. Non-addicting. Or so they claimed. This was her third ride. If she came back, she knew it wouldn’t be her last.
She tossed the capsule to the back of her throat and washed it down with a chug from the bottle of Jack then she lay down on her bed. She shouldn’t be doing this alone. She knew that. It was dumb. If this pill showed her real death she’d be claimed. No one there to give her a reversal. She hadn’t figured out how to buy a reversal yet anyway. C’est la vie.
The pop-a-death grabbed her and off she went. Right into the middle of it this time. A lion tore at her arm. The pain. God almighty! A quick thought. This couldn’t be her real death, unless I fall into a cage at the zoo, and that’s not going to happen, I never go to the zoo. The lion ripped her arm from her body. Don’t pass out, Anne. Don’t pass out. Enjoy it. Enjoy it.
The beast’s long teeth sunk into her abdomen. She trembled as it pulled bloody piles of gore from her body cavity and gnawed the flesh from her bones. She quaked as the lion disassembled her body piece by piece. At first the pain was horrendous. Someone was shrieking. The sky above her was molten copper. Then she began to experience agony beyond simple pain. For what seemed like hours sensation rippled from her frayed nerve endings to her brain as exquisite pleasure. Slicing scarlet pleasure. Then she was back.
Whoop! She jumped up. Wow! She spun in circles. Rubbing her bare arms, touching every part of her body. I’m alive! Wow. Fantastic. More. More. More. I’ve got to do that again. She grabbed the bottle of Jack and finished it off. I’ve got to do that again.
She grabbed her black hoodie, pulled the hood up, slid on her darkest sunglasses, slipped her wallet in her back pocket, keys in the front, and opened the door.
“Anne. Where are you going?”
“I’m going out for milk, Jack.”
“I can go get it for you.”
“No, that’s cool. You wait here, listen to some music, I’ll be right back.”
Anne ran out her apartment door and down the steps before Jack could stop her. She went straight to Poppa Death’s for another pill.
“You’ve bought too many deaths. This is your last purchase—I won’t sell you any more unless you buy a reversal. You must have a reversal in hand the next time you pop-a-death.”
“Damn, Poppa Death, I’ve been a good customer, every time you raised the prices, I’ve found the money. What does a reversal cost?”
“One reversal costs one life.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean. Take a life. I will come, collect, and leave the reversal.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll do it tonight.”
* * *
“Jack, where are you?” Anne hated that she was going to have to end their friendship so suddenly but, shit, the pop-a-deaths, it was all about the pop-a-deaths.
Jack came out of the kitchen. He seemed kind of hyped up, like he’d had too much caffeine but he walked casually toward Anne. “Did you get the milk?” She didn’t even see the knife in his hand. “Sorry, Babe. I need to get a reversal. And we’re all gonna die, you know. We’ve all got to die for real sometime.”
Jack looked around, he had kind of thought that Poppa Death would appear right away in a cloud of purple smoke, take Anne’s body, or at least her soul, and drop a capsule on the table—but nothing happened. Anne’s body lay on the floor, a grocery bag next to her. The milk.
Jack picked up the bag and sat down at the table. No need for manners, he tore the carton open and chug-a-lugged half the quart.
Anne had really good connections, Jack just had time to groan “You bitch” before he doubled over, fell to the floor, jerked a few times, and was dead.
Then Poppa Death appeared. Two this time—his smile lit the apartment. He folded his pudgy fingers across his ample stomach and watched with tender eyes as his experienced team swept the room and gathered the tendrils he needed to create more exciting pop-a-deaths.
Who wrote this wild story?! Where can I get more? (Free?) --
Dona Fox writes short stories & poetry - horror & dark fantasy, infused with bits of science fiction. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, specters from the damp evergreen forests, Portland's bridges & Seattle's streets, often creep into her dark tales. Her stories are generally told by slightly mad narrators, full of sadness, who find themselves in dangerous situations where the edge of reality is always in question. Grab some of her audio books (free) at www.donafox.com
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”