Starting Sparks is a monthly writing link up hosted by Emily @ Ink, Inc. and Ashley G. @ [insert title here]. Each month they give us a prompt and then we respond however we like with a short story, a scene, a poem - whatever. The point is to get those creative juices flowing! I love the sound of this month's prompt which is as follows.
The song I'm using for the basis of my short story is called "Brazil" by Declan McKenna. I don't know if I'd call it my favorite, but it's definitely addicting and the lyrics are quite interesting.
"Six Cars and a Grizzly Bear"
"I've got a mission and my mission is real."
That's the only thing he said to me. It's more accurate to say that that's the only thing he's had the chance to say. I flat out ran from him before he could get anything else out of his mouth. I don't want to think about what could have happened to me if I'd stayed there a second longer. But, I made a promise to myself. I have to go back for them.
I've heard stories about this guy for years and I've actually seen him from a safe distance. He lives out in the boonies by the river somewhere and seems to have a mini junkyard around his ramshackle house. That's what it looks like from the road anyway. His driveway is very long and actually crosses the river and a wide field before it heads back into the grove of trees surrounding his house-slash-junkyard. I'm not sure how he makes it across the rickety bridge in that rusted out truck of his - it looks that dangerous - but I suppose that helps deter unwanted visitors just as much as a house that looks like it should have been condemned fifty years ago. From what my friends and I have been able to piece together, he only leaves his place for important things like last minute shopping on Christmas Eve and to watch the mud runs at the county fair.
I wouldn't have sneaked over to his place for anything after he'd left for said fair, but you see my friends and I have this beautiful game and it was my turn. I had no choice but to sneak onto his property and come back with something from his wannabe junkyard. Something he wouldn't miss. Something we could remember the whole thing by, a souvenir just like from all of the other places. While I snuck in, my friends would take cover in the old cemetery on the hill across the road. From their position they would easily be able to see the first half of the driveway and a good portion of the road in either direction to alert me via cell phone if he were to come back early.
When I finally made it back this guy's long driveway and into the shade of the trees surrounding his house and junkyard, I was pretty surprised by what I found. Before we set out, I tried to find aerial satellite photos online to get a better look, but unfortunately there were too many trees to get a decent view. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the six cars you can see from the road are the only cars making up the junkyard. I fully expected there to be more that weren't visible from the road.
As I walked around the front bumper of a beat up '57 Ford Fairlane, I saw what looked like the hatch of a fallout shelter. The hatch was propped open at least a foot as if to let in some fresh air and air the place out. I don't know what it was about seeing that but it gave me the creeps. The six cars totally blocked its view from the driveway and the road, the trees overhead made sure it wouldn't be spotted from above. As I walked over and glanced down the shelter hatch, I could see light flickering from beyond the base of the thirty-foot ladder, its source out of my line of sight. At first I thought it was the breeze, but I could have sworn I heard sobbing coming up that shaft.
"Hello? Is someone down there? Are you alright?" I shouted downward. My only response was a dead silence.
Right then my phone buzzed. I stood and pulled it out of my back pocket. It was a text from my co-conspirators. He's coming back - fast! GET OUT NOW!
I looked up hurriedly from my screen, I could hear the sound of tires crunching on gravel. I didn't expect him to be back so soon - there's no way he even made it to the fairgrounds in the short amount of time he had been gone. He must have forgotten something. I glanced back at the open hatch. It had something to do with what I'd heard, I could feel it. And that something that couldn't be good.
I couldn't just stand there and let him catch me, so I tore around to the back of the house. Maybe I could wait him out and get out unnoticed after he left again. Forget the souvenir. Still something niggled at the back of my mind about that underground shelter. It could be nothing, but then again this guy might be a serial killing psycho. Either way, I needed backup just in case something terrible was going on. In order to get help, I needed to get out of here unseen.
Behind the house was a cinder block shed, maybe twelve-by-twelve if that. It was dark inside and I saw no movement through the one window just to the right of the door. I had to make a decision because I heard a truck door open. As quickly and as quietly as I could I threw open the shed door and stopped midway through the entrance, dumbfounded.
There was a grizzly bear sleeping in the middle of the floor. A grizzly bear!
There was a collar around the bear's thick neck which was hooked to a chain and staked down into the dirt floor of the shed. The only other things in the shed were it's food and water. The meat in it's food bowl was red and bloody. As soon as I saw it, my brain jumped right back to serial killing psycho. If I wanted to live through this, I needed to escape.
Stunned, I sucked in a breath and backed away, closing the door behind me, hoping that the bear wouldn't wake. I took all of two steps backward before I came up against a solid form that wasn't there seconds before. Still in the wide open doorway, I whipped around. It was him. The waves of fear coming off of me must have been palpable enough for him to feel at such close range. He opened his mouth. It's funny what you notice, but he had very nice teeth and a charming voice - very much at odds with the rest of his appearance.
"I've got a mission and my mission is real."