Life’s A Gas
Nicky Marshall was a mousy man with mousy hair –so mousy, in fact, he was repeatedly banned from the local pet shop for fear of perturbing the cats. He had barely been scuffed by the wear and tear of life – living each soporific day shielded from the world, not unlike John Travolta in the ‘Boy In the Plastic Bubble’ – until, one chilly Autumn, as the cloak of night draped itself over the city, and the moon bit into the sky like a fang, Nicky had one of those moments that are usually described as pivotal
He’d been driving back from a stamp collectors convention, feeling very pleased with himself about the talk that he’d given, entitled ‘Philately Will Get You Somewhere,’ when he saw a woman hitchhiking beneath a blinking street lamp. Her silhouette appeared and disappeared like warm breath on a cold window pane. To Nicky- who was so unlucky in love that he was thinking of becoming a professional card sharp -she was like a long limbed drink of water calling out to a thirsty man.
He opened the door; she seemed to ooze into the car like mercury. She was the whitest thing he’s ever seen.
’My name’s Nicky,’ he said. ‘I’m a paleontologist. I’ll make no bones about it!.What’s your name?’
’Nikki,’ she said.
’And what do you do?’ he said.
’I eat people,’
Nicky was coming into the city centre and as he hurtled – like the Starship Enterprise on Warp Factor nine- through the constellation of neon signs and streetlamps, he started to feel weak and cold.
‘I eat souls,’ said the woman. ‘Those that have wasted their life. Failed to live and taste it’s fruit.’
Nicky was feeling weaker and colder. And he heard a sound, a shrill high pitched thing that chilled him more and more.She was singing
He felt his life draining away and there was nothing he could do unless…
Struggling, he accelerated the car, driving at full until he crashed into shop window.
The adrenalin rush was greater than anything he’s ever felt before and the woman’s singing seemed to fade, the car getting warmer until everything faded to black.
There was the sound of a woman’s voice. Nicky opened his eyes and his heart did a Buddy Rich drum roll when he saw a woman in white next to his bed.
‘So, you’re awake, Mr Marshall,’ said the nurse. ‘You’ve had a nasty accident and a bit of a shock so take it easy for …’
Nicky almost leapt from the bed and dressed in seconds.
’I’ve had enough of taking it easy,’ he said. ‘I’m off to the pub for a triple brandy and then … I’m going to Morocco. It’s good to be alive!’
As Nicky rushed into the street, still high on life, he didn’t notice the double decker bus that ended his last rapturous moments on earth.
(c) Paul D. Brazill 2009.