Absent Elves

Here’s a new story. A short little 1500 word piece I wrote from a random prompt from one of Chuck Wendig’s Flash Friday posts. Of the ten he offered at random, I got Absent Elves for my random title. Be warned, the story below can get graphic with language and content.

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An old electric chime dinged out beep boop and the automatic door for the 7-11 slid open in front of me. The air shifted from the heavy humid blanket outside to a crisp flat rush of air conditioning when I stepped through. I do another quick scan of the store, walking a few aisles. There weren’t any cars in the lot, but I’ve got to do a sweep of the store to make sure there weren’t any late night walkers coming in like me at two in the morning.

here’s just no accounting for the late night vampire and hooker crowd sometimes.

Don’t lose my nerve, they’ll come. Don’t lose the nerve, they will come. They will come.

The guy behind the counter is a husky looking white guy, greasy long brown hair, and a bushy beard. This is going to be disgusting, the guy doesn’t even shave his neck. He barely even noticed me coming in and he’s barely giving me any attention as I walk up to the counter.

Don’t lose my nerve, they’ll come. Don’t lose the nerve, they will come. They will come.

“Pack of smokes, whatever the cheapest menthols you have,” I say to him. He doesn’t say a word, just swivels his chair and walks over a few racks. He turns back to put the cigarettes on the counter. His eyes grow wide and he stumbles back as he sees the small revolver in my hand on the counter.

“Hey, no trouble man, just take what you want.”

“I will, and then maybe the fuckers will finally come back again. Come out here fat man, hands behind your back.” I keep the small .38 trained on him as he walks shaking around the counter.

I take my first tool out from my hoodie’s front pocket, the pair of handcuffs. I cuff him and walk around him, I yank off his nametag and throw it over my shoulder.

“Like I said, man,” he’s trembling and the words are shaky, “just take anything, there’s a couple hundred in the register, grab anything you want.”

“I don’t want the money porky. I want them to come back.”

“Who? Who do you want to come back?”

“If you’re lucky, you’ll find out.” I pace around him a few times, come on.

Don’t lose my nerve, they’ll come. Don’t lose the nerve, they will come. They will come.Time for tool number two. I step in front of him, he looks at me with fear in his eyes. They never expect tool number two. His eyes grow wide when I pull it out, an eighteen-inch black rubber dildo.

Scruffy stumbles back trying to get away from me, I start beating him with the cock. He stops running, but I keep hitting. I stand over him as he curls up trying to hide his face, as I rain down blow after blow.

I stop, he’s starting to look like a bloody mess. I must have broken his nose at some point and he’s got a couple of gashes above his right eye, those will need stitches. Still no one else in the store. Fuck.

“Why are you doing this,” he sobs. “Just take the money or whatever, please!”

“Nah, they’re still not here. I can’t leave until they’re here.” I walk the aisles and grab a few packets of kool-aid from a shelf.

“Look at me!” He does and for a moment he stops sobbing. “You may get through this, but it will go a lot better for you if you can stop this goddamned sobbing.” It’s at that moment when I’ve given him a glimmer of hope that I tear open the kool-aid packets and pour it into the bleeding wounds, rubbing it in with a finger.

He shrieks in pain. “Yeah, that happens, fun note for you, if you don’t have salt and lemons to rub on a wound, kool-aid is just as painful between the citric acid and salt content, you get the same effect.” I look at the green stain from the kool-aid mixing with the blood on my fingers where I worked it into his skull. “It leaves you with some nasty kaleidoscope staining though.”
I look around again, still nothing, they aren’t here.

“Please please please, you don’t have to do this.” He’s pleading now, shit it might be time to up my game. “There’s cops, they stop by around now every night on patrol.”

“Don’t lie porky, cops don’t give two shits about this neighborhood. I can’t leave, they aren’t here yet,” I scream at him.

“Who? Who’s not here yet?”

Time for tool number three. I pick my gun back up and hold it to his head. “This next part isn’t fun, but you be a good boy and you won’t lose your life.” I whisper close to him, “just keep it all in perspective.”

His eyes get wide with fear again when he sees the pliers I pull out from the hoodie pocket, a special pair, needle node with a wide circle at the end.

“The fuck man?”

“Yeah, they’re meant for pulling spark plugs, but they’re great for this too. Open wide.” I grab his face, but he keeps his mouth shut and shakes his head no. I sigh, typical resistance.

Don’t lose my nerve, they’ll come. Don’t lose the nerve, they will come. They will come.

“Open wide or you lose your life instead of a tooth or two. Now I’m not going to lie, this will hurt. But you do what I say, I’ll leave the tooth with you when I’m done and a dentist can pop it right back into that socket. As a bonus, you won’t be dead.”

He finally stops resisting. I go for a back molar, get a really good grip with the pliers and start rocking them back and forth. He’s screaming, the tooth is resisting.

“Damn, must have grabbed one with a twisted root.” I give a sharp yank and it pops out of the socket with a gurgling slurp. He falls over in a slump and I stumble back, looking at the bloody tooth in my pliers.

“Who the fuck do you want man?” He’s screaming as the blood pours from his mouth. “We can call them, there’s a fucking phone at the counter!”

I look around again, still no one. “Nope, these guys don’t use phones.”
“Who?”

“The elves,” I scream at him. “They’re gone again and they won’t come back unless I show them that I need them still. So shut up for a minute.”He’s looking at that doorway, and I can tell he’s thinking he can make a run for it, so I stand between him and his freedom.

“One time they left me, I went to a porn shop and you wouldn’t believe how many things had to get shoved into so many places on that poor clerk before they showed. That’s where I got my ‘nightstick’ over there.”

He looks at me with those great wide eyes, blood crusting up in his beard.

“Then there’s the auto shop I stopped at, somebody was cleaning up late. One kneecap and almost a whole damned row of teeth before the little fuckers showed up again. That’s where I got this handy guy.” I waived the pair of grimy old pliers. “And sometimes it’s more than other people’s blood, it’s mine too.”

Don’t lose my nerve, they’ll come. Don’t lose the nerve, they will come. They will come.

I open my mouth, feel around with my tongue a bit. I reach in with the pliers and get a firm grip on the molar, it comes free with barely any effort. I spit the tooth and blood at the sobbing man.

“The fuck is wrong with you man? I just want to go home,” he cries.
I knelt down beside him.

“Well, these little fuckers started coming around when I was doing meth at a real low point. I can’t describe them to you, but they brought real joy, I mean fucking sincere joy that I have never felt before. It was better than any drug I’d ever tried. Then, poof, they were gone. No matter how much meth I did, they wouldn’t come back. I got angry and beat a homeless guy half to death and they showed up again, and I got it, they only come when I’m desperate. I have to prove that I need them, and when my own suffering stopped working, I had to make others suffer.”

I stood up and sighed. One more look around, nothing new, they aren’t coming. Fuck.

“Alright man, sorry it came to this, but it looks like it’s not either of our lucky nights.”

He doesn’t say anything laying there, just sobbing curled up in a ball.

Don’t lose my nerve, they’ll come. Don’t lose the nerve, they will come. They will come.

I pull back the hammer of the .38, right as an old electric chime dings out beep boop.

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