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Ladies Close Your Eyes

By Ryk Brink All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Mystery

Blurb

What if you could forget someone just for a day and meet them all over again, hold them like you’ve never held them before, kiss them like you’ve never kissed before, love like you’ve never been hurt before? What if love could last forever? At Second Love incorporated this can be a reality ‘… prepare to love again.’ Warning possible side effects may include but are not restricted to; Insomnia, diarrhoea, lucid dreams, dry skin, irritability, dry mouth, waking nightmares, itching, false memories, cancer, hallucinations, skin rash, loss of touch with reality, constipation, paranoia, palm sweating, emotional instability, hand tremors, dementia, erectile dysfunction… murder? LADIES CLOSE YOUR EYES There's a serial killer on the streets of Inland Empire California. A couple going through some relationship trouble seek the aid of an unusual treatment. Two FBI agents track a killer across the stateline. There's a connection that none of them can see until it's too late.

'Crazy Clown Time'

A fly tossed and turned on the bed it had made from the inside of a street lamp. It writhed, flitting it’s slow burning wings. The sound of its buzzing echoed and shook the dried up husks from the night before. It lay down on its back, it’s underbelly exposed to the warm glow of the synthetic sun. Fading off into an incandescent permanent state of blissful sleep.

“Pauly had a red shirt”

“Pauly had a red shirt”

“-Suzy, she ripped her shirt off completely”

Outside the lamp the streets of Highland were laden with a thin film of dry dusk. It cooled, solidified into a thick cold sheet of night. It was quiet, so quiet if you stopped walking you could hear your own heartbeat. The streets seemed frozen in this part of town at night, like a photograph. A car radio played an obscure slow song.

“Pauly had a red shirt”

“Pauly had a red shirt”

“-Suzy, she ripped her shirt off completely”

A grey Oldsmobile cutlass idled under the street lamp. A bare stretch of land. The car at the side of the road parsed between a large empty lot consisting of nothing but light brown dirt. The California mountain range by moonlight backdrop. On the other side a church that looked like the taco bell symbol edged in by anaemic looking palm trees. The parking lot of the church was almost empty but for a large white sedan, other than that he was the only prowler out.

“Danny poured the beer- “

“-Danny poured the beer all over sally”

A man’s hand drummed against the driver’s side door. Stiff fingers fumbling out an awkward beat. In the driver’s seat he sat, bathed in artificial night. The cone of unnatural light cast a deep dense shadow. The radio continued to play as the car idled.

“Danny poured the beer- “

“-Danny poured the beer all over sally”

The hood of the car was broad, it menaced the sidewalk. Hummed and seethed. A low hungry growl rising and falling over and over. The headlights dipped. Sucked the night air through its teeth.

“Danny poured the beer- “

“Danny poured the beer- “

“-Danny poured the beer all over sally”

The tires clawed the road, and then released it again. Padding it like a cat. Tensing and jostling, it waited.

“Ah, ah “

“Buddy screamed so loud he spit”

“Buddy screamed so loud he spit”

A waft of cool night air carried the dank smell of cheap perfume. The hairs on the driver’s bare arm raised in anticipation.

She leaned against the passenger side door, she was perfect. He withdrew his arm as she pressed herself against the car. The smell of her dime store perfume sent his head swimming. A blissful day dream of a hot summer day, pushing a girl on a swing set. The balmy smell of wheat, dried sweat.

She pressed a weapons grade set of fake tits against the glass of the cutlass. Her skin was milky white, almost translucent. The skin of her breast stretched to the point of revealing all those thick blue veins. Almost like a steak. A sheen of sweat over them made them look like two moons sinking into a leopard print tank top. The word “Juicy” embossed on the front.

“We all ran around the backyard- “

“-we all ran around”

She leaned forward, balancing herself with one arm cocked over the roof. Taking those cold slabs of flesh off the glass. He watched her from his dark seat, as she lowered her head to talk. But she seemed to stop short of her eyes. Only revealing a set of dark red lips, her liner even darker, made her lips look like burnt leaves. As she mouthed “Open up” tapping her tacky toxic green stick-on nails against the glass.

He waited a moment, looking at the veins on her neck, her pale flesh like the page of a book. He followed her green stick-on nails as she motioned to him to open the window. And back to her neck, seems like someone couldn’t resist to doodle all over her. Crawling up her neck the words; “Prudence never pays”. His eyes drawn to her obscene breast. The words “He never even looks at me” tattooed across them in the same style.

He could sense her rising impatience. Stretch marks carefully hidden began to poke out above the exposed top of her bra. She had flabby white arms. He imagined her as a German barmaid type, crudely throwing plates onto tables. Giving up that life to stand out here getting goose bumps looking at strangers.

“We all ran around the backyard- “

“-It was crazy clown time”

He wound down the window slow. She seemed to flood through, her smell vile and intoxicating and stronger than ever. Perfume junk food. He knew it wasn’t good for him but he kept breathing it in, drinking it up.

“You want some company?” She said as she perched herself on the edge of the window. The night panned around as it was ought to do. Getting a good look at her. Her ass squeezed into a pair of camo yoga pants that seemed two sizes too small. Despite that being impossible. Who knows what she was hiding under those, more stretchmarks, some cigarette burns.

He didn’t say anything, the night air danced on the back of his neck. Tiny cold feet tapping up and down his spine, telling him it was right, tonight. He didn’t notice his hands on the wheel until they were tensing up on the faux leather. The noise of flesh tightening as he squeezed harder and harder. Rhythmically building until it felt like something might burst.

He pressed a button on the dash, the door unlocked.

She slid into the car with a practiced hip wiggle. She fell into the buckets seats like a catcher’s mitt. The door slamming shut behind her.

Up close she had sullen eyes and a wide flat face. Her hair was a washed out brunette imitation of something Marilyn Monroe may have had at one point.

“Quiet type?” She said.

He breathed out and kept his face hidden by a nervous hand at his mouth as he leaned his arm against the window.

“Crazy clown time”

“-it was crazy clown time”

The music was much louder in the car, masking the sound of his heartbeat in his ears. It was all around him, the inside of his car felt like it was filled with cotton balls. He couldn’t look at her, she was too close, he scanned her up and down from the corner of his eye.

“Do you have a place we can go?”

“Crazy clown time”

“-it was crazy clown time”

He cleared his throat and leaned back in his seat, dropping his hands to start the car. He turned the key. The car rolled awake and down baseline street. He continued to stay silent as he took the cutlass south along the 210 towards Redlands. He kept to the speed limit. She looked out the window but there wasn’t much to see but patches of desert penned off by concrete. A sparse grouping of modest homes and tired looking bushes.

They drove for about five minutes down the highway until he could see signs for the river. The highway was bare but for a few passing ghost trucks carrying nothing at all.

The streetlamps stand starkly against the bored night swaying in and out like a drunk.

“it was real fun” The car stereo continued to play.

He took the off ramp onto west 5th street and turned left towards a small strip mall along Greenspot road. The scenery didn’t look much different. Palm trees lined the strip mall, the other side was a light coloured stretch of earth and rocky sand. The mountain range behind it sleeping soundly. He Turned off past the strip mall, going east towards boulder.

He drove further down the block. A twenty-four-hour storage lock up coming up on his right, reducing his speed.

“A storage locker huh? That’s a new one- “She sucked her teeth for a minute as she leaned over the dash “’-spose it’s cheaper than a motel. Probly cleaner too”.

He didn’t say anything for fear of bursting the bubble of darkness he’d collected about his face. The rising tide of fear and anger kept at bay by the docile hum of the car’s engine. He tried to focus on the road to stop from biting his own tongue off.

“Diddy lit his hair”

“Diddy lit his hair”

He slowed as he reached the entrance to the storage yard. The yard consisted of about five rows of storage lockers with bright red doors. There was a small two story office building with stucco walls and red roof tiles in the front. A little black mail box on the street. It had a small unmarked parking lot out front and a big empty lot filled with more of that off-white earth lined with California ash.

“On fire, oh, oh, oh”

He passed the entrance by a couple of feet at a crawl. The storage facility had no neighbours, the strip mall was a couple hundred feet back. Desert either side, the mountains on the left and the river on the right. The storage facility was on the riverside, it had a lot next to it with a wire fence around it. The lot was empty but for a thin layer of dry yellow grass and a single sycamore tree. It stretched all the way back along the storage yard. A couple miles east even in the pitch dark you could see the tops of a couple of royal palms swaying silently.

The lot itself was darker than pitch, the flood lights in the storage yard seemed to suck all the light into them. The sky was starless and empty, a big black eye. The moon was a cataract dipping behind a mountain range.

He continued along the wire fence until he reached an open gate framing a small dirt road. About twenty or thirty feet from the storage yard entrance.

“Danny spit on Suzie”

He angled the cutlass to fit through the small gap in the fence. A broken padlock on a chain hung from the gate. The tires spoke, crunching the dry earth and small white rocks of the dirt road.

“Where are we going?” The hooker tossed in her seat as the ride got a little bumpier and the skyline seemed to disappear like a magic act.

He didn’t answer her, he continued down the dirt path, the only light source now was his high beams. They drove for under a minute before the hooker took off her seatbelt and reached for the door handle.

It was locked.

“Pauly sat and chugged two beers”

“Timmy jumped all around so high”

He stopped the car on an embankment on a small body of water that may have been a quarry or an estuary at one point. One of a handful scattered under the overpass which crossed the river which was a mile further south. It was quite large and cliffed with a drop that was impressive in the day time but near invisible at night.

“Timmy jumped all around so high”

“Timmy jumped all around, oh, oh, oh”

There were no lights but the non-committal moon. They were too far out from the overpass to get any cast off. No one could see any further than the street lights and the moon would allow. Tonight the moon didn’t care.

“I’m not playing” The girl said as he sharply yanked the handbrake and flung his seatbelt loose.

He got out the car with the speed of someone who needed to throw up and disappeared behind the car. Leaving the door wide open and the radio still on, accompanied by the idle din of the door ajar chime.

“Pauly had a red shirt”

“-Suzy, she ripped her shirt off completely”

The silence of night screamed in his ears, a thousand cricket voices chanting in unison. The vicious beating of wings in the distance. The sounds of coiling snakes building to a cacophony. Telling him it was right. The sounds of screaming washing over him as he stood at the back of the cutlass with the trunk open. Wondering if that was his voice. He started to sweat against the cool night air. A shiver shot up his spine as he felt all the eyes watching turn away for a moment of blissful privacy. A window of pure self-reflection.

He looked down in the trunk and saw the bolt cutter he used to open the gate an hour earlier. It was resting on a sheet of clear plastic over the spare tire.

“Pauly had a red shirt”

“-Suzy, she ripped her shirt off completely”

The girl climbed awkwardly over the driver’s seat. She felt drunk on the clean crisp air, faux leather and the faint smell of cleaning products. She got out of the car, her feet struggling to find the loose topsoil. Her shoes weren’t fit for off-roading.

She stood upright and tried to get her bearings.

“What are you doing?”

The car boot slammed shut and she turned her attention to the back of the car, it glowed red like the tip of a cigarette. She couldn’t see him, so she called out again.

“Are we gonna do something or what?” Her voice hung on the ‘or what’ it seemed to get a little colder and her voice got caught in the air.

“Danny poured the beer all over”

“Buddy screamed so loud he spit”

The dry grey dirt crunched under her feet. The sounds of distant cars on the overpass like waves crashing. She folded her arms not quite sure which direction to walk, maybe back the way they came.

She followed the headlights with her eyes. The high beams were still on and they cast a bright stage onto the valley. It looked so much like a stage she was compelled to walk onto it.

“Buddy screamed so loud he spit”

“-we all ran around”

She came around the front side, close enough to touch the hood. Her wide hips grazed the front right fender as she passed. She dipped her feet into the bright white light.

“-we all ran around”

“Hello” She could hear the sound of her own breathing now. A light breeze picked up. Something rattled in her throat as she spoke and she could feel the eyes now. She felt naked and over-exposed. The bright car headlights tore through her crate paper skin and left her bare and open like a roadmap. All veins and stretchmarks and blue blood pumping cold and hard.

“-we all ran around”

“-the backyard”

She covered her face with her hand, she felt dizzy, her balance shifting from foot to foot. She looked back into the quarry and saw nothing but a sucking blackness. She turned back to the lights, blinding as they were.

With one stride he stepped out of the curtain of night and into the stream of white light. He was hiding there, watching her, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up as sharp as tacks. He breathed in and out. Holding his breath before breathing out again to hear the silence between breathes.

“-It was crazy clown time”

The screaming was so loud he couldn’t hear anything else. His blood rising and falling as the voice in his head took another breath. She covered her eyes as she backed off towards the lip of the quarry, her mouth moving with no sound.

She couldn’t see anything but his outline. The bolt cutters hung at his side as if as an afterthought, carried by the music in his head. It was coming, it was so close, he could taste it. Every hair stood, every sense awake. Carried by a tide of fetid luminescence, pushing him towards her.

“it was really fun”

She looked right in that moment, still and fragile, her eyes fixed, wide and fearful. He had her, in that moment she belonged to him. Her skin looked waxy and hard, her hair stiff, eyes glazed with fear as she stumbled on her half heel toed sandals.

He wanted it to take a long time, he wanted the night to last forever, he could stay awash with this perfect feeling. But it happened fast, the bile bubbled up like a rattlesnake head. It reached out and clipped her across the temple with the bolt cutters.

“it was real fun”

She crumpled into the dusty dirt. Face came to rest on the ground, her hair matted with dry earth. Her mouth gaped, opening and closing doing her best drowning goldfish. She sighed shifting the dry earth under her breathe, her eyes lolled back into her head.

His shadow past over her as she lay there.

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