Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Ice Cream of the Undead

Just beyond the house kitty-corner from where I grew up lay the remains of a forest that was being cut down and developed for a new subdivision. Every Saturday I awoke to the familiar sound of chainsaws (ironically still a comforting sound to this day)and my buddies and I (it's not that I was the only girl, I just preferred it that way)descended upon this strange new playground. We ran through the skeletons of the new homes, stole the metal "slugs" out of the houses and tried to use them as coins in the candy machine, and fashioned forts and Death Stars in the remaining swath of forest that lay between us and the new neighborhood. It's not surprising that this little corner of my childhood is usually the setting for most of my dreams.

So last night I'm surprised to find that the subdivision has encroached upon my old neighborhood. There's a few stores that now appear closed, and from the look of them, closed for decades. I peek inside a hat shop that's covered in dust and hatboxes. It's ugly, a little out of the way, but with some love and some gutting, it could totally be a new Mothersville. I find myself in a long hallway that adjoins the hat shop to a little strip mall. It's quiet, but there is a light at the end of the hallway. Lo and behold, it's an ice cream parlor. A vegetarian ice cream parlor I'm curtly informed by one of the tattooed hipsters behind the counter. In fact I'm a bit out of place here as everybody working and seated at the few tables are tattooed males in their late 30s. No one seems eager to help me as they all appear absorbed in whatever one does at a vegetarian ice cream store. I leave the store and run to find Caleb.

It's dusk out, the leaves starting to blow. I find Caleb, and as we make our way through the hat shop and long, dark hallway, I tell him about the hipster vegetarian ice cream store and what an excellent neighbor for Mothersville it could be.

The ice cream parlor door is open but strangely, all the lights are out. I flip a switch, and all the employees cover their eyes and ask me, with a strained politeness, to turn the lights back out. I find this weird but I comply, and Caleb and I step into the dark ice cream parlor. This time, all attention is on us. Well, on Caleb. I can' help but notice he fits right in.

"Can I help you?" asks a beared dude with a tattoo of a coiled serpent on his arm. He stares at Caleb. "Hey, what's your name?" he asks, still not exactly friendly, but laser focused.

Caleb grips my arm. "This really doesn't feel right," he whispers. I just want some ice cream, but I can't deny that this does feel kind of spooky.

And then a clock from somewhere starts chiming. The lights are suddenly turned on again. The patrons seated at the tables put down their spoons. The employees take off their aprons. Guys that were in the kitchen file in behind the counter. And they are all staring at us.

"How old are you?' asks the beared guy again. Caleb's hand is crushing my arm.

"We need to leave,"he hisses into my ear. The hairs on my arm start to prickle.

And then it hits me. They are all dead. All of them. And they really don't want Caleb to leave. I reach into my pocket where I find a snake. I grab its tail, ready to use it if we have to fight our way out, but the bearded guy is looking at me now, and the snake sinks its fangs into my hand. I try not to cry out. I fling the snake onto the counter. He doesn't flinch.

Caleb pulls me out of the store and we run down the long hallway into the faint light at the end. No one gives chase.

I wake up.

1 comment:

Stacey Greenberg said...

uh, CREEPY!!