Flea Market Special, by Micheal A. Kechula (micro-fiction)
“Hey, Sue, look what I got at the flea market for a dollar,” Harry said, putting a black metal box with a rusted padlock on the kitchen table.
“How exciting!” Sue said. “I can’t wait to see what’s inside!”
Harry slammed the padlock with a hammer. After a few whacks, the lock fell off.
Opening the lid, Sue screamed when she saw a woman’s head.
“Take it easy,” Harry said. “It ain’t real. Looks like it’s made from wood.”
“What an ugly-looking hag. What’s that button for on her forehead?”
“I don’t know.”
When Sue pressed the button, the head’s eyes popped open. An old woman’s voice cackled and said, “Put a penny in my mouth—if you dare—and I’ll tell your future.”
“How neat.” Sue reached for her change purse.
“Don’t do it!” Harry said. “This thing gives me the creeps. It might be haunted. Look! It just smirked at me!”
Ignoring him, Sue inserted a penny into a slot between the hag’s lips. Mechanical whirring sounds filled the room. The thing’s eyes rolled backward until only the whites showed.
“You will die in five minutes,” said a weird voice.
“I told you it’s haunted!” said Harry. “Did you hear what it just said?”
“Yeah. It’s the best thing I ever heard. Yeee-haw! I’m gonna win the lottery tonight.”
“That’s NOT what it said.”
“I gotta run to the store right now to buy a ticket. The lottery’s’s up to twenty million. I can’t believe it. I’m gonna be rich. Wa-hooo!”
Grabbing the box, Harry said, “I’m gonna burn this damn thing.”
“No you’re not,” Sue screamed. “You might screw up my future. If you ruin this for me, I swear I’ll cut your heart out!”
“Listen to me,” he said. “I’m telling you it didn’t say you’re gonna win anything. It said you’re gonna DIE in a few minutes.”
“You’re nuts. You’re just jealous that I’m gonna win twenty million and you’re not. What are you afraid of, Harry? That I’ll collect the money and run off?”
“No. I’m afraid for your life.”
“Stop acting so damn jerky,” she said, heading for the door.
Harry quickly shoved a penny into the thing’s mouth.
“You will be hanged for murder,” said the voice.
“Hear that?” Harry said. “Can’t you see what’s happening?”
“All it said was you’re a jerk. And if I stay with you, you’re gonna wreck my future.”
“You evil fiend!” Harry pounded the wooden face with his hammer.
When Sue tried to stop him, he shoved her aside.
“Look what you did! You killed it. You rotten bastard. You ruined my future!” Grabbing a frying pan, she slammed Harry’s head until he collapsed.
She tried frantically to insert a coin between the hag’s smashed lips, but it wouldn’t go into the slot. She tried to pry the lips open with a screwdriver. “Please take my penny. Please tell me you’re not mad that he smashed your face, and that I’m still gonna win the lottery.”
Suddenly, she screamed. Blood spurted from her hand. “Why did you bite my fingers off?” she shrieked.
* * *
Harry described the spooky head in the metal box to detectives and how it must have maimed and murdered his wife while he was unconscious. They thought he was nuts. Especially when they searched his apartment and couldn’t find any trace of a metal box with a wooden head inside.
The jury thought the evidence against Harry was overwhelming. They agreed with the prosecutor who insisted that Harry had cut off the fingers from his wife’s hand, then decapitated her during a violent argument.
Two psychiatrists affirmed Harry’s sanity. Everyone was convinced it was a case of premeditated murder.
Before sentencing Harry to death by hanging, the judged asked if he had anything to say.
“Yes, Your Honor. I want everyone here to listen very closely. It’s a matter of life or death. If you ever go to a flea market and find a black metal box with a wooden head inside—don’t buy it. But if you decide to ignore my advice and buy it—don’t smash its face with a hammer… no matter what it says to you.”
Michael A. Kechula’s flash, micro-fiction, and short stories have appeared in 157 magazines and 56 anthologies in 8 countries. He’s won 20 writing contests: 1st prize in 12 and 2nd prize in 8 others. Five collections of his stories have been published as eBooks and Paperbacks. In addition, he’s written 2 self-study books that teach how to write flash and micro-fiction drabbles. Both are available as eBooks and paperbacks. To read a free story or chapter in any of the above books, go to the publisher’s site at: http://www.BooksForABuck.com Obtain eBook version from the same publisher. Obtain paperback versions from http://www.Amazon.com
Posted on July 19, 2016, in Issue 18: Mark My Words: Prophesy Signs & Portents and tagged drabble, e-zine, fantasy, flash fiction, genre blender, horror, microfiction, poetry, prophesy, science fiction, short stories, The Were-Traveler. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.