Tuesday, August 19, 2014

All Mixed Up by Elizabeth Archer

When Adrianna has an accident with a hair straightener in her bathtub, she gets a chance to reflect on her relationship with good-for-nothing Charlie; by Elizabeth Archer.

When Adrianna electrocuted herself straightening her hair in the bathtub, a Death Ghoul came to drag her to Hell much faster than she expected. One minute she was screaming in the tub of suds, wondering if those warnings about electricity and water were true after all. The next minute a black blob was slipping under the door, forming itself into a menacing shape. Glowing red eyes peered out of the mist.

Yep. It was a Death Ghoul alright. She'd seen one on TV. But didn't they just drag evil characters off to hell?

She shouldn't be damned. Charlie was the one cheating with that skank Kayla. It was his fault she needed to soak in calming lavender oil. Then her hair started frizzing. If Charlie came around begging her to forgive him, she'd wanted to look her best.

At least now she wouldn't have to unfriend him on Facebook. She had unfriended life.

The Death Ghoul seemed distracted by its reflection in her mirror. Adrianna tried to toss a towel at it but she didn't have fingers anymore. She looked at her body in the bathtub. It had her fingers. Being dead sucked.

"Come," said the Death Ghoul. A yawning mouth formed as it spoke. "Come now."

"I don't think so," Adrianna answered. "I don't want to go to Hell."

"You must come," thundered the voice, louder. The Death Ghoul grew bigger, and grew a head. Its red eyes narrowed and Adrianna ran. "There is no escape, foolish girl," the Ghoul droned. It formed a sort of blob of inky misery, and oozed after her, following her into the living room. It knocked over the bucket of cleaner she'd been using to mop the floor.

"Blaargh," the Ghoul moaned. "What was that crap?"

The Ghoul dissolved little by little onto the floor.

"Multi-purpose cleaner. I guess it works," said Adrianna. She knew she had no time for celebrating. Hell always sent more Death Ghouls.

Find a happy memory, said voice in her head. All she needed to do was focus on something that made her happy. Her own happy place. Then she'd be safe.

Unfortunately, the first thing that popped into her head was Charlie's margaritas. Before she could banish that happy thought, Adrianna found herself propelled magically into the kitchen. The cupboard was ajar, and she felt her incorporeal form sucked into the cheerful red blender Charlie brought over last Saturday, helpless as a sock in a vacuum cleaner.

Charlie did make wonderful margaritas. Sweet. Potent. Tangy. He said he loved her, as he kissed the salt off her lips. The lying cheater. Why had things been so good with him?

Charlie's blender still smelled faintly of limes. Perhaps she hadn't cleaned it well enough. Somehow, she felt safe inside the glass walls, hovering above the blade. Just as she'd feared, a new Death Ghoul started rummaging in the kitchen. She could hear it, opening doors. It seemed unfair that it had fingers.

"Adrianna!" it called.

She didn't know how long she waited before the Ghoul left the kitchen. Then all she did was stare at the cabinet door and wonder what Charlie was doing. Was he sorry she was dead? Had he gone to her funeral? Had he broken up with Kayla?

It occurred to her, as she curled her weightless being inside the carafe, that there might have been things in life more important than Charlie. Maybe it wasn't too late to learn, even if you were trapped in an afterlife inside a blender. Screw you, Charlie, she thought. You were damn lucky to have me in your life, even if you were too stupid to know it. I may be dead, but you are the bigger loser.

It might have been weeks before Charlie reached his hand into the cabinet. She could feel the warmth of his hand through the glass.

"Thanks for letting me grab my blender, man," he said. "I've been missing this thing bad."

A maintenance man stood watching as Charlie picked her up and carried her away. His apartment was across the complex, and a Death Ghoul popped out of the ground and bounced along behind them. She felt safe in Charlie's arms and miserable at the same time. He'd been missing his damn blender. Not a word about missing her.

"My place at seven," she heard Charlie say, answering his phone. "I'm going to make you something special."

That night, he popped off her lid and poured ice, tequila, and lime juice on Adrianna. She screamed "no" as he pushed the button, sending her flailing in a sea of frozen goop. He was such a selfish bastard. She felt all her love for Charlie pouring into the spinning concoction, draining out of her like something toxic, something that she had to purge.

He'd never been worth her time. He certainly hadn't been worth dying over.

Charlie poured the margarita slush into two glasses, smiling. "I told you I make a killer margarita, Cassie," he said. Adrianna studied the dark-haired girl who reached for the glass. No one she knew, but she looked like Charlie's type - unsure, eager to please. Cassie sipped the drink. Her mouth twisted.

"Gross," she said, spitting the slush back into the glass. "What the hell did you put in this? Did you slip me some kind of weird roofie?"

"Of course not," Charlie began.

"This tastes awful. And it smells like lavender oil. I'm out of here," said the girl, leaving. "Everyone's right. You are a pervert."

"What the hell?" Charlie yelled after her. "Who are you calling?"

Adrianna laughed so hard she slid out of the blender. A beam of silver light showered over her.

"Come," said a soft, sweet voice. "Time to go, Adrianna. You've learned what you needed to learn."

"This isn't some kind of trick, is it?" asked Adrianna. She checked Charlie's kitchen for Death Ghouls.

"You're safe now," said the voice. "But Charlie ought to be careful. Cassie's father sounds pissed."

8 comments:

  1. Human spirits do lurk in some unexpected places. I laughed, and you know I had to go and look up what a 'roofie' was!

    Brooke Fieldhouse

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  2. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks! :-)

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  3. Enjoyed the story!!!

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  4. Clever, entertaining story. I suppose you realize it's your fault I'm craving margaritas! (Nice job!)

    Oscar Davis

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  5. Darkly funny and melodramatic. I can relate! Thanks for the read!

    Charlotte Hayden

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  6. Ah, good--Charlie gets his comeuppance! I was hoping Adrianna would be able to escape the Death Ghouls; it didn't seem fair that she'd be the one to suffer. The first Death Ghoul's encounter with the multi-purpose cleaner made me chuckle.

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  7. It's a funny story - I read it twice and laughed out loud at the same spots. I especially like the touches of bathos, like the Death Ghoul meeting its end in the cleaning fluid, and the voice at the end commenting on the situation. Good stuff.

    - Steve Haddon

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