Dance With the Dead

#FridayFlash flashback, 2010 (edited) psychedelic horror


The thunderous beat, stomping feet, wiggle the wood floor rattling lights. The blue-haired vocalist screams about love and pain while the band thrashes about working their instruments into furious fits. Before the stage, the human sea writhes into a torrent, arms waving glowing bracelets, bodies splashing together, bounding and swaying in currents. Piercing through the heavy fog, red spotlights splash the crowd like blood raining inside Club Necropolis.

On the pedestal beside the band stage, Kandy grooves to the music. She snuggles close to the backside of the lovely Zypher. Arms in the air, hips swirling, they move as one. The waving currents flow around their feet, a cloud of orange-red body heat, except for a nearby bouncer dressed black, a dim red simmer, the only other Itoril in the club. Seeing all the pairs of beady orbs, it seems nearly half the guests wear special lenses glowing in the black light. The wannabes gather around the pedestal, and Kandy snarls showing them true fangs.

NINE/ƎИIИ 7. Murder Mortuary - 2 of 2

“He’s not dead,” said Nine. Hearing her own voice made it more real.

Gasping, the Itoril man lurched. The vice held his head down. Reaching out, he clawed at Nine’s smock.

Twisting, Nine elbowed the arm aside, saw blade scraping her attacker’s face. Pushed sideways, she leaned the other way trying to stay on her feet. Growling, the man tried sitting up as he reached for her. Sebastian grasped the other arm and leaned his weight down on the torso. Turning sideways, Nine tried to break free, but the grip on her shirt pulled her back.

The saw flailed biting her father’s arm. As she jerked the weapon back, the Itoril yanked her closer, his fangs slashing her hand. She cried out at the pain, and pulled her hand away.

NINE/ƎИIИ 7. Murder Mortuary - 1 of 2

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As Nine ended the call with Diego, she heard the beeping alert from his ambulance in reverse. She pulled her smock open and slipped her phone into her jeans pocket. While removing her latex gloves, she looked over her work. The bruises increased challenge painting the face to return the appearance of life. A little more effort on the cheeks and the middle-aged man would be ready for his sharp suit his wife had brought in. Lifting the paper sheet, Nine snuck another peek of the toned abdomen—wrecked by her suture—nearly hairless all the way down. Just enough fuzz to give it some character, she thought.

NINE/ƎИIИ 6. Carnations Nine

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After sunset, Nine Thyme stood outside the family mausoleum. A plaque for Augustus Thyme, presumed dead, was mounted beside the stone walkway outside of the tomb of his father’s sister and her mother, the first resident of the graveyard on the hill. Boneyard, as they said back in her day.

The boneyard was home to several of Nine’s childhood companions. As she grew older, gradually they had abandoned her. According to her father, they had been imaginary friends. Nine preferred another explanation: childhood innocence saw ghosts of our past. She had only met a handful of the boneyard’s residents, none among the Thyme family.

Not until recently.

NINE/ƎИIИ 5. Twilight Coffin

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Everyone gathered around Beth to look her phone. In the photo, they stood in a line all dressed in white blouses with black neckties, except for the kitchen staff, Boris wearing an apron over a polo and Crank in a Tee shirt. It was their first group photo of recently opened, Autumn Twilight. Barely visible in the background stood a coffin decorated with paper ghost and pumpkins for Hallowe’en.

The youngest waitress, Laura, waved as she buzzed for the door. She had school in the morning. Nine waved back, belatedly, as the front door banged shut. As others filed out, Nine waited patiently, fist-bumping Crank on his way out.

Nine had only one thing on her mind: the coffin, curiously delivered to Autumn Twilight by an anonymous sender. She had recognized the model, sold more often for vampire groupie fashion than for the actual dead, at least in her experience at the funeral home. Caskets are far more popular, and the manufacturer had recently discontinued this coffin model.