The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Elaine Pascale
Robby whisper-announced the pills as he crushed them. “Midol, courtesy of my sister’s medicine cabinet…and some of this stuff she takes for palpitations…some of this other shit…and ‘not for the faint of heart’.” He held up a tinted bottle of cough syrup.
“Shit knocked me out for days when I took it,” Justin muttered as if his heart was no longer in it.
Robby put the concoction in a glass and added soda, juice, and vodka as if he were a bartender at heart.
“Can’t believe that doofus walked the tunnel to get here. With it strapped right on his back.” Justin rolled his eyes. “As my southern grandma would say, ‘bless his heart’.”
Robby feigned incredulity. “He might have gotten robbed!”
“Or nabbed by that killer that’s been cracking people open.”
“Yeah, the heartbreak kid…”
Changing the subject back, Justin asked wistfully, “Can you imagine how it sounds?”
“You need to harden your heart. We got a buyer, I confirmed the money is there, that is all I care about.” He thumped his chest for emphasis.
Robby, his heart knocking, walked into the other room, and handed the young man the drink.
“So, the gig you wanted to talk about—” the man said.
“We can discuss that in a moment. Sit back, I will play some beats for you.”
Justin couldn’t help himself. “Where did you get that ‘burst’ anyway?”
The man nodded to the guitar, still in its case and leaning against the wall. “My grandad. He was a musician, too…kind of famous but more for being a heartthrob.”
“Cool,” they said in unison.
“I was nervous about coming here, but you know, you gotta listen to your heart.” The man lifted his glass and took a drink. This was followed with him wheezing and clutching at his chest and throat, which was followed by him falling to the floor.
“It was supposed to just knock him out.” Justin’s heart was in his mouth.
Robby felt for a pulse. “Jesus, he has one of those bracelets…heart condition.”
“We are fucked,” Justin gasped, sick at heart.
Robby, with a sinking heart, rushed to the guitar. “We gotta get this out along with him. No one can know he was here.”
Justin couldn’t help himself. “Can we just look at it? It’s my heart’s desire to see one.”
Robby sighed and unzipped the guitar case.
Their hearts stopped, metaphorically, at the sight of the classic guitar. It was nestled in its case, surrounded by literal human hearts.
Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
Image courtesy of Rie Sheridan Rose
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