A collection of surreal short fiction
by Hank Alhazred
Copyright 2016 Hank Alhazred
Cover illustration by Hank Alhazred
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Regrettably I must cancel our engagement. I have suffered a disfiguring accident; however, my trauma has opened the door to my true calling in this world.
Friday last, my day of grinding poultry at the meat-packing plant began as any other. The day ended in bloodshed, however – and the epilogue was staged at the hospital, a thick heap of bandages masking what remained of my left hand. In my opiate-induced stupor, I tore away the dressings to reveal what can only be described as an uncanny statuette of a tom turkey, sculpted of my own flesh.
I feared that you might be repulsed by the caress of my fowl appendage. I held back tears as the orderly entered my room. When he saw my hand revealed in its mutilated state, his astonishment mirrored my own. It was followed by a sly grimace. He then bound and restrained me in my bedclothes and spirited me off to his motorcar in the street below. He brought me to a seemingly abandoned warehouse, wherein gathered at least a dozen robed men. The sight of my mangled limb brought them wordlessly to their knees, and each in turn revealed to me their own hand-turkey. None were so exact and complete as mine! They told me of the prophecy heralding my coming, which I immediately knew in my heart to be true. I was offered a choice: To risk shaming you in my disfigurement, or to be uplifted as a prophet. I struggled with the thought of giving up our happy marriage, but I knew that providence had brought me to the place I was most needed. I have made my choice, and I relieve you of your obligations.
Fare thee well,
of the Order of the Golden Wattle
(Formerly Thomas Pluck)
“Get your head down! It’ll see you!”
Tiffy’s face was compressed approximate to Clark’s groin in a way that evoked incredibly unhelpful and wildly different physical and emotional reactions in the both of them. Clark tried to shift away, but the audible groan of his synthetic snakeskin pants as they peeled away from the old leather of the driver’s seat made him halt with his hip cocked at an unnatural angle. “Sorry, baby,” Clark whispered. “I know this is real awkward.” Sweat mingled with hair oil trickled down his forehead, dangled on his chin.
“You think so?” Tiffy hissed. “First you dump me, and now there’s some kinda alien trying to carjack us. ‘Awkward’ ain’t gonna cut it, dumbass.” Her blonde hair stuck to her hot pink lipstick. A glob of mascara, recently knocked loose with her tears, lodged itself in her tear duct. The tears had stopped when the ship landed.
The glowing lights of the spacecraft pulsed, casting greenish-blue shadows across the dashboard of the Cadillac. A sticky slow patter of reptilian feet grew closer to the passenger side door. Tiffy dug her fake nails into Clark’s knee. He sucked in air through his clenched teeth. She could hear his pulse through the arteries in his leg. It skipped and halted and quickened with every step of the creature’s footpads. “My dad’s gonna kill me if I get nuclear slime on his car …”
“Your dad’s gonna kill you? Thanks for dumping me, Clark. I’m glad I’m not gonna spend the rest of my life with some tool with messed-up priorities.” Tiffy straightened out her knees until the tip of her red stiletto tapped the side window.
The sticky foot-padding stopped. For a few seconds, so did Clark’s pulse.
The steps resumed in an even, deliberate tempo. A shadow spilled across them, interrupting the pulsing light from the ship. It grew wider and longer with every beat.
Tiffy watched out of one mascara-obscured eye as a four-fingered and gray-green palm pressed against the glass. The suction cup at the tip of each digit spread and flattened. The palm pulled away slightly, but the fingertips remained large and flush to the window. The hand held still a moment. Tiffy held her breath, though an involuntary whine managed to escape her.
“I love you, Tiffy,” Clark said, no longer bothering with whispering.
“I love you too, Clark,” Tiffy said, her voice shuddering a sharp high staccato in double time to Clark’s heartbeat.
The scaled arm snapped back, and with it, the car door ripped away from its lock and hinges. It clattered and crashed against the opposite curb. Tiffy screamed out in raw, animal fear, and kicked her stiletto heel toward the creature’s face. The patent leather spike embedded in the invader’s nostril. She pulled her bare foot away. The beast trumpeted a hollow bird-call and grasped her pale, delicate ankle with both sticky hands.
“Clark!” she screamed, again and again, each shout of her beau’s name growing more and more pained with every scrape of the asphalt across her hands and bosom. His name degraded into an unrecognizable sob.
She scrabbled with her long red acrylic nails against the doorway of the ship as the creature effortlessly dragged her further inward. She could not see through her tears whether Clark still sat unresponsive in the ruined Cadillac, or if he had fled, or captured as well. Her final moments of consciousness were overflowed by the innumerable possibilities her panicked imagination played out for her as to Clark’s fate, and her own.
Her field of vision narrowed, and the sound of her own screams faded from her ears. As the last pinhole of light was constricted from her eyes, she found herself curious as to whether she was fainting, being drugged, or dying. With one last, sweet sigh, she decided it did not matter. Clark had said he loved her.
FLUGELHORN, Heinrich Augustus
PSYCHOLOGY FOR THE UNICORN HUNTER
Cryptopsychologist Professor Heinrich Augustus Flugelhorn explains the exact parameters of “virtue” as indicated by the elusive unicorn, and how the common human can strive to maintain these standards in order to attract these majestic creatures.
BERLIN: Shrinky Ink, 1982
THE SOCIAL, SPIRITUAL, AND ECOLOGICAL RAMIFICATIONS OF THE INEVITABLE EXTINCTION OF UNICORNS
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