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Flat Tire 03/21-03/27 : Writing Prompts and Challenges • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

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Administrator1
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Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby Administrator1 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:12 am


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Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby Administrator1 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:12 am

You’re traveling in a rental car when you hear the thumping of a flat tire. You pull over and discover the thumping is not coming from a flat, after all, but from the trunk. What—or who—is making the noise?

Limit responses to 500 words.

Laruuk
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Trunk Thumping

Postby Laruuk » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:08 am

Twenty-four year old Melissa Landry stood there, one foot slightly in front of the other, and stared at the trunk of her rental car. Vehicles passed her, causing turbulent gusts of wind to whip her long black hair around her face. Her appointment wasn’t until tomorrow afternoon, which explained her tight-fitting jeans and t-shirt.

The thumping started again.

Melissa mumbled to herself. “I was sure it was a flat tire.” She stepped to the trunk, and lightly tapped on it with her fingernail. “Excuse me. Are you alright in there?”

Melissa tilted her head, listening for a reply over the noise from the highway. There was more thumping, other noises that sounded like a gagged person trying to speak, and a scream.

“Oh dear.” Glancing over her shoulder, Melissa walked to the driver’s door, reached through the open window and pulled the keys from the ignition. Her sandals smacked the heels of her feet as she walked back to the trunk and inserted the key in the lock.

She asked herself. “Are you sure you want to do this, Melissa?”

With a sigh of determination she turned the key and popped open the trunk.

Her eyes went wide.

In the trunk was a fat guy. He had to be pushing 450 in Melissa’s eyes. His feet and arms were bound together in a hog-tied fashion. There was a gag in his mouth. None of this was as surprising to Melissa as the man’s state of dress.

He was naked and giving her a full frontal.

Melissa squealed ‘Oh my’ as she reached up and slammed the trunk-lid shut. The young girl ran back to the driver’s door, opened it and got in, slamming the door behind her. She buried her face in her hands repeating ‘oh god’ over and over.

The thumping in the trunk started again.

Melissa looked over her shoulder and shouted. “Stop it!”

The thumping in the trunk increased in both volume and frequency.

Melissa tried to start the car. Her plan was to return to the rental car agency. The naked fat guy was in their car, so it was their problem, not hers. She started to put the key in the ignition, realizing it wasn’t in her hand. Glancing in the driver’s door mirror she saw a flash of silver on the ground. “Oh great. You dropped the keys, Melissa.”

She opened the door and ran back to get the keys.

The thumping in the trunk started again.

“Stop it, naked guy. I’m taking you back to the rental car company.”

The thumping got louder and the car started to rock a little. Melissa scooped up the keys and got back in the car. She started it up, pulled into traffic and looked for the nearest exit to turn around at. She turned on the radio and cranked it up. “There, now I shouldn’t be able to hear you, naked guy.”

abqwriter
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RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby abqwriter » Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:00 pm

That's a fun read, Steve.  Thanks for posting it.

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RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby benu_bird » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:07 pm

"Here you go. Drive carefully. They say we're in for a Nor'easter."

"Thanks. Now I remember why I moved." I grabbed the paperwork and headed to the car. Snowflakes swirled in the beams from the yellow lamps overhead. The car was already covered with a dusting of snow. I hit the unlock button on the transponder--amber lights on the car flashed in acknowledgement. As I pulled up on the handle, my fingers slipped on the thin slick of ice on the metal. Pain shot through my finger; I looked down and found the jagged tip of a nail hanging from the top of my index finger.

After I opened the driver's door, a sudden gust sprayed powder, coating the driver's seat with fine, crystalline snow. "Damn," I hissed. I looked forward to a wet backside as the car heat and the snow melted.

The road out of the airport glowed as the snow whirled in the lights. Minute by minute, the flakes became smaller and the sky grew thicker. I felt the car being pushed as wind gusted from the east, and I struggled to keep the car on the slippery road.

As I entered the Callahan Tunnel, I heard a faint scratching behind me. The sound of metal on metal came from the backseat, but then stopped. The car emerged from the tunnel back into the building storm. Gusts off the Harbor buffeted the car, threatening to push it into the next lane. I headed for Storrow Drive across the river, the intermittent scratching sound worrying me. I whipped my head to look into the back again, momentarily taking my eyes from the road. Before I turned to the road again, the back of the car dipped and lurched. I struggled to keep control as I swerved into the left lane.

A violent thumping started in the back of the car. poop unicorns and rainbows. A pothole must have blown one of the rear tires. I put on my hazard lights and coasted to the shoulder. I gripped the steering wheel and stared into the blowing snow. Should I get out to check or call the police? A semi drove by, spraying ice and muck over the side of the car.

Then I heard it again. A violent thumping from the back of the car. No. Not from the back of the car. From the trunk. In the silence of the snow, I could hear the banging and scratching clearly. Something was in the trunk.

I checked the rearview mirror--nothing was coming. I swung the door open and tiptoed through the slush to the back of the car. I hit the trunk button on the transponder. The amber lights flashed. Slowly, I reached forward and pushed the button, popping the trunk open.

A mass of brown black fur leapt out, hitting me dead in the chest. Arms flailing, screaming, I stumbled back onto the Esplanade, falling back into a padding of snow as I watched the largest sewer rat in Boston history scramble towards the Charles River.

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RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby Laruuk » Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:46 am


foothillbilly
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RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby foothillbilly » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:46 pm

No, wait, can't be a flat. No bumping along, no pull in the steering. I'll have to stop to find out what's making that. Maybe the rear end has something going really wrong.

I can't see any fluid or anything else wrong under the car. Hmm. There it goes again, and the car's stopped. Something has to be in the trunk. I swore I wouldn't get another sedan. My mistake. Anything could be in there. An escaped convict. A hit man. My ex-mother-in-law.

Well, I can't just stand here beside the freeway. "Hello! Who are you? How did you get into the trunk?" He thumps even more but doesn't say anything I can understand. What I can hear of the voice sounds whiney.

I put the key into the lock and slowly turn it. The trunk lid nearly hits me as it bursts open. Quick as a jaguar, he shoots out, chestnut fur, pointy ears and all! "Harry! I know basenjis don't bark, but you make more noise than a Saint Bernard!"

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RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby AShubert » Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:12 pm

Something about the lack of control during a flight just gets me off-kilter. Putting my hands on a steering wheel and gunning an engine is like calibrating my brain. I exit the airport and find my way to the Loop. Traffic is light. I scroll through the pre-sets on the radio. Find a news station and catch up on the headlines so I have something to make small talk about at the trade show tomorrow. The drive into downtown Chicago at this time of night will only take 20 minutes; I am looking forward to a hot bath and clean sheets. Even if they aren’t my own.

The announcer drones his way through the stock report when I hear a noise. I dismiss it, blaming in on the potholes. There it is again, a thump, except this time it was more like a thump-thump. Could it be the seams in the pavement? Then again, thump-thump. Please don’t be what I think it is. Please. Why in the middle of the night? I can’t stop here. I can make it.

Thump-thump-thump. Darn-it.

Ok, I need to be a grown-up about this; denial won’t make it go away. My dad made me practice a tire change once a year for the past ten years, acting like he was a stock car pit crew chief and I was trying to make his team. I can do this.

The highway is well-lit so I pull over, turn on my hazards, and push the switch to turn on the interior light so I can find the button for the trunk. Thump-thump. Huh?

What in the world? This is getting weird and I’m not in the mood. The thumping in my chest is almost loud enough to drown out the other thumping, so maybe if I just ignore it.

Thump. Damn.

I look at myself in the rearview mirror. I look like me, not like there is something thumping in my trunk. Not that I’m exactly sure what that looks like, but I don’t see it. Am I looking at myself to get one more glimpse before I open my trunk and the guy from Texas Chainsaw Massacre jumps out? All I see is me, and I ask, what are you going to do now? The mirror doesn’t answer. Thump-thump. Oh for god’s sake.

I take a deep breath, count to three, and push the button. Nothing flies out and tries to attack me so I open the door. A car whooshes by and then silence. Three paces and I can end the mystery. Three tiny steps. Movement and a slight shimmer of light catch my eye, the motion looks familiar. A balloon. Another balloon. And a song. “Happy Birthday Dear Anne….” And my husband, in a slightly crinkled tuxedo, not so gracefully crawling out of the cramped quarters sporting the goofy grin that I fell in love with.

Guess I won’t need headlines to make small talk tomorrow – have I got a story for them.

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RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby Eironia » Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:53 pm

Twilight spilled across the sky, staining the clouds a dull purple. The side mirror caught my eye - a brilliant crimson sunset burned behind, but I drove into night.

Weariness flooded me. A tiredness of the soul, not the body, but I twisted the stereo’s volume knob, letting the speakers shake with Strauss’s ‘Death and Transfiguration’ as though it could chase away such tiredness as easily as sleep.

The sound emerged slowly through brass and strings, a crescendoing thunder of thump-thunk-thud that clenched my heart in cold dread. I jabbed at the power button, silencing the orchestra, and pushed too hard on the brake, skidding to the side of the freeway.

The sound had been right for a flat tire, another one, so soon after the flat on the way to the funeral . . . But the feel had been wrong.

I sat for a moment, bleakly gripping the wheel and staring ahead at the first faint stars. Cars rocketed past, the winds of their passage shaking my Cutlass. Lost in thought, I could still hear the flat, feel its uneven gait thudding in my collarbone - my knuckles whitened on the wheel. The sound didn't stop.

I punched the volume again, as though it were somehow the speakers' fault, and Strauss blared until I silenced it with an even quicker jab.

The world sped by. I sat and tried to soothe my galloping heart, willing the sounds to abate. A cat must have jumped . . . into the trunk? When did I even open -?  Cat. A frantic cat. Cat in the trunk.

"'Only this and nothing more,’" I muttered, flung open the door and forced myself into the half-light of dying day, the bone-deep chill of dying winter.

Blood pounded in my ears; fear pounded in the trunk.

I reached back for the keys. They rattled, sharp jangle cutting through the thud-thunk-thump. Grass crunched under my uneven tread. The car was miles long, but far too short.

Imagination populated the space with unnumbered horrors. "Let it be a cat," half prayer, half plea. I found the right key and tried to breathe. It scraped across the lock, a tortured screech, then slid home. Reflexively I turned it.

The lid released with a click, and the noise within stilled. Waiting.

A sliver of shadow showed. No eyes shone out, no fangs, no claws glistened. Silence . . .

Fear screamed in my ears. Terror clutched my throat. Desperate to see and be done, I flung up the lid, flinching back.

Darkness.

I aimed the keychain’s tiny beam within, curiosity drawing me closer. A flash - glasses reflecting, gazing blankly. A familiar face, grief-worn, looked back with my father’s eyes, my mother’s tired smile.

I wish I had a mirror in the trunk.

I looked into my eyes with a sickly smile. Night’s dark wings beat at my heart. Fearing to turn away, I slammed the lid on myself.

Back behind the wheel, I drove numbly, searing myself with sound, refusing to dwell behind. "Darkness there," I mumbled, "and nothing more."


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RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby Gladys » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:12 pm

"Thank You," I say as I step into the new rental car. "Wow, me in a Jag. Never thought I would be driving a Jag." I say to myself as I drive out of the car rental lot. My old Buick broke down half way between Vancouver, B.C. and Calgary, Alberta. I have no choice but to rent a car in Kamloops so I can get to my appointment in Calgary tomorrow morning.

"Thump, thump,"

"Oh darn, now what? First my car breaks down now the rental has a flat. Oh well I hope there is a spare in the trunk." Pulling over to the side of the road I get out and as I reach the trunk I realize it isn't a flat. The thumping is coming from the trunk. "Oh, that is why they wanted the car out of the yard" Putting the key in the lock I wonder if this is a good idea.

"Thump, Help me,"

"Who are you? Why are you in the trunk of this car?"

"Um, open the trunk and I will tell you." the muffled youngish voice says.

"Okay, you promise you won't hurt me if I let you out?"

"Yes, just let me out, please."

When I open the trunk a boy of about fifteen climbs out. "Thanks, do you have anything to eat? I am very hungry."

"Yes, but first why were you in the trunk and who are you?"

"I am Jim Williams and I had to get out of Kamloops. No one will miss me, I promise. I am not running from the law."

As I get the bag of sandwitches I wonder who this kid really is. Should I take him back to Kamloops or go on to Calgary with him as a passenger. "Okay, Jim, I will take you to the next city but you must phone someone and tell them where you are. I don't want to be accused of kidnapping you."

"Okay, if you say so. But I don't know who I will phone. Your name is?

I tell him my name and we get back in to car and continue on our way.

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