The Mysterious Men

On your way into work this morning, you look at the car on your left. Inside are two men dressed in dark suits, wearing sunglasses. They simultaneously look at you and meet your gaze. The one in the passenger seat rolls down his window and says something. Write what he says, and what happens next.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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161 thoughts on “The Mysterious Men

  1. kathleenmagner

    “At the Haverton Farm?” I flicked my blinker and swerved around a trundling trailer hauling pigs, leaving the lame headline to the small town’s storefronts.

    “Here on the Haverton Farm?” Scanning the binders of research I’d tossed onto my passenger’s seat, I found the owner’s name and tried another opening.

    “On Jeffery Haverton’s farmstead.”

    My latest introductory phrase sat in my stomach like my tabby Bug did in my lap, toasty, purring, and perfect.

    Satisfied, I came to what I imagined would be the last intersection before I hit nothing but fields. I halted at the lights and drummed my fingers on my hatchback’s steering wheel.

    Dusty trucks trundled by, passing from one beige stretch of crops to the next. I bided my time counting the number of dogs lolling in the backs of pickups and popping through cabin windows. I’d gotten to six when a gleam drew up beside me. Raising my hand, I shaded my eyes from the glistening black caddy in the turn-left lane.

    The tinted passenger window buzzed down, revealing a square face, square hairline, and square sunglasses. “You’ve got a flat, Miss.”

    I sensed for the deflated tire but my car felt level, the clank and rumble content. “I’ll look into it.”

    Square-face’s hard mouth struggled into a curve. “I think you should pull over.”

    His sunglasses reflected the stoplight’s switch to green and I floored it. In my rearview, I watched Square-face’s car take the left and with a snarky bark, I eased into my seat.

    “I think you should pull over.”

    Rolling my eyes, I centered on the two-lane road cutting through stalks of wheat taller than my car. A low-flying duster zoomed overhead and I leaned forward, following its flight between the power lines pointing the way to my most promising story yet.

    Their straight course wobbled, or I suppose mine did, when my car’s front left tire popped. I steadied the wheel and slowed while loose rubber flapped and flopped.

    “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

    Slowing, I rumbled onto the gravel lining the road, the ground giving way to a soft patch of churned earth. I found the tire sagging and no bars on my cell phone. I’d opened my hatch, searching for a jack and a spare, when a trio of beeps sounded along the road.

    “Honk yourself.”

    I lugged out the jack as a plume of dust careened off the pickup pulling up behind me. The driver’s door opened and a thickset man filling out overalls that had to be decades older than he was, stepped out. A Haverton Farm’s hat perched on his head. He tipped the frayed brim back, showing off pleasantly tanned features and eyes that matched the sky.

    “Having a problem, Miss?”

    Thankful I’d left my phone in my pocket, I donned my helpless face and let the jack weigh down my arms. “A flat tire, I think.”

    … Click here to read the rest. Any comments are welcome.

  2. imreallybadatmakingupnames

    “There you are! We were looking all over for you!” said the man in the car next to us as he rolled down his window. I stared at him blankly.

    He continued, “We were supposed to meet at the town center an hour ago. Where have you two been?” I continued to stare at him. There was something vaguely familiar about him, his voice, the shape of his face, perhaps if I could see his eyes… but he wore dark sunglasses, as did the man in the seat next to him.

    “Who are you?” I asked.

    “It’s me, Theodore! Don’t you recognize me?” he asked, pushing his glasses up onto his bald forehead. Something about the way his pale, lashless eyes bulged out of his pudgy face seemed familiar. Deep within my mind, a memory came into focus.

    “You’re one of the researchers, aren’t you?” I asked. “Is Mr. D. with you?”

    “Yes,” he replied, seeming disappointed about something. “He’s in the back.” The rear window rolled down, revealing the occupant of the backseat. I laughed. Then I turned around and elbowed H, who was driving, and pointed. She laughed too. We laughed for a while, loudly, rudely, with occasional high-pitched, uncontrolled snorts that caused people on the street to stare at us.

    The man in the front seat, what’s-his-name, looked back at the figure in the back seat and blushed slightly.

    “He kind of stands out, and we couldn’t find a better disguise for him in a hurry,” he tried to explain. “Though, looking at him now, a paper bag over his head doesn’t really help him blend in.”

    “You could have at least put eye holes in it!” I gasped. “And anyway, one of his horns is poking through.”

    Mr. D. growled and pulled the paper bag off his head. The people on the street who had been watching us screamed and ran away. Lots of people do when faced with a seven-foot tall demon complete with black scaly skin and glowing red eyes, with a crown of horns encircling his white-haired skull.
    “There’s a donut caught over your left ear,” I pointed out. He threw the paper bag at me.
    “Yay, another donut!” I passed this one to H, and grabbed the donut off Mr. D’s horn for myself. So thoughtful of him to bring breakfast.

  3. Icabu

    The stretch limo caught my eye as it pulled alongside to pass. I couldn’t help but look. The driver and front passenger were dressed sharply in dark suits, as expected. When their gaze met mine, I nearly swerved into them.

    “The crazy sonuvabitch,” I muttered under my breath.

    The passenger rolled down his window and I could clearly read his lips. “Lucinda, marry me?”

    Rolling down my window, I shouted back. “You’re crazy, Darryl.” Wanting to settle this once and for all I motioned them to take the next exit.

    I followed the sleek limo around the corner where it pulled into an empty parking lot – of a church. I screeched to a stop next to the limo, slamming my car door in exasperation. This stunt looked expensive.

    When Darryl stepped out, I nearly doubled-over with laughter. His ‘suit’ included shorts and his ever-present Chucks.

    He immediately got down on one knee and held out that ridiculously gorgeous diamond and ruby ring. “Marry me, Lucinda?. I’m crazy in love with you.” He motioned back at the old stone church. “I want to proclaim my love before God and everyone.”

    “Darryl,” I started, but my heart of ice – for marriage anyway – was melting. Taking a deep breath, I tried to regain the deep-freeze.

    Darryl stood and embraced me, further melting my reservations. “I know you love me too or you wouldn’t have put up with me for the past three years. Let’s do this proper. Marry me?”

    “Marriage is so …” I fought for the right term.

    “Old fashioned,” Darryl supplied for me. “I know. But it doesn’t have to be!” He dropped back to his knee. “I’ll marry you in a hot air balloon. We can write our own vows. Whatever you want.”

    I took a deep breath, the warmth of love melting my last icicle heartstrings. I took the ring from him, causing him to bounce up.

    “Let me,” he said and with shaking hands slipped the ring on my finger.

    It felt good, right – finally. “Yes,” was all I could say.

  4. Nocturnal Mermaid

    This is just something I threw together in under 20 minutes. I might or might now continue this in “Missing Shoe”.

    I checked the time on my phone. It was seven-forty. I was late to work!
    I pulled the yellow cord and waited for the bus to stop. Why was I staring at the time as if it would stop and wait for me?
    I shook my head and got off. I entered a seven-eleven and bought a large cup of hot chocolate and a bag of chocolate doughnuts.
    Slowly, sipping my drink, I looked to my left and noticed there were two men dressed in black suits and had on shades. It wasn’t even sunny!
    The light was green, but I continued to stand there, transfixed at these pale men. There was clearly something off about them.
    The driver was talking but he kept licking at his upper gums. The one in the passenger seat seemed bored and kept staring ahead.
    He slowly turned his head and opened his mouth slightly.
    I glanced at the driver and noticed he was staring at me too, mouth open.
    I was going to walk forward but the light had turned red. I pulled out my phone to keep myself busy. As much as I tried to fight it, I had this nagging sensation that I had to look at them again. But I kept my eyes fixed on the text.
    “Excuse me, miss?” I heard someone call out. His voice was smooth.
    The man in the passenger seat, got out of the car and was walking up to me.
    I panicked and glanced up at the street light; it was still red.
    “Excuse me, miss?” he repeated.
    “Yes?” I clenched my fist.
    “Do you have a minute?”
    I checked the time. It was nearing eight.
    “I’m sorry but I really must get to work now. I’m late.”
    As if on cue, the light turned green. And I didn’t think twice of walking away.
    Why were they staring at me like they knew me?
    I never caused any trouble. I liked to keep to myself and bury myself in my novel. I liked to go out every Saturday to the Goth club in Hollywood.
    They had nothing to use against me, if it came to it.

  5. don potter

    A shinny black SUV slid up next to me at the stop light. Too busy trying not to spill the coffee needed to wake me up for work after a sleepless night of worrying about personal finances, I paid little attention to the vehicle on my left. My indifference ended when I heard my name called out.

    I looked over and through the open window on the passenger’s side saw two men in black suits with shaved heads and sporting sunglasses. One asked, “Are you Justin Anderson?”
    Instead of answering I gulped and wondered who these men were, how they knew my name and what did they want?

    When the light changed and I sped away, only to see they were not far behind. Could they be plainclothes detectives coming after me for the stack of unpaid parking tickets tucked away in my glove compartment?

    The traffic light turned red before I could get through the next intersection. The SUV approached me again and the man on the passenger side yelled, “We need to talk with you.”

    I slammed the accelerator to the floor and left the mysterious men behind. At the first street, the car almost spun out as I turned and then headed into the alley behind the office building where the regional office of the insurance company I work for is located. I stopped behind a trash bin to see if they followed me. It looked as if I lost them.

    After sitting there for a few minutes to regain my composure, I concluded the men must be from the IRS. This could not have come at a worst time. I was flat broke with almost no sales commissions this month, and my prospects for future earnings were bleak. What’s the worse thing that could happen, a fine? They can’t get blood out of a stone, but they could send me to jail.

    I was already late for the sales meeting, so I parked the car in a different lot than usual and hustled to the office and ran up the back stairs. Upon reaching my floor I went directly to the conference room to join the meeting already in progress. I opened the door. The mysterious men greeted me. It was obvious, my life was about to change.

    The man who spoke to me earlier said, “You’re a tough person to corner, Mr. Anderson.”

    Before he finished the other man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out something.

    I was frozen, fearing it was a subpoena or some other official court document.

    He handed me an envelope and said, “Congratulations, you won the sweepstakes and this is your check for one million dollars.”

  6. Amy

    “Ma’am, we’d really appreciate it if you’d pull over up ahead,” the man said through the open window of the unmarked black Escalade.

    “There’s no way in hell I’m pulling over,” I replied. I had heard some lame pick-up lines before, but this scheme was ludicrous. A couple of guys throw on a suit and some aviators and suddenly they’re police? I don’t think so. The one beckoning to me on the passenger side had to be in his twenties, right around my age, with an enticing southern drawl.

    “This isn’t a scam, I assure you. It’s in your best interest to pull over.” He pulled his shades down on his nose and gave me a stern look.

    “I’m pretty sure I’ve actually seen a horror movie that started out exactly like this,” I said, preparing for the light to change. I looked around at the deserted intersection and wondered why I had to pick up the 3-3 shift this week at the hospital.

    “Ma’am, please,” he said, glancing at the stoplight. “It’s about the Green River Killer.” The driver next to him shot him a warning look before returning his gaze to me.

    Headlines from the last two weeks flashed in my mind. Three women missing. Three bodies found. All within the same one mile stretch of land near the Green River. He was still out there somewhere, waiting to strike again.

    That did the trick. After insisting, despite the green light, that he show me his badge, I pulled over and the two men signaled me to follow them to a government building a couple blocks down.

    “So what the hell does all this have to do with me?” I asked as I was escorted to an empty office and sat down.

    “Miss Meyer, we believe we have the identity of the Green River Killer, but we can’t seem to locate him,” the driver of the Escalade said. He was much older than the other and his slumped shoulders and creased forehead gave him a look of permanent exhaustion. “We think you have some information that may help us with our investigation.”

    The younger agent came and sat next to me. “We need to ask you a few questions about your relationship with Daniel Roades,” he said, watching my face for a reaction.

    Danny. My last boyfriend. Great in bed, but not so great at picking up the damn phone. I hadn’t talked to him since I ended things with him about a month ago. It took me a moment to figure out why they would want to know about my relationship with him.

    “You think Danny is the Green River Killer?” I asked, trying to hold back laughter. He may have been a little unstable, but he was much too sweet to hurt anybody. “Is this some kind of prank or something?”
    The two agents exchanged looks and the older nodded to the younger. He pulled an envelope out of his jacket pocket and slid it across the desk to me.

    I opened the envelope and pulled out a stack of surveillance photos. I recognized the Ford pickup in the photo, its rusted tailgate hanging open. I remembered nagging Danny to get the thing fixed about a million times. In the bed of the truck was a large bag that looked like it was about to fall out. The next photo was a close-up and Danny was standing next to the bag, reaching in to push it back in the bed. He had his Billings Bulls hat on backwards as usual. The next photo was an extreme close-up on the top of the bag and it was hard to make out. There was something hanging out. I squinted and held it close to my face and it became clear. It was a hand. A human hand.

    To Be Continued in the next prompt, “The Man in the Park”…

  7. Winfilda

    As I dropped off from my usual ride to work, I was in high spirits, walking with a spring in my step, looking
    forward to what the day would bring. I was going to take the biggest step of my career, taking a trip of a life
    time. I had just been promoted to be a branch manager of one of our company’s biggest account and the clients head office was in China. Passport in the bag, my travelling documents in my folder, I was ready to take on the world. The weather complimented my mood, the cool spring air fanning through my cotton top, breathing in nature’s own blend of perfume -a mixture of daisies and rose’s, it sure was a promising day.
    From the left corner of my eyes, I saw a car pulling off the road. I did not think much of it because it was a drop off zone for people who were going in the industrial complex. I directed my attention to see if it was someone I knew, but the car had tinted windows and could not make out who it was. As I was looking the car window was slowly rolled down and I came face to face with a man who neither smiled nor show any kind of expression, our eyes met for like a second and the car window slowly started going up. The whole incident was strange but not strange enough to cause panic.

    I kept on walking, and I heard the sound of a door opening and closing, which made me turn to look and seeing the unsmiling guy getting out of the coming straight to me. Something in me wanted to start running but logic was asking me why I should start running. I just imagined how silly it would look if the guy was genuinely looking for direction’s, at the same time, my sixth senses where screaming loud at me to run. Before, I could decide on what action to take I was greeted with a size twelve shoe across my face. I did not see it coming; the guy kicked me so hard that my whole world seized to exist. Before, I could try to comprehend what was happening to me, the gorilla started pulling my bag.

    The smartest thing to do was just to let the bag go but hell no; my particulars were in the bag – my dreams. I started pulling back my hand bag; there was no way he was going to go with my passport. I have never considered myself to be a brave person when it came to violent but that day the fight that I put on convinced me that there was a fighter within me. I was so determined to get my bag back that I lost all faculty of my senses. I was screaming out for help but it all seemed that the world had deserted me. The only thing that existed was the blows that I was receiving from the six-seven feet tall guy.

    When he realised that I was not letting go he just pulled out a knife and I stabbed me two times. I remember the strong feeling of losing a battle as I felt my whole body hit the ground.

  8. frankd1100

    Mark stopped at the red light seated on the black ’65 Harley he’d inherited, with the dealership, from his father. Preoccupied, thinking about the business’s depleted cash reserves, he was oblivious to the black Lincoln stopping on his left. The driver and passenger, in their mid 40s wearing dark suits and shades, stared hard in his direction. Mark met their gaze until the passenger looked down to lower the window and the driver looked in the rearview as the light turned green.

    The window eased down into the door, the passenger hooked his elbow over the frame. Nodding toward Mark he said, “Hello Mark Gerard,” and extended his hand offering Mark a long envelope of the type bills come in.

    “This a subpoena?” Mark asked, leaning away from the envelope, his arms folded across his chest. A car squealed out and around the Lincoln, while a second car’s horn sounded as the light changed back to red.

    “It’s nothing like that,” said the guy stretching further until Mark could read his name typed across the front of the envelope with the instruction; (Hand Deliver to Addressee Only!) “I think you’ll be pleased with the contents,” he said, “and I can’t leave until you accept it.”

    Mark warily took the envelope and without another word from its occupants, the Lincoln moved away, sped up through the intersection and merged aggressively into the traffic. He pulled the bike to the curb and minutes later leaned against the saddle trying to make sense of the cashiers checks and the short note he held in his hand.

    The note read;

    Mark, I’m sorry at the loss of your father. He was an honorable man. I’ve kept an eye on you for some time and I hope you don’t mind if I help with the motorcycle dealership. A hundred thousand dollars seems like a fortune, but you’ll be surprised how fast it dissipates as you build a business. The second check of the same amount for your mother is a token of my respect for her strength and courage over the years. I met her 35 years ago, and left the country two days later. We’ve not spoken since but my friends tell me she liquidated her assets to cover your father’s medical bills. I hope the money helps.

    Good luck, Mark.

    P.S. Cash the checks. You have no obligation to me. You’ll note they’re written on a Swiss bank and are untraceable, should the thought cross your mind.

    An hour later Mark parked the bike on the roof level of Logan Airport’s Central Parking and looked out over the unobtrusive Boston skyline holding a cellphone to his ear. “Hi Mom, it’s Mark,” he said. “How’s the Miami weather? … What’s that? … Oh, thanks. I’d forgotten it’s my birthday. Hey, I’m flying down to meet you for dinner! Yes, I’m at the airport. I want to discuss plans for expanding the business … Say that again? Good idea. We’ll celebrate my thirty-fifth birthday together.”

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