, , , , , , , , , , , ,

by Morgan Boyd

I undo my seatbelt, and find Zack lying motionless outside the twisted truck, his head on backwards. The skin on his face crawls, but no breath escapes his lips. Blood and sparkling lights drip out his nose.

The cliff is too sheer to climb back up to the road, but a trail leads down into the glinting mist. Trees close in around me. I lose my balance, flinching through a massive spider web, and tumble into a thorny bush. Branches claw my arms and face as I return to the trail, and discover ticks peppering my arms. A quick search of my body reveals another bloodsucker in my bellybutton. I pinch the little bastard out with a bad case of the shivers.

The path leads to a creek. Yellow eyes loom in the surrounding wilderness as I follow the water. Flapping butterfly wings sparkle trails of fairy dust through the air. A pungent and familiar smell fills my nostrils. A cursory glance confirms my suspicion: an illegal grow operation.

“Hands up,” a man demands with a rifle trained at me.

The barrel of the gun slithers like a snake. The man wears a clown mask. The most majestic unicorn bounds between us. I take the opportunity to flee. Bullets ping off surrounding rocks. A quick glance over my shoulder reveals several armed clowns hot in pursuit.

Following the stream, I scramble over boulders and branches until the creek plummets over a thousand-foot cliff. Frantically, I search for safe passage down the precipice, but find none as the armed clowns approach. Bullets whiz by. I reach into my pocket, and remove the vial, dumping its contents on my tongue.

“Kiss my ass, motherfuckers,” I yell as wings shoot out of my back, and I bound off the cliff into the swirling rainbow void.

Morgan Boyd used to live in Santa Cruz, California. Now he lives somewhere else with his wife, daughter, cat, and carnivorous plant collection. He has been published online at Flash Fiction Offensive, Shotgun Honey, Near to the Knuckle, Coffee and Fried Chicken, Tough, Yellow Mama, Pulp Metal Magazine, and Switchblade Magazine. He also has a story forthcoming at Story and Grit.