Every morning at exactly 7:00, Laila Cameron; a girl at the blooming age of 18 and freshly out of high school, would hop out of bed, make a trip to the bathroom, come downstairs and brew herself some coffee. She would then, sit down and flip through the newspaper her father had left messily scattered across the table. Once she finished her coffee she would hop in the shower, get dressed, and walk to her waitressing job across town.
When she was at work she wouldn't think about anything except...cars. Laila was desperately saving up money in hopes of buying a shiny vintage '78 Monte Carlo by the end of the summer. Being the determined young woman she was, Laila worked as many hours as she could to finally be able to have that shiny red beauty sitting in her driveway, while being able to say that it was hers.
On a morning just starting out like any other, she sat down with her over-creamed coffee and sipped as she flipped open the classifieds. Her eyes fell immediately on an ad, and she nearly choked. There in large and neatly printed letters was:
FREE 1978 MONTE CARLO FIRST COMES FIRST SERVED.
She didn't waste anytime gawking but just ditched her coffee, quickly scribbled the address down and ran upstairs, threw on some jeans and bolted out of the door.
The street that was listed was pretty close and a mix of anticipation and anxiousness flowed through her as she pumped her legs. She rounded the corner and immediately spotted it. It was so close but so far away; she ran as fast as she could and she nearly had tears of overjoy come flying out of her eyes. The red car was just as she had imagined, gleaming in the sunlight with its perfectly smoothed body entrancing her; waiting for her to drive it.
The first thing she did once she was close enough to smell the nice leather interior wafting out of the open window was run her hands over the sun-warmed metal. Out of her peripheral vision she saw someone come around from the back of the car to greet her. When she turned to look she nearly screamed. It was the most morbidly greasy and obese man she had ever seen.
He looked so inflated that his piercing gray eyes looked as if they were being pushed out of his skull.
"Do you like nice car?" he asked in an accent that she couldn't place.
"-Yes," she replied after a short moment of deliberation.
"Good. It is nice car. It is very nice car. You first person to come," he said lightly patting the exterior with his meaty and sweaty-looking hand.
She could only nod.
She hated to feel like she was being impolite, but his appearance was truly alarming and disturbing in nature that she couldn't do anything else but stare. He breathed heavily and had bloody spit in both his top and bottom lip. his scarcely thin and greasy hair stuck to his abnormally shaped skull. They stood there for a moment, his legs looking so awfully small in comparison with his large overhanging belly that she nearly expected him to topple over in sheer exhaustion from his mammoth size.
"You good girl. My name Claudio. You come so fast! You have keys."
He put his hand in his pocket and shifted it around as if there were millions of trinkets that were inside. He made an awful snorting sound in the back of his throat as he did this, sounding like a sow basking in mud. He produced a shiny and brand-new looking key and handed it to her. She took care to just take the key from him without making any contact with him at all.
She wasn't ever this uncomfortable with anyone, if anything it was something easy to her to just talk with someone never having any trouble at all. The key felt warm and she smiled as she flipped it over and examined the insignia on the other side. She looked back to Claudio, and something even more strange occurred. He went from looking absolutely frightening to looking relatively.... normal.
She blinked again.
Standing in front of her was a man still about the same age, plump but not nearly as monstrous, and what looked like a shiny black pelt lying on his scalp. His eyes were placed normally in his skull again. She briefly thought in her mind how bizarre it was; but mostly her thoughts were on her dream car.
"You drive car. Car drive smoothly for two weeks. Come back in two weeks. I change oil. Understand what you do?"
Before she could answer or even nod he interrupted:
"Good. Yes. Drive."
She opened the door and got in. The biggest grin erupted on her face as she sent swirling dust particles out as she slid out the seatbelt and buckled it. The car smelled exactly as she had imagined: a musty note from age but doubled with a small undertone of a new car scent. she put the key in the ignition and started the car. It made the nicest and healthiest sounding sound as it started up and she grinned as it immediately blew cold air against her flushed face.
She looked for Claudio but he was nowhere to be seen.
She signaled and headed back home, in the smoothest car ride she had ever experienced in her life.
Laila was glad that the head of her bed was near the window so she could keep an eye on her newest prized possession. She smiled, and the moonlight illuminated the crimson paint, as if it smiled back. She kept imagining herself driving around the town in her new prize, boasting with a huge grin when she pulled up next to a jock who had gone to high school with her in his crappy-in-comparison Prius.
She drifted to sleep with a huge grin on her face.
But the first thing that greeted her was a monster. Not a bogeyman but Claudio. She could see him in her rearview mirror; his face shifting from normal- grotesque- and back to normal again. She remembered the drivers seat suddenly facing backwards and seeing the grotesque claudio begin to dig his fingers into the seats and ripping bloody chunks out of them and shoving them into his mouth. She remembered trying to undo her seatbelt but finding that the red latch had melted over, hardened, and had her trapped. Those grey eyes glimmered as the sound of his lips making terrible slurping and smacking sounds echoed loudly in her head, bouncing off the inside of her skull like a pinball ricocheting and accelerating. She screamed as his glimmering eyes bulged. It was only before they popped out of his sockets that she woke up in an ice cold sweat with an excruciating migraine.
The lightbulbs strained her eyes and she recoiled as she flipped on the bathroom light switch. She splashed water on her face and dried off looking back up into the mirror. Her eyes were framed with dark bags and her eyelids sagged with exhaustion. She opened the medicine cabinet and grabbed a painkiller, swallowing it by itself.
She sat in her car the rest of the night. The smooth interior soothed her nerves. Even though she had that terrible dream it didn't affect her view of the car at all; she loved it the same. She cranked the back seat back and screamed at the face peering in from the window. She screamed in surprise but calmed down to see her disheveled looking father peering in. She hadn't even seen his headlights. He looked confused mixed in with the fatigue from a long day's work.
"Laila, I'm too tired to discuss...this, with you tonight...just lock the door when you decide to come back into the house," she managed to hear him say through the glass.
He shuffled his feet up the drive and disappeared inside; she could hear her German Shephard Sargent ecstatically barking in delight at her father's arrival.
She couldn't sleep. It was the strangest feeling. She was so tired, and so comfortable, yet she couldn't bring herself to be able to sleep. She turned on the car sending in the cool air and turned the radio on. Nothing but white noise.
She sighed and turned it off.
Two weeks had gone by and one morning Laila's car started with an unfamiliar groan. She held her breath and cursed as she began to smell a fetid odor from a large gas cloud that blasted from the tailpipe. Her heart beat faster and she began to whimper in worry as the car made a grinding noise as she was in reverse. She grit her teeth and pressed the brake and pushed the gear into park, before she got out and circled around to the back of her car and examined the back.
She cursed as she watched a reddish pink liquid dripping from the tailpipe---which when she examined closer wasn't actually coming from the tail pipe but just above it.
"Open the trunk," she immediately thought.
She turned the car off and snatched the key from the ignition and went to unlock the boot. She had to turn the key a good three times before she heard a loud click. She lifted the top and nearly threw up. The smell was extremely offensive. It wasn't anything she had ever smelled before and the moment it touched her nose it churned her stomach. It was almost an almondy odor, a strong but terrible almondy odor.
She pinched her nose using two fingers and pinching her nostrils shut with all her might.
In the car was what was best described as an enormous syringe with a tapered top and a complicated looking plunger that was locked with a big red contraption on the end of it. It was filled with an almost chunky looking white-pink paste.
She stared at it for a minute and nearly gagged. It was filled with human fat.
"You come back in two weeks."
was the last thing she heard before Claudio pulled a black garbage bag over her head and shoved her into the trunk.
Claudio sat in a grease stained arm chair in his crowded trailer using the headless mummified torso as a leg rest. He grabbed a handful of chips from a bag beside him and dipped it into his warm and special cocktail sauce that sat on the side table. when he ran out of chips he took the bowl and drank the rest of the pink and white concoction. He licked his fingers and grunted as he waddled over the thick gelatinous white pile and scooped it into a nearby empty syringe. He went outside and proceeded to rip up the hood and oil the rusty engine with his wonderful mixture.
He smiled at the seclusion of the forest around his home.
"How nice it is to be able to work without any distractions..." he thought happily to himself.
"Oh, I nearly forgot!"
He wandered around to the boot. He pried the car open and he sighed, smiling at the new decomposition stain that leaked out of the black garbage bag. He heaved the dripping rotting bundle and ventured off for the tree which he installed a meat hook to.
He was used to its smell, but he cursed himself for wasting the fat.
But it was okay.
He could grind down the bones to polish off the rims.
He couldn't wait to drive back into town tomorrow morning.