Dark gray clouds hung heavy in the sky like a blanket of wispy fog partially covering the treeline in the distance.
Kurt’s day didn’t start off on a positive note as he trudged along the heavily cracked road.
“I’m so sorry Mr. Buxton, I’m unable to work today due to an aging car that I can’t fix because the wage you’re paying me royally sucks!” he muttered as his brown eyes pandered ahead of each step, hands deep inside the pockets of the long black coat, “of all days to break down, it had to be today.”
“What’s so special about today?”
Kurt jumped and swerved around to see where the voice came from.
There was an old man standing well off the side of the road nearly encased in shadows. His clothes were tattered, his salt n’ pepper hair oily and unkempt. Kurt noticed a strange looking box that he held in his gnarly hands.
“Excuse me, sir, are you alright?” Kurt asked as he stepped slowly to the man.
The elder’s pale face only partially visible save the eyes which were hidden under the lid of a baseball hat with its emblem long worn off.
“Sir?” Kurt now stood a mere yard from him. The wooden parcel appeared very, very old. Its craftsmanship told Kurt it came from a time long since past. The box wasn’t perfectly squared. No, it held more of a rectangular shape which reminded him of a–coffin.
“What’s so special about today?” the man asked again. His croaky voice carried an unrecognizable accent.
An icy breeze swept over them. Kurt’s body shivered as he buried his hands deeper in the wool pockets.
“Um, I have a presentation to make,” Kurt let out a sigh of frustration as the breath came out in a wavy mist and drifted upwards briefly before dissipating.
“One you really do not want to make,” the man stated as he continued to stand still.
Kurt cocked his head at this strange person before replying, “You’re right, I don’t really give a damn about the presentation.”
“What if I could take away the misery you call your life and give you one with a true purpose?” the man’s tone was an eloquent one.
Kurt straightened as he considered the man’s offer. The breeze suddenly halted as if nature was holding its breath.
Shrugging, Kurt said, “Sure, whatever.”
The man’s lips curled upwards ever so slightly, “Care to see what’s inside?”
Kurt glanced to the peculiar box, “Okay.”
As he took a step forward, the wind let out a whistling moan which caused the hair on the back of his neck to stand up.
“There is nothing to fear,” the voice crooned.
Kurt watched as the lid slowly rose releasing a familiar scent.
“Come a bit closer,” the smile on the man’s lips grew when Kurt took another step, “and behold your future.”
As Kurt stood over the box, the first thing he noticed was that there were movements inside.
Was there something alive in there?
Blinking, he peered even closer.
At first, he thought he was looking at a box full of the old-fashioned clothespins painted grayish-white. He then realized that the tops held faces.
“What the hell?”
His mouth dropped when he noticed that these “clothespins’ were all looking up at him. With their rapidly fluttering eyes.
“My god, what kind of freak are you?” He stammered as he attempted to take a step back, but a sharp coldness cascaded through his body when he discovered he could not move.
His boots remained planted in the dirty snow, his eyes on the ghostly stick figures.
“What kind of sick game is this?” Spit spewed from his lips.
With a joker’s grin, the man let out a soft, menacing chuckle, “My dear sir, I assure you that this is no game,” the interior now completely exposed, “it is futile to resist. Give in, and fulfill your chosen purpose.”
The more Kurt tried to move his head, or even a leg, the louder the drumming grew in his chest. His face, red with sweat beads rolling down the sides, he opened his mouth and let out an anguished roar that only the trees heard.
Panting, Kurt closed his eyes, fighting back the hot tears, “wh-wh-who the hell are you?”
“The name is Reike,” the man pushed up on the hat’s lid revealing a taunt face that held eyes that were like coals, and a mark engraved in his forehead – of a full moon with an eye in its center.
“And your soul now belongs to me!”
Story written for the Mid-Week Flash Challenge