Thursday, March 27, 2014

Excerpt from Hush

From the short story: Hush, January 1968
The man in the fern green suit and the pointed hat leaned over the body of Hannah’s mother. “What’s your name, little one?” He smiled like that used car lot salesman when her father had bought them the very Volkswagen she sat in.
Now the white leather upholstery was stained with Mom’s blood as the man got into the car with Hannah. The windows were smeared with the same stuff after the man in the green suit had attempted to wipe it off after he’d asked Hannah his question. He then assumed the driver’s seat, leaving Mom behind in the parking lot of the unattended gas station, where it was dark and no one seemed to be working. Mom had stopped because of a flat tire when the man in green, claiming to be a local on a late night stroll, came upon them to help replace the tire. Only after doing so, Hannah had watched as the man raised the same tire iron he’d used to help Mom with over his head, and began beating her in so many times that her skull caved inward.
The last Hannah saw her mother was through the rear window, as the man in green pulled the Volkswagen back onto the freeway. They weren’t going home like Mom had promised. The man didn’t say where they were going. All he did was turn up the radio, from which he commenced singing along to Angel of the Morning as if Hannah didn’t exist in the same car as he.
Hannah didn’t answer the man when he had asked her name. The girl just clung to her Shrinkin’ Violet doll her mom bought for her sixth birthday four years ago. She was too old now to be hugging dolls when men scared her, no matter what. But she had long since discarded Shrinkin’ Violet into the Volkswagen many years ago, and Mom was no longer here. Hannah had nothing to hold onto but an annoying talking doll. The man glanced to her frequently with those narrow black eyes in the rearview mirror. He still sang along with Merrilee Rush from the radio in his smooth, surprisingly melodic voice.