Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Terror at Lost Goblins by David Anderson (Random Title #18)



Frederick looked down at the letters, and the stories contained therein. He missed receiving them, even though he was sure old Tobias was crazy. Around the middle of every month he’d open an envelope containing a cordial letter along with the manuscript for a short story, and sometimes even poetry. Frederick was sure Tobias was mentally ill, or at least suffered from some kind of high stress or anxiety. Although, Frederick thought, anyone could go crazy out there at the Lost Goblins Motor Home Park in Death Valley. Of all the places to go in California, he certainly chose one of the worst.
It had been a few months since he had heard from Tobias, and Frederick was getting worried. The old man was near eighty years old, and drank plenty enough for a twenty year old, let alone someone his age. He should have been dead a long time ago, but something worried Frederick. The last letter contained only a blank piece of paper with I’VE DISCOVERED SOMETHING BIG scrawled on it in pencil.
The fiction that Tobias wrote was unusual, and even for a well-read man like Frederick, it came off as incredibly odd. Frederick read Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Jeffrey Thomas, and other authors of the weird. Still, the strange world of the undead battling each other with laser guns and horses that were also called cheetahs, it baffled Frederick. The prose was only okay, and a lot of the ideas had been used before, but there was something oozing from it, a creepy feeling that invaded the author’s mind while consuming the subpar text of the story.
He missed those shitty manuscripts, with the bad titles. Sometimes he thought old Tobias just mixed random words around in a hat and came up with a story based on whatever nonsensical title he came up with. Frederick guessed the old coot didn’t have anything better to do, and that wasn’t so bad because the old man seemed happy. Still, he felt the urge to try and investigate the old man’s fate.
***
The road to the mobile home area was incredibly rough, even by desert standards. Once Frederick was off the highway, it was nothing but bumpy dirt stretches with giant, cat sized rocks, in random placement, and nothing that resembled a traversable stretch of sane road.
Finally, he came to a dirty white sign, made of long wooden boards that read LOST GOLBINS, YOU’RE HOME! The text was painted on with green and pink paint, and it looked like, by the style of font, it had been created in the 1950’s.
As Frederick drove into the park, a sick knot formed in his stomach. The place had been abandoned for at least a decade, probably around the time Frederick had first met the old man. Tobias was a friend of Frederick’s late father, in fact his dying wish was that Frederick look after the old man. His father had passed ten years prior, and Tobias had been living in the guest house on his Dad’s estate.
Tobias supposedly moved to Lost Goblins after his father passed and the estate was sold, and Frederick kept up with him via letters. He had never actually met the old coot in person, but he still felt like he knew the crazy son of a bitch. In the age of technology it was strange to not at least see what someone looks like when exchanging over social media or some other platform, but it added a bit of mystery to Tobias that Frederick liked. It was endearing that the letters were hand-written, a nice touch.
Unit 6 was Tobias’ mobile home number, and he pulled in the makeshift driveway that was really just a car sized clearing amongst the trash and debris of the mobile home park. There weren’t any fresh tire tracks, so it probably hadn’t been used in a long time, the two foot weeds growing around sporadically in the clearing confirming that story.
Clumps of dust and small twigs caked the screen door of the unit, which sent a bolt of rage through Frederick. He had come all this way for nothing, no one had opened that door for years. Still, he needed a peek inside to search for any kind of clue as to what was going on. He opened the screen door, which was practically glued to the frame form years of grime. Frederick decided he should get a flashlight, as the sun was setting, so he grabbed one from his car. He ran back to the entrance, the screen door now hanging open, and tried the main door. It was unlocked, so he let himself in.
All the windows were boarded up, and Frederick had his confirmation that no one was living there, and had not for a long time. The letters still had this address on them, and they had to be coming from somewhere. But they could have been mailed from anywhere in Death Valley and still have the right post mark. A fake return address was hardly a new thing.
Frederick was about to consider the mystery solved, or at least partially solved, when he heard a curious noise emanating from the back room. It sounded like a ribbed vacuum hose being pulled across the floor, along with what he could only describe as ‘something wet’. The sun was fully set now, and the inside of the unit was pitch black. He shined his flashlight down the narrow corridor of the mobile home hallway, and the light splashed against a cheap faux wood door. As Frederick crept forward, the intensity of the noise increased.
Frederick, feeling a surge of courage rush through him, turned the knob and flung the door open. Sitting in a chair, placed in front of a worn down bed, was the old man. He had been dead for many years, now a cobwebbed adorned, withered corpse. A pile of paper along with pencils and envelopes, including a stack of recently purchased stamps, resided in front of Tobias. Something stirred from beneath the bed, but instead of aim the light beneath to see what was there, Frederick ran with a speed he thought was only capable for Olympic athletes and dove into his car, shooting rocks around the mobile home park as he peeled out, motoring away from the horrible place as fast as he could.
Finally, Frederick made it home to his apartment in Los Angeles, relaxed that he was finally on familiar turf. On the way to his apartment room he decided to stop by the mailbox, unlocking the small metal door and pulling out the mail, which consisted of only one item. It was a new letter from Tobias.

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DAVID ANDERSON lives and writes in Mesa, Arizona. His work has appeared in Surreal Grotesque's online magazine, and other ezines like Bizarro Central, Garden Gnome Pulbications, and The Rot Gut County Blog. He can be found in print in 50 Secret Tales of the Whispering Gash: A Queefrotica and Witch!, an anthology from Dynatox Ministries.

1 comment:

Jeremy Maddux said...

No way, Anderson! You should have shown us what was under the bed and explained more about what made Tobias write those fucked up stories about horse cheetahs! Good premise if it wrapped a bit early!