Latest Flash

Carcass

In our first Gutteral Scream,

Paul D. Brazill sinks his teeth into primal fears and urges.

Carcass by Paul D. Brazill


Ava drove her battered, old Ford Escort to the edge of the forest and parked beneath a pine tree. As she sat and watched the autumn rain batter the windscreen, she listened to the Siouxsie and The Banshees CD that Martin had given her for her birthday. It was a copy of a bootleg LP that his father had owned, apparently.

There were only a few songs on the CD, most of which she could take or leave but there was one she really liked. 

Martin had told her one of the songs had been banned, for some reason that she couldn’t remember, and that his father had had to go to London’s Kings Road to get a bootleg vinyl version. Martin talked a lot about old music and ancient bands and while some of it was interesting, a lot was just a dull blur of trivia. When he got together with his friends in the Art College bar it was even worse.

Still, Martin was sweet for the most part and a lot more likable than most of Ava’s recent boyfriends. They’d had some nice times together, that was for sure. She’d even momentarily considered giving it a real go with him. Having a proper, normal relationship like other girls. It was so tempting but there was, however, as always, the problem of her family and their. . . ways.

She sighed and turned up the music to drown out the sound of banging that was coming from the car boot. 

Two tattooed and scarred behemoths appeared out of the forest. They had long black hair, unkempt beards and carried shotguns. Her father and her brother looked drunk, which was usually the case since her mother had died.

Ava heard Ike, her father, howl as he approached the car. Her brother Barry lagged behind, swigging from a bottle of homemade vodka. Ike banged on the roof of the car.

Ava rolled down her window.

‘Fi, fi, fo, fum,’ said Ike.

‘He’s in the boot,’ said Ava.

‘Alive?’ said Barry.

‘Just about,’ said Ava.

She blinked.

Barry grinned and rubbed his stomach.

Ava wound the window back up as they went to the back of the car and opened the boot.

Her father howled again as he and Barry hauled Martin from the car. The young man kicked and struggled as Barry hauled him over his shoulders. Ava turned up the volume to cover the sound of Martin’s screaming.

Her father waved to her and walked back into the depths of the forest, whistling. Barry trailed behind.

Ava started up the car and headed back to Seatown. As she approached the outskirts of town, the rain grew heavier. She noticed a young woman by the side of the road, hitchhiking. She was soaked to the skin. Ava felt sorry for her and stopped the car.

The young woman got in. ‘Thanks,’ she said.

‘No problem,’ said Ava.

The young woman put her backpack in the back seat and sat in the passenger seat. ‘What a night,’ she said, fastening her seat belt. ‘Not fit for man nor beast.’ She took off her baseball cap.

Ava blinked.

The woman looked eerily familiar. ‘Hey, I know this music. It’s The Banshees,’ she said. ‘My brother listens to all this old punk stuff. He’s a man out of time.’
 
‘Your brother?’ said Ava, starting up the car. 

‘Yeah, my twin brother Martin. I’m going to visit him in Seatown. He’s at art college there.’

Ava blinked quickly. ‘I know a short cut,’ she said, making a U-turn and heading back the way she’d come. She took out her phone and dialed carefully. ‘Dad,’ she said. ‘I think we may have a guest for dinner.’

She switched off her phone as her father howled.


Paul D. Brazill's books include Too Many Crooks, A Case Of Noir, Guns Of Brixton, The Last Laugh, Small Time Crimes, and Kill Me Quick! He was born in England and lives in Poland. His writing has been translated into Italian, Finnish, Polish, German, and Slovene. He has had writing published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime.