Latest Flash

Hoarding Death

Even in The Gutter,

some places aren't meant to be broken into.

Hoarding Death by Michael D. Davis



The room looked like a sewer onto which every shitter in the county had flushed at once. I moved along a path lined by trash whispering, “Jesus, this place is horrible.”

“We knew who owned it when we planned this. Didn’t we, Fisk?”

“Yeah, yeah I just didn’t know one person could accumulate this much crap in a lifetime. What is that smell?”

Clark and I shimmied and shook through the chaos, clutter, and utter destruction that was Anna Daryl’s house. We moved between mountains, over hills, and through valleys of items that had been acquired over years of searching yard sales, clearance aisles, thrift stores, and the occasional dumpster. At times, the stench was so bad my nose hairs receded back into my skin in search of a more cohesive environment in which to sprout.

“You know,” Clark said leaning on a stack of newspapers, “my mom calls herself a hoarder, but at least you can see the floor.”

“Holy shit!”

“What, what?”

“It’s a skeleton of a dead… something or other.”

“I think that was a cat.”

“Well, the pussy’s all bones now.”

“Just keep goin’, the safe is supposedly at the back of the house. That's what the old guys said.”

“I wouldn’t trust some old guys’ gossip.”

“But this is concrete. The guys that sit at the gas station told me all about it.”

“What’s a crazy old bat like this doin’ with all that money anyway?” I said.

“Accordin’ to the old guys, her father was loaded then croaked and left everythin’ to her.”

“How do four old guys who do nothin’ but sit around yackin’ at a gas station know this shit?”

“Man, they know everythin’.”

“Oh my god. There’s another one.”

This feline was fresher than its pal. Fur still remained in a few places, bugs were eating where it wasn’t, and its collar still sat on its neck informing us of the departed’s name: Hope.

“I hate this, Clark.”

“Me too, it's like a game of I-spy with dead pussycats. Let’s get the dough and get out of here.”

We walked a few more feet and the piles started to encompass us.

“We reached a dead end,” Clark said.

“Now what?”

“It looks like there’s a door on the other side of this pile.”

“Should we try to find a way around or somethin’?”

“No. I’m goin’ over. I’ll use this crock pot as a foothold and get over to that box of VHS tapes and knickknacks. After I’m over, you go over.”

“Kay.”

Clark got over with little struggle. I got my footing on the crock pot and started up the pile when the crock pot dislodged and I took a header.

“Jesus, fuck’en, shit, Christ,” Clark said, “What the hell are you doin’? You wanna bury me and you both under an avalanche of crap. Be careful for crissakes.”

I got over on my second try using a box of cords as a foothold. Instead of trying to climb down the other side I just kind of slid down.

“What the hell are’ya doin’?” Clark said.

“Slidin’ down.”

“Well, get off your ass. We should be gettin’ close to the back of the house.”

We started trekking our way across the room and got part way when Clark tripped, swore, and fell into a pile of God only knows what.

“Jesus Christ, what’d I trip on?”

“An ankle.”

“What?”

“Look.” I pointed to the base of a large pile where two boney knees peeked out and lead to two chewed away legs.

“Oh, my fuck!” 

“I think I’m gonna hurl,” I said. My stomach suddenly moving like Gene Kelly.

“Don’t you dare you son of a bitch. If you hurl, I’ll hurl, then we both’ll have yacked on this dead ol’bitch.”

He had a point, so I did my best to keep it down. But it wasn’t easy. Clark figured that she was sleeping on a mattress on the floor when a bunch of her own shit fell and crushed her. I didn’t venture a theory.

“She could’ve been here weeks,” Clark said.

“With that smell, I’d say longer.”

“Eh, at least she died like her cats.”

At the back of the room was a little closet. The safe was on the floor. It took us twice as long to make the trip back out of the house carrying it, and we hoped it was gonna be worth it.

We got back to Clark’s place and he started working. He said he’d have it open easy using his brawn and brains. I sat by impatiently as an hour or two spun around the clock before he finally popped the lid. I started celebrating.

“That crazy old bitch...” Clark said.

“What?”

“There ain’t no money. Just another fuckin’ dead cat.”

Michael D. Davis was born and raised in a small town in the heart of Iowa. Having written over thirty short stories, ranging in genre from comedy to horror, flash fiction to novella, he continues in his accursed pursuit of a career in the written word.