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21st June
posted by amber

Judd’s Car Lot

Judd has more Volkswagons than anything else, the bugs of assorted colour in three rows, the vans, a few Westfalias. The rows are neat, but overgrown with caraganas and nettles. He’ll collect any old car he can get his hands on, scavenging unwanted junkers, finding them abandoned on back roads and in gravel pits.

Young guys who see his lot from the highway stop by occasionally, asking if they can look for parts. Judd sends them packing. He doesn’t do this to earn money.  He has his pension and the land was paid for years back.

The prizes of his collection are protected by sheds.  The model T he found  hemmed in by saskatoon bushes along an old railway grade, the brightly painted circus truck he drove home from Spokane after trading his station wagon for it, the 1942 Buick Flxible Hearse.

In the old barn, Judd keeps his 1948 Cadillac convertible, with its huge rounded bumpers and hood, like the nose of a rocket pushing through the universe, he loves those muscular lines, loves the purr of the engine’s eight cylinders.  He bought that car after saving up for a year, a portion of the paycheque from his first job socked away, literally in a sock in the back of his closet. That car had been his pride and joy.

He hadn’t driven it but four months before the night he came bumper to bumper with its futuristic twin, right on the Coulee Bottom road, coming back to the farm late after a couple hours in the bar. Black and shiny, streamlined, steaming in the glow from his headlights. It was not a car. It had no wheels, no windshield, no doors that he could make out. But when he got out and walked around the thing, sobering up more quickly than he would have thought possible, a door popped open.

What was inside was indescribable, untouchable, unfathomable.

His dad had told him about the War of the Worlds radio hoax, the panic afterwards.  He knew how nervous everyone was now that Russia had exploded their atom bomb. No one else needed to know about this. Whoever, whatever, lay inside the thing was obviously dead. He drove home and got the tractor and towed the thing to a shed on a distant corner of the farm that he’d appropriated as a garage, covered it with tarps and old boards, parked his Cadillac in front. He told his Dad that his car broke down.

He kept that shed locked up tight for years. After his parents died, he began to collect the other cars, packing them around the property for camouflage. But he’s getting old and he lies awake nights, wondering what to do, if anything, with the thing.

One night, in the darkness of the shed and the false walls built around the thing, a light blinks on and purple eyes slowly open.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

1 Comment

  1. Jonathan

    Very cool story, I would love to read what happens next.

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