(19th in this challenge)
IT WAS A STARK AND DORMY NIGHT*.
Eleka thought she was alone. Bruce Hall had closed for the slushy Winter/Xmas hiatus. No vehicles existed in the ashy lot but hers. The hallway had traded in its Mary Jane abrasive sass for a mellow, generic, aired-out hallway smell. But if she was alone, who was manhandling her knocker?
And how did they have knowledge of her?
Her Santa nightlight wasn’t that bright. And it wasn’t that big.
“Let me in!” a male who was probably nerdy and skinny fat by the crack in his shrill. To my peep hole, she declared internally, so that I might investigate. When she put her eye to the hole, his pound felt like a pound in her face and she thought he was such a jerk she almost wanted the awful thing that was surely about to happen happen to him. Would serve him—
She relented. He was skinny fat but not that tall. It looked good on him.
“So what’s the problem?” Eleka asked, once the door was closed and locked and she put Santa to sleep.
“There’s this serial-killing pineapple outside. It’s already made fruit salad of my friends.”
“And it finishes by putting your cherry on top!”
Eleka noted to keep her backend toward walls but not just in case the serial-killing pineapple was real. “So let’s whisper what we’re dealing with.”
Suddenly, I paring knife was thrust through the door half a foot from the floor.
“I can’t believe I allowed it in,” the man said, dolefully.
The paring knife interrupted them again.
Then again. Then again.
But then it stopped.
Eleka asked the man THE important question with her eyes but he thought it was a declarative sentence.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“What’s happening?” Eleka asked, but she assumed he couldn’t answer, mostly because his friends were dead and who in-the-know can’t keep their friends alive?
She cautiously creaked open her door. There laid the pineapple, smelling ripe. She tried to tug the knife from the greedy door.
“What are you doing!” she asked the pineapple while tugging.
“Playing a drunk Christmas tree, lady. What do you think?”
“Why aren’t you killing us?”
“I ran out of juice. Kill you later?”
But she didn’t let that happen. She and the man were close to catching diabetes from the sweetness of the murderer five minutes later.
“You know,” Eleka started, “How are they going to know who killed your friends?”
Then the paring knife seemed pulled out from outside of the door. But it fell, so that isn’t a plot twist.
“That’s why I’m in here with you!” the man said, and he revealed his police badge.
Sirens blared, cops rushed to her room, and Eleka was read her Miranda rights.
“But the pineapple in the dorm hallway did it with the paring knife,” she said, as the cop began to handcuff her.
“Wow,” the arresting officer quipped, “she must be right.”
And they let released her back into the custody of herself. But they called both her and the man’s stomach contents in for questioning.
*The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest says not to be corny with the first line, giving the example It was a stark and dormy night. But I like it so much.
Great art by Lawrence Cox.
I feel like I could write these (for better or for worse) for the rest of my life. Bad writing is fun.