I look over past my bed, eyes focusing on the numbers on the small clock on my night stand. 11:30 reads in red. Fuck it's late. I look back to my computer. Okay, time to finish this. I type out a lengthy email to the anonymous craigslist poster, doubting that I'm the first to message him about the car. I click on the pictures once more to remind myself just why the hell I'm going against my inner instinct of not fucking around with strangers over the internet. My eyes are glued to the screen and it's staring me in the face. A muscle car out of the seventies back when an "automobile accident" was still called a fucking car crash. My dream car. I look back at the clock. Midnight.
"Huh, Happy Birthday Shaun," I say to myself as I put down my number, hit send and shut down my computer. I collapse into my bed, my eyes once again falling onto the nightstand, not at the clock but rather at the money my parents have given me to support my "quest for higher education". I chuckle to myself and slowly drift to sleep.
Ring, ring, ring, ring.
“Hello?” I say holding the phone in my hands as my eyes sear in pain trying to read the bright red numbers on the clock.
“You emailed me? Saying you want my car?" An ominous yet familiar voice speaks through the phone.
“Uh… Yeah but don’t you think it’s a little early to be calling? Not to imply that I don’t want the car because believe me, I do.”
“Of course you want the car, it’s a fuckin’ beast on the road. Trust me, when chicks see you driving this baby, you’ll have to beat em’ off with a fuckin’ shovel."
I read the clock long enough to see it’s a quarter past three. I put the phone back to my head and begin to speak.
"So how low will you go on the price and when can I pick it up?” A grunt followed by some heavy breathing sounds before his reply.
“For you? It’s on the house and as for pick up I’ll drive to you in about an hour.” My eyes widen in disbelief, had he really just offered me a free car?
“Ok, but how do you know how long it’ll be? I haven’t given you my address yet.”
“Yeah, but your number has a New York area code and I’m like right outside of town taking care of a little business.” I tell him my address and watch out the window of my small apartment looking for the car. I see it pull up and throw on some clothes. I see the money my parents had given to me and think maybe this is a sign that I should further my education. As I walk up to the car, I start to think about what kind of person just gives something as nice as a car away.
"Weird, no driver." The only rational thought is that he must have got out of here fast. On the ignition is a small red envelope hanging by the key. It reads, “Check the trunk." I pop open the trunk and it releases a foul smell of sulfur and rancid meat. I look to find bloody surgical supplies, writhing maggots, my mother’s necklace and a note. I hold back the vomit as I pick up the bloodstained paper and unfold it.
“Happy Birthday Shaun, your parents didn't plan to throw you a party so I decided to do yourself a kindness." The rest of the ink is smeared with still warm and dripping blood.
I quickly run inside to call the cops.
Ring, ring, ring, ring.
The same sadistic fucking voice speaks to me.
“Happy Birthday kiddo, hope you’re enjoying your surprise party because I sure am. We're gonna play a little game.”
"Fuck you and your stupid fucking games!"
"Oh Shaunie boy that's no way to talk to your host now is it? This party is for me, but you're my guest of honor and as such you should fucking behave yourself. Got that?"
"Oh. So I'm the guest of honor, man go fuck yourself." I hang up the phone and as I start to phone the police blood trickles onto my face and all over my phone. I slowly look up.
On the ceiling and walls of my apartment several people, my parents included, are pinned by knives with their intestines hanging out. One of my father’s organs falls out and hits the floor with a sickening *splat*. I can't hold it back anymore, I drop my phone, hunch over and begin to vomit all over the floor. In the shadows I see a face that resembles a doll smiling. Through the porcelain I see human eyes. He stands up and, before I can do anything, slams his boot into my face.
I wake up, I try to move but my arms and legs are bound to a chair. My eyes burn as light manages to make its way around the room, stained a brilliant crimson by blood smeared on the windows. I slowly lift my eyes off the floor, in front of me I see my alarm clock. Its cable wrapped around some poor man's neck who has already had his eyes gouged out, tongue cut off and lips peeled back. I hear the noise of a fridge opening to my left.
"You know you really should have better refreshments for your guests. I mean come on, here I am, throwing you a fucking party and all you have to drink is diet Pepsi and fucking Kool Aid?" He kicks over the man in front of me and bends down to get eye level with me. He's so close I can feel the coldness of the porcelain mask on my own skin. He removes the gag from my mouth.
"What do you want? Money? I've got some on that table right there. Come on you don't need to do this." My reasoning seems to be in vain as he stands up straight and begins to laugh.
"You think I want money? You must be fucking joking." He takes a step back, spreads his arms and slowly spins, pointing to all the mutilated corpses.
"Half of these people could buy you if they wanted. You see, I don't have to do this, I just fucking want to. And boy did you make it easy, hell I could have had you yesterday if I wanted, all I needed to do was trace your little IP address and boom I gotcha. But then I thought 'Hey why not give this kid a good birthday.' So whad'ya think." I stare into the cold eyes behind the mask. I figure if my fate is sealed I can give this asshole the dissatisfaction of having a panicked victim. I maintain eye contact.
"I think you don't know when to shut the fuck up." With that he slams a knife into both of my knee caps and places his hand across my mouth.
"That's the spirit boy, but don't let me get too carried away. It's still your birthday for another eight hours." He uses his free hand to twist and turn the knife in my right leg. Then he leans back down to me and puts his face next to my ear.
"And I plan to use every fucking second, birthday boy."