Presenting a picture prompt story for the picture by Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski. Who’s known for his dystopian and surreal artwork.
This was written in 2019 and I’m pleased to re-share it for Fandango’s Friday Flashback.
A lorry horn blared loud. The car’s wheels locked. Blinding headlights bared down upon it. Metal groaned, windows shattered, and sparks flew. A sensation of being in a washing machine on spin cycle, pain, terrifying nausea —darkness.
The warm fuzzy sensation of being wrapped in fur greeted Dale when he woke up. He sighed with content and tried to roll over in the cosiness. Pain ripped through his chest and legs jarring him fully awake.
“Gah, shit! What happened?” he groaned and realised he couldn’t move. Snapping his eyes open, he saw a blanket of blood-red blurring his vision. Panic rose like a thousand needles in his chest. Dale grabbed and tore at his binds. His breath came ragged, his blood pounding in his ears as he tore free. Every move tortured his ribs, but he fought through until he could sit up.
“My car! I’m still in my Maestro.” Dale looked about. His car seemed to have aged considerably. The windows were gone, the paintwork rusted and flaked away. He was sitting in a sea of red plant matter; somewhere between vines and a weird fungal growth.
Tearing his legs free of the living rope, he hauled himself out of a window and fell into a mat of the stuff. A scream left his lips, his broken ribs complained as if shot. His battered knees only added to the discomfort.
The sun flashed over his closed eyelids. It triggered images of the truck which ran him off the road.
“I should be dead, I …” Dale swore through his pain and glanced about. He was on a bluff close to the sea. Yet something was wrong, the red mat of alien vegetation carpeted everything within view, only the salty sand seemed to rebuke the growth. It triggered images of a film with alien tripods, but he dismissed it at once. “No, this isn’t aliens from Mars and Martian plants.”
Staggering to his feet, he wrapped an arm around his chest and made his way toward the road. ‘Then what the hell is all this!’ Every step of the way the vines grabbed and wrapped his shoes, forcing him to tear himself free. Each time causing further pain to wrack his broken body.
There was the tanker truck – on its side against the cliff face. Like the car, it was cloaked in a layer of the weird red creeper.
Dale made his way toward it, looking and listening for signs of life as he approached. “Hello!”
“Sir, this is a contaminated, area! You must get out of there immediately!”
Dale followed the sound with his eyes. There on the clifftop was a man clad in a hazmat suit. “This tanker hit my car! What the hell happened?”
“Then you’re lucky to be alive. Head down the road, I’ll meet you there.” The figure pointed, then vanished.
Dale sucked in air and swore at his tenderised chest. “Fine, I need help.’ he said to himself.
The man was waiting beside a government hazardous waste containment vehicle. He raised a hand for Dale to stop, turned on a compressor and aimed a pressurised hose on him.
The water was freezing-cold, foaming as its forceful jet knocked him backwards. “Hey! That bloody hurts – what the hell are you doing?” he yelled over the sound of the machine.
“Sorry, friend. I’m Oscar. You’ll be fine. Now, That truck was hauling biological contaminants collected from a government science facility. It made a hell of a mess when it hit you,” he said once he’d finished cleansing Dale.
“No shit! I’m not going to turn into a swamp monster, am I?” Dale was shivering, his teeth chattered through every word.
“Well, hopefully not.” Oscar wrapped a blanket about his shoulders. “Let’s get you to the hospital.”
“I’d appreciate it.” Dale followed him beyond the vehicle to a waiting ambulance. A paramedic set him on the tailgate at once. From there Toby heard Oscar talking to him …
“This one survived the crash but has been in contact with the weed. You know what to do.”
“Yup, consider it done.” The paramedic came around the ambulance and smiled at Dale. “Okay, sir. Let’s get you seen too.”
Dale allowed himself to be loaded on to the stretcher and fitted with a cannula. He felt the pain relief kick in and drifted to sleep. The doors closed and the ambulance disappeared toward the city.
Dale would never make it to hospital and was never to be seen again.
Have a great day!