A Fate Worst of All
The last thing you'd hope to happen to you
Perhaps it was the sudden temperature drop from the previous days or the clear night sky allowing the moon to shine brightly across the city, but Detective Finely knew she would be approaching something sinister that night. Driving through the bright and busy streets of downtown she began to notice less and less vehicles as she entered the darker side of town where the lights were dim and everyone asleep. The only light that shined bright was the flashing of red and blue lights. She gulped as her vehicle approached the scene, noticing not a single officer moving. They were all surrounding something in the entrance of an alleyway, between two apartment buildings. A few people had their heads hanging out their window, others were out on their fire escapes, just to see what was going on.
Detective Finely stepped out of her car, even more nervous with the lack of talking. Though Detective Finely's presence was obvious, shutting her door loud enough to echo through the block, not a single officer turned to glance at her. She cleared her throat as she began to approach the scene herself, stepping through the parked patrol cars. As she approached, she could hear shuffling. Very slow, careless shuffling and occasional clops.
"Officers, what's happened? What's going on here?" Detective Finely aggressively shoved her way past the surrounding officers. She knew little to nothing about the incident, nothing except that she needed to be there as soon as possible. Though she knew little of the incident, she didn't believe it would be anything she hadn't seen before. She'd been on the force for thirteen years, and hadn't experienced anything new in at least two years. Until that night.
When she finally had a visual of the scene, she immediately understood why every officer stood silent and still. Majority of the officer's mouths were agape, and Detective Finely wasn't an exception. A sinking feeling resonated in the pit of her stomach, causing her to become slightly nauseated, which was not something she felt very often anymore. Her ears felt as though they couldn't hear any other sound apart from the dreadful slow shuffling and clops. It was a sight she feared she'd see in her nightmares for the rest of her life. A sudden desire to be a young innocent child yet again sparked deep within her, wishing to be held by her parents where she felt the most safe.
In the center of the wall created of police officers was a corpse, on it's decrepit feet, skin and clothes hanging from it's bones, it's elbows in the air above it's dropped head, which was a mix of dead flesh and bone. It was dancing. It's body, with every 'beat' dropped from one foot to the other, it's arms dropping in the same motion. It's hips barley shook from side to side. Detective Finely could barely take her eye off the corpse but she had to check for rope or fishing lines that might've been holding the corpse up and moving it like a puppet. Though, she saw nothing.
"Officer Davis... what the hell are we looking at?" Detective Finely's eyes made their way back to the victim.
"Honestly Detective... I have no idea." Officer Davis also kept his eyes locked on the corpse.
"Do you have any information that I can work with?" she asked.
"Um... just that at approximately eight thirty, a call was made to report a dead body that was moving. Eric- erm... Officer Hugh and I were the first on the scene. There was nobody nearby to explain what was happening. The caller was a young woman by the name of Harriet Flemmings. We... well we haven't been able to leave yet."
"Do we know whether the victim is definitely dead?"
"I mean... look at him, Detective. Half his skin has rotted off and he's not visibly breathing." Officer Davis had a calm yet worried tone in his voice.
"So you haven't even checked for a pulse?"
"He's dancing!" Detective Finely's confusion brought her to a frustrated state. She was unsure what to do in this situation, so she was trying to go back to the basics. She approached the dancing corpse slowly, still frightened by the sight. He anxiety began to rise as she stepped closer. It was worse the more she could see, letting more light in from the patrol car's headlights. There was a very hallow, and short movement of air that could be heard. This notified Detective Finely that he might still be breathing. In front of the crowd of officers, Detective Finely slid a latex glove onto her right hand, took her index and middle finger to the corpse's neck, and they slid through the dead rotting skin and in to his neck. She jumped back, immediately retracting her fingers, yelping a disgusted shout. The entire audience of officers jumped and shouted as well, taking a step back.
Detective Finely ripped the glove from her hand and walked away from the corpse.
"Somebody better tell me the coroner is on his way then." She demanded to the group.
The coroner finally arrived at the scene and had a very similar reaction as most everyone else had. However, once they were able to lay the body down, the corpse ceased dancing and laid still. Once the corpse was laid still, Detective Finely was able to gather herself to conduct the investigation. On her search of the body, they found a wallet, pocket change, a cell phone, and a pack of cigarettes. Near his body were a couple of used cigarette butts, a can of Physician Salt, and a crumpled up receipt. The Physician Salt was a new sparkling beverage that was popular to the current teenagers. The victim's name was Avery Ines and was only seventeen years old, still in high school. The cell phone they found on his body was dead, so Detective Finely had an officer take it to the station to enter it into evidence and then have it charged immediately. In the meantime, she wanted to speak with the person who called in the body. After a quick couple of calls, she found out that Harriet worked in a diner just down the street. She figured Harriet must've seen the body as she was on her way to work. Without much more direction to the officers and forensics analysts, she left the scene.
Ding Dong Diner was lighting up the corner it sat on, along with the glow of green and red from the traffic lights for the four-way intersection. Not a single person in sight. Lights in windows off, cars dark and quiet. Just the diner felt of any life.
Detective Finely strolled into Ding Dong Diner, hoping to make the conversation quick so she could get back to the police station and begin her countless reports. The bells on the doors chimed and from behind a wall beyond the front counter of the diner a young woman with blonde hair, brown eyes, and a cute blue bow in her hair whipped herself into Detective Finely's presence.
"Welcome to Ding Dong Diner. My name is Harriet, but you can call me Jenny. What can I get started for you? We have a special on our biscuits and gravy from today until Friday if you'd be interested in that." Harriet exploded with customer service personality.
"How do you get Jenny from Harriet?"
"It's my middle name, Jennifer. Some people tell me it's easier to say."
"Harriet Jennifer Flemmings." Harriet chuckled, but had a suspicious look on her face.
"I'm sorry, do I know you?" Detective Finely could tell Harriet was trying to keep up a friendly persona, but seemed to be quite confused.
"I'm Detective Finely. I just left a scene in which you called to the authorities. I came to ask a few questions." Harriet's wide smile faded and she exhaled.
"Ah... I should've guessed there wasn't going to be a customer at this time. I'm sorry, I actually didn't expect you to come talk to me." Harriet tossed a hand towel onto the counter and leaned on it. "So, how can I help you Detective? You want a coffee?"
"I'll take a cup, thank you."
After Harriet poured a cup of coffee for Detective Finely, she grabbed a drink for herself to sit and talk. A Physician Salt soda.
"Hm." Detective Finely expressed at the sight of the soda.
"What?" Harriet opened the can and took a sip.
"Uh... nothing. I just noticed that's the new soda everyone's been drinking lately."
"Oh, yeah. It's my favorite. I get one before, during, and after school."
"Are you still in high school?" Harriet chuckled.
"No, I actually just started attending college. Needed a night job so I could study during the day. I mean, I'm definitely more tired, but I can't make it off tuition alone."
"Understandable. Let me ask these questions real quick so I can let you get back to work."
"Take your time Detective. Clearly nobody else is here, we were a bit short staffed today, but I can run the diner just well on my own. Especially when hardly anyone comes in during my shift."
"Well, let me first start by asking when you saw the victim."
"I was on my way to work. Normally I take a taxi, but I've been trying to lose a couple pounds lately. I just had a birthday and regret the amount of cake I had." Detective Finely looked at Harriet's body surprised she wanted to lose any amount of weight, but reserved her thoughts for herself. "Anyways, I was walking to work and I noticed that man... moving, in an unnatural way. I didn't get too close but from where I stood, it appeared that he was dead. I didn't understand, but I had to get to work to relieve my co-worker. So, continuing down the street, I called the police and just gave the best description I could for not getting a good look and being late."
"What made you think he was dead?"
"I mean, I wasn't certain, it was just what it looked like. I couldn't understand how someone being dead could be standing like that, but I didn't like the look of it. I guess, I kinda admit, I was frightened by it, so I tried to keep walking to avoid looking at it longer." Harriet took another sip of her soda. Detective Finely found herself looking at the can of soda. "Hey, you want to try? It's really good."
"Uh, no, thank you. You've been drinking out of it, and I don't know you or where your mouth has been..." Detective Finely recognized the awkwardness of her phrasing.
"Come on, I'm not diseased. Just take a drink. You'll like it, guaranteed. Just a sip. If you want, you can pour it into your mouth so you don't touch the rim."
"I'm pretty sure, despite how clean you are, the germs will still be in the soda, even if I don't touch the rim."
"Trust me, you'll love it. Come on."Harriet begged the Detective to take a sip. Detective Finely would've never allowed herself to take a sip, but she had that feeling again that she had before she reached the scene, and her restraint began to slip away.
Harriet was clearly happy to see Detective Finely take a sip of the soda. Detective Finely handed the soda back to Harriet, who took it and sat it down on the counter, still holding it.
"Oh, wow. That is fantastic." Detective Finely said, starting to consider picking up one on her way home after questioning Harriet.
"I told you." Harriet was proud of what she was able to get the detective to do. They both laughed.
Then, quicker than she could think, Detective Finely saw a second can of Physician Salt spring up onto the other side of the counter, sending a chill down her spine. Harriet was still laughing, not aware of the second can, unable to hear the clunk of the can hitting the counter. It slid across the counter and bumped into the hand she was holding her can in. She stopped laughing and looked down at the can. It was dirty, and slightly rusted.
Harriet screamed as she snapped up from her seated position to a stand. Her arms snapped out in front of her, making a balled fist with both hands. Her head began to twitch to the right, and her right leg bent inward as her hips dropped. Her right hand turned and dropped, as if she was turning a wheel. Then she returned to her original position.
She was dancing.
"Help me!" Harriet screamed, unable to control her body. Detective Finely had already jumped from her seat and began walking back. Her eyes were on the can that was clearly the cause of it all. The can rotated, showing the clear white "Phys Salt" logo on the blue and dark blue mix colored can.
Detective Finely glanced at Harriet's hauntingly distressed face, red from fear and tears. She could not control her actions and Detective Finely could tell. Then a sound of metal scraping against the counter grabbed Detective Finely's attention, as she turned to see the can beginning to move toward her. She began quickly stepping backwards as the can chased her. Passing booth after booth, the detective ran backwards, watching something that should not be happening. She jumped on to a booth with nowhere else to go, but the can followed her on to the booth. She dove across to another booth, spinning off of it and running back down the diner, the can close behind her. Harriet looked panicked, eyes wide, believing she'd never be able to stop dancing. Scared she was going to dance to death...
Detective Finely ran past Harriet and out the front door yelling, "I'll be back, I'll be back for you!"
Harriet just kept dancing and crying, whimpering, "Don't leave me, don't leave me alone."
Down the middle of the street, Detective Finely ran for her life. Though, she could hear the sounds of the can bouncing across the asphalt of the street. The sound of fear and death chasing her. She turned back, pulling her weapon from it's holster, and unloading her 15 round magazine on the sentient can. Unfortunately, with it being a small moving target, she had trouble actually hitting the can. Round nine, ten, eleven, bullets zoomed passed the can and into the asphalt behind it. Round twelve, thirteen, fourteen, close, but not enough. Round fifteen. The slide on her weapon locked in the back position and he last round tipped the silver top of the can, causing the can to spin in the air and fall on its side.
Detective Finely slowed her run as she noticed the can's motionless state. She stared at the can, hoping it was over. Slowly, she approached it, ready in case it jumped up to come after her again. But it did just that. It hopped at the detective, causing her to jump back and accidentally drop her weapon. The can was on the move again, and she sprinted for her life once more, cursing at herself for not reloading her weapon and laying in another magazine into the can.
With regret and fear, she felt her life slipping away, until she thought of the only thing she could do. Hide.
She went down a random alleyway, sprinting past smelly dumpsters, unconscious homeless, and heaps of trash. The walls covered in graffiti too dark to see at that time of night. She turned down two more alleyways within the first one, hoping to lose the can. A dumpster that was near by was perfect for her to hide behind, so she did.
She held her mouth attempting to suppress her exhaustive breathing and keep quiet. As she began to relax, unable to hear the sound of the can, her breathing through her nose began to slow and quiet. She waited. She wouldn't allow herself to be trapped. Then she heard the sound of a can, clanging across the ground. Then silence.
She quietly prayed to herself, hoping this would be the only miracle she'd ever need for the rest of her life, but it was quiet for a while. She grabbed the side of the dumpster, and leaned to look around it. She saw nothing. The can was gone. She sat back against the wall with relief, finally breathing out loud. As she breathed, counting her blessings, she looked up and saw the can looking down at her from the top of the dumpster. She screamed and the can jumped.
The case expanded. People were found dancing left and right. Soon, the streets were just filled with people dancing to death. Within the next two years, people died out and there were only a hand full of individual left, untouched by the can. They did their best to survive, but it was a long end for the human race. Those who survived past those two years would have to scavenge past dead people and skeletons, rotted and shriveled away, still dancing. That's how the world has ended.
About the Creator
Writing has been a passion of mine since before I was 8 years old. I’ve evolved my stories in various ways since, and I only want to write for people to enjoy my stories. I don’t like to typically stay within a specific genre.
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.