Never Open Someone Else's Fridge
You never know what you may find...
Never Open Someone Else’s Fridge
When you open someone’s fridge you expect to see certain things…like milk, juice butter, beer, left-overs, but this was one fridge I wish I had not opened.
We had known each other for years when Bert lived next to my wife and I in the suburbs. Then, something happened in his life. Well, mine to, if you want the truth. Nancy and I split up and she moved to the city.
I never did find out what exactly had happened to Bert. He was suddenly a different person. No longer the cheerful, helpful kind of neighbor everyone looks for. Now, he seemed to be getting more and more withdrawn every day.
When I saw him outside, he used to come over to the fence for a chat. Now, he would just look at me, say something like, ‘Uhh’ and go in his house.
Then, one day his house went up for sale. He had already moved away without saying goodbye or anything. He was just gone.
Several years past and I kind of forgot about him. Until one day, I went to see a dog breeder in a small town about 50 miles from where I lived. The name of it does not matter and I ended up not buying a dog from the guy. There was just something about his kennel that I did not like. It was not something I could put my finger on, more like a feeling I had. Anyway, I said I would let him know. There had not been any one dog that jumped up and said, “Pick me!” if you know what I mean.
Anyway, I stopped for lunch in the nearby town. Afterward, I was walking back to the car when I saw Bert. He had aged too quickly for his years. He was walking towards me but had not seen me yet. I stopped and looked him.
“Hey, Bert. How’ve ya been?”
He stopped and looked at me. He recognized me and said, “Getting by, Bill. Just getting by, is all. Good to see you. What brings you around these parts?”
I told him about the kennel I visited.
“Oh, that’s Ernie. I’d never buy anything from him. Don’t know why. I just never have. I don’t go near his place. Again, I don’t know why. I just sort of avoid it, is all. Hey, I’m sorry I was so miserable just before I left the ‘burbs, you know. I feel bad about that. You guys were real good neighbors. I should have told you what happened but at the time, I just couldn’t. I just had to get away.
“It’s better now. It can’t find me here, or at least it hasn’t yet, and I hope it never does.”
“Hey, it really is great to see you, Bert. Listen, do you have time for coffee?”
“Uh, yeah, sure. But, I never go near the café here. It just never appealed to me. Why don’t you follow me back to my place? We can have coffee there. I don’t live far from here and it would be good to catch up.”
“Well, sure, Bert. I’d like that if you’re sure it’s no trouble.”
“None at all.”
I followed Bert through the town and turned off on a rural road about half a mile out of the town limits.
He had a little homesteader’s house. There appeared to be a bedroom and kitchen off the living room. That was all.
“Let’s go sit at the table in the kitchen, Bill. Say, if you don’t mind me asking, what happened with you and Nancy? Just tell me if it’s none of my business.”
“No, that’s okay, Bert. I guess she just had a different vision of life that I do. So, we got divorced. Oh, we were still friends, but she wanted to move back to the city, so she did. Just one of those things. I did not care for all the noise and people all around. I was happy out in the suburbs. She wasn’t.”
“Too bad. You seemed to be a nice couple.”
“Yeah, well, things happen. Though I miss her sometimes, I am okay. I have finally started to see someone else.”
“Yeah, you have to get on with your life. Kind of like I did with mine.”
“Bert, you said ‘it couldn’t find you here, or at least it hasn’t yet’. I am curious. Is someone chasing you?”
Bert did not say anything for a minute. Then he said, “It started a couple of years before I left. It was just something in my head. Something evil. It was forcing me to do things I did not want to do.”
“Couldn’t you just change your thoughts?”
“Believe me, I tried many times. After a while, I was afraid to go to sleep in case I got up, went out and killed somebody.”
“Wow! That’s quite serious. Did you see anyone about it?”
“Yeah, my doctor referred me to a shrink. A psychiatrist. He started asking me weird questions about my childhood and all. What I needed was someone to tell me how to get rid of the voice in my head. It wasn’t a real voice, but something was in there was telling me to do some terrible things.”
“That is awful. No wonder you tried to get away from it. You said it hasn’t found you here yet. Do you think it will? It sounds more psychological than physical to me.”
“It is psychological. I realized that but I thought if I moved away, maybe it would stop tormenting me.”
He looked at me. “I feel thirsty, Bill. How about you? Want a beer?”
“Well, now that you mention it, yeah, I could join you.”
“Grab us a couple out of the fridge, will you? I’ll get us a couple of glasses.”
He reached up and opened a cupboard as I walked over to the fridge. It was a warm day, and I was starting to feel thirsty. I opened the fridge door, grabbed a couple cans of beer, and slammed it shut again. My heart almost stopped.
I opened the cans of beer.
“What the heck is that you’ve got in the fridge, Bill? It looks like body parts. Are they from a moose or something? They don’t look like moose, to me. They look human. What are you doing with those?”
“Making soup, mostly. I make soup. It’s quite delicious once you get used to the taste. Toss in some potatoes, a few carrots, and onions. Yes sir, it makes a real tasty soup. Oh, and by the way, it did find me, Bill.”
I swung around. Bert had a long-handled axe in his hand. As he started to raise it, I tipped the cans of beer toward him and sprayed them in his face. Quickly, I squirmed past him, ran out the door, fishing for my keys as I went. I hopped into my car and took off down the driveway as fast as I could. I had to get away from there and find the nearest police station.
When I did, I sighed in relief as I walked up the steps. I reported what had happened and what I had seen. I told them that Bert was in need of psychiatric help and should to be locked in an asylum.
The two officers looked at each other. One said, “You know, we don’t really get many strangers coming through town. We have a nice little town here and we like it just the way it is. You cannot just go around telling other folks about Bert. That would just bring a whole bunch of people here that don’t belong.”
I felt a sting as one constable held my arm and the other injected something into my arm – right through my shirt. I immediately felt woozy and would have fallen over if the officers had not been holding on to my arms.
Through the haze, I heard one of them say, “Put him in the cell. The doctor will be here in a little while. He is still busy with that other outsider that came through here earlier. It’s been a real busy day.”
©April 2021 Robert W. F. Taylor
This is a new story scheduled to be part of a new book of short stories that I intend to publish this summer, tentatively titled ‘Weird Tales’.
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