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Lucky Number Thirteen

There she was. As beautiful as he remembered. The sparkle of the black paint had faded over the decades, but he recognized his girl anywhere. He remembered cruising around behind the wheel, windows down, music blasting. It reminded him of his younger years. The youth he so desperately wanted to relive. Damn getting older.

“She needs a bit of work,” the man holding the keys said. “But these classic cars were built to last. You can get her fixed up in no time.”

“As long as this baby purrs, I’m ready to take her off your hands.” Clyde rubbed his together, awaiting the feel of the steering wheel in his grip.

“Man, this is a 1960 GTO. She doesn’t purr. She roars.” The two men shared a laugh. “Here,” the man said, tossing the keys. “Start her up and see for yourself.”

Clyde held the keys for a moment. This was it. He was going to hear her come to life. A sound he hadn’t heard in ages. He wondered what it would be like. Would the memories all flood back at the same time? Would nostalgia wash over him like a flood? Clyde was nervous, but excited for it all.

He climbed behind the wheel and ran his hands across the dashboard. “Hey Dahlia,” he said with a smile. “Remember me?”

The old man bent down and poked his head through the open driver window.

“Wait, do you know this car?”

Clyde gripped the steering wheel and felt the familiar rush he used to get sitting behind it in his youth. The upholstery had seen better days. There was work to be done. But this was his baby, and he would take care of her.

“It’s taken me years to hunt her down,” Clyde said, sliding the key in the ignition. “She was mine a long time ago, but I had to give her up. Now that I’ve found my way back to her, it’s like I can start over again. You know what I mean?”

“I think I do, buddy,” the man said. But Clyde wasn’t listening. He turned the key and listened to the roar of the engine. The years had been kind to her. She sounded as young as ever. Clyde was falling back in love with Dahlia.

He killed the ignition and took one last look around. There was no doubt in his mind he was getting her back today. This would not be something he could walk away from. Clyde pushed open the door and stepped out. The man stood there with a grin on his face.

“Hey, since this car means so much to you, how about I knock off a hundred bucks?” the man said, smiling. “After everything you probably went through to hunt this car down, you deserve it.”

“That’s very kind of you. But would you mind if I checked one more place? I’m certain this is her. VIN number matches up and everything. But I want to be sure.”

The man gave him a wink.

“I get it. Carved your initials in her somewhere or something like that, right?”

Clyde shrugged.

“Something like that.”

He walked around to the back and slid the keys in the lock. This was the moment of truth. If what he was searching for was in the trunk, this was his car. He had no doubt he would find it. Better safe than sorry, of course.

The trunk popped open with a rusty creak. Most people would want to correct it. Clyde thought it gave the old girl charm. He loved her despite her flaws. Who wouldn’t? So much of his life had been spent in this car. He spent time with his first date in Deliah. In fact, he had sex for the first time in the back seat. This car had given him so much and more.

Clyde stared down at the gray carpeting. Rust colored stains spotted the fraying carpet, but that didn’t matter much. New carpet would be easy to come by. If he decided to change it out, that was. There was something about leaving the car exactly as he found it that was endearing to him. The car couldn’t change Clyde’s imperfections, so why should he change hers? They had both grown older in their absence from each other. Time changed all things.

He reached in and tugged at the corner of the carpet. It took a couple tries before it started to pull free. As the carpeting pulled from the bottom of the trunk, the man stood over his shoulder watching with eager eyes. Clyde couldn’t wait to show him what he had carved there all those years ago.

When the carpet pulled free, Clyde found himself staring at the familiar six-inch tally marks carved into the metal flooring. He heard the man grunt over his shoulder. He didn’t understand what they were. Clyde would be more than happy to explain it to him.

“I take it that’s how many women you’ve had in the backseat?” the man laughed. “Wait, that can’t be right. There’s only, what, twelve marks? With a car this sexy, you should be pushing at least twenty or thirty, right?”

Clyde shook his head and chuckled.

“It’s not how many women I’ve been with,” Clyde laughed. He pulled a small pocketknife from his pocket. A familiar rush had flowed through his body. “It’s how many women died in the trunk.

Clyde turned to face the man. He felt more alive than he had in years. Something that had been missing from his life had returned. Clyde slashed the knife across the man’s throat. The old man toppled over, clutching his wound.

Without wasting a beat, Clyde slammed the trunk closed and jumped behind the wheel. “Come on Dahlia.” He said under the roar of her engine. “Let’s go find lucky number thirteen.” He shifted into drive and peeled off. The old man coughed and choked as the taillights sped away.  

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Flash Fiction, Horror