Prompt Day #105: Write about an everyday appliance that fails, with horrifying consequences.
So That’s Where The Socks Went
“Mom! Where’s my amulet?” Audri called from her bedroom
“What the heck is an amulet?” Her mother answered.
“Oh my God, that thing I found on the sidewalk yesterday. Remember? I was gonna make it into a pendant to wear like an amulet.” She was stomping down the stairs, now angry at her mother for not remembering such an important discovery in her daughter’s life
“Oh that awful looking thing? I’d hoped you threw it away. I don’t know where it went. I haven’t seen it.” Her mother looked defiantly at Audri. Ever since she was a little girl, Audri would pick up anything shiny off the street. Her mother detested it and would try to explain how it was such a bad idea. But it was all in vain. The girl continued to bring home pieces of broken jewelry, screws, knobs, and various baubles. This thing, this “amulet” was by far the strangest and creepiest thing she’d ever brought home. A round circle of opal with a black obsidian center with a skeletal hand draped down from the top. The hand held a quartz crystal in it that crossed the circle. It was freaky and her mother hated it. She had to admit that she wasn’t sorry at all that it had been lost.
“Did you wash my jeans?” Audri asked.
“Yes I did, like I always do, Audri” Her mother answered
“Well, did you bother to check the pockets?” she asked haughtily
“Audri” Her mother started completely over this conversation “It is not my job to check the pockets. If you have something important in your pockets, it is your responsibility to get it out before they are put in the hamper.
‘Uuugh” Audri humphed and headed back upstairs
“Check the dryer. I didn’t take the last load out yet.” He mother yelled after her.
An hour later, her mother hadn’t heard another peep from Audri who had been getting ready for a night out with her friends. It was strange. She called upstairs but there was no answer. Just then, Jake came in from basketball practice.
“Hey, Ma!” He said and gave her a kiss on the cheek “What’s for dinner?”
“Spaghetti and salad. Jake, would you mind going upstairs and checking on Audri. I thought she was going out tonight but she went upstairs a while ago and I haven’t seen her since.” She said to her eldest child
“Sure, but you know teenage girls. Probably got into a text fight and now she is up there brooding away with her ear buds in.” He said laughing. “I’m gonna grab a shower while I am up there, K? I’ll send her down” He headed up the stairs. She heard him knocking on Audri’s door and calling her name, and then she heard the door to her room open. She listened to voices but couldn’t hear any. Then Jake’s big feet padding down the hallway and then yelling down the stairs.
“She’s not up here, Ma. She must’ve left without saying anything while you were cooking or something. I’m gonna shower though…Do I got clean clothes somewhere?” He asked.
“Yes, Jake. Check the dryer though for your jeans. I did a load last night and forgot to get them out.” She shook her head. Those two would walk around like homeless bums if it was left to them.
She heard his feet padding around, then the shower come on. With dinner prep finished she sat down to watch some TV before her husband got home from work. She didn’t notice Jake’s wonderings after the TV came on and she became absorbed in the show.
The I-phone timer went off reminding her it was time to start dinner. She started the water boiling for the spaghetti and wondered what her son had been up to all this time. She headed upstairs, her maternal instincts setting off alarms in her head. One child sneaking out and forgetting to say good bye was one thing but both was simply unheard of and she was worried. She knocked on Jake’s door but like Audri’s, there was no answer. She opened it and looked in. No Jake, no signs he’d even been in there. She checked Audri’s room again this time not bothering to knock. No Audri, no signs of life. She wondered down the hall, checking each room. It was unlikely either would be in her bedroom, but she checked anyways and of course she was right. No one was there. She checked the bathroom Jake and Audri shared. His dirty clothes lay crumpled on the floor and the mat in front of the shower was wet, so he had been there and out. The last room upstairs was the laundry room where she saw immediately Jake’s still damp towel lying in front of the dryer.
The missing children’s mother leaned down and saw a small twinkling light through the window on the front of the dryer. Probably that crazy amulet of Audri’s. She whipped open the door and had a moment to both feel and hear the whooshing of air as if in a vacuum before she herself was sucked into the black hole that was once a finite receptacle for dry clothing. The door to the machine slammed shut behind her.
“Andrea? Hello. Jake…Audri?” Jim yelled. His voice echoed in the empty house. Both Andi’s and Jake’s cars were in the driveway. The house didn’t seem to be disrupted in anyway. He walked into the kitchen. The pot of water on the stove was boiling over and he quickly turned it off. This was concerning. He grabbed a ball bat from the garage and headed upstairs. His heart was pounding. He was afraid of what he might find. His tour of the rooms upstairs mimicked his wife’s. He ended staring at the dryer as well. There was a bath towel on the floor and on top of it, one of his wife’s loafers. The shining glimmer in the appliance caught his eye and he opened the door. The rush of the vacuum pulled him inside. He had no time for conscious thought before he was roughly dropped hard onto dusty, red, desert-like tundra. He fought to pull his head up against the alien gravitational pull. He tried to fill his lungs but nothing was there to pull in. He felt his body being crushed, crumpled like a discarded piece of aluminum foil. He had just seconds to see the white dust of what was once his daughter, the fragments of bone and teeth on top of a separate Jake-sized pile of grit, and lastly the flattened, desiccated body of his wife of twenty years. He wanted to cry out for the loss of his family but instead, his skull collapsed smashing his brains and any thought of his life or that of his loved ones.
Back in the laundry room, the door to the dryer shut tight. The amulet glimmered and went dark. There would be more soon enough and it would call them in like the beacon it was.