(Above—Mike in his H.P. Lovecraft, E.A. Poe shirt. Photo by Mike Mayak.)
The draws for the May 2023 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were:
A Lovecraftian Horror Story
Set on an Assembly Line
Involving a broken Walkman.
Here’s what I came up with…happy listening… ——-mike
The Lurker In the Details
by Mike Mayak
“Hey, Dave.” Mac said. “Dave!”
“Wha?” Dave said looking up.
“Whadya want for lunch?” Mac asked.
“Uh, not sure.” Dave said.
Dave and Mac worked on the assembly line, putting the new digital electronic music players in boxes, surrounded by Styrofoam making it look bigger than it was so they could charge more for a device the size of a credit card.
“Take those things off your head,” Mac said. “That’s why you can’t hear.”
Mac reached over to pull the old fashioned headset off Dave’s head. Dave pulled back.
“Don’t touch that!” Dave snapped. “T’iabbas Beware, you’ll break it! It’s an antique.”
“It’s junk,” Mac said. “An old Walkman held together by duct tape and those damn tie things off of a bag for a loaf of bread. I’m amazed the Shift Supervisor even lets you have that thing on the Line.”
“He thinks it’s funny.” Dave said. “At least, now he does, Neouppass be praised.”
“What? Are you on something?” Mac asked.
“Not me man, I just get high on life!” Dave said.
“Oh,” Mac said. After a few more moments he observed that Dave had gotten back into his rhythm of putting the device in the foam and sticking it in the box. His head was bobbing to the music he was listening to. Mac remembered his Dad always saying the Devil was in the details. He deftly grabbed the headphones off Dave’s ears and the player off his belt.
“HEY!” Dave shouted, making a lunge. But Mac had spun around facing the other way and put the earphones to one ear.
He’d expected music but instead there was a droning intonation of the names he’d heard Dave say: Neouppas, the Darksome. T’iabbas the Ravager. Dolgna the Low. It made him feel funny. He dropped the Walkman and stepped on it.
Dave swore using several other names Mac had never heard. There was a glazed look in his eyes, and his pupils looked reversed; the black part was outside and the white part was just a little dot.
Someone grabbed Dave from behind and held him tight.
“Sorry buddy.” Dave said. “We have to sent our broadcasts out for those who venerate the Great Name. I got the Boss and the Supervisor to listen to my point of view but that device was too slow, taking it from one to the other.
The intercom crackled and began playing the droning tone of alien names. Mac felt weak and numb all over.
After a while they didn’t go to lunch or on breaks anymore. They just stood there on the line, packing the devices that would be shipped out to the populace, bringing them into the fold of their Master.