Below is my entry for this week’s Flash Fiction Challenge over at Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds. This piece was written during a sleepless writing night, when dreams and memory and fancy braid together….
I wrote it spontaneously,just after reading the prompt, and went with what my mind tossed upstream-of-consciousness style, then let it rest a little while, then gave it a very light edit.
More asleep than awake, I really like it. Maybe you will, too….
The Venom Club
Copyright 2012 by Shan Jeniah Burton
Some places are obvious about their purposes,. The Waterford Harbor Farmer’s Market, for example, looks like nothing else but a farmer’s market. It nestles up close to the bank of the Erie Canal, which looks exactly like – well, a canal, with a huge lock within walking distance.
The market proper is set up each summer Sunday on the wide walking path. The paved path is inlaid with a brick pattern – a pattern which traces the course of the Erie Canal – “from Albany to Buffalo“, as the song says.
If one looks closely, one might spot something else, there. There are two sets of unobtrusive tracks in the concrete…. a pair of bare human feet, and the track of horseshoes.
These are reminders of something that could be easily forgotten…once, this very path was a mule path, and many bare and hoofed feet traveled here..
The Venom Club, though, gives away nothing of its purpose in its appearance. As a matter of fact, you may have passed it yourself, if you happened down a certain winding road that still retains many elements of its beginnings as a farm road, unpaved in respect for the Holsteins brought across, twice daily, between the milking barns and the pasture.
Although occasionally there have been loose cows or horses, and there are occasional severe storms, and even a minor earthquake or two, it doesn’t seem like a dangerous place. The coyotes and hawks belong to the land; they pose only natural threats – usually to rabbits and wild turkeys..
Ah, but there is the matter of The Venom Club.
I’m warning you now, but you aren’t likely to believe me.
That’s because the members of club are consummate masters of disguise – they have to be.
Even a spitting cobra needs to get close enough to strike.
So, I am going to warn you, because I feel I need to – even knowing that you probably won’t believe me.
It’s easier, sometimes, to pretend all is just as it seems – in this case an inviting house set a little back on a pleasantly manicured lawn.
I know – it looks peaceful and embracing. I see you shaking your head, and the doubt in your eyes. You see what you see, after all, and the people in that peaceful looking home seem friendly enough to you.
I wonder if you know how clearly your face says that you think I am out for vengeance, or, maybe, just paranoid.
I know you’re going to wait until I go away, and then you’re going to walk up those inviting steps, and you are going to knock.
I knew you’d see only the surface, and miss the eddies and swirling whirlpool currents of the depths….
You will believe as you will, and choose as you will. And, for a while, all will seem well….
But, whether you believe it or not, it IS The Venom Club, and you are in grave danger the instant you relax your watchfulness.
It is The Venom Club, and its specialty is to lay perfectly camouflaged ambushes….
You won’t see it coming, and I won’t be there to give a warning you wouldn’t want to here,anyway….
But I know.
In the most pleasant of houses, poison lurks….
I grew up there.