Last Car to Annwn Station

Last Car to Annwn Station by Michael Merriam

Book: Last Car to Annwn Station by Michael Merriam Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael Merriam
yellow teeth and black lips. I wonder if they could be using her to keep me in line. You know, something like, “Here is how you will end your days if you don’t do as we say.” It could be that kind of thing, but I doubt it.
    I started to reach out and do it, then I realized her finger would likely pop off in my hand. I shook my head and told her I didn’t think it was a good idea.
    She laughed. It was croaky and wheezy, but it was a laugh. Then she looked at me with her milk-white, washed-out eyes and would not stop laughing, even after she forgot to breathe and the laugh became a choking gurgle.
    It seemed like ages before Elise came and took her away.
    Mae felt Jill lean over her shoulder as she loaded the last of the plates into the dishwasher. Jill’s breath was on her neck, tickling her ear and cheek. Mae smiled up at Jill.
    “This is really why I want you to live here,” Jill said.
    “You invited me to live with you for my mad domestic skills?”
    Jill wagged her eyebrows and stood back. “You know it.”
    Mae closed the dishwasher door and set it to start in four hours, long after both of them would be in bed. She followed Jill, who had picked up their wine glasses and the half-empty bottle of chardonnay from the dining table, to the living room.
    “I think,” Jill said as she set the glasses and bottle down, “we should change into comfy clothes, turn on a trashy movie and ignore the world outside.”
    Mae nodded. “I like it.”
    “Cool. First one back to the couch picks the trashy movie.”
    Mae did not bother rushing. She knew Jill, manic to pick the worst movie on-demand had to offer, would find a way to reach the couch first. In fact, Mae realized Jill might make it back to the couch before Mae made it upstairs to change.
    “That was your cue to squeal and run for the stairs,” Jill called down from her room.
    Mae laughed as she reached the landing. Jill was already changed into a pair of red and green tartan pajama pants and a T-shirt with the fading words “Storm Chaser” across the front.
    “I concede,” Mae said.
    “You’re no fun. I’m going to pick something truly awful to watch as your punishment.”
    “You do that. I’ll be right down.”
    Mae dug through the clothes on the floor and found her favorite sweatpants, all faded gray with the elastic at the ankles pulled out. She grabbed a white T-shirt off the floor and changed into it. The sound and smell of popcorn being prepared reached her as she started back down the stairs.
    “Ready?”
    “Sure. What did you pick?”
    Jill nodded toward the television screen.
    “You spent three ninety-five on a slasher flick with a pirate?”
    “Undead, revenge-seeking, zombie pirate. Don’t worry, it will be awful. That’s the point. Get the lights.”
    “Uh-huh,” Mae said, turning off the lights and settling on the couch next to Jill. She reached for the popcorn. It was hot and smothered in something resembling butter.
    “Napkins?” Mae asked, looking for something to wipe her greasy hand on.
    Jill raised an eyebrow. “That’s why God made cheap pajama pants.”
    “Fine.” Mae reached over and cleaned her hand on Jill’s pants.
    Jill laughed like a loon and pushed the button on the remote to start the movie. Mae was determined to make the best of it, no matter how bad the movie.
    An hour and a half later she knew it had been a futile effort.
    “The problem was,” Jill said, stretching and shifting position, “if the entire pirate ship’s crew settled down in that village and their descendants all still live there, they must have been an inbred lot. That’s why they were all too stupid to survive. No branches on the family tree.”
    “The problem,” Mae corrected, “was the producers and director were just looking to make a fast buck off the pirate craze and apparently hired some random high school film class to make a movie. But you know what the real problem is?”
    “What’s that?”
    “Neither of us will ever get

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