The Evil Dead
"S-Mart to Damnation's Road"
"Ash, price check, Aisle three. Price check, Aisle three." The intercom squawked. Ash blinked, trying to focus his attention on the customer currently speaking to him. A feat which proved difficult considering how mentally checked out he was. "Um, Hardware, aisle 12," he said, indicating the appropriate direction. The customer had FIRST asked him which department they were in (annoyingly, Ash had been standing in front of a large 'Housewares' sign throughout the conversation), then asked if that department carried wire cutters. Ash had calmly and politely directed them to the right place, and now the overweight woman wearing a belly blouse and short shorts wobbled her way towards it. "Shop Smart, shop S-Mart." He called to her as an afterthought.
Ash was a tall, dark-haired young man with slender build and what most had always described as a "movie star chin". His eyes were a light brown and were usually wide open, which his girlfriend had always told him she loved. He was now 23 years old, had been a stock boy at S-Mart for all three years of college so far, and at first he'd thought it was a great job to pay his way through, but these days… Not so much. He hadn't had a day off work in months, and with Spring Break approaching, it was time to get AWAY from S-Mart for a bit. Housewares department would just have to get along without him for a week, meanwhile he would be shacked up with his girlfriend Linda, his best friend Scotty, and Scott's girlfriend Shelly.
Ash made his way up aisle three of Housewares and peered around the corner towards the checkout lines, spotting Linda at number 4 as usual. She looked up from scanning groceries and smiled at him. He pointed to his watch and mouthed '20 more minutes!', mock pumping his fist in the air in triumph. She laughed slightly, nodding and rolling her eyes as she finished the customer's cart off. Ash looked longingly at her a moment longer, then turned, whistling as he strolled down the aisle towards the back.
Ted, another Housewares employee was crouched at the opposite end-cap of the aisle and looked as though he was about to fall asleep mid-placement of the toaster in his hand. He was setting up the display for their cooking appliance sale. Ash strolled up and leaned on the rack. "Hey Ted, you think you'll be finished by the time I clock out?" He asked. "I'm really anxious to get outta here on-time today."
Ted looked up at him, obviously irritated. "What, you're in charge of Housewares, now you think you can just boss us all around?" He asked. Ted was a college dropout, and never liked Ash much. Ash was tall, handsome and good with women, whereas Ted couldn't talk to most regular people, being short, skinny as hell, and had to wear thick glasses all the time. Not to mention his extensive wardrobe of sweater-vests…
"Well, not everyone, but you definitely, because you work in Housewares… Which I'm in charge of." Ash said, smirking. "Not what I meant though, pal. I'm just anxious to get out because I'm headin' up into the mountains after work today."
"Oh really?" Ted asked, not really seeming to care as he finished arranging the row of toasters.
"Yup. One whole week's vacation with Linda at a nice cozy cabin in the woods." Ash said, leaning against the rack, thinking. "Its gonna be JUST what I needed. No work, no traffic, nothing to bother me…"
"Ash! Phone for you!" Earl said from the Housewares stock room door. Ash frowned, who could be calling now?
He headed over to where Earl had been standing, and picked up the phone. "S-Mart Housewares department, how can we help YOU shop Smart today?" He mumbled in robotic efficiency.
"Hello Ashley." A female voice said, which made his teeth grind in irritation. Only two people in the entire world called him by his full first name… His mother and his sister. Judging by the voice, it was the former.
"Hi mom." Ash said, un-enthused. "Everything okay?"
"Yes yes, nothing to be concerned about."
"Well then what's up? Because I'm at work, and I gotta get out of here on-time so the others and I can get up to the cabin before dark."
"Oh, you know, just wanted to say have a nice trip… and to ask you a favor.
'Here it comes…' He thought. "What kind of favor?" He asked.
"Well, your sister has been having some problems adjusting to college life, and she hasn't really made any friends yet."
"Oh no, I know exactly where you're going with this, and the answer is no!" Ash said, trying to remain calm.
"Ashley, she's your sister. You've got a duty as her big brother to help her with this transition!" His mom commanded.
"But this is my only vacation all year!" Ash countered, rubbing his head in irritation.
"Ashley, I never ask you to do anything, we pay for your college, we gave you the car, and then you changed your major so abruptly, you barely ever come visit…"
There was a reason for that, Ash hadn't gotten along with his family very well since the aforementioned major change. Ash had never wanted to get into engineering, but his dad, who was a 4th Generation Engineer, had insisted.
"Look mom, even if I DID say yes, there's no way she COULD come, we're leaving right after I get out of work in…" He trailed off, checking his watch. "Two minutes!"
"Well she's already there." His mother said.
"What!" Ash demanded. "You didn't even ask first?"
"We didn't have time. Your father and I have been having problems lately, and we didn't want Cheryl around to get upset on top of the problems she's been having."
"That's not my problem though!" Ash said. "You and dad ALWAYS fight."
"You need to take responsibility and be a man now, Ashley." His mother said, his full name contradicting the manliness she was obviously hoping to inspire in him. "I know you'll do the right thing, honey. I love you, goodbye."
With that, the line clicked, and went dead. Ash slammed the phone down and fell onto the stool next to the phone hangup spot. He groaned and ran his hands through his hair in frustration. "Stupid…"
"Well that's not very nice!" Linda said, suddenly appearing behind him and crushing him in a hug, laughing. "I'd never call YOU stupid."
"Heh…" Ash said, forcedly. "Linda, listen," he began, standing and turning to face her, taking her hands. "That was my mom on the phone. Apparently her and my father sent Cheryl to visit me earlier today… She's at my dorm right now I guess."
Linda tilted her head. "You didn't tell me?"
"I didn't know." He said, shrugging. "She's insisting that I take Cheryl along, and I might just have to."
Linda frowned. "Well I was hoping it would just be us…"
"Scotty and Shelly will be there though." Ash reminded her.
"Yeah, but those two are our friends, Cheryl is your sister, its going to be a little awkward."
"Well if you're uncomfortable-" Ash started to say, hoping to have an excuse to tell Cheryl.
"-but! I understand you want to be a good brother." Linda said, smiling and kissing him on the cheek. "And I love you for it."
"Yeah… a good big brother…" Ash said, his shoulders drooping a bit. "That's me."
The 1973 Delta 88 Oldsmobile groaned in protest a bit as it rolled up onto the slightly inclined parking space and Ash put the brake on. The car was old, and seemed to be in crappy condition, never starting quick, the windows didn't roll down properly, but nothing ever actually broke down on it. The engine always responded (when it felt like it, but it always responded nonetheless), the A/C was always cold, and the heater was always hot, so Ash never complained. In fact, "The Classic" as he dubbed it, was where Ash had "become a man", so it naturally held a special place in the guy's heart.
Ash wasn't thinking about any of this though, he sighed, and climbed out of the car, waving to the short, skinny girl up by the entrance to the dorm, sitting on a bench next to a duffel bag. Cheryl waved back, standing up. She was wearing a dark-colored dress and had her hair long, but pulled back in a bandana. She was a few years younger than Ash was, and looked nothing like him, more resembling their mother, whereas Ash looked like their father. She was slender-faced and attractive, but she was currently in her "artsy" phase though. Ash could see this as he approached her and saw that sketchbook still firmly clutched under her arm. "Hey sis." He said, hugging her.
"Hey Ashley." She said, making him cringe again. "Sorry mom made me spoil your getaway."
"Hey, no worries, kiddo." Ash said, lightly patting her on the shoulder. "I'm happy to help you get outta that house for a little while."
"Well, you do kinda owe me anyways… Its your fault I couldn't go AWAY for college."
"Hey, I didn't ask them to pay for my school." Ash said, frowning.
She rolled her eyes, fake punching him. "No big. I'll deal." She said, heading to the car to say hello to Linda.
Ash meanwhile was heading upstairs, unbuttoning the powder-blue S-Mart smock he was forced to wear, unclipping the nametag as he entered his dormitory. His roommate was out for the day it seemed, which suited Ash just fine, now he wouldn't have to hear the guy bitch about Ash's Engineering projects laying about. He had a fondness for fiddling with old engine pieces and had a knack for fixing broken ones.
Ash tossed the S-Mart smock over his desk chair and quickly pulled off his necktie, tossing it aside as well. He opted against dirtying up another shirt, so he simply kept the blue button-down collared shirt he was wearing, but decided to kick off the black slacks from work, in favor of some brown dickies pants. After all, they were going up into the woods, right? The last thing he made sure to bring was the small blue box he'd gotten for Linda at the jewelry store a week prior. Once again hoping she'd like it, he pocketed the item, and headed out.
An hour later, Scotty and Shelly piled into the car with them. Scott was a little shorter than Ash, with blonde hair. He dressed a lot more 'trendy' than Ash did, having grown into a bit more of a preppy guy than his dark-haired friend. Scott also fancied himself a sports star, even though he spent most of his High School football years on the bench pretending he was important. Scotty had been Ash's friend since they were kids, but Ash was never quite sure why. He was bossy and pig-headed, but for some reason, they got along so well, and Ash would trust the guy with his life if he had to. Loyal friends were hard to come by these days, so they both appreciated the backup when necessary.
"Kinda full in here…" Scott said, obviously referring to Cheryl.
"Sorry." Cheryl mumbled.
"Don't apologize." Ash said. "It's no trouble at all, sis." Ash then shot Scott a dirty look, and started the car up, heading South.
"So what's this place like?" Shelly asked from the back as they got onto the expressway.. She was a short, big-breasted girl with long, curly black hair, light green eyes and pouting lips. Shelly and Scott had only been dating a few weeks, but it was clear that the two weren't together because their personalities matched up so well.
"It's a little run-down, but its right up in the mountains." Ash offered as he navigated through the steadily thinning Michigan traffic. "Best part is, we're getting it so cheap."
"Yeah, why ARE we getting it so cheap?" Shelly asked.
"Well, it might not be in that good of shape." Scotty offered.
"You mean nobody has seen this place yet?" Shelly asked.
"It might not be so bad." Ash offered.
Linda shook her head in agreement. "Nah."
"I mean, its probably well-cared for."
Linda nodded, over-enthusiastically. "Yeah."
Ash smiled. This was a bit that Linda did sometimes when she was playing "blindly supporting girlfriend". "Actually it might be kinda nice."
She nodded again, just as falsely. "Yeah."
The drive was quiet for a bit of time after that. Ash got them off the interstate, heading towards the Wisconsin border. Their destination was still in Michigan, but deep out in the woods, which meant nobody would be around to bother them.
The small pond was filled with branches, leaves, and even an old car long-abandoned and rotted by time and the elements. The thing in the woods glided across the surface of the water, not touching it, but the water was still disturbed by its presence. In truth, the thing that floated there wasn't actually there, it existed on a different plane than that of the pond, but the mere IDEA of the thing disturbed the water enough to make it move away from it's presence. It was unnatural, and dangerous, and even water, an un-living element of the Earth, knew this.
The thing continued to glide, past the old car, which seemed to creak and groan a bit, almost as though it was trying to move away from it as well, and then it made its way up the bank of the pond, over a hill nearby it. The thing sensed something different coming, something… attractive to it. It had been months now since anything had even held its attention. The locals stayed away from the area around the cabin, they knew better by now, and the cabin certainly hadn't been inhabited… Now though, it could smell the sweet smell of fresh souls approaching. Young, sinfully thinking souls to swallow whole…
"Hey Ash, where are we, anyway?" Scotty asked from the driver's seat. Ash had been on his feet for 8 hours that day, so he switched with Scotty when they stopped for gas, before making their way up the mountain roads towards their final destination.
"Well, we're a few hundred miles north of the border…" Ash said, tracing his finger along the map now in his lap. "Which would put us…"
Scotty waited, but Ash didn't reply. "Yeah?" He asked, turning to look over his shoulder at Ash and the map.
"Which would put us…" He mumbled, trying to figure it out.
The thing in the woods raced, excited. If it had a physical form of any sort that had some kind of mouth, it would have watered. It came up over the top of the hill and looked down, spotting the dark mustard-colored vehicle rounding the bend on the road down below. It also knew a truck was coming the other direction, the driver not paying attention to the juicy souls of the ones in the car. It wanted them.
"Which would put us right…" Ash continued, poking the map firmly. "Here." He declared, indicating a spot.
Suddenly, the wheel jerked out of Scotty's grip, veering them into the left lane of the small mountain road, right into the path of an oncoming tow truck. 'HONK! HONK HONK!' was what snapped Scotty's attention back to the road and he gripped the wheel again, trying to get out of the way, but the wheel was stuck fast.
"TURN!" Ash shouted, and Shelly screamed in the passenger seat in terror as the truck drew nearer, slamming on its brakes, but it wouldn't have nearly enough time to stop. Just as suddenly though, Scotty managed to wrench the wheel to the right, screeching the old car back into the right place and to safety.
For a time, the car just drove in silence as the passengers all tried to catch their breath and stifle the vomit. "What the hell are you doing, tryin' to kill us!" Ash demanded.
"It's not my fault, its this damn car of yours, the damn wheel just jerked right outta my hand!"
"I don't get it, I just had this thing in for a tune-up yesterday and they said they'd go over everything." Ash said, looking over Scotty at the wheel to see if there was visible damage.
"Well you better take it back, because the damn thing don't work! All that DOES work is this lousy horn!" He shouted angrily, pounding on it and holding it down.
As they passed by a couple fishermen walking down the road, the horn continued to honk, so the men stopped and waved, big stupid-looking smiles on their faces.
"Ah go to hell, I'm not honkin' at you!" Scotty shouted back at them out the window.
Another moment of silence followed, then Scotty chuckled. "Jesus Christ…" He said through a burst of small laughter. Then a few seconds later the others broke out into nervous laughing as well, except for Cheryl, who just brooded in the corner of the back seat.