Short Story
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         You Never Know What You’ll Find
                                                         By Melissa L. Webb


 The car’s tires crunched in the gravel as he pulled over and stopped.  
Looking over, Dexter snatched the paper from his girlfriend’s fingers.  
“Come on, Ash.  We couldn’t have covered them all.”

 Ash shrugged.  “We did, Dex.  The only one left is on the outskirts of town.”

 Dexter lifted his sunglasses and glanced down at the newspaper in his
hands.  They had indeed covered every single garage sale.  He looked
over at Ash and raised his eyebrow.  “Well, what do you think?  Is it worth
it?”

 Ash shrugged again.  “We’ve come this far.”

 With a sigh, he glanced back at the road.  “Might as well cover them all.”

 Ash smiled brightly as her boyfriend pulled back onto the road.  “I do love
the thrill of the hunt.  You never know what you’re going to find.”

 Dexter grinned.  “I know, Ash.  What I can’t figure out is how you got me
hooked on them.  It’s not like I need any more useless junk lying around.”

 Ash playfully slapped his shoulder as he drove.  “It’s not all useless junk,
Dex.”

 He smirked slightly as he glanced at her.  “So you say.”

 Silence slipped around them as the car headed outside of town.  Following
the directions in the paper, they soon found themselves in the middle of
nowhere, on a dirt road.

 “Are you sure this is the right road?” Dexter asked as he drove slowly,
glancing at the trees lining both sides of the car.  “There doesn’t seem to
be anything out here.”

 Ash glanced back down at the paper in her hand.  “The add says 245
West Cooper Ave.  This is West Cooper Ave.”

 “Well, we haven’t seen one single house yet, Ash.”   He looked at her and
shrugged.  “Maybe they got the address wrong?”

 She glanced up at him.  “Dex, why would they get their own address
wrong?”

 “I don’t know,” he said with a frown.  “I just don’t see anything.”

 “Wait,” she spoke suddenly, pointing at something.  “Is that a driveway?”

 Dex stopped the car and leaned forward, staring at the break in the trees
next to the car.  “It might be.”

 “Yeah, look.  Further down. There’s some balloons.”  Ash looked over at
Dexter.  “This is the place.”

 Dexter thought for a moment.  “Are you sure?”

 She grinned.  “Yes, I’m sure this is the place.”

 He nodded.  “Okay.”  Dexter turned onto the driveway and headed down
the road.

 They came to an old two-story farmhouse at the end of the road.  Rows of
tables lined the long driveway in front of the garage.  

 Stuff was everywhere.  Piles of clothes. Stacks of books.  Various odds
and ends covered the tables everywhere they looked.  It was a garage sale
addict’s dream.

 Dexter killed the engine and looked over at his girlfriend.  “Well, you must
be in heaven.”  He got out of the car and glanced back.  “Are you coming?”

 Ash got out of the car slowly, looking around.  “Where is everyone?”

 Dexter glanced at the space around them, noticing the lack of life and
shrugged.  “They’re all inside.  They probably don’t get alot of people out
here.”

 Ash glanced up at the house.  “I guess.”

 Dexter studied his girlfriend for a second and then grinned.  “What?  You’
re not scared are you?”

 She frowned as she walked past him, towards the tables.  “Knock it off,
Dex.”

 Dexter laughed as he watched her glance at the things on the table in
front of her.  “Poor little Ash is terrified of a garage sale.  I’d never thought I’
d see the day.”

 “Shut up, Dexter,” Ash growled at him.

 “Oh, come on, baby,” he said, walking over to her.  “I was just teasing.”  He
kissed her cheek softly.

 Ash kept quiet but couldn’t keep the grin from tugging at the corners of
her lips.

 Dexter smiled as he walked away.  “That’s my girl.”

 They walked around the tables in silence, examining the wares for sale.

 Ash was just reaching out for a pink dog figurine, when the door to the
garage opened and a man and woman stepped out.

 The woman smiled at them.  “Hello.”

 Ash returned the smile.  “Hi.”

 The man glanced over at Dexter.  “How y’all doing today?  Is there
anything in particular
you’re looking for?”

 Dexter shook his head.  “Not really.”  He glanced over at Ash.  “My girl just
likes to look for everything.”

 The man nodded.  “I can understand that.  That’s how we ended up with
all of this stuff in the first place.”

 Dexter laughed.  “I know the feeling.  You should see our place.”

 Ash frowned.  “I’m not that bad.”

 The woman stepped forward.  “Don’t let them upset you, sugar.  That’s
just the way men think.”

 The man laughed.  “That is the way men think, darlin’.  I didn’t mean
anything by it.”  He looked back over at Dexter.  “Hey, I have several cars
out back for sale if you’re interested.”

 He shook his head.  “No, I can’t say that I am.  I really don’t need another
car.”

 The guy shrugged.  “No problem.  Just thought I should ask.”

 The woman watched Ash as she looked at the stuff on the tables.  “We
have more stuff inside.  There’s sure to be something in there that you can’t
live without.”

 Ash glanced over at Dexter, who shrugged.

 “It’s up to you, baby,” he called over to her.  “But you might as well see
everything while we’re here.”

 “Well then, come on in,” the man said and headed back into the garage.

 Ash glanced over at the woman, who smiled before stepping in after the
man.  She looked up at Dexter as he approached her.  “They’re a little
weird, Dex.”

 He nodded as he slipped his hand into hers.  “Yeah, a little,” he said and
glanced at the garage.  “I don’t think we have anything to worry about
though.”

 Ash hesitated a moment longer and then smiled sheepishly.  “I know.  I’m
being silly.  There’s nothing out here to be afraid of.”

 Dexter gave her hand a squeeze and led her forward.  “That’s my girl.”

 They walked into the garage and looked around at the tables lining the
walls; more stuff covered all the available spaces.

 The woman looked at them as they approached.  “There’s more stuff in
the house, if you guys want to start in there and work your way back out
here.”

 Ash smiled at her.  “That sounds like a great idea.  Thank you.”

 The woman returned her smile.  “No problem,” she said as she stepped in
the backdoor and into the house.

 Dexter led Ash in the door behind her.  They stepped into a huge empty
room.

 The woman turned and smiled at them again.  “Here we go.”

 Ash glanced around.  “Where’s all the stuff.”

 “Oh, it’s just in the next room,” the man said, stepping into the room
behind them.  “You can rest assured, little lady, that there are plenty of
surprises just waiting for you through those doors.”  He grinned as he shut
the door to the garage firmly.

 Ash glanced over at her boyfriend.  “Dex.”

 He stepped closer to her.  “It’s okay, baby.  Everything’s going to be fine.  
Just breathe,” he whispered to her before he looked up at the man.  “I don’t
know what you have planned here, but you need to let my girlfriend and I
go…right now.”

 “I don’t think so, honey,” the woman said and grinned.  “It’s been so long
since we’ve had someone to play with.  We’re not just gonna let you walk
away.”   

 “Please,” Ash begged.  “We won’t tell anyone.  Just let us go.  You really
don’t want to do this to us.”

 “Oh, but we do,” the man said, baring his stained teeth.  “The family hasn’t
had a proper kill in months.  We can’t take that away from them, now can
we?”

 Dexter glanced down at his girlfriend.  “Get out of here, Ash.  Run.”

 She shook her head.  “I won’t leave you.”

 “There’s no place for you to go anyway, sweetheart,” the woman cooed as
she looked around the room.

 Doors opened around the room and a dozen people poured in.  Men,
women, and children all stared at them, grins on their dirty faces.  Each one
had a weapon of some kind in their hands and a deadly glint in their eyes.

 The man looked at Ash and Dexter.  “It’s time for the Warren family Bar-B-
Q to begin.”  His eyes darted to the people standing around.  “Everyone
pick your pieces.”

 Dexter turned and glared at the man.  “You can’t do this, you dumb bunch
of hicks,” he yelled.

 A little boy stepped forward and clubbed him hard in the back.

 Dexter crumpled immediately to the ground.

 The boy stared down at his body.  “You can’t talk to my Papa like that.”

 “No, Dex…,” Ash cried as she looked down at her boyfriend’s lifeless body.

 “Come on, everyone,” the woman shouted.  “Let’s get to it.”

 They all started towards Ash.

 She looked around frantically, looking for a way out of this mess.  There
was none to be found.  It was no use.  Death had come to this room and
nothing Ash did could stop that.

 She threw her head back and cried in anguish.  Her wail shifted into a howl
of rage as the skin started to flake from her body.  

 The Warrens stopped and stared in horror as tuffs of brown fur started to
form all over her suddenly misshapen body.

 Ash’s claws ripped the remaining flesh and clothes from her body as saliva
dripped from her protruding muzzle.  A low growl erupted from her throat as
she locked her yellow eyes on to the crowd of people.

 Dexter rose slowly from the ground and tossed his sunglasses in a
corner.  His bright red eyes flickered over his girlfriend’s hairy form.  “Boy,
you guys have no idea the amount of trouble you’ve brought into your
home.”  He grinned, exposing long white fangs.  “You’ve picked the wrong
couple to mess with,” he hissed sharply.

 The woman’s eyes flickered to a window and then back to Ash and
Dexter.  “But it’s daytime, you shouldn’t even be here.”

 Dexter smiled as he and Ash started forward.  “You shouldn’t believe
everything you read.”

                                                            *

 Ash looked down at the pink dog figurine in her hands as she and Dexter
got back in the car and smiled slightly.  “I do love garage sales, Dex.  You
never know what you’re going to find.”