This week Feed Your Monster offers up a bite-sized creepy tale from Mike Murphy. We all know sleepy filling stations are eerie places, but this one more so than most.
Mike has had over 150 audio plays produced in the U.S. and overseas. He's won five Moondance International Film Festival awards in their TV pilot, audio play, short screenplay, and short story categories.His prose work has appeared in several magazines and anthologies. In 2015, his script “The Candy Man” was produced as a short film under the title DARK CHOCOLATE. In 2013, he won the inaugural Marion Thauer Brown Audio Drama Scriptwriting Competition. Mike keeps a blog at audioauthor.blogspot.com.
By Mike Murphy
It was dark, and his car’s high beams weren’t doing much good. This Podunk town didn’t believe in streetlights! Gary breathed a sigh of relief as he rounded the bend and saw it: Art’s Filling Station. The place looked old and run down, but it had gas. He pulled up to the solitary pump.
He turned the Toyota’s ignition off and waited a minute. No one came. He tooted the horn. Still no one. He decided to pump his own gas. In the light of the single overhead bulb swaying in the nighttime breeze, he began filling his tank.
“May I help you?” he suddenly heard behind him.
Gary turned quickly, grabbing at his chest. The man was old, nearly bald, thin, and pale. “You scared me,” he said.
“You must be Art?”
Gary gestured at the gas pump that was whirring away. “I hope you don’t mind. There was no one around so I helped myself.”
“Not a problem. I’m sorry I was. . . occupied when you drove up.”
Gary looked into the darkness and then at the single, low-watt bulb over his head. “What’s with the lights in this town?” he inquired.
“I’m sorry?” Art asked.
“I didn’t see a single streetlight. You don’t have much light here either.”
“There is. . . enough.”
“Your eyes must be better than mine,” he remarked after a chuckle.
Something seemed wrong, and Gary was growing nervous. “I’ll just. . . uhm. . . fill ’er up and be on my way.”
“There is no need to hurry, Mr. Hamilton,” Art responded.
“But I need to. . . how did you know my name?”
Out of nowhere, another man joined them. “Good evening,” he said. He was tall and plump, with a shock of white hair.
Art was happy to see him. “Warren,” he greeted his friend, “how are you this brisk night?”
“Just fine,” he replied. “And you?”
Gary shook his head. “My hearing must be off,” he said. “I didn’t hear you coming.”
“I move quietly,” his new companion explained.
The whirring sound of the flowing gas stopped with a clunk as the tank filled. Gary glanced around the station, but saw no other vehicles. “Where’s your car?” he asked Warren.
“I did not drive here.”
“At this time of night? You’re on foot?”
Warren grinned and pointed at the pump sticking out of the car. “Are you done with that?”
Gary shook his head. “Yes.” Warren reached past him, grabbed the pump, and eased the nozzle into his mouth.
“What are you doing?” the customer exclaimed.
The gasoline began to flow. The white-haired man made approving slurping sounds as he eagerly drank the fuel. After a minute or so, looking pleased, he removed the nozzle from his mouth and handed it to Art.
“Had enough?” his friend asked.
“Yes, thank you,” Warren answered, rubbing his belly. “Can you put it on my tab?”
“I. . . I think you hurt yourself,” Gary said, looking at Warren in the dim light.
“There’s some blood on. . . on your lips.”
“Is there? How sloppy of me.” He happily licked the crimson drops away and remarked, “Good to the last drop.” He turned to Art. “Do I detect a hint of wolf blood?”
“You do. Very fresh. I added it only minutes ago.”
Gary did not understand. “He drank. . . blood from the gas pump?”
“He did,” Art answered, “and you have filled your gas tank with it.”
“You’ll be going nowhere,” Warren bluntly added.
Gary wanted to run, but he also wanted answers. “What kind of gas station is this?” he asked, starting to sweat.
“It’s not a gas station,” the proprietor told him. “The sign says ‘filling station,’ and that’s what it is – a place for our kind to drink our fill.”
“Your. . . ‘kind?’” Warren chuckled at the young man’s question, revealing his protruding pointy teeth.
“You asked about the lack of lighting,” Art continued. “We do not need it. Our night vision is exemplary.”
“We can’t always find ‘donors’ to slake our thirst,” Warren told him. “This station helps to quell our appetites during those dry spells. We prefer the warm, sweet blood, but – when we’re hungry – we can’t be choosy.”
Gary heard the familiar sound of the car doors clicking shut. He tried to run, but his feet wouldn’t budge. “Let me go!”
Warren sniffed the air. “I can smell the blood churning through his veins.”
“So can I,” Art agreed eagerly. “It ignites the taste buds, heightens the appetite.” He paused briefly and smiled at his friend, revealing his own fangs. “Dinner for two?” he asked.
We hope this week's tale has filled your monster up. Come back next week for another feeding.
*Filling Station © Mike Murphy.