“No!” I cry as I fall into the darkness below. “NO! I’m clean!”
I land gently on the cushioned bottom of this despicable pit. Something wet and sticky touches me and I can’t repress a shudder.
“I’m clean,” I whimper, as my last ray of hope is sealed off with the top of the stinking prison. The darkness is putrid, so thick it is almost tangible. It penetrates every corner of this cesspit.
How I loathe this place.
“Well, well.” The voice slices its way through the darkness. “What do we have here?”
A sense of foreboding even darker than my surroundings fills my being.
So it begins.
“Long time no see, eh?” The taunt is followed by a chorus of high pitched giggles and wheezes from the heaps around me.
A rough fabric nudges me, and I can feel the filth left behind. “Where ya been, Leftie? We missed you!” The smell of the creature’s breath burns, lingering long enough to make me gag.
“Ain’t been half so fun without your ugly hide to give us comp’ny!”
“I was jus’ thinkin’ to meself, not two minutes ago, wonderin’ where’s Leftie been? He not like us no more? After all the good times we had together?”
“Rumor has it you bailed on us.” The mock-friendly atmosphere dissipates in an instant. Bailed on us… The phrase seems to hang in the air for a moment, condemning, threatening, before the darkness comes alive again with a barrage of angry voices.
“You bail on us, Leftie?”
“I heard Rightie’s been bawlin’ herself t’sleep at night.”
“I heard she been thrown in with the cleaners.”
“Reckon it oughtta been Leftie, what with him leavin‘, an’ all.”
“Why you gotta be such a scumbag, Leftie?”
This isn’t good. This is bad. I shrink down, struggling to quell my trembling. The stink of the place seeps into my consciousness, the bitter voices ringing in my mind. It’s been bad before, but this? This is worse than it has ever been.
“Hey guys,” I say, forcing some sense of joviality into my voice. “I’m just like the rest of you. None of you can say you haven’t thought of slipping off every now and then, maybe escaping for a while. I’m one of you!”
“That’s right, Leftie. You are one of us.” I jump at the sound of the harsh voice grating from underneath me.
“Yeah, only we don’t leave our partners to rot in a drawer, let ’em get tossed to the cleaners, while we lie low for a while.” Ice shoots through my gut, the darkness seeming to deepen with my fear. I flinch, attempting to ready myself for the inevitable. Inevitable? Oh, please, no, just let it end…
“It ain’t right, what you done. It ain’t right.”
“If I din’t like Rightie so much, I’d shred you right now.”
The angry, spitting voices rise, accompanied with unearthly screeches and howls. Something shoves me, and, all at once, violent blows and strikes are battering me from all sides. I curl up as small as I can, as if that could protect me from the fury around me. Then, suddenly, a single voice cuts through the rest, sending a chill to my very core.
“NO!” A last, desperate plea tears itself from the sobs catching in my throat. “No, please….”
It only incited them.
“Yeah, sink him to the bottom!”
“He should count himself lucky if he ever sees daylight again, after what he done!”
The clothing around me writhes, as the maniacal cries increase in brutality. I gasp for one last breath of clean air before I am sucked into the sweaty, stinking depths of the hamper.
I’m sorry, Rightie. What’s a sock to do? I think. I close my eyes and surrender myself to the filth.
What’s a sock to do?
In case you weren’t aware, this is a work of fiction. Any relation to places, events, or people living or dead is completely coincidental. No socks were harmed in the making of this story.
With that covered, I’d like to know: what was your reaction to the story? I’m experimenting with twist endings, which are kind of like jokes. (They lose their punch if you can see the last line coming.)
Speaking of jokes, did you hear the one about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.
Courteously, J. Watson