Twelve-year-old Jeff Edwards was crossing the street when he heard it.
He looked down at the sewer drain.
“Come a little closer.”
“Wait! It’s not what you think.”
Jeff stopped. The drain was securely grated so he figured nothing could get out. Then he felt something. A little vine had wrapped around his ankle. He pulled but was stuck.
“C’mon, I haven’t had a descent meal in forever. Getting tired of rats, mice, and dead goldfish.”
“Somebody help me!”
The vine got stronger, growing sharp spines.
“Just a few toes, I promise.”
“Ka-chunk”. Jeff saw Old Man Henderson slamming his ax down on the vine cutting it in two.
Jeff jumped to the sidewalk.
“Figured this thing’d grown back by now.” He was wearing a metal tank on his back. The sexagenarian grabbed the tank’s hose by the nozzle and sprayed liquid into the grate.
“No. Please. Crap, that hurts. Stop.”
The plant’s voice faded. Jeff looked and saw nothing green was there anymore.
“Damn plant,” cursed Henderson. “My neighbor Seymour dumped it in the sewer but the alien keeps coming back. Herbicide’ll put it down. Best run along, Jeffy.”
I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for 12 November 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.
When I saw the sewer grate, I immediately thought of the 2017 film It based on Stephen King’s novel. I’ve never seen the film and never will (mainly because I don’t find being scared to death entertaining), but I’ve seen the advertising and the image of the clown peeking out of the sewer drain in the gutter is iconic.
However, I didn’t want to just re-write the same story and seeing a bit of plant life growing out of the grate, I took a look at the 1986 version of the movie Little Shop of Horrors based on the off-Broadway play and starring Rick Moranis as florist Seymour Krelborn.
In that movie (which I’ve never seen either), Seymour used an alien plant he named Audrey II (the original Audrey is his girlfriend) to draw business to his florist shop before realizing that the plant liked to eat human flesh and blood. The film ended when Seymour electrocuted the plant which destroyed his shop. Subsequently, he and Audrey married and settled down in the suburbs. However, a smiling Audrey II bud can be seen among the flowers in the front yard in the movie’s last scene.
I decided to extend that idea, having Seymour find the bud and flush it down the toilet. Audrey II survives, but old man Henderson, having discovered the carnivorous plant and realizing what it was, keeps it in check each spring with his ax and a tank of herbicide. He’d been working in his yard when he heard Jeff scream and, knowing what happened, grabbed what he needed and put Audrey II down for another year.
I just wrote this tale for the fun of it, mixing a serious horror movie with a horror-comedy musical.
To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.