The Translocation of Dr Pepper

Many residents of a small Oregon town have their lives uprooted when the soda fountain in a local diner begins to teleport, threatening the very existence of the planet at large.

This is meant to be a lighthearted, fun, and somewhat humorous story.

First draft.

Work in progress.

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7. The Two Completely Unrelated Deaths of Felix Johnson

.           Felix tried his best to be sneaky. Despite his best efforts, however, he was unable to do so. His footsteps, which were meant to be silent, echoed in the enormous mansion and were impossible to stifle on the marble floors. He tried to breathe quietly as well but found that his nose made a whistling sound every time he exhaled. It was in this fashion that Marina Pinebill discovered the young man in her foyer.

.            She spotted him from the top of her staircase and watched him as he tried desperately to hide behind a medium sized houseplant. Lady Pinebill gracefully descended to the foyer and caught the boy by the collar of his hideous green leather jacket. Felix dropped his crossbow in fright and shuttered when it hit the ground with a resounding noise that was entirely to loud.

.            “You’ve tracked dirt into my home, boy,” the old woman hissed.

.            “I’ll clean it up. I promise!” Felix blurted.

.            “No, you won’t. Archie will clean up this dirt when she cleans up your blood.”

.            With this sinister comment, Lady Pinebill reached for the baseball bat she had hidden in her fur coat. Archie was at the top of the stairs after her recently concluded meeting with the old woman about her lack of productivity. Stricken with anger, the vampire yelled,

.            “MARINA, STOP!”

.            Lady Pinebill was shocked. She gazed up at Archie in disbelief.

.            “Excuse me?” she scowled.

.            “I’m sorry to yell at you, ma’am. I just thought I should remind you that I waxed the bottom floor yesterday. Blood could cause permanent damage. Let me take him to the topiary garden,” Archie responded calmly.

.            Marina stared at Felix, who was trembling. She smiled and finished Archie’s sentence.

.            “With the others.”

.           She let go of the young man’s collar. Archie ran down the stairs and picked up Felix’s crossbow. She gripped his shoulder and started to guid him out the front door. Before she left, she made the unfortunate mistake of locking eyes with Marina.

.          “After he’s dead, follow some more leads. It’s cloudy today; you’ll be fine. And be sure to sweep up this dirt when you come home,” the old woman commanded.

.          “Yes, mother,” snapped Archie.

.          Felix looked at Archie inquisitively as if to ask if Marina was really her mother. Archie laughed and shook her head as they walked outside. Dr. Scratch N’ Sniff was waiting on the porch and followed them down the front steps. It was cloudy and a bit chilly. Archie was wearing a long, red coat over a black turtleneck and jeans. She also wore a pair of knee high, fur lined, high heel boots which she walked in with ease. Even over the grass. The vampire led the terrified man far from the manor. Then, she stopped walking and handed him his crossbow.

.         “What are you doing?” he asked.

.         “As much as I dislike you, I hate Marina more. So, I’m not going to kill you,” Archie explained.

.         “Really?”

.         “Really. But you have to help me with my chores in return.”

.          The truth was that the death threats that had been made where little more than scare tactics and there were no bodies in the hedge maze at all. Nevertheless, Felix agreed to the vampire’s demands and the pair left the estate in Archie’s favorite car. Dr. Scratch N’ Sniff rode shotgun as usually, this time, in the lap of a vampire hunter. Felix could feel his heart beating in his chest. Archie could hear it. To curb the urge to slash out his throat and suck his veins dry, she took a sip from her blood bottle. Felix watched, bewildered.

.            “Can I ask you a few questions?” he said.

.           “Sure,” replied Archie. “But I get to ask some too.”

.          “Okay. So, you’re really a vampire? Like Twilight?”

.          “Felix, I’m one hundred and thirty-seven years old and I’m going to live forever. The last thing I would ever do is go back to high school. So, no, not like Twilight. But, yes, I guess I am a vampire.”

.           “Wow. Alright, your turn.”

.           “How does someone like you become a vampire hunter?”

.           “Well, it kinda just started as a hobby. But once I found out that there might actually be a vampire in Pinebill, it really became more of an obsession. My turn now. How come you have to work for the Snake Lady?”

.           “The Snake Lady? I’ve never heard that one before. I like it. And believe me, if I could get out of this job, I would. I have a life contract with the Pinebill family and since my life is eternal, it’s not exactly going away anytime soon. Do you really know how to shoot that crossbow?”

.           “Nope. Where are we?”

.           “The cemetery.”

.           The patrol of the Pinebill Cemetery has been done away with the previous day after complaints that policemen and their rowdy dogs had been preventing families from visiting the graves of their loved ones. Because of this sudden change of policy, Archie and Felix were able to walk through the front gate of the graveyard with ease. The actual graveyard was not where Archie was hoping to find a hint as to the perpetrators of the mysterious robbery of the Pinebill Manor. It was, instead, inside the funeral home that she hoped to find her answers.

.            On the porch of the funeral home, Archie signaled for Felix to be quiet. He asked her why they did not just ring the doorbell if they wished to speak with the funeral director. Archie rolled her eyes and turned the doorknob as silently as possible. To her cringing dismay, the old wooden door creaked on its hinges seemingly louder than any security alarm could ever be. The intruders held their breath.

.            The floor was just as creaky as the door. Once again, Felix found himself wincing with every step he took. Much to his surprise and envy, Archie approached this problem by hovering a few inches above the ground so as not to have any footsteps at all. Dr. Scratch N’ Sniff began wandering around and rubbing his nose on the furniture. Felix noticed that the cat seemed to have some sort of hellish devotion to Archie almost as though the two were one and the same. The fact of the matter was that Archie had first discovered the cat trapped in a wall of the Pinebill estate topiary maze while she was trimming the hedges and set him free. Since then, unbeknownst to Archie, Dr. Scratch N’ Sniff had pledged his life to the vampire until such a time as he could return the favor.

.             The air inside the funeral home was stagnant and dusty and smelled like formaldehyde. Archie explained to Felix that they were too look for anything that looked to be too expensive to be owned by a lonely mortician or that could seem to suggest that he was in league with either supernatural or extraterrestrial forces. Felix gazed at the space between Archie’s feet and the floor and then promptly agreed without allowing himself to wonder why. The unlikely detective duo began diligently searching for evidence that would tie the funeral director to the heist. Even though only one of them was aware of this.

.             There was something unsettling about searching the funeral home. Archie couldn’t quite figure out what was making her so uneasy. Although he did not wish to mention it aloud, Felix had shared the same nagging fear and correctly identified its source. The funeral director was nowhere to be found. Even when the pair searched the bedroom, there was no sign of the mortician. Archie was more concerned that they had been able to find any of the stolen valuables from the mansion robbery. If she was wrong about the man’s involvement, she would be forced to come up with a new suspect. As they were checking more of the rooms within the funeral home, Felix continued their conversation from earlier.

.            “It’s your turn to ask me a question,” he said.

.            “Ok, um, what’s your favorite color?” Archie replied apathetically.

.            “Green I guess. My turn. Did Lady Pinebill really kill her husband?”

.            “Yeah. And, listen, Bill was a good friend of mine but, believe me, he had it coming.”

.            “How come?”

.            “I can’t tell you. It’s not your turn.”

.            Archie searched her brain for a question to ask just to keep the game going. She did not want to explain Marina’s motivations. It became apparent after just a few nanoseconds, however, that she did not care enough about the game to ask another meaningless question. Thankfully, her turn was interrupted. Archie stopped moving and signaled for Felix to stop walking and be quiet.

.            “What is it?” Felix whispered.

.            “I hear another heartbeat in this room. We’re not alone in here,” Archie told him.

.            The room they had just entered was the visitation room. It appeared to be empty except for a closed casket on the display stand.

.            “Are you sure?”

.            “I think so. It could just be a spirit waiting to be put to rest.”

.            “Is that possible?”

.            Archie shrugged. For the sake of the investigation and Felix’s curiosity, the duo cautiously made their way to the coffin. If there was a dead body inside and, by extension, a ghost in the room, then this would make the spirit of Bill Pinebill a likely suspect in the robbery. Archie had been under the impression that ghosts could only appear on Halloween when the physical and metaphysical world were closest. But a ghost in September would change everything. She didn’t want to believe it.

.             Just as the two intruders were prepared to lift the lid off of the casket, it opened entirely of its own accord. Or, rather, of the accord of the mortician who had been napping inside. He had a habit of testing the coffins before they were used because he believed it was unfair that the dead should have a more comfortable bed than his own when they were hardly going to use it. Archie heard Felix’s blood spike when the lid was opened. Luckily, it had opened away from where the pair was standing. Felix quickly ducked behind the drapes of a nearby window. Archie remained where she was but used her vampiric abilities to seemingly melt into a puddle of flesh and hid in the shadows, being sure to drag her clothes there with her.

.              The mortician was a man of approximately fifty-seven years of age and the tips of his fingers were stained yellow from the chemicals he used when preparing bodies for burial. He was tall and wore a black suit. His tie was pink with red flowers on it. At the sight of the tall man in the mortuary, Felix remembered the movie Phantasm and decided that he very much did not wish to be in this room anymore. The window he was standing next to was open slightly. Without a clear path to the door, Felix opened the window slightly more and climbed out. Luckily, he found that he was on the ground floor and did not have far to fall. At the sight of this, Archie found a way out of the room and, returning to her humanoid figure, rolled her eyes.

.              Felix was running through the graveyard when he suddenly wasn’t running anymore. At first, he thought he had stumbled but it quickly became apparent that he could not move at all. Dead leaves that had been swirling in the wind were suspended in the air as well. In front of him was a massive stature of an angel with its wings folded over its face. There was a hum in the atmosphere like the sound of swarming bees. It was deep and archaic and somehow familiar. The stone statue unfurled its wings. Felix wanted to run away from this as well but he couldn’t even wiggle his toes. Time stood still as he watched the statue move.

.             The angel’s face was covered with a hood but it had two large eyes in the crux of its now gruesome wings. The statue’s cloak appeared to billow in the wind despite it being made of stone and there being no wind whatsoever. The angel extended a slender hand towards Felix and spoke.

.            “Do you know who I am?” it said with many voices.

.            “Are you God?” Felix guessed with a cracking voice.

.            “No, I am death.”

.            “Oh.”

.            “I am troubled.”

.            “Oh. I’m sorry.”

.            “I sense a great many deaths in the near future by some unnatural force.”

.            “How many people will die?”

.            “All of them.”

.            “Wow.”

.            “But it can be prevented. No death is written in stone. I have been embedded in this ground for far to long to stop it. You must be the one.”

.            “Crap. Ok. Yeah.”

.            With that, death released its grip on Felix Johnson and time began to progress again. Archie Eligo, who had not been aware of any of this, was running down the front steps of the funeral home and chasing Felix down. He stood in awe, staring at the statue. Death had always been a close presence in Pinebill, Oregon ever since its founders had erected the statue and become acquainted with the ancient entity. It was said to appear to those who where about to die. Archie knew the statue and its legends well. When Felix did not turn to meet her gaze she knew he had been touched by death.

.           “What did it say to you?” she asked.

.           “Every last person on this planet is going to die in some unnatural way unless someone stops it. It has to be me.”

.            Conveniently, at that exact moment, the soda fountain appeared nearby. Archie and Felix stopped talking and examined it. Archie reached out to touch it but Felix stopped her.

.           “That seems pretty unnatural to me,” he said.

.           “It sure does. Do you think this is the force that ends humanity?” Archie teased.

.           “Definitely. I can sense it.”

.           “You can sense it?”

.           “Of course. I’m the chosen one after all. If this thing keeps moving like this and screwing with the laws of physics maybe the universe will implode.”

.            Archie stepped towards Felix. She placed on hand one his shoulder and the other tenderly on his cheek.

.            “Felix, look at me,” she whispered.

.            Felix stood still and looked Archie in the eye. The vampire took this opportunity to sink her nails and fingertips into his neck. Before Felix had time to scream, tendrils shot from her fingers and into his veins, spreading through his body like tree roots into the ground, and draining him of all of his blood. Archie then let go of Felix. His body hit the dirt with a dull and unpoetic thud. The vampire turned towards the statue.

.             “I guess you’ll have to choose someone else,” she said and walked away with Dr. Scratch N’ Sniff trotting along behind her. She took his crossbow and examined it as she went

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