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Fiction #406
(published October 30, 2008)
Vampire Bananas
by David R. Hughes
When the Sun set, the Caribbean water was a black floor only assumed to be a sea. Dan continued to speed his boat to land guaranteed in light, but only promised on maps in the evening.

The light bulb, one of two on the ship, hissed when Dan turned it on. He looked behind him at his cargo, now orange from the remaining light. Just bananas, piles and piles of goddamned black market bananas.

The cold steering wheel reflected Dan's distorted face. He could feel his aging hair try to fall out. He clenched his teeth to the point of damage to counteract the vehement silence that had just sunk in.

On the upper deck, a weak floorboard broke. Dan jumped in his seat. He knew, after checking four times after dumping on the bananas, that he was the only passenger. The lower deck was cramped and no place for a man. He still jumped.

He kept his boat's direction as the bananas rustled behind him. The Polaroid he took of the voodoo prostitute he stole the bananas from threatened to fall out the crack where the window met the dashboard. Dan took the hint and secured it in a small box. She was too tasty to forget.

The engine sputtered, scraped, and stopped. The boat glided to a halt.

"Damn it," said Dan to absolutely nobody.

He forced his legs, which sat for hours, to stand. The ground wobbled. He limped down the blackened straightaway to the back of the ship, and slowly remembered that the piles of bananas obstructed the path to the engine.

As Dan climbed over the first pile, he heard an interrupted groan under his foot. He looked down, and there was a mashed banana in a pool of fresh blood.

He checked all over his body, but realized he felt no pain. He continued up the small hill of bananas. He slipped and cursed himself for failing such a simple task.

As he came to his feet, he watched the banana he touched fall down to the bottom of the pile. When it landed, it twitched, and blood leaked out its stained peel.

He grabbed it. His hairy fist was tight as he investigated the pulsating rhythm it emanated. It was a heartbeat. The blue and pink veins along the browned peel became evident.

An orange spike crept out the stem of the banana as it struggled. The stem whipped from side to side and scraped Dan's hand with its new weapon. Dan flinched at the pain from the meager touch.

He hesitated, but managed to put the banana down on the floor, quickly retracting his hand. The banana let out a high-pitched wheeze as the bruises from Dan's grip inflated to try to restore the fruit's shape.

It jumped to Dan's black boot and pried the spike into the leather. Dan stepped on the banana with his right foot, and more glistening banana blood splattered on his cargo pants.

The stench of dead people caught up with Dan as dozens more bananas with spikes crawled from under the good ones. They spoke in muffled wheezes. Dan stepped on as many as he could before the bananas overpowered his legs and kept his feet flat on the floor as they stabbed his calves repeatedly.

Dan felt his muscles cramp all over. He knew his blood was doing things it should never do in his body. He froze at the possibility that these things could be venomous. He lay on the floor and covered his eyes with both hands. The bananas punctured everything else. Despite the pain, he could feel himself drifting to sleep.

Dan woke up at sunrise. Every banana was gone. He tried to stand up but the pain kept him crawling. He made his way to the edge of the boat and saw the Ocean.

When he first caught sight of the Sun, he disappeared in a wave of fire.

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