Oil seeped from the motorcycle engine as Pete lay on his back under it, running his hand along the seams. There was a thud over by the workbench. Pete pressed his finger against the crack in the metal. Martino? What’s happening out there? he said without looking. Another thud. Pete finally glanced over but couldn’t see much from his low angle. Something crashed to the ground and a wrench came sliding across the cement floor, almost to where Pete lay. He pushed himself out from under the bike. He didn’t see anyone but the area around the shelving appeared wavy as though he was seeing it through heat distortion. One of the toolboxes that had been on the shelf was now on the floor, contents strewn from the impact. He got up and as he walked slowly over, the distorted, wavy field seemed to move in an arc toward him.
He felt a sensation like that of a cold hand reaching into his chest and tearing through his internal organs. He gasped. He reached out and was surprised to feel something solid in the undulating haze. An invisible mouth closed on his in a kiss. He tried to pull away but ice-cold arms pulled him closer.
Later he found himself on the floor. His chest appeared to have been ripped apart and he hugged himself, squeezing ribs back together over heart and lungs. He lifted his head and his face sagged until he pressed hanging flesh back onto his skull. The floor was bloody but the blood was frozen and even showed the white snowflake patterns of frost. His own hands were white with cold. He struggled to his feet, fighting to hold his skin together. He fumbled with his phone and it spun out of his hand and dropped, skidding across the cement floor.
The front office manager arrived and stopped short when she saw him. The fluorescents reflected in her glasses, hiding her eyes. Pete… she said. She took a few steps back in her high heels, almost slipping on the icy blood, her hand landing on the counter to steady herself. Near her hand on the counter rested what looked like a human eyeball. Pete tried to say something to her but only guttural sounds came out. Then he picked up the eyeball and held it out, as though offering it as explanation. When he moved closer to her she grabbed a crowbar from the pegboard and swung it at him. She made contact with his shoulder and his whole body shredded with the impact. He landed in a pile of flesh and bones on the frozen blood floor.
She then bent down and took the eyeball from his bloody hand. She looked at it, then placed it carefully in her purse. Soon her car could be heard peeling out of the parking lot.
The shop got quiet again except for the sound of nails falling one by one off the top of a tall galvanized shelving unit. Each nail rolled off of its own volition and bounced down onto the concrete floor. When there were no more nails to fall, the shop was silent.