Recently, I ran across a short story contest of five hundred words or less, and just for fun, I decided to write one. Now, I knocked this out in one hour, so I don't expect anything amazing, but the feedback from my family and friends surprised me, so I wanted to offer this up to my online community of friends and see what your thoughts are. If you enjoy it, please add your suggestions below, and each week, I'll write five hundred more words based on your suggestions. Also, if I use your suggestion, and you haven't read and would like to read one of my novels, I will send you any of my books free.
By the way, I don't believe in long blogs, so this short story takes only two and a half minutes to read.
The old wooden building looked innocent enough, but the lack of surrounding cars gave Gino pause as he opened the door of his Hybrid. The GPS he and Sheila had been using had directed them off the highway in search of gas, but there were no gas stations around, just one country store in the outskirts of this Northern Californian town.
Sheila opened her door, but he waved her off. “Stay in the car. Let me check this place out.”
She jumped out anyway. “But I have to go. I’ve had to go since that last exit you ignored.”
“Fine,” Gino replied, walking toward the entrance, Sheila on his heels. He listened for sounds but heard nothing. “What do you think?”
“I think I need a bathroom—bad!”
Gino reached for the knob, but before he could turn the handle, the door screeched open as if the wind had pushed it. A faint sound of bells on the door sounded over his head. “Hello?” he called. The sound of his voice faded into the stillness of the store. The only noise came from the creaking of the wood planks below the new Toms his wife had talked him into buying. “Is anyone here?” he called again.
A crackling sound started up behind the counter. Someone had turned on an old AM radio. The music that emanated was reminiscent of old 50s style music his grandfather used to listen to.
“Afternoon,” a man called out in a hoarse voice, as he popped up from behind the register. “You kids ain’t from around here, are ya?”
“Uh, no, sir,” Gino stuttered, not sure why he couldn’t find his voice. “We’re heading to a wedding, and we just ran low on gas and were wondering if there was a gas station around here.”
The man chuckled. “Son, you don’t need gas. You got a full tank.”
Gino shook his head. “Excuse me, how would—” Sheila tugged on his arm and gave him the look he knew all too well; they’d stopped a hundred times on this trip. “Sir, is there a restroom my wife could use?”
“Round back, but she doesn’t have to go.”
“What’s that racket, Joe?” An old woman stepped through a doorway on the other side of the room.
Gino gasped and grabbed Sheila’s hand, pulling her toward the door. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Trust me. Something isn’t right.”
The old man stepped around the counter. “Just a couple of lost souls, Martha.” The man moved toward them, and Gino could feel beads of sweat dampen his forehead, but the man just opened the door, allowing them to leave. “We’ll see yens back here soon.” Then he lowered his head and looked Gino deep in the eyes. “Don’t you recognize me, son?”
Gino pushed Sheila through the doorway and toward the car door.
“What the heck are you doing, Gino?”
Gino's heart pounded in his chest. "That was my Grandpa Joe. He died twenty years ago.
Okay, that’s it. Any ideas on what's happening or happens next? Please feel free to comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I'll add five hundred words each week.
I write modern-day fairytales filled with romance, mystery, suspense, and of course, tragedy. After all, what would a fairytale be without a tragic event setting the stage? All of my novels are sensual, but not erotic, gripping but not graphic and will hopefully make you cry, laugh, love, and hope.
I love talking about all things books, so please connect with me via one of the links below.
When two strangers have nothing left but their dreams, they must forge a relationship in Nantahala, North Carolina, a small town known as Land of the Noonday Sun.
After secrets and a mysterious background leave a wife’s life hanging by a thread, a husband must look for answers in the only place he knows—the past.
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And coming soon, Entangled Dreams