Monday, July 24, 2017

A Series of Minis - Story #3

The Alley

     Tracy knew the scene seemed a bit cliché.  Here she was, a young, attractive woman, standing all alone, late at night, looking into the mouth of a darkened alleyway.

     Was she seriously considering going in?  The mere thought of doing so caused a wave of panic to wash over her.  She fought it down, trying to regain her composure.

     She peered into the depths of the unknown.  No light could be discerned; not the slightest bit.  She stood motionless, a slight fear fluttering into her chest and stomach.

     A slight fear? It was more like paranoia, bordering on full blown terror.  By sheer force of will she pushed her emotions aside, clutched her purse tightly and stepped forward.  There would be no turning back.

     Within a few steps the shadows of the alleyway consumed her completely.  No one looking in from Pierre Street would even be aware of her.  Even she wasn’t sure she was present.  Only the echoes of her heels on the pavement reassured her of her own presence.

     The air surrounding her was becoming stifling, having a feeling of staleness to it, as well.  A few more steps and a foul odor began to assail her nose.  The stench permeated her very pores the farther she walked.

     The scurrying of tiny feet to her left caused her to pause in mid step.  What could it have been?  A lost dog?  A scavenging cat? Worse, it could be vermin.  And not the cute little white kind with the pink twitching nose.  No, this one would be the large, brown kind with fangs the size of butcher knives.  The kind that’s so big even a rodeo cowboy would have trouble hanging onto for the full eight seconds.

     Fear threatened, but she successfully fought it off once again.  How many times would she win that battle?  Would fear finally paralyze her?  Leave her stranded in the alley until daybreak?  She wasn’t sure she wanted to find out the answer to those questions.

     She shook her head to clear the thoughts trying to run rampant through her mind and forced herself forward once more.

     Once she was deep into the alley she heard the noise she feared the most: shuffling footsteps coming from behind her.

     She turned, craning her neck as far as it would go.  Nothing but dark came to her eyes.  As she stood looking into the darkness the shuffling repeated itself, just a slight bit nearer than the last time.  The sound was followed this time by a high pitched squeal.

     “Hello,” she frantically called out.  “Is someone there?”

     Did she really think a skulking pervert would announce himself to his intended victim?  It would be more like a knife in the back with no warning.

     With no response forthcoming she resumed her trek, stepping gingerly, trying to avoid making any noise; thereby avoiding alerting the would-be assailant to her whereabouts.

     The farther she went, the more she heard the shuffling steps and nerve racking squeal.

     She finally saw the light at the end of the alley, causing her to increase her pace.  Unfortunately, it seemed the footfalls behind increased in speed as well.

     She fairly ran the last few yards to light and safety.  Once free of the darkness she turned and paused for one last look into the abyss.  Curiosity got the better of her.

     ‘Didn’t it also kill the cat?’ she wondered.

     As she stood watching, emotions as scattered as an Oklahoma barn after a twister, an elderly couple pushing a shopping cart emerged from the alley she had so recently quitted.  One wheel emitting a horrendous squeal before they came to a stop.

     The shriveled old couple held onto the cart as if it were a double walker.  The grey haired woman turned to the stoop shouldered man as she pulled something from the side of her head.

     “Harold, I think my battery went dead,” she croaked, gingerly holding a hearing aid in one hand.

     Harold turned to the woman and replied, “What?  Can’t hear you, my blasted battery went dead again.”

     Tracy’s body relaxed, fear slipping away.  A smile played at the corners of her mouth, until the old geezer pulled a gun out of his jacket and pointed it at her, that is.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Series of Minis - Story #2

The Umbrella

Hank wasn’t sure how his dad handled it for so many years, but he was beginning to get the feeling that a sales rep position for a manufacturing company wasn’t going to be his kind of gig.  Especially not after the bad trip he was having.

It was bad enough to be the low man on the totem pole and draw the worst sales route for the whole company, but to now have car trouble on top of it?  Who wouldn’t want to jump ship in hopes of landing a better job?

Why did it seem like his life was quietly going down the crapper?  Cindy hadn’t helped matters, either.  Her ‘get married or get out’ ultimatum just minutes before he loaded the trunk of his car for this lousy trip was just the tip of the iceberg, apparently.  Nothing had gone right since.

Zero sales after six stops in three long days.  Now he had car trouble in the middle of freakin’ nowhere.  Plus he got the added bonus of no cell service.  Nothing but wheat fields as far as the eye could see.  And with the roads as flat as his sales calls, he could see plenty far.

There hadn’t even been one lousy car travelling down the same lone stretch of road he’d been forced to walk for the past four hours.

His only good fortune was finding the umbrella in the trunk under his travel bag.  It was coming in handy to keep the glaring sun off of his face.

As he grumbled along, kicking at the loose gravel on the side of the road; cursing Cindy, his boss, his job, his life in general, his despair grew in proportion to the size of the storm clouds he saw quickly forming on the horizon and heading his way.

‘At least I have this umbrella,’ he thought, scant seconds before an unexpected gust of wind tore it from his grasp, sending it tumbling through a field of golden grain at breakneck speed.

“Crap,” was all he got out of his mouth as the first golf ball-sized raindrop hit him in the face.