I'm returning a review since you were kind enough to wander into my port! You have a gift for crafting a good story that keeps a reader engaged.
You aptly painted a single Mom working nights and barely getting by in the process. I knew who this story was about. She was scared but determined. There was backbone.
Well having 3 children and being a single Mom certainly and immediately imbued her with a "reason" to want to survive her ordeal. This was carried through-out the piece and I didn't find her tone or responses inconsistent with her reactions. Good job.
Creating sound and movement in a place where there is no "interactive" dialogue is a challenge. I thought your repetition of the "bar sounds" - Swoosh - Spin - Clap - and finally "bang" created an eerie ambiance and was utilized with great effect. There was plenty of suspense as she moved through the "perils" until she reached the "true" threat. Again well done.
This story was brought around logically with just enough questions to allow for a continuation of the tale. Who was the attacker?
A pinky ring, and Amy asking "How could you" - led the reader to believe she knew this person. This is a tale ripe to continue so if this was your intent, mission accomplished.
Suggestions for improvement:
First I need to add a strong disclaimer. I'm a poor dialogue writer and I stand in awe of this type of imagination, but this is what stood between the elusive 5 and the 4 I rated this. I didn't feel the structure of this piece gifted it with the clarity it deserves. I would have liked to see paragraphs and breaks. Your hook of the bar sounds would've been more suspenseful had they stood alone and ended a paragraph.
In the area of description - you are a master of "tone" but I would've liked to have "seen" more. Amy. Is she petite, tripping on short legs, were her blue eyes frozen in fear, did tiny fingers grasp the utilitarian flashlight? What of the bar itself. Did the smell of garlic hang over the "checkered" tablecloths, were the pizza boxes that which tripped her? Where the bar stools red and cracked, did the flash of light connect with faded wallpaper?
Next, the repetition of "Amy" and "she" was frequent. We knew from the first paragraph who was musing. I would've liked to have seen less references to her, and perhaps more internal dialogue from "her". Somehow I felt the impartial references of the narrator took away from the otherwise brilliant storytelling. It's hard to explain this so I'm going to submit a few paragraphs of examples.
The bar was quiet that evening as Amy locked up both the doors and started in on the pile
of dishes that were waiting for her on the counter. It was an exasperating evening with all the fights and the drama that had happened. Stopping for a minute to listen, there was nothing but the night sounds of the bar and the silence of the evening as she sighed and put the dishes in the dishwasher. There was a familiar swoosh as the cycle began and she began to wipe down counters and tables.
This was the time of evening where a petite bartender began the transition back to mother of three and her mind began to wander to the morning’s agenda of getting her eldest daughter to a doctor's appointment. She calculated in her mind the tips that she had made and she knew that she had enough to call a taxi for a ride home and again for one for her daughter's appointment. A grin spread slowly as she thought, “Yes, great tips always made the night better!”
The floor of the karaoke room was littered with popcorn and the poker machines surrounding the edges of the room, ringed with too many spilled beers. Suddenly the lights went off and there was nothing but darkness. Bright blue eyes frozen, she heard nothing but the spinning of the fans in the darkened room. Spin. Spin. Spin, with the coolers adding a light clapping in the darkness. Clap. Clap. Clap. The dishwasher’s usually familiar and friendly cycle – Swoosh. Swoosh. Swoosh, no longer felt as friendly in the darkness as she stood perfectly still, and listened.
"Hello!?!" Amy called out into the darkness. “Right! As if any crook in their right mind was going to answer back!” she scolded herself. Sighing she felt her way in the darkness back to the counter and felt under the till drawer where she knew the boss had hidden the flashlight.
Bottom line - great story - and lots of talent!
Blessings always to you and yours...
** Image ID #1787886 Unavailable **