by Serj Chalap
Prologue to paranormal fiction novel
A twenty-four-hour grocery store; no payment terminal works, fluorescent lamps glow dimly, as if they grieve, casting a glimmering light on the dark mysterious figures, which stay to the other side of the conveyor belt.
They wear obscure robes; lowered hoods hide their eyes.
Being that much weird and creepy – a hermaphroditic combination of human body and granite statue – they are probably a delusion, but sort of the delusion she believes in implicitly.
She never sees faces, just hands.
The hands count out bills and give them to her so that she can put them in a cash register.
She has no idea to whom belong these hands, but as far as she is concerned, the hands are fairly the only thing exists.
"What are you?" she manages to speak in cold blood and hide her hesitation. She hopes they might hear her. She fears it as well.
The sound of her voice breaks the seal of silence, banishing peace that has been maintained here until now, and make the hands freeze starring at her.
At some point she realizes, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she has just opened Pandora’s box, and there are going to be consequences.
She could feel it in her bones, the image of the hands wrapping around her neck, the premonition.
Slowly she opened her eyes, awaking from a disturbing nightmare, only to find out that the reality she was trying to escape from was even more terrifying.
Crackle of a burning wood turned to a whisper of embers, the echo of a small fire set by her people to keep warm and secure a forced overnight in the open.
The closer they stayed the more chances to survive they had. Yet there was something that united them entirely: a vital desire to get to the last station, the final destination to where the railroad tracks led.
They were doomed to follow that lead.
An uncertain fate of those who had left the tracks, refusing to accept the rules of a devilish game imposed by the sinister express machinist, bothered everyone; it brought the confusing thoughts, wich ran through their minds with a sticky thread of fear.
She could not speak for the others but she was sure she would never see any of those people again, the lost souls who had succumbed to despair and had made the wrong choice.
Somehow she knew that was the wrong choice and at the same time she could not shake off the feeling that every choice they had made or were going to make was just as wrong.
At the end of the day no choice could exist in such cursed place where some maddened God had put them. The only thing they had was the false choice, so nothing but a blurred image of an illusory hope.
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