A tired driver makes a stop at an old roadside shack.
| The road was a coiling snake, slithering off into a distant fog. Screeching from the radio traveled out the window only to be drowned out by darkness. Even the car was silent out there.
Stocky shoulders slumped behind the wheel and eyebrows furrowed. Tye could barely focus on the road and the misty night was not helping his exhausted eyes. Tree, tree, tree, another tree... He should have arrived at The Sideroad Inn hours ago. Was the fog playing tricks on him? He couldn't have taken a wrong turn, he'd been on this road too many times. But it seemed endless...
The radio hissed an announcement of the time: 2 A.M. Okay, that was ridiculous, he had been on this same road for four hours now, he was absolutely certain it was the right one! Alas, it usually only took him about thirty minutes on it to reach the inn. He allowed himself a disgruntled huff of frustration. Should he turn back?
His pondering on his course was interrupted by a curious pink glow to the right side of the road. That was new. He pulled the car to the side and just left it in the grass. Eyelids were threatening to take away his vision for some critically needed rest. As he walked toward the light, the fog opened up its curtains and he was facing a neon sign: Open For Enternity. It hung from bruised chains over the crooked rotting door of what could barely even be called a shack. An amalgam of rust and moss.
A creak blinded his eyes. He stepped through the doorway with squinted eyes. The door closed behind him without so much as a gust of air. His eyes adjusted to the sudden light and he was greeted by a baffling vastness. An antique shop? It definitely looked like one. A woman stumbled from behind a pile of books taller than himself. She smacked some dust off her knee and looked up at him. A radiant smile opened up her young face as she straightened up and hurried towards him.
"Welcome! Gosh, it's been a while since I've had someone come in here, so sorry for the mess," the smile remained on her face throughout talking as if her muscles had no need to move for the production of sound. Tye was still baffled at everything. He stood there and looked at this woman as if she had dropped from the moon, "Am I dreaming?"
The smile produced a melodic laugh, "Well, you did fall asleep." What? So it is a dream. Why was his stomach still knotted then? The lady maintained her smile as she turned to a shelf next to her, rummaging through the mess, "Everyone calls me Etty. It's nice to see you Tye, it's been a long time, alas, you don't remember me, you were just an old man back then." Doesn't she mean a baby? The whole place stung with nostalgia.
Etty turned back around and dropped a huge old book in his hands, "Feel free to look around, you can read that if you want. You already know everything in it, but some people like to read it, so... Well, there you go. Roam free, I'm around every corner if you need me," the light laughter disappeared around a bookshelf.
So he's asleep. Okay. He put the book down without so much as a glance. Something had caught his eye since earlier. He walked over to an old car radio. It had a unique scratch on the dial. He had a habit of turning it with his ring... This was his car's radio. Everything here was his. Every book in the pile he had read. Every old piece of clothing he had worn.
"...Etty?" It was said as a tremble, a question, why was he dreaming this? Etty poked her head out from behind his wardrobe. Smile still in place, a strand of black hair fell loosely over it, "Tye?" Tye looked at her and the words came out automatically, "I'm leaving." Etty's face didn't flinch, "So soon? Well alright, it's the same way you came."
His feet carried him in a trance back out through the crooked door. His step outside was greeted by an uncomfortably wet squelching sound. His boot landed softly on drenched asphalt.
Funny. He had no sense of smell. Regardless, the acridity of the crimson pool burned at his nostrils as he watched his mangled body being pulled out of the smashed car. Stained bone and torn flesh. It must have been instant.
"You fell asleep." Tye jumped out of his proverbial skin at the sudden whisper in his ear. He turned to look at its source. Wide eyes reflected the same unflinching smile from inside the shack, "Death is eternal slumber, you see."
Written for "SCREAMS!!!"
Word count: 803.