I follow a blog called sethsnap. The fellow who writes the blog (http://sethsnap.com/author/sethsnap/) posts a lot of great photos. This particular post had a picture of a bench and the following instructions:
Write me a story about a late summer afternoon, a lonely bench, and an abandoned building.
Your Story is a SethSnap series in which you get to decide the story behind the photos. You can write a story, a poem or even just one word. You decide.
Here’s the picture.
Many thanks to sethsnap for the prompt.
The bench sat beside the rail trail where I’d been walking. It was mid-afternoon on a sweltering late summer day. I have no idea why I decided to walk this time of day. I melted onto the bench and pulled my water bottle out of the cutesie holder my sister gave me for my birthday. After I drank it down, I looked around the area.
Behind me sat an abandoned factory. One of those places built in the early 1900’s that actually had architectural detail around the roof line, windows and doors. It’s a shame it’s falling into a ruin. It’d make a good apartment loft space or arts building. Yeah, I could see that; art stores, artist work spaces, a few little concessions like an ice cream or hot dog vendor here between the building and the trail. Better than the weed choked lot and broken windows here now.
I wiped the sweat off of my face with my forearm. Geez, I need to have my head examined, walking in the heat of the day? A couple of women jogged by talking and laughing as though it weren’t ninety degrees and 80% humidity out here. I felt as though all my muscles had turned to cotton candy. I wished I had more water.
A woman walked out of the weeds next to the factory and sat beside me. She wore a sundress, one of those 50’s style things, sleeveless, full skirt, in pink and yellow roses and on her hands, little white cotton gloves. Geesh, who wears gloves now adays? I did like her hair though. It was cut in a cute little bob that curled around her face.
“You wouldn’t have any water, would you?” I asked. My head was pounding.
She turned to face at me. Her face looked as though someone had punched her in each eye. The black bruises ran halfway down her cheekbones. “Holy crap, are you all right?” I tried to sit up but my body just wouldn’t respond.
She shook her head then turned back to stare at the trail.
“Miss, I feel sick. Could you call 911? I think I’m having heat stroke.” My head was spinning and I was nauseous.
She shook her head. “I can’t,” she whispered. “I’m not really here.”
I had a hard time concentrating. “What do you mean? I can see you.”
“No,” she said. “I used to work here.” She turned her head to look back at the factory. “I was a secretary here.”
My mouth was so dry. “Miss, this place hasn’t been open since the 60’s.”
She nodded. “I know.” She looked so sad.
I struggled to format a coherent thought. “That was over 40 years ago. You can’t be more than twenty-five.”
She sighed. “I was having an affair with my boss, the factory manager. I wanted more. I wanted him to leave his wife.”
“That’s too bad.” My headache was getting worse. I checked the trail. No one passed by.
“We stayed late after work and got into an argument. He punched me in both eyes.”
“I can see that.” I began to dream about cascades of water flowing over me. Cool and sweet, drinking until I couldn’t hold any more.
“He must have hit me in the head. I woke up lying on the ground out here by the tracks. It was so dark.”
“How’d you get here?” I was so hot and dizzy. The woman seemed to shimmer in the afternoon sunlight.
She shook her head. “My boss was digging a hole.” She looked around the bench. “Right here.”
I struggled to follow her story. “Here?” I croaked.
“Yes, here. The trains used to stop at the factory once a week to pick up our product. I was woozy and confused. He picked me up and dropped me in the hole. It was deep. I tried to get up but my head hurt too much. He started to shovel the dirt in on top of me. ‘No!’ I yelled to him.” She stopped talking and looked around her. “Yes, right here.”
My stomach turned, thinking about someone being buried alive. “You must have escaped.”
“No,” she said, her voice low and sad. “He hit me in the head with the shovel and filled the hole.”
I tried to control the urge to vomit.
She looked at the bench and pointed to the little plaque fixed to the middle of the top slat. “This is him.”
I looked. The plaque read ‘Donated by Mr. Herbert Avery, 2009′.
“I need your help,” she said.
I felt terrible. I could hardly understand what she was saying. “Help?’
“Just for a little while,” she said. She reached out and took my hand. Her hand was ice cold.
“No,” I croaked.
“I need to pay a visit to Mr. Avery.”
“I don’t want to,” I pleaded.
“This won’t hurt a bit.” She leaned over me and covered my mouth with hers.
After that, I had no control. Seventy-three year old Mr. Avery lived alone in a middle class house in the older part of town. The paramedics called it a heart attack. I’m still in here, but she’s the one in charge. She likes 2013. She doesn’t plan on leaving.
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html
Don’t forget to look for Halloween Tales released September 30th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Amazon or Smashwords today!
Barnes and Noble: Not showing when I looked but search on Connie Cockrell
Apple: Not found when I looked.
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