The Walk

Here is the beginning of a new short story I’m working on. Thoughts? Suggestions?

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“We’re going for a walk.”

 

The faculty stared at her. Silence bounced off the walls in steady beats. Sideways glances were exchanged between teachers. Someone cleared her throat. Someone else giggled.

 

“We’re what?” The young teacher’s eyes darted between the clock and the principal’s face as she stood before them, and shrugged her shoulders. “The bell is about to ring.”

 

“Yes,” the principal answered, “and when it does, we will go out to the playground and pick up the children to take them for a walk.”

 

“Why?” The faculty responded as one, just as another teacher, late for the meeting, rushed into the room. Someone turned to her and whispered, “We’re going for a walk.”

 

“What?” She looked around the room. “We’re doing what?” She turned to the principal. “Why?”

 

“Because it’s something we need to do.” She walked to the door. “There’s the bell. Let’s go.” Continue reading

Slipping into Blue, Part 1

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“Slipping into blue, sliding towards black. Caught in the whirlwind. Slipping, slipping, slipping into blue…”

She snapped off the radio and sighed. It’s not that easy. Her eyes followed a trail of blue smoke as she crushed out her cigarette. Some of us don’t have that luxury.

A rusting metal chair scraped against worn linoleum as she stood and surveyed the tiny apartment. Crisp, white curtains and a collection of bright coffee cups did little to disguise the gloom that clung to the walls. Like trying to empty the ocean with a thimble, it was a lost cause. Despair had lived there too long.

She slipped on her black canvas sneakers, grabbed her backpack, and pressed her ear against the door. Satisfied no one was lurking in the dimly lit hallway, she opened her door and crept toward the concrete stairwell. Her stomach lurched as the stench hit her. Fried food, stale beer, urine, and rotting garbage mixed with the sweet smell of pot and incense. This must be what Hell smells like. Making her way down three flights, she relaxed as she approached the steel door.

“You’re late.” The balding Super jabbed a fat finger at her as he stepped to block her path. He chomped on the end of an unlit cigar and tugged at his saggy pants. “Rent was due last week.”

Squeezing around him, she pasted a smile on her face. “I know, Bruno. I’ll have it in a few days. I promise.” She pushed against the cold door. “Just give me until the end of the week, ok?” Not waiting for an answer, she ran onto the busy sidewalk, trying to get lost in the crowd. She heard him calling after her.

“Ain’t no free ride her, Girl. Better have the rent in two days or you’re out.”

 

Slipping Into Blue

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She slipped on earphones and adjusted the volume. The drama that played out on the street each day became a silent movie. She imagined what the old woman was screaming as she shook her broom at two young boys. She smirked as they pointed at one another and shrugged their shoulders. Those McDougal twins at it again. She laughed and scanned the sidewalk.

A balding, middle-aged man pulled his phone from his pocket and stabbed beefy fingers at its keypad. As he passed, her eyes followed a trickle of sweat running down his face. She glanced at his worn suit, wrinkled shirt, and beat-up briefcase  grasped in his white-knuckled hand. No need to hear what he was saying. Good luck, Buddy. Hope you make the sale.

She tapped her finger against her leg, keeping time with the music. Rounding a corner, she stumbled. Can’t be him.  Distracted, she stepped into the river of hustling commuters, and yelped as she was jostled out of the way. Seeking refuge in a doorway, she tore the earphones from her head and took a deep breath. Shielding her eyes from the sun, she scrutinized the crowd.

Her eyes widened as she spotted him, his all too familiar lanky frame leaning against a brick building. A wool cap covered most of the blue-black, spiky hair that brushed the collar of his denim jacket. A cigarette dangled from his left hand as she automatically looked for the gold bracelet he always wore. Damn. She stepped into the street,  but pulled back as a car honked its horn. Looking again, she darted across traffic and swallowed, trying to diminish the lump that was threatening to close her throat.

She crept behind him and paused. Her hand shook as she reached up to tap his shoulder.

“Yeah?” He turned his head. Big brown eyes peered at her.

“Sorry…” She backed away. “Thought you were someone else.”

Images of the greenest eyes she’d ever seen filled her head. She grabbed a smoke from her bag and lit it, pulling a long drag as smoke filled her lungs. Get it together, Lacey. He’s gone. Stop looking for ghosts.

 

by Michele Vecchitto