Realms of Darkness
A Collection of Three Short Stories
The Late Shift
Bill emptied the register and put the money in the safe. “You ready to go?”
“Yeah, just let me grab my coat and purse.”
Waiting, Bill held the door, as Sheila stepped through. He locked it behind him and waved. “Goodnight.” He sauntered off to his truck.
“Night.” Walking to the bus stop, she held her watch out at the street light. “Oh, great. I missed it. Won’t be another one for an hour.”
The street was empty. At night it became a whole other world, and at eleven on a Friday it was dead. She sat on the bench, tucking her hands into her coat pockets. “An hour to kill. In the dark. At eleven.” There wasn’t a car in sight, and every time she thought she heard one, she found herself turning to see if it was a white van.
“This is insane. Sitting here, alone, in the middle of the night. Could you be any more stupid? Well, it’s not like you have a choice. It’s this or walk the three miles. And either way you’re alone in the dark.” She stood. “At least you’ll be getting closer to home, if you walk.”
Slipping her purse strap up over her shoulder, she stepped away from the bench. Not all of the streets were as well lit as she would like, with long stretches of dark, obscured sidewalk. “But then that may just make it more difficult to be seen by a band of cultists, out to sew my mouth shut.” A crease formed between her brows. “A band? Do cults travel in bands? Stop it, Sheila, you’re being ridiculous.”
Random cars drove past, and every time she would check. “No white vans. For that matter, how do they even know for certain they use a white van anyway?” She shook her head.
“See, you’re already over half-way home. Won’t be much longer now. And then you can soak in a nice hot bath. Oh, man, that sounds good.” She crossed a side street and stepped up onto the sidewalk on the other side.
“Hey.”She swung around. A car pulled up, the driver side window rolling down.