SHOEMAKER

September 18, 2015

Trying not to display the significant amount of trepidation she felt, Shoemaker entered the bait shop. A swift glance found the proprietor seated behind a neatly cluttered counter. Snagged in frozen avalanche down the face of his many pocketed canvas vest were legions of feathered barbs.

‘Moving down or up or not is what the time values,’ he said evenly, unveiling both of his teeth and narrowing his gaze.

‘Wednesday or Sunday, if the weather continues off and on grainy,’ replied Shoemaker in a voice she barely recognized as her own, so shaken to the core was she about the possible dreadful unknown. It was now or never. If the balloon salesman with the piercing black eyes had been truthful, the next few seconds would confirm her destiny – life, death, or a fate even more horrible in between.

The proprietor’s smile became more hideous, something Shoemaker hadn’t thought possible. The floor opened beneath her feet, and mouth opened wide in silent scream, she slid down a ramp and came to an abrupt landing on an immense mound of uncooked rice. The rice was on a barge. The barge moved out to the river and sailed away.

There was no moon that night.

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