The following is a short story I wrote a few years ago. It’s funny revisiting old work, but I think I quite like this one. Short Story: Forever.
As the novel nears completion, more content goes onto the blog http://tidemarksthenovel.wordpress.com
Here is Jay’s introduction:
‘Well! What are you going to do about it?’ asked the customer, pointing at the space on the shelf where the Bicarbonate of Soda should have been. Jay looked at the man’s pink, jowly face, and watched as a small bubble of spit vibrated on his fat lower lip each time he drew or exhaled a breath. He wondered how someone could get so wound up about something so inconsequential.
‘Sorry, but I’ve already checked out the back and there’s no more stock in store,’ Jay replied. He tried to smile, but it felt forced; he knew it probably came across that way too, but his head was still hurting – the lingering effects of the weekend – and he couldn’t summon enough energy to pretend he felt any different. The man raised his eyebrows and walked off down the aisle, lifting his hands slightly in a gesture of despair. No doubt he was off to bother another member of staff.
Jay picked a bag of sugar off the cage, placed it on the shelf, and began to wonder about the sort of state his body must be in. He’d been pushing things too far for too long. That was just how his life had turned out; it was as if it had already been written that way and he had no choice but to follow its narrative. But, just lately, he’d been sensing change in the air. Something felt different. It was as if a shadow was trying to surface in his mind, and he realised that it was an answer that he needed. But he had no idea what the question was yet?
At the end of his shift, Jay was glad to leave the supermarket behind, glad to be away from the synthetic lighting and out into the cool night air, where he lit a cigarette and began the walk home. A thick blanket of clouds hung low in the night sky, making it unseasonably warm, but shielding the light of the moon, and the sparse street lighting as he near his flat allowed the darkness to creep into hidden corners and crevices. He stopped. Was that a noise coming from behind him? He turned to look back along the road he had just walked down. The deep shadows seem to harbour movement, glimpses of things, half-truths hovering on the edges or worlds. Perhaps those shadows contained the questions that needed answering.
Perhaps it was time to start looking for them.
The communal door to the apartments let out a sharp creak as he opened it, and his footsteps echoed around the empty hallway as he made his way up the stairs and towards his own door. Once inside, he flicked on the television, and an old black and white film came on. Jay sipped at a beer as he stood by the window, looking out over a city that seemed to be growing malevolent, a city that seemed to be out to break him.
He thought he saw the shadows moving out there again. Must be his tired mind playing tricks on him, he thought to himself.
If you fancy reading more, check out the tidemarks blog: http://tidemarksthenovel.wordpress.com