Archive for March 11th, 2012

11th March
written by amber

The Old Man

The old man sat in the barn doorway in the smell of apples, rocking, wanting not to smoke not because of the doctor but because now his heart fluttered all the time. He heard her singing. She was approaching. His heart fluttered harder than ever.

She came around the corner. She was beautiful. Her hair was long and dark, her lips very red, her skin glowed palely, like milk. She came over to him, her lips parting in a smile. He didn’t like that smile, didn’t like to see her pointy teeth. It was the only thing about her that he didn’t like.

“Did you find one?” she asked him.

“Yes, he’s tied up in the hayloft.”

84 years old, yet the old man had gone out early that morning and had driven to the city where he’d found a homeless man, lured him to the car with a promise of whiskey, then wrestled him into the trunk. If his doctor could see him now…

“Give up that smoking habit, Stephen, or you won’t last another year.” Dr. Fasbinder had said that four years ago.

The old man chuckled. He thought, you should have given up that nosiness habit, Fasbinder, you might have lasted another year.

Somewhere deep within, the old man felt guilty about what had happened to his doctor, and a few others of his neighbours, the ones who’d come around too many times, and to all the homeless people. But it was very deep within, and it never troubled him when she was around.

“Let’s go inside,” she invited him. He followed her up the ladder to the hayloft, the barn warm from the day’s sunshine and illuminated only by the candles he’d lit, smelling of apples.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

This story was inspired by the first line from one of the short stories in Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes. I love the line – it resonates with Ray Bradbury’s style of writing.