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Short Story Thread


Registered Member
This is a thread in which those who like to write can post their short stories for others to read and enjoy. <can't believe there isn't one really> *that I've seen*.


*Your story can be about anything, although ensure it keeps in line with the forum rules and that.
*If it is proper graphic or likely to be very offensive let the sensitive sorts know.
*Your story must be no longer than 5,000 words.

That's that. I'll post a story to begin:

This is from my little back catalogue of shorts that I've done. It probably isn't that remarkable, but it's a start:


Zero Sum

“So, it’s come to this has it?” Tyrone said. “After all this time. We know each other so well, I know you better than anyone, even better than yourself. I don't want you to think I'm only doing this for me, you see, the thing is: I don’t need you, but you need me. Just think of all the things we’ve accomplished,” he looked at his friend with piercing grey eyes. He wore the same old suit, as always.

“I don’t need you,” Ben replied. “You have helped me, I admit that. I know in the beginning we had our differences, that goes without saying, and I know we grew to become the best of friends, but I need to move on. I can’t live with you any more.

I want a family, I can’t get married to Chelsea and raise my children with you around. It's been a long time, but I'm sick of living like this, I'm not as young as I was, it's time I sorted myself out,” he walked from the bathroom and entered the bedroom, on the bed there was a suitcase and two cardboard boxes. The rest had been deposited in the hallway beside the front door, ready for the off.

Tyrone had tried to force him to take them back to where they belonged, Ben had been wise to him, he wouldn't allow Tyrone to control him any more. He'd had enough of that, he found it quite disturbing that Tyrone had a bigger problem with this than he did.

“So, you’re just going to move in with her? I don’t know if I can let that happen Ben, I want to stay with you. I'm not sure why we're arguing about this, I know you would rather stay with me. Just think, next time you need to deal with those benefactors who is going to help you?” Tyrone’s eyes were more fiery than ever, Ben knew that he didn’t want to be without him. It wasn’t a love thing, far from it. It was more of a requirement.

He'd reached the point were he'd become accustomed to the situation he was in. There was nothing to worry about when Tyrone was around, so they had their fair share of disagreements but they always seemed to get through them. It was impossible to ignore the simple face that Tyrone made life easier. He made life fun.

“Please Ty. I’m sick of the chasing around and the bad things we do. I can’t keep this up, you know you’re stronger than me. Heck, I only get my strength because I’m around you.”

“Exactly. So stop this. you don't have to do anything that you don't want to," Tyrone felt that Ben might change his mind yet, he salivated at the thought of another decade in his company. Something he did not feel that proud of.

"Well, why can't you just move with me. I won't ignore you, even with Chelsea. It'd be easier."

"I don’t want to move from this place. I mean, Winchester. It’s not for me. What am I going to do there? I will not come with you. I cannot. Especially with Chelsea in the way, I won't do it, we've been through this already,” Tyrone suddenly looked glum, his strong physique masked the fact he was so very small.

A meagre existence he led, collaborating with Ben twelve years ago had finally shown him what he longed for. Now that all looked to be changing, he could so easily have been a tormentor, and yet he chose to become a friend instead. He could remember the night when he told Ben that, it had been as dark as this one. He still couldn't work out what Ben's expression had meant to convey in response to his confession..

He couldn't believe it had come to this, the fact that very soon he could be left with nothing. It seemed a strange, new beginning was on the horizon, but he’d be damned if he‘d let that happen without a fight. His will was not to be contested. He knew if he wanted to he could hurt his friend. He could finish him. To go through with such a thing seemed beyond him, after all, the bond they'd formed was now all he had. Could he really destroy that? He had no idea.

All he knew was that Ben was planning on moving home. From the comfort of familiar old Macclesfield to the plush new surroundings of Winchester, more than 150 miles away. He knew that if Ben did leave, he would never see him again, and that if he didn't find somewhere to go, he would be finished himself.

“I’m going Ty, I think it's time for a move yourself. Find someone else, a woman perhaps.”

“Ben, I’m serious. Please reconsider.”

Ben ignored him and packed the remainder of his wardrobe into his suitcase. He didn’t want to stay. In fact, he felt that it would be a bit of a relief to finally be rid of Tyrone. As much as he had enjoyed the past twelve years, he yearned to be free of his clutches. He wanted to taste a simpler life, like anyone else, like normal people.

There complicated arrangement had become a bit of a trial. Tyrone's mood hadn't helped either, it was as though he smelt the looming separation before it had even arrived. It probably smelt bitter to him, like thick smoke. Ben had other ideas, it seemed bright and lush to him, like mountain air.

Ben left the room, he walked downstairs into the kitchen and clicked on the kettle. On turning to take another last look of this room he felt rather nostalgic. That breakfast bar was where he’d taken care of some rather messy work with Tyrone, that refrigerator could tell many dark secrets. He couldn’t believe he had the courage to go through with this, it was a gigantic step for him. He turned to the sink, the kettle began to sing in a higher pitch.

Ben looked into the basin and took out his favourite mug, a plain white vessel with the words, 'WARNING: Contents Hot Inside' written on the side - He liked the irony of that statement. He started to take the receptacle out to prepare his drink when Tyrone interrupted the silence.

“Ben, come on. So okay, you don’t need me. I was lying, I think I need you more than I thought. I know that at first I was a bit aggressive, but you put up your fight and I grew respect for you. You changed me, not many like me change you know. I reckon that more often not those like me would not think twice about destroying their acquaintances. When you've lived like I have for as long as I have, it's so easy to become a little malicious.

'I’m not like that any more, I can’t hurt you any more, but I like to think you can’t hurt me either. That you wouldn’t move and leave me behind. Leave us,” Tyrone stepped out of Ben’s view for a moment.

“Let me finish making my coffee and we’ll chat okay. We’ll sort something out.”
Ben quickly sloshed milk, coffee and sugar into his mug and tipped the boiling water in to finish the trivial ritual. He walked into the living room and sat in the armchair, he took a sip of his bittersweet coffee, its smell was inviting, the steam reminded him of Tyrone. He looked up at the window, the night was clear and dark. The room felt bare and lifeless now. All the pictures had been removed, the bare white beneath them seemed encroaching.

The curtains were gone, leaving the broad windowpane bare. The reflection of the room clear as day against the night sky. Ben looked out of it and sighed, he wasn't quite sure how he should start his conversation with Tyrone, after all, this could be the last time he ever spoke to him. He began, feeling rotten and good at the same time.

“So Tyrone, let’s talk,” Ben said as he lit a Marlboro and inhaled deeply.

“I don’t want you to go Ben. I know you think it will all work out, that it will be great, but it won’t. It’s only a matter of time before you start to miss what we do,” Tyrone replied, his thoughts were muddled up, he’d never felt so exposed in all his life, so homeless.

"And what do we do Tyrone,” Ben asked.

“You know what we do Ben.”

“I know what we did," Ben said, he looked smug.

“Well what we do, or did. It’s all going to amount to the same thing in the end, and you know that. You can try to escape the evil, but it never escapes you. It always finds a way back inside you. Up until now the only thing keeping you in kilter has been me.”

“You brought that Ty. You brought that wrong-doing to me. I wasn’t like that before I met you,” Ben refuted.

“You know that’s a lie. When I first met you, and well when we first became friends I asked you what you’d like to do with someone like me. I didn’t control you, I didn’t tell you what to think. You told me what you wanted, the fact you hated working for buttons in that factory, the fact you felt your life was going nowhere, that it was unexciting. Remember that night? What were you words Ben?” Tyrone sounded more and more serious, his face looked whiter than ever, his eyes redder.

“It was just after I‘d been reprimanded by my boss for being off work sick and not phoning in. I said, I‘d had enough of their crap. That everyone at work was getting to me, that I‘d be totally indifferent if they all died or something.

'I remember that night Ty, I was stressed and dejected, if it weren't for you perhaps I'd have calmed down a little bit, just a little bit. Enough to make me see the sense of everything, enough to see that it was all a load of shit. It's pretty easy to get messed up in the head, especially with you around,” Ben said taking another puff on his cigarette.

"Why do you think I chose to get close to you? You were a ticking time bomb. You wouldn't have seen the sense in it, because there was none. You felt it avidly enough to get pissed out your brains that night, enough to listen to every word I said."

"I could have succeeded," Ben said, his expression was of pure misery.

“I doubt it. What did I tell you that night?”

“You said, why not change careers.”

“And you listened didn’t you. I haven't controlled any of your choices, you made them yourself. You liked what I had to say, you knew we could do it together, you knew that we could make a killing.”

“Yeah, literally.” Ben chuckled at the joke. He felt guilty for doing so, his sullen expression returned. The cigarette was almost gone.

“I don’t think you can leave that behind Ben. I know you’ve got this new amazing job all worked for but it’ll only be a matter of time before you’re crawling back to your roots. You'll go after the sort of job that makes you happy, gives you the fun you like, the rush you deserve. The only problem is that I won't be around to help you, to insulate you from the problems when things go wrong, and they will go wrong.”

“Well, maybe it will and maybe it won’t, but I don’t care Ty. You can't goad me into this, it's not like it's easy for me to make this decision, but I've already made my mind up. I don’t want to stay around you. It’s taken a lot from me to break free of your friendship, it’s been a real challenge.”

“Your mind is made up isn’t it?” Tyrone probed, he already knew the answer.

“It is. I’m sorry, but like I said maybe you can find a new friend. I’ll even help you.”

“How?” Tyrone asked.


“One more for the road then is it Ben?” Tyrone said as Ben signalled and overtook a Renault Megane plodding along in the left lane of the dual carriageway.

“For old times. Why not?” Ben said as he rejoined the left lane.

“This is going to be a riot,” Tyrone said, obviously excited about the plan for the night, “Get off here Ben, I think Congleton will do. Perhaps a pretty young woman, I could do with a change.”

“Well, I’m not getting any younger that’s for damn sure. Maybe this will work out for the best,” Ben said

“Maybe, but I doubt it. You may be getting on, but at least I’m used to you. I know what makes you tick.”

“Yeah Ty, well that’s soon to change as well don’t you think?”

Tyrone did not reply. He knew that Ben had misgivings, he knew that Ben's comfort zones were being tried tonight. There was still a little hope in him that Ben might change his mind, that he wouldn't be able to give up their friendship.

It was strange, Tyrone was like an addiction, nestled deep below the surface, out of sight. The urge to communicate and interact with him was strong, perhaps it was Tyrone's generally charming demeanour or the fact he was so damned mysterious. Ben had never been able to put his finger on it, he just knew that he liked being around him.

The Vauxhall Combo van purred loudly as Ben slowly negotiated his way along another dimly lit suburban road close to the town centre of Congleton. The streets appeared tidy, yet unremarkable. Ben wasn't too sure about this place, it would be easy to get lost in one of these housing estates.

“You realise it’s late Ben? We’ll be lucky to find anyone. Are you prepared to go into houses?”

“If that’s what it takes, but I prefer not,” Ben said as he turned the van into yet another dark avenue. The pavements seemed to be empty, as if a curfew was in effect, Ben continued to survey the land, his eyes did not blink, the van moved slowly.

“Wait. There,” Tyrone directed, Ben’s head turned to the prize. A woman, slender build, twenty-something perhaps, certainly no older than thirty-two. The ambient lighting from the lampposts didn’t offer much to go on, from this distance she certainly looked attractive, yet she was barely more than a silhouette. Ben wasn't sure about this, his limbs felt tense, they always did before the strike.

The van purred, drawing closer to their target. Tyrone had a smile. Ben did not. The young woman became clearer, he long hair drifted behind her, Tyrone felt the excitement growing, he liked the look of her.

“She’s perfect for you Ty,” Ben said. Tyrone felt gleeful and motivated now, his anticipation of this was most enjoyable.

“Yeah. Wow, she’s gorgeous. Can I really have her?” Tyrone asked

“Do you want her?” Ben offered.

“Go. Do it, now,” Tyrone ordered.

Ben sped up and skidded to a halt at the kerbside. The squealing tyres startled the woman, she stepped backwards away from the road and crashed loudly against a high wooden fence. She tried to scream, yet the terror had shocked the ability from her throat.

Tyrone reeled in mischievous delight. The van's passenger side door opened, the arm reached out, grabbed and abducted.


The woman awoke to find herself tied to a bed and gagged roughly with some socks. Looking around she saw a dim light coming from an adjacent room, a shadow accompanied with heavy footsteps skipped past outside. On her other side there was a large wardrobe with mirrored doors. She was terrified, she tried to wriggle free of her restraints but suddenly realized they were handcuffs, her efforts were futile.

The footsteps presented themselves again, she tried to hear the conversation, the two voices did not seem to match. She looked around desperately trying to think of a way out of this room, her mind whirred through a myriad of possibilities. The notion of her being the victim of a serial killer was the most prominent, and the most frightening.

She wanted to scream, the thought of being attacked like this, defenceless on a bed, sent a shiver up her spine. She continued to listen, the words being spoken seemed to make little sense. She looked back to the door as the footsteps returned to earshot.

The door opened slowly (it felt torturous). The large, ominous figure appeared in the doorway. It was Ben, his tall yet husky frame was menacing, or so the prisoner thought, she failed to notice the rueful look on his face, or the sluggish way he walked.

She saw nothing but his malevolent nature, the undeniable strength in his arms. Her anxiety tripled as he slowly drew closer, she began to thrash frantically as ineffectual she knew it was. The handcuffs clinked against the metal bed frame. Ben looked at her and stepped back into the other room, he was talking to Tyrone.

“You know Ty you hurt my when you grabbed her. I know it’s cool what you can make me do, but it still creeps me out.”

“I'd have thought you'd be used to it by now."

"I'm not."

"Cool though isn’t it? You didn’t even have to leave the driver’s seat,” Tyrone replied.

“Yeah, it is cool, but I don’t think I’ll miss it,” Ben said, he actually believed it too. The woman was getting more confused by the second.

“Come on Ben. At this rate she’ll die of shock before we get chance to do this,” Tyrone replied and Ben walked back into the room. He stood at the side of the bed.

“Okay,” he said, “I’m sorry about this, but it will all be over soon. Don’t worry, I don’t want to have sex with you or anything like that. I’m spoken for to be honest. Please stop thrashing it’ll only tire you out. This will all be over very soon.

'Listen, I’m going to let my friend Tyrone explain this. I’ll be right here, it'll seem strange and probably very scary, but it won't be as bad as it sounds. Please just look at the wardrobe. He’s been dying to introduce himself.”

The woman turned her vision to the wardrobe, her eyes enlarged, her fear grew.

“Don’t be alarmed, I know I’m not really - in the flesh should I say, but it doesn’t mean I’m a bad guy. I used to be, but Ben over there saw to that. I just need someone to spend my days with. I can’t live without someone you see.

'I swear I won’t interfere with you, well, not much, but I just need somewhere to stay. You see, he’s leaving me, after twelve long years of being together he's doing a runner. He’s got himself a new life with his lover and I just can’t see myself going with him. He doesn’t particularly want me with him anymore because it would be a bit. Well. Unseemly, don’t you think?”

The woman looked at Tyrone with bewilderment, she still didn’t quite understand how, or why he was inside the mirror on the wardrobe door.

“Sorry. I know you’re a bit confused. I don’t like the word for what I am, so I won’t use it. I’m just going to tell you what is going to happen,” Tyrone looked quite amused, “Ben over there is going to give you a kiss. He’ll try to make it good, when he does I’ll leave him and enter you. Then you’ll be free to go, and I’ll be with you.

'I’ll wipe your memory of this so you won’t know how I came to be with you, if you really want me to. When this is done it'll all be over, and me and you can have some fun. I’m not a bad guy, I just need someone to talk to, someone to live with. I’m sure you can appreciate that. Try and put yourself in my shoes.”

"You should be thankful, he didn't even give me a warning like this, he just showed up," Ben said, shuddering at the horrific pain he felt, and still remembered from that night. He hoped this woman wouldn't put up so much of a fight, or Tyrone might hurt her just the same.

"Yeah, that's true. I'm sure you'll get used to me, and you have no idea what I can help you achieve. It'll be fabulous," Tyrone said.

The woman understood enough, she looked at Ben and then Tyrone in the mirror. A curious expression arose on her face and she began to tremble again, the metallic clinking of the handcuffs against the bed posts echoed in the empty room. It more or less appeared as if she was happy to accept her fate, although the fear was still there. Tyrone liked it, perhaps she would prove easier to influence than Ben.

Tyrone looked at Ben. “Ben, please give our guest a demonstration before we do this,” he said, and turned his attention back to their hostage.

“Please look, this is how you will be able to see me,” Tyrone said. Tyrone pointed at Ben and the woman looked over. Ben stepped out of the room, “Now look at the mirror,” Ben said. She glanced back to find Tyrone had vanished.

“And now as I walk back into the room, look at the mirror,” Ben said, Tyrone reappeared like magic.

A remarkable trick, she thought. Wondering if that was all this was, and wondered if she had in fact been captured by a serial killer, of the maddest kind. She rejected the idea, this was no trick or joke, it was really happening.

She stared at Tyrone, he smiled at her and nodded, inviting her to pay attention to Ben. She turned her head to find Ben leaning over her with malice and intent. His hands clasped swiftly over her head and he released her gag sharply before placing his lips on hers.

She quaked vehemently trying to throw her assailant off, but it was no good. Ben kissed her deeply, the intimacy of the action was absent, it was strictly a means to an end. Tyrone seemed to filter slowly off of the mirror doors, like sand flowing away in a hourglass.

She couldn't see this, her wrists ached as she tried to slip her hands through the rings, her arms strained and her back twisted as she tried to defy this unwanted fate. Ben continued to kiss her, the act taking some time to complete. Tyrone was still smiling as his legs appeared to disappear, his image eroding from bottom to top. The light in the room fizzled and burst as something remarkably electric occurred. Ben didn't notice what it was, it was too late.

The woman stopped squirming suddenly, her arms becoming limp and useless. The colour from Ben’s skin drained, he was no longer kissing her, his lips were stuck yet motionless. She soon regained vague sense of her situation. Ben's his head lulled grossly into hers, and slid away. His lips left hers as he collapsed at her side and rolled off of the bed.

Ben gave a final convulsion as he lay on the floor. The pigment in the woman’s irises had gained a little darkness.

Tyrone was inside her.

"Are you okay?"

"I... I don't know," she said, her head swam with delirium.

“Let’s get these cuffs off, shall we?” Tyrone said as his new host’s hands shrunk and slipped through the rings before returning to their original size and shape. It was enough to snap her into reality. She looked at her hands and pulled them swiftly to her chest, flailing them quickly to try and shake away the weird feeling coursing through her fingertips.

"Jesus Christ, What the hell was that?" She shrieked, nervous yet somewhat relieved to be alive.

“Sorry darling. That’s a trick of mine, altering your body’s shape like that. It can be useful though,” Tyrone looked on from the wardrobe mirrors. He was smiling, yet their was a hint of mourning in his eyes, the sparkle seemed to have diminished a little. It was still there though. This woman saw it clearly.

"What's you name?"


"Your real name?"

"That's irrelevant, but what is yours may I ask?"

"Kira. It's Kira," she said and stood up, Tyrone seemed to think she had already found her comfort zone. They seemed just right for each other, he waited patiently in the mirror as she stood looking down at the floor. She turned back to Tyrone.

“How come he’s not moving?” She asked, her mind was reeling with a fresh headache and her hands shook nervously as she looked at Ben’s taut body lying frozen on the floor. She already knew why, this man's dreams had amounted to nothing. The zero-sum had always been in Tyrone's favour.

“He’s dead,” Tyrone smirked, “You see Ben, I told you. I don’t need you, but you need me.”


Registered Member
Great idea for a thread. :D Awesome read too! You must be an experienced writer. I really liked the way you let the dialogue build into the story going from curiosity to absolute suspense. And the final climax was very inventive!
I've been wanting to try short stories. When I create something I really like, I'll post it here. :nod:


Registered Member
Great idea for a thread. :D Awesome read too! You must be an experienced writer. I really liked the way you let the dialogue build into the story going from curiosity to absolute suspense. And the final climax was very inventive!
I've been wanting to try short stories. When I create something I really like, I'll post it here. :nod:
Nice one, I look forward to reading other's work.

And thanks for the kudos too, wasn't quite sure if this story would fit, since I wrote it quite a while ago, so thanks for that. Would rep but I don't know how :S


Registered Member
This is the start of a short story that I'm on at the moment. I will post the rest when I've finished it. I don't have a title:


He could smell its breath, drifting through the corridors like invisible fingers. He hoped it couldn't smell his, although he knew what this thing was, and what it wanted to do. The idea of getting away clean seemed to be getting further and further away from him. He prayed as he ran that the only way out was not through it.

He refused to consider it a man. There were no words for it, just the knowledge that it was dangerous, and that it was trying to kill him.

Given the time he might have managed to befriend it, but that wasn't an option now. Sebastian was its name, and although they'd spent the past few days, going out like the best of friends, James was aware that all that was over with. The rapport they'd managed to amass wasn't good enough, and Sebastian had made it clear, a sombre warning scraped out from between his rosy lips.

"You've failed James. Get as far away as you can, if you want to live," James had heard it the night before, over the telephone, as the branches rapped at the windowpanes. He'd considered the idea, yet didn't feel the urgency. He had no desire to flee, it didn't seem necessary, the idea of Sebastian actually coming to get him did not seem palpable.

He bolted through the door at the end of another long whitewall corridor, his mind reeling in panic, his breath heavy and fresh droplets of blood continuing to spill out from the wound in his side. The blade hadn't penetrated deeply, but it stung like hell. James knew it was only a matter of time before Sebastian caught up to him. His legs dragged themselves down the stairs, his hands shaking like leaves.

It shouldn't have come to this, although he knew he hadn't asked for it. Sebastian had found him, probably through sheer chance. He'd been scared, throughout this first meeting with Sebastian and even after the deal was set in stone, when he felt he might get out of this predicament in one piece. It was convoluted, the idea of him having to befriend him to an acceptable degree made little sense, and worst of all, he supposed he wasn't the best candidate for the job.

He'd never been much of a person to gather friends. He had a few acquaintances and a bit of a family, but to call any of them true friends was impossible. The prospect of making a stranger truly like him in five days seemed pretty implausible, and even more so was the idea that this man would kill him if he failed.

Apparently, he had. What the criteria was he didn't know, there seemed to be no rules, just Sebastian's personal opinion. James felt slightly cheated by the situation, but that was a side issue, the main report of his danger came with the sudden crash of the window as Sebastian broke into the gallery in search of the night-watchman.

James was lost now, desperately lurching down the spiral staircase to God knew where. He felt aggrieved that he'd never been given a proper tour of the premises, he supposed if he'd had a mind he could have done that in his own time, after all, he'd been posted in this building for months, yet his business was only focussed on the south side of the building.

The rear quarters had little need for his attention, and he knew why. He'd been instructed on his first day, and now he remembered those words vividly.

"There's no rear entrance James, so you needn't worry," that was what Bill had told him, and now it seemed as if this was a warning, or a jibe, as if he had always been in cahoots with Sebastian. Employing him to this place to hinder his chance of escape and provide Sebastian with what he needed.

He reached the bottom of the stairwell and clattered through a pair of double doors and then his heart sank.


"I don't know how you expect me to impress you, or make you like me. What do you like?" James asked, his hands shook. He couldn't make them stop.

"You don't have much of a choice James, I mean what I say," Sebastian dark eyes seemed to shimmer constantly, as if varnish was being applied every time he blinked.

"You realise that I probably won't ever come to like you?"

"I know, although I dare say there's a chance you might."

"Would you like that?"

"Probably... but I think your company will be the winning factor, and you're not doing so well at the moment. I mean, we're still in your shitty car."

"Well it's the middle of the night, everywhere's shut."

"You better improvise, in five hours it's the end of our little moment together."

James didn't answer, he merely concentrated on the empty road. The headlights rushed across the tarmac, painting his route. He had a vague idea of the place that might please this thing, but he only had five days, and what was that? He felt it would probably be for the best if he asked Sebastian to kill him there and then.

The car was shitty, a rundown Ford Fiesta with many miles on the clock. James was not wealthy and it was the best he could afford. He detested the notion of someone like Sebastian criticising it, especially since he'd come to like it. No matter how dishevelled it looked, it still did its job. The lights flashed by a sign directing him to Mablethorpe, the cosy Lincolnshire town by the coast.

"The seaside James? Well, I'd tell you if I was impressed, but I don't want to give you any advantages."

"You're actually hoping I fail aren't you?" James glanced at him, trying to work out whether he was enjoying himself. It seemed possible. Sebastian gave him nothing, his stiff as wood posture seemed to be just about right, it gave James the heebie-jeebies. He turned his attention back to the road, trying to block out the stench of his breath.

It smelt of sulphur, or of something dead. He dreaded the thought of what this thing had ingested in the past, especially since he might just end up apart of that palate in the near future.

The streetlights gathered on the horizon, the flatlands beside the road lost in a cloud of endless darkness, and James was scared now. Too scared for words, there was nothing he could do about this, but sit and bear it.