I’ve had the idea for a while about a character named Serenity Corbin, a crash, tactless woman in her mid-forties. I’ve played around with her story some, but I’ve only gotten a few chapters in. I usually work on it for a few days after I complete one of the books of Grevared. Below is the beginning of the first chapter. Again, the things I post here are for fun, and most of them haven’t had more than a cursory glance through.
Drops of blood.
Not a stellar start to a day that began at butt-crack-thirty before even God rose from his holy slumber.
I cursed as I climbed from my battered PT Cruiser and stomped to the door of my neighborhood Mighty Mart, glass crunching under my feet, to see just what the hell had happened now. I wasn’t deluded enough to think something as minor as a break-in, a dead body, or a flooded store would be enough to convince the owner to let me close up shop and go back to bed. Hell, no. He’d just tell me to clean it up and keep the store open.
Sure, boss. I don’t mind doing double my workload, taking care of your responsibilities,
for absolutely nothing in return. God forbid you should have to cut your yearly vacations down from four to three and get me some effing help. Whatever would we do?
I opened the door and slogged through several puddles, soaking my tennis shoes in the process, and typed in the code to turn off the alarm. That done, I surveyed the damage. And breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn’t as bad as I’d first thought.
The puddles were our typical ‘after heavy rain’ flooding. A couple of hours with the wet vac, and they’d be cleaned up. The broken glass appeared to be the remains of several beer bottles, and I could sweep that up in a few minutes. But the blood was an issue. Well, that, and…how did all of this wind up inside the store? It was one thing to see it in the parking lot, I could rationalize that. But inside? In…side? The water was a no-brainer. The store always flooded after a hard rain. No big. But the glass? Night shift should’ve cleaned that up. And the blood? Ditto.
I moved behind the counter, the cigarettes to my back, and counted the money. I typed in the passwords to get the register up and running and checked all the numbers on the lottery tickets. I grabbed the form for counting the cigarettes and cursed under my breath as I stomped off into the back storeroom where we kept the cartons. I made a quick count of them and the extra lottery tickets then flipped on the coffee. After all, I had to have the store opened on time regardless of what else was going on.
Now, I could focus on the mess. So far, I hadn’t seen any notes, any indication that second shift had run into any trouble. At all. Would it have killed them to leave me a sticky note? Send me a text? Shoot me an email? Hell, even pick up the phone and call? It would’ve been nice to know about this disaster before I got here.
I fumed for a moment, then it dawned on me that they would’ve clued me in for something like this. And, yes, they would’ve cleaned it up. So…that meant all this had to have happened after the store closed.
I looked around the store. The only display was for Rock Stars, and they were all still piled up in the middle of the floor, the different flavors artfully color coordinated by the lovely folks at Pepsi. Granted, the boxes were soaking wet and would probably collapse at some point, but that wasn’t my problem. My problem was the broken glass, the glass that was both inside and out with no apparent source, and the blood, blood that was the crimson of a fresh cut and not the duller brownish color of blood that had dripped hours before.
I checked the bathrooms, the stock rooms, and the cooler. There was no one there. No one. Nada. Not. A. Soul.
So, who’d made the mess?
I still had a few minutes before the store opened, so I knelt to examine the glass. It was crystal clear with an opalescent sheen to it. And it was thin. Really thin. And delicate. Not like beer bottles at all.
What the –?
I picked up one of the shards, and my mouth fell open when it dissolved in a flash of light. I jumped to my feet and wiped my hands on jeans that had seen better days. My heart raced in my chest, and I gasped for breath. Glass didn’t just dissolve. Nope. It was solid, material, sharp and pointy, but it didn’t just disappear. Not in the real world.
I rolled my eyes to the ceiling, profanity rolling from my tongue, and I was suddenly really glad we didn’t have audio on the billion cameras that watched the store. You’ve gotta be kidding me. Really? You’re gonna do this to me now? Haven’t I been through enough?
The outside lights clicked on, signaling time to open. I cussed – cursing in my world is a whole ‘nother kettle of worms – and unlocked the doors with less enthusiasm than I’d mustered for the colonoscopy I’d had several years before.