The Shifting Sands Short Stories book is a collection of 13 stories spanning more than two decades.
As part of the Storyteller 2017, Writer to author series, I’ve been publishing excerpts from the book now available on Amazon in both formats, kindle and paperback.
The story “Orange Nights” in a retail setting is a brand new story that I wrote in June 2017 to complete the book.
And fear had many faces. It was hiding under different coats of comfort and security, assurances or the lack of them.
“Have you ever been afraid in the store?” asked Rachel. “You know really afraid, I know we have security department and all that, but afraid as in who is going to walk in and what is he going to do?”
People were already streaming along with normal day people who had nothing to do with the orange balloon clearance in the soft and hard lines, like the grocery people and the food court.
For the moment, Rachel envied them the regularity of a normal daily job. They came in and left on a regular basis without the madness of wanting to do something else.
“Why aren’t you in your own department?” a scowling voice breathed down Rachel’s neck.
Startled, she turned around. The tall orange blonde man with a mustache still dressed in civil clothes was right behind her back. He had his gray vest thrown over his shoulder.
“Oh, I just came to get the returns,” Rachel said blushing that she got caught in a different department.
“How did the night go?” he asked Big Irma. “Did you get a lot done? What’s all this crap?”
Wendell pulled out shorts tangled in with a bra and panties our of the cart with the never-ending returns. He smelled of cigarettes and coffee, after a night of drinking. Big Irma looked at Wendell and then down on the returned things and pulled out a hanger.
“You have to go over there and see,” she said. “There’s a lot of clearance this year. I guess people weren’t buying as much or we overbought, or both. You never know from year to year.”
“Ok, I’ll just get some coffee and see,” Wendell said. “You two are going home right? And coming back late afternoon.”
“Something like that,” said Big Irma, “that is after I have something to eat.”
Rachel started the car to head back home through the arid countryside. The corn was high, and she couldn’t see around the curves in the fields. The hot air swiveled in waves. The corn stalks were swaying in the light breeze in the blaze of the noon.
She had heard from a farmer that corn grows fastest at night, like up to five inches or more.
“You can hear it grow at night,” he said.
Once coming home from a second shift, Rachel pulled by a cornfield and stepped out of the car to listen to the corn grow. Yes, he was right. You can hear corn grow.
Rachel was all wrinkled from the night. She just washed her face in the bathrooms. The night was still sticking onto her. Being the only driver on the road, the drive home was relaxing and soothing on the nerves ruffled by a sleepless night.
All Rachel could think of was going back into the store again. She couldn’t shake the night.
The house in the country was calm and quiet, located far from the busy suburbia with rows and rows of fast food neon signs. Rachel quickly glanced over the land. The row of oak trees framed the land on the east side, while the pine trees bordered the west side.
The sun was right above the head blasting the golden rays.
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