Do You Believe?
“Do you believe in the afterlife?”
Ben put down his phone and stared at the girl seated across the subway car from him. She was short. Cute. Slightly overweight. Her red hair was pixie-short. She had a spray of freckles across her nose. And she was staring at him with such sadness that his breath hitched in his chest.
“Wh–what did you say?”
She tilted her head. “Do you believe in the afterlife?”
“I…suppose? I don’t know. Who are you?”
The corners of her mouth turned down, just a little, shadowy like a rain cloud scudding across a summer sky. He tried to look into her eyes, to fix the color, but he couldn’t. It was like staring into a pool deep underground, trying to see the bottom, except there was no bottom.
“Do you believe in angels, Benjamin Foster?” She almost sang the words, her voice a lilting alto that belonged in a vast choir. He tried to answer but couldn’t. His chest hurt. His heart thundered like a trip-hammer. He slid forward, fell at her feet. A woman pointed and screamed.
“Come with me.” She offered him her hand. “Come with me and see.”
Yesterday, I entered a micro-fiction contest hosted by the wonderful lady who runs Reedsy and author/professional encourager Brittany Wang. You may remember the contest I won not long ago, also hosted by Reedsy. I figured I’d try my luck again.
We had to choose a book title and use that title as inspiration for our story, which could be no longer than 200 words — a tough assignment, which bedeviled me for more days than it should have.
In the end, I found a pretty good story to tell that wasn’t the first story I set out to tell. Not only did I change the book title, but I also changed and narrowed the focus of the story considerably. The title I chose was The Girl on the Train.
I didn’t win, but I’m very happy with this story. It is different from other stories I’ve written recently. Tell me what you think, okay?
(Photo Credit: Free Photos on Pixabay)