• We continued to travel for an hour, an easy silence hung in the air as the bus screeched to a stop at a little antique shop in the middle of nowhere in a field that was in dire need of some moisture. Dead grass and live grass mingled together to form a crunchy carpet that snapped underfoot and a lone tree, long since dead, stood just behind the building’s left side. Strangely, this rundown store was my destination.

    My uncle owned the little salvaged convenience store slash gas station and told me a week ago I’d be staying with him; my parents didn’t argue. I didn’t mind too much, he was very nice but he was also a little lost, to put it nicely- many others would just say he’s insane. He was only about forty-five in age, but he acted like he was twenty-one, why not? His appearance let him pass
    for that mind set.

    “This is my stop,” I say and stand up as the bus eased to a halt just a few feet from a nearby gas pump. He stood up to let me pass and ended up following me off the bus.

    “Funny, this was my stop, too.” He took the lead after I waited for him to take the last step off the bus and jogged up to the glass convenience store door. “One of my mom’s friends owns the store. They went out once or twice, but decided to just stay friends after that. I think his name was Jason or something like that.”

    My uncle’s name was Jackson, or Jack for short. “His name is Jack, he’s my uncle.”

    “Really? My mother said he was insane, but harmless. That true?”

    “Yeah.” I could feel my energy drop when I walked into the store and found a pile of boxes filled to the top with broken glass and burnt wood. Stepping into the familiar, if not filthy, store eased my nerves back to a reasonable level and I slowly returned to my confident self. “Jack?”

    To tell the truth, Uncle Jack had given me my unnatural paranoia. It wasn’t his fault, but his crazy stories and actions just made me flip out whenever something felt wrong.

    I could feel Vincent edge past me into the store and pull me past the boxes deeper into the unlit store. Something felt wrong, Vincent’s eyes were much darker than before, not in personality wise but in color, they were now forest green in color. He was very tense when he looked around a corner and slammed a storage door open, nearly tearing it off its hinges. He jumped in shock and quickly closed the door, pushing it in place as if it would swing open and kill him. “What is it?”

    “I’m sorry.”

    “For what? I can fix the door.” The look in his eyes told me something was
    wrong and he didn’t want to tell me. “What’s behind the door?”

    “Nothing you want to see.”

    “Move.” He did hesitantly but keeps really close to me, so close that I could feel his breath brushing across my neck.

    I open the door and find a large rat lying on top of my snoozing uncle. The rat’s grizzled fur and red eyes made it look demonic, but there was nothing overly unusual about it. “Uncle Jackson, How many times have I told you not to sleep in the storage room?”

    He looked up at me and rubbed his eyes, propping himself up on his elbow. “Lizabeth, when did you get here?”

    “A few seconds ago. You do know there’s a rat on your chest, right?”

    He leapt to his feet, tossing the creature onto its back, and ran out of the room, nearly hitting Vincent in the process. He recomposed himself while I locked the creature in the closet and brushed him free of dirt. “Vincent, long time no see.”

    “Yeah, yeah. Look, we need to talk.” His eyes were back to the pale green they were on the bus, but he was still rigid. He threw a glance in my direction and then turns his attention back to Jack. “Privately.”

    “If it’s about the fairies, I swear I didn’t let them out. I’ll admit I shouldn’t have left the key so close, but I didn’t have much time to stash it…”

    “What part of privately don’t you understand?” Vincent snapped and stalked over to him, grabbing his arm and dragging him off a couple off feet before quietly continuing the conversation. They threw me a couple of glances but then turned so I couldn’t read their lips, Jack’s arm hung over Vincent’s shoulders as they talked but he didn’t seem to care too much.

    Today started out so normal, well, as normal as it gets with a teenager with an over-active imagination, but it was slowly escalating to a day that might as well be a dream.

    If only it were.