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Chivalry Is Dead
(© Bryan Way)

Page 1

Molly stood leaning against the counter, her red polyester shirt hung loosely around her limbs and her left hand was planted firmly under her chin. She wasn’t pretending to be interested in the falling snow; the remarkable thing about it was that it was one of the few silent forms of precipitation and easily the quietest sort of storm. Snow always evoked images of a carefree childhood full of sledding, snowball fights, and snow angels; in reality, snow was more deceptive than any other form of precipitation. It cut down visibility, made it impossible to leave the house, and made the roads slick or unusable. Staring out the doorway, unable to make out the outline of the gas pumps, it didn’t seem all that bad, but Molly knew she was going to have to drive home at the end of her shift, and she hadn’t seen a single salt truck.

It seemed as though no one ever drove on Tuesday nights; it also seemed to be the one day in the week that there wasn’t a truck parked outside with its occupant sleeping within. It was consistently the one night that was boring enough to make her want more people to come into the mini-mart so she’d have something better to do than stare out the window at cars passing by. This night was different, because the snow managed to be more interesting than the cars; this was most likely due to the fact that something different was happening. Molly would often watch a car pass by and, based on the make and color, determine the driver and passengers, their race, their religion, their occupation, and where they were driving to get to or away from. Tonight, the snow was deceptively calming. Her mind consistently blanked as she stood and watched single clusters of flakes drifting to the ground.

When she caught her vision starting to go purple she refocused her eyes, stood upright, and stretched. She hopped up, slid her slender frame over the counter top, and walked past the refrigerators and snack racks to the women’s bathroom. Though the purpose of this was to shake up the monotony of her regular schedule, she had done this exact procedure at least three times a night every working night for the past three years. She walked to the sink, washed her hands, and then stared at herself in the mirror for thirty seconds. She first looked into her green eyes, then followed them out and circled around her dark eye makeup, then looked over her black hair. She faked a quick smile, then pushed two thin locks of her hair behind her ears and walked out.

Like clockwork, she began walking on the side of the mini-mart facing the windows, passing Bill. Bill was the resident lonely gentleman who wasn’t quite old enough to pass for a lonely old man, but he’d be there in a few years. He always sat in the last wooden booth against the windows, far away from and facing the front door so he could mentally compile data on everyone that walked in while going undetected. This was only so he could give himself a chance to figure out if the person would be willing to talk to him. As usual, when Molly made eye contact, Bill tugged on the tip of his worn green baseball cap and politely grinned after swallowing a mouthful of his turkey sub. Molly subtly smirked and waved, then walked back towards the door and slid back over the countertop. Once there, she looked at the cigarettes and returned to her prior position at the counter. Her routine was finally punctuated by a deep sigh.

It only took the length of her maneuver for it to seem like the snow had accumulated another inch. It wasn’t falling fast, but it was thick enough that she couldn’t even tell if there were cars passing in front of the store. Suddenly the phone rang and Molly leapt out of position. She let her hand hover over it for a few seconds, long enough for it to ring twice more, and then she picked it up.

"Harpursville Red Barrel, this is Molly speaking, how may I help you?"

"Hiya Mol."

Her voice immediately got quieter; though her eyes intensified on the blank countertop, there wasn’t anything on it to look at.

"Jeff… are… weren’t you supposed to be in at 10:00?"

"Yeah… it’s what now? 11:30?"

"Thirty-eight."

"Shit, I’m real sorry Mol. The snow’s just coming down too hard, Alice can’t even get to the car."

[ Continue to page 2 ]

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Genre:Living Dead
Type:Long story
Rating:7.68 / 10
Rated By:226 users
Comments: 19 users
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