Lewis Marlowe avoided the Sunset Saloon whenever he could.
For one thing, he wasn’t entirely wild about the idea of there being a “saloon” in his town, given that it was already something of a relic of the Old West. Several years ago, Glandon, Wyo. had been on the list of abandoned ghost towns of the semi-mythical “Old West,” and the attention it gained as a result led to its rebirth as a functional town. Lewis had moved there because, as it happened, he owned some old family land on the outskirts. But living in a former ghost town was trouble enough without its saloon re-opening. It was basically a tourist attraction.
Lewis also disliked the Sunset Saloon because of its namesake. The back of the building was positioned facing a wide open plain that stretched out to the west. There was also a small graveyard in the back of the saloon, and it was said that the place got its name from the effect that the setting sun had on the stones. Rumor had it the light of the sunset at dusk would be blocked by the gravestones, casting little figures of shadows against the back wall of the saloon. Those who fancied the label “ghost town” more literally believed that as the shadows were cast, the spirits of those buried populated the saloon. Needless to say, this only added to the tourism appeal of the establishment. Lewis had never bothered to see how the shadows actually looked before dark.
Another reason to steer clear of the saloon was that Lewis just didn’t really see the point of it. Anyone who attended and wasn’t just a passing tourist usually did so for… Continue reading
Dan found the diary with little flowers and butterflies on the cover under Lily’s pillow. He felt a twinge of guilt as he sat on her bed and flipped through the pages but he wanted to know what she found important enough to write down and hide. It couldn’t be that exciting, she was only eight years old.
He stopped at a random page and read.
It was a drawing. A mad cluster of red scribbles. Long stick-like arms reached out from the edges and at its center a yawning black mouth filled with long, sharp teeth that spiraled endlessly inward. She had drawn herself into the picture, smiling, wearing her striped shirt and purple shorts. She was holding one of the thing’s crooked hands. Beneath it she’d written:
Dan looked out into the living room. All was quiet. He looked back at the drawing and frowned. Something about the dark crawls of wax made him uneasy. It was like a scab come to life. Kids drew all sorts of strange things; monsters, fairies, unicorns. They carried on conversations with imaginary friends. Had parties with stuffed animals and held funerals for dead birds. They were weird and you couldn’t take anything they did too seriously. Still, the reference to God was new. They weren’t a religious family. They didn’t even own a bible. He knew that she’d picked up the habit of saying her prayers at night from her cousins, but he’d always thought it was just so she could keep the lights on a little longer. He’d never stopped to wonder who she was praying to.… Continue reading