Day 6: Select a book on your shelf and pick two chapters at random. Take the first line of one chapter and the last line of the other chapter and write a short story (no more than 1000 words) using those as bookends to your story.

“They pooled their money and discovered they had forty cents, enough for two ice-cream frappes from the drugstore.

Rich and Gary hurried across the street to the old wooden drugstore.

The doorbell tinkled as they swung the door open. Inside the store, it was eerily quiet and dark, the windows covered with dust from the road, giving the interior the impression of night having fallen already.

There was no one behind the counter. The boys looked at each other and shared a thought, a feat common to best friends, who had known each other since kindergarten. With no one watching, a pack of gums and a Penthouse magazine dropped into Richs backpack. Gary stretched, looking out the back. Nothing. No sound at all.

Rich and Gary moved further into the drug store. As they came up to the counter, Rich reached for the desk bell ring it for service, but the instant before his hand touched the bell, a hissing voice made him stop in the spot.

“One moment, boys, I will be right with you.”

They froze. Through the corners of their eyes, they sought each other without moving a single muscle. Were they seen doing their wrongful deed?

The hissing voice was replaced by the sound of heavy, dragging steps and troubled breathing. It took half a minute, but it seemed forever for the boys, before an old man, probably the oldest man they had ever seen, slowly crept back behind the counter. His hair grey and greasy, his face more wrinkles than fair skin. False teeth gave a clacking sound every time he breathed. Yet his eyes were still very clear and alert in the otherwise worn face.

“So,” the old man hissed with a smile, exhuming a foul breath similar of that to a badger tree days dead on the side of the road during a hot summer. “What can I do you for?” he smiled, raising his sluggish brow to reveal two ice cold, alert and very blue eyes.

Guilt petrified the boys. Rich felt as if the old man could see right through them; see all they had done in their lives, all their joys and worries and all they had dreamt. A single drop of sweat trickled down Richs back, from the neck to the top of his buttocks. Still he did not move.

Gary broke the silence. “Uhm, we would like two ice cream frappes, sir.” quickly adding “Please!” almost as if his life depended on him being polite. Rich flung the handful of coins on the counter, dropping them on the counter and on the floor behind it.

The old man gave them an investigative look. “Two ice-cream frappes, you say? They sure are nice on a hot day like this. One moment.” he hissed gently, while moving slowly from the counter towards the ice cream box. He paused about halfway. “You,” he pointed a bony finger at Rich. “You come back here and pick up the money you dropped.” Rich did not move, not until Gary nudged him with his elbow. Rich hurried behind the counter, picked up the coins that had fallen to the floor, flung them just as nervously to the counter again, sending another few off to the floor on the other side of the counter. He glanced at the old man. Had he noticed? The old man was busy scooping ice cream into two tall glasses, so Rich felt safe. He crawled back on the other side of the counter, picked up the coins on the floor and put them on the counter.

The old man, shaking visibly on his hands, shuffled unsteadily past them to the coffee maker with the glasses. As he passed the boys, Gary was certain that the old man had winked at him with a strange glow in his eyes. Gary looked at Rich, but Rich was looking elsewhere.

As the old man came back, he insecurely placed the two glasses with the frappes on the counter. He looked them in the eyes and without looking at the counter he counted the coins. He turned the coins in his hand a few times, like a seasoned poker player juggling his chips. He suddenly stopped. “That’s not!” he hissed angrily, “THAT DOES NOT COVER IT ALL!” And in the blink of an eye, he swung himself over the counter, positioning himself between the two boys. They had not seen this coming.

The old man suddenly grew, first one, two, then three feet, and fully erected, he loomed at least one foot above the boys. With an adept swing of his right arm, he placed his fist in the solar plexus of Rich with so much force it flung him across the store. Gary tried to take the old guy off guard, but he was not fast enough. The old man, irritated by the sudden offence, grabbed Gary by his neck and lifted him up from the floor to look him straight in the eyes. “Where is the money for the loot?” he billowed. Gary was in shock, unable to answer. He just silently wet his pants.

Rich came to himself and saw the seven-foot something old man holding Gary by his neck. He came to his feet and with shaking hands opened his backpack to empty it on the counter.

The old mans patience with Gary ran out. He pulled Gary’s face next to his and boomed, “YOU DO NOT STEAL FROM ME!” and with a flick of the wrist, he snapped Gary’s neck.

Rich, frozen in his spot, dropped the backpack. The old man looked at him and raised his right hand, pointed the index finger at Rich. As the crackling sound of the lightning bolt that emerged from his fingertip reached Rich’s ears, he readied himself for immense pain.

Come on then, he thought, and began to rise faster through the smoke, the fog, the mist, whatever it was.”

Contains parts from Stephen Kings ‘It’, Copyright Stehping King, 1986.