The Machine Rev 1

May I help you? He said, striding towards her like panther intent on its prey. The shop was long, narrow and dark, the shelves jammed with electronics of all makes and models. There were no other customers right now, and from the hungry look, in his eyes there hadn’t been for some time.

He told her this combo machine could handle faxes, copies, phone calls and voicemail. He spent an hour with her explaining every possible solution to the issue that brought her into the store in the first place.

She had been feeling increasingly uncomfortable at his single minded attention, particularly since he had been slowly maneuvering her towards the back of the shop where she could see a door, slightly ajar, a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling. He was between her and the front door and there was no way to get past him without their bodies touching.

He leered at her, growing wet rings of sweat forming under both his arms and down the middle of his chest. Then a phone rang. It was a familiar ring, but not like an American phone, two tones and a pause, two tones and a pause, over and over. He talked louder and louder until it became apparent that the caller was not going to give up, and there was no voicemail. He let out a fragrant belch that screamed “curry for lunch” and waddled around her towards the room in the back, calling to her, I’ll be right back, just let me get this.

She took a quick look at the office door, grabbed the machine, its plug ricocheting off the opposite fixtures and walked rapidly towards the front door. Reaching out to grab the safety bar she heard a loud click as he engaged the dead bolt with a wireless remote.

She turned to face him, her back against the glass of the door, her jaw tensed and her muscles locked, tears running down her cheeks as fear took control of her senses.

©sharonjcorrigan 2010


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