Into the Penny Arcade
by Claire Dean
She walked down the same street every day on her way home from school. There were no houses along there, just old warehouses with boarded-up windows and rubbish-plugged holes. Red brick dust crumbled from the walls and made patterns on the pavement. Greyish-green moss grew in all the cracks.
The lorry hadn’t ever been there before. It was dark blue with no writing on the side. She crossed away from it, walked faster. Her rucksack dug into her right shoulder, textbooks bounced against her spine, her heels snapped on the pavement. There were no other sounds. The street was like a tunnel; the wind sucked her along it.
She emerged into the real world at the other end: cars bombing past, chip shop smell, a mum with a buggy yelling at a kid who was lagging behind.
The lorry was there again the next day. She crossed over. There were girls who got snatched. Men who did things to girls. It would be dark inside that lorry. Was it always going to be there now? Had it moved during the day whilst she was at school, or at night after she’d passed it? And then come back.
About the Author
CLAIRE DEAN‘s stories have been published in Beta-Life (2014), Spindles (2015), Thought X, The Best British Short Stories, Murmurations: An Anthology of Uncanny Stories About Birds, Still Shadows & Tall Trees and elsewhere. Marionettes and Into the Penny Arcade are published as chapbooks by Nightjar Press. She lives in Lancashire with her two young sons. She tweets at @claireddean and maintains her web presence at GATHERING SCRAPS.
About the Narrator
Eve Upton is huddled in the darkness of the cupboard. She appears to be scratching words into the floor. Upon closer inspection, they say: nolite the bastardes carborundorum.