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  • Jordan Keller

The Ghoul / Crossroads Convenience #1

Updated: Apr 1

A rusted bell above the door announced the customer with a trill chime. Mable looked up from her magazine and offered him a polite smile. He returned it, the lights from outside showing through his teeth and illuminating his transparent body in a soft glow. He turned down an aisle and Mable returned to her magazine. The ghostly visitors stopped startling her months ago.

Everyone warned Mable that working the graveyard shift at Crossroads Convenience wouldn’t be easy. They worried about the late hours, the boring stretches without customers, the potential threat of a dangerous hitchhiker. No one knew about the real troubles that came to Crossroads Convenience. The store was one of the few that served ghouls and monsters.

Mable’s regulars came in droves once twilight settled over the rural landscape.

The ghoul shifted to the counter, his legs replaced by a serpentine tail floating above the checkered floor. He still wore the varsity jacket he must have died in. Grease and char stained the shoulders. He didn’t look much older than Mable. The red and white colors of his jacket matched that of her high school rival two counties over. If she searched the obituaries, she was sure she’d find him.

He set a large Styrofoam cup of soda and a handful of candy bars on the counter. The green ectoplasm of his form stuck to the wrappers. “And a pack of marble reds,” he said.

“ID.” Mable requested, scanning the other items.

The ghoul fished in his jacket pockets before finding his driver’s license. Mable squinted at the faded ID trying to locate his birthdate. His name was Buck Carrington. He looked charming in his photo, but now a worm crawled through his greying skin where a dimple had been. The worm burrowed deeper into his cheek and Mable handed back his ID.

“You’re only 17,” she told him. “Can’t sell you any cigarettes.”

“Come on,” he groaned. “I’ve been dead for nine years!”

“Sorry.” Mable patted the paper sign taped on the counter. In Red Sharpie, it explained Crossroads Convenience’s firm policy of not selling tobacco or alcohol to underaged customers. “I’ll lose my job.”

“But I’m not even human,” he continued to grumble, stowing away his ID.

“But you are a customer.” Mable pulled a colorfully packaged carton of candy cigarettes off a spinning rack beside her. “The best I can do is sell you these.”

The ghoul looked repulsed. “I wouldn’t even eat those when I was alive.”

Mable wrestled the package back on its hook. “Just the candy and pop, then?”

He sighed, “Yeah, that’s all.”

Mable totaled his order and accepted his cash. She never knew how these spirits and fairy tale creatures got ahold of real-world money, but she assumed if they could visit her gas station, then maybe they had jobs, too.

“Thanks for shopping at Crossroads Convenience,” she told the ghoul. “Have a good night.”

Buck muttered his response and exited the store, leaving Mable alone with its spinning slushie machine on the far wall, the humming refrigeration doors, aisles of old candy and expensive jerky, and a scratch off system that hadn’t sold a winning ticket in years.

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3 commentaires

17 oct. 2023

Jordan i love it. Your an amazing author. Can't wait to read.


14 oct. 2023

I want more! It so reminds me of something Stephen King would write!


13 oct. 2023

Brilliant. Loved it.

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