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Chance Encounter

Chance Encounter coverCHANCE ENCOUNTER (Two Short Stories)
BY Lanette Curington writing as
Lane Champion

A ride in an elevator takes a strange turn after a mishap puts Donna Blakely where she shouldn’t be and encountering a dark presence.

Supernatural suspense short story, approx. 2,900 words or 10 pages.

Includes bonus short story, “Subscribe Now and Save” — A man contends with a magazine subscription card. Dark fantasy, approx. 800 words or 3 pages.

If you enjoy a twist in the tale (as found in some Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock stories), you may like “Chance Encounter” and “Subscribe Now and Save”.

PUBLISHER: Silver Heart Books
PRICE: $0.99 USD
PURCHASE:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR
Amazon ES | Amazon IT | Amazon IN | Amazon JP
Smashwords

Also available at other vendors.


EXCERPT from “Chance Encounter”:

After exiting the restroom, Donna Blakely hurried across the polished lobby floor toward the elevators. She was running late for her appointment because of the stormy weather and because she hated going into the city alone. A country girl at heart, busy metros and skyscrapers with more than fifty floors like this one unnerved her.

She usually made the trip once or twice a year with friends to shop. This time she was by herself, where it had been necessary to catch a bus into the city and then a cab to visit the lawyer’s office on the top floor of Macray Tower. She preferred her cozy house and five acres in the quiet, quaint town far enough off the beaten path to make an excursion into the city an all-day ordeal.

Dark clouds and intermittent downpours made it even more unpleasant. Donna loved storms and wind and rain, but not while trying to navigate the city. She wished she were home sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee and a cat curled in her lap while distant lightning split the clouds and thunder rumbled across the sky.

Almost breaking into a run to catch one of the three elevators, Donna just made it. A man held it open for her with one arm against the jamb. After she slipped in, he released the doors and they slid noiselessly together.

“Number?”

“Top floor, thank you,” she said breathlessly. After her mad dash across the expansive lobby, she sounded like the winner of the Kentucky Derby seconds after crossing the finish line. While re-organizing her damp raincoat, drippy umbrella, and purse, she concentrated on keeping her breaths quiet and even.

The man had pressed the button for floor number 46 as well. He was tall and handsome, quite distinguished-looking with threads of silver running through his neatly trimmed black hair and eyebrows, silver sideburns, and patches of silver at his temples. He wore black leather wingtips, a tailored dark pinstripe suit with vest, dark gray shirt, and black silk tie. Plain silver cufflinks and tie clip were his only jewelry. His attire looked to be of good quality, none of it flashy or in-your-face expensive.

“Miserable weather,” he commented, his voice resonating with a deep, sensual timbre.

She nodded. “One of the few days I come into the city and it has to be storming.”

“I know what you mean.”

“You don’t work here, then?” She usually wasn’t one to chat up strangers, but she liked the sound of his voice.

He shrugged. “I…freelance. I come into the city more often than I care to.”

The elevator stopped at the sixth floor, several people coming aboard. Donna and the man moved to the back of the car. It stopped at the seventh floor, and more people squeezed in. She inched farther toward the corner and then was pushed into the man. He caught her, holding her steady.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Lost my balance.”

His arm eased around her back, giving them both a little more room. “No problem.”

She caught a whiff of his cologne. She had spritzed her pulse points with gardenia perfume, but having become accustomed to it all morning, she could no longer smell it. The fresh scent of his, something lemony and spicy and completely masculine, made her feel things she hadn’t experienced in a long time.

“Donna Blakely.” She spoke quietly so only he could hear and looked down at her hands, at the gold band still on the ring finger of her left hand. She looked back up into his dark eyes. “Widow.”

He nodded. “I’m sorry.”

“Thank you. It’s been five years, so I’m finally getting used to it.”

“I understand.”

And looking into his eyes, she could tell he truly empathized with her pain and knew all too well how it felt to lose a loved one. Although he didn’t open up with any experiences, she sensed he had his own sad story of loss. Of course, anyone would have gone through losing loved ones at their age, but the solemn expression in his eyes suggested he knew it more intimately than most.

“I’m Michael Chance,” he said.

 

EXCERPT from “Subscribe Now and Save”:

I greeted my friend as he joined me at the bar.

“Whiskey sour.”

I ordered another vodka martini.

“Glad you could meet me. I’m going out of my mind. I can’t sleep and I can’t eat. I can’t work and I can’t make love to my wife. I can’t get rid of the stupid thing. It’s haunting me.”

I told him to try to relax, to take a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“Look at me. I’m shaking so bad I spilled my drink. No matter where I put it, it’s always in my pocket the next morning.”

I asked him exactly what was it.

It is this. I picked up a copy of Midnight Tales about a month ago. Y’know, it’s a magazine of horror stories, the kind with twist endings that leave you wondering. I used to read it when I was in high school. Thought I’d see what they’re writing these days. Well, you know those annoying little subscription cards they always stick in the middle? They fall out while you’re trying to read and get in the way when you turn the pages.”

I said I knew all too well.

“This, it fell out into my lap that evening. I thought I’d get a couple of stories read before dinner. I settled down in my favorite chair and started one story. It fell out–no, it floated down and landed gently in my lap. I laid it on the table by the chair and thought, ‘Ha-ha, gotcha!’ When I was halfway through the next story, my wife called me to dinner. I put the magazine in the chair. When I came back later to finish the story, it floated out of the magazine and into my lap again.”


PURCHASE:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR
Amazon ES | Amazon IT | Amazon IN | Amazon JP
Smashwords

Also available at other vendors.

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