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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Amaryllis on April 30, 2012
"I decided to do this story because 1-- I love Bastrop and 2 -- it just seemed like the place that a story like this would be based..especially due to how old the city is along with the buildings and 3-- I love horror and thriller stories."

Realm of Mists

Bastrop, 1840
People bustle in and out of the textile and lumber store, ordering piles of lumber for a new homestead, or bolts of cloth for new clothing or various uses for their new homes. The smell of sawdust is heavy in the air every time the back door swings open as customers go outside to inspect the variety of wood for sale. Colors abound on the shelves, as rows of cloth and silk fill the walls. Business has never been better.

Present Day
The log cabin sits atop a hill overlooking the Colorado River in downtown Bastrop, TX, its dark wood exterior melding with the other old buildings next to it. The dark windows stare out at the street, no light piercing the deep black emanating from inside. Many rumors have circled the town about this magnificent structure. It was built back in 1839 after the Comanche destroyed the original settlement. This beautiful structure was once home to one of the owners of the Bastrop Lumber and Cloth Company, who started supplying the capital city of Austin and the surrounding towns and cities later that year. It has gone through many hands since then, as a home, a small hardware store, and was now soon to be a bookstore and café.

The new co-owner stood across the street, admiring what was only the beginning of a long time goal. Tatiana Kosokova, well-renowned poet and writer, now had the place she, her husband, and their partner had always dreamed of. She smiled as she looked at the adjacent building which was also theirs. This was to be his café, nestled right next to her and Christine’s store and it would soon all be connected. They had a lot of work to do before either place would open, but she looked forward to bringing life to them. She smiled as she held the keys and walked across the quiet street and opened the door. Dust flew as the gentle air from outside blew in, rustling the covers of the old furniture that had been left behind from the prior tenants.

Bastrop, 1920
The pitter-patter of feet is heard as the children are getting ready for bed upstairs. Their father sits in his favorite chair, reading the newspaper, as their mother finishes cleaning up the kitchen after a good meal. The couple sighs in contentment as they think of how good life is going for them and could only get better.

Present Day

Tatiana walked in, coughing slightly from the uprising of dust, and looked around her new home. It was not much to look at for the moment, with many pieces of furniture, dust, dirt, and broken shelves to fix up, but it would be soon. She traveled through it slowly, imagining it full of life and chatter and the sounds of the cash register chiming with each sale. She wandered through to the back office, opening it with a loud squeak, scaring some mice that had taken up residence in the darkness of the walls and had come out scrounging for food. An old desk sits in the back corner, and the entire left wall one long set of shelves with dusty books still filling them. An opening in the back right wall shows a set of stairs, leading upstairs. After looking around the office, she heads to the stairs and heads upwards.

The stairs go up about seven steps, then turns about 45 degrees and goes up another 5 steps. They lead into a decently sized apartment that spans across the top of the two buildings, which would be perfect for her and Grey and enough room to make Christine her own sleeping area as well. It still needed a lot of cleaning up as it was just as dusty as the downstairs. Windows fill most of the back wall, with a perfect view of the river. In the area set aside as a bedroom, a large, old four poster bed sits against the far wall, just needing to be cleaned and polished up before it can be used. An old vanity sits near the bed against the left wall, the mirror badly needing to have its glass replaced. Back in the kitchen area, an old fashioned stove and refrigerator sit nestled in a small nook with what used to be white cabinets and black counter tops. A small wooden table is pushed into the bay window area, with a wrap-around seat with badly damaged cushions. She smiles, despite all the dust and dirt. She cleans a spot off one of the window panes and looks out onto the Colorado River, the disappearing sun glistening off the calm water. She couldn’t wait until Grey got there to see the beginnings of their wonderful future.

Bastrop 1940
Things had been hard due to The Great Depression. Many people died, children went without new toys, crops were destroyed, and most of the businesses had gone under. ‘Christmas this year was different,’ Victoria thought happily to herself. She was cheerfully playing with her new dress-up dolls that her parents had gotten for her from the new toy store that had opened down the street as things got better in the country. Her folks stand behind her, their arms around each other as they smile, pleased that they can once more buy her all she desires once more.

Present Day

Gabriel walks into the building silently, not wanting to startle Tatiana. He had to admit, she had picked the perfect spot for their business. He loved Bastrop, had since he first set foot in it ten years before. The town was quaint and quiet, while across the river; business boomed and grew, bringing more people to the old town. Many visitors came to see the museum, walk along the Riverwalk, the beautiful park, the old homes, and soon, will enjoy the books and food sold within the comfort of House Mystic Café and Bookstore. He looked around the lower level for a few moments, and then went up the stairs to join his wife.

He found her still standing at the window, staring out at the river. The setting sun cast a soft glow around her, her long dark red locks shining and flowing down her back like lava tumbling over a volcano. His heart jumped in his chest as it did every time he looked at her. He stood admiring her for awhile then moved to wrap his arms around her gently.

“Are you happy m’love?” He whispered in her ear. “We finally did it.”

She nestles into his strong arms, small bumps appearing along her bronze colored skin and a small shiver running through her as he runs his hands over her arms, holding her close. She keeps her eyes on the river but sighs happily. She had known he was there as she almost always did. They were soul mates and she had known that from the moment they met ten years before. She knew his scent, his touch, and his moods like they were her own. This man was everything to her and she would do whatever was necessary to keep him happy.

“I am very happy. More happy then I can express in words. Do you like it?”

“What I have seen so far, yes. I think it’s perfect for us. I had always dreamed of coming back here, you know that. I just never thought this would be where we would find the right place to put our business. Have you looked inside the other yet?” His let his fingers softly run over her arms, always loving the feel of her soft skin under his fingertips, and loving the reaction she had every time.
“Nope, I was waiting for you silly. It is going to be yours after all.” She laughs softly then turns in his arms, letting her fingers travel up his well muscled biceps and up around his neck as she pulled him into a hug then placed a soft kiss on his lips. “Come; let us go see your café.” They left the bookstore and locked it, moving to the next building.

Dismal eyes followed the two Lovers as they exited the building. Soon there would be people to once more ease the bleakness of its gloomy existence.

The door leading into the old restaurant still had flyers taped to the glass as well as a few layers of dirt and grime. They went in and stood looking around. Tables and chairs filled the big front room, the sheets still covering them, though they were torn and covered in dust and spider-webs. The windows looking out on the street stood empty except the old ragged material once used for displaying the variety of dishes and beverages that were once sold there.

They moved towards the back, looking at the furniture to see what could and couldn’t be saved and used again. In the back was the kitchen area. Large steel tables stood covered in rust and dirt, old appliances standing unused upon them. A tall double-door refrigerating unit stood in a corner, rust dotting the steel exterior, the door handles cracked and falling apart. As Tatiana goes to open one of the doors, Gabe places his hand on it and shakes his head. “I don’t think this would be a good idea honey.” He makes a face and sticks his tongue out as he thinks of what could be growing in the fridge after years of neglect. She backs up and nods. “You’re right. We can do that when we’ve got more light and start cleaning.”

She moves towards the rest of the back, standing in a small room where boxes and cans of food are scattered on broken shelves or strewn across the floor. She steps out of there and turns to the area where the cooking takes place. She makes a mental note that they will have to replace the grill, the huge oven, and more then likely the fry vats. She turns to Gabe as he is right behind her, grinning at his soon to be new work place. She smiles at him and takes his hand. “Soon baby. This will be your place. Now, let’s go back to the Bed and Breakfast and call Crina to double check when I have to get her from the airport tomorrow.” She hugs him and leads him out of the building. As they exit the building, Tatiana notices the mist that has crept out and is now covering the two buildings as well the field and forest that is next to them. She is curious about it, but pushes it out of her mind as she and Gabe head towards their temporary place of residence.

The small field next to the building leads to a forest that stretches the width of a few blocks and runs down the hill, ending at the Riverwalk. A variety of trees, bushes, and wildflowers make up this grove and are home to many creatures. The strange thing about this beautiful display of nature is the mist that covers most of it, no matter what the weather. The thick mist stays around the trees mainly, but on stormy nights, has been known to cover the two buildings next to the grove. No one knows why and none have ventured to find out. Most of the townspeople think that anyone buying these buildings are crazy, but will not get involved in stopping them as they don’t feel it’s their business. Such is the way of things in a small town.

Many stories surround this area, from the forest being haunted, a murder in the old store, to strange creatures and glowing eyes being seen where the mist is the thickest. A few have gone to investigate, some disappear and some survive, only to end up in the mental hospital due to ramblings about monsters and faeries, or suffer silently to avoid such a fate.

During the night, powerful storms rolled into Bastrop, pummeling the town with hail and strong winds. When she woke the next morning, Tatiana sighed and muttered to herself. She was on her way to get Crina from the airport and hated driving in this type of weather. Rain poured down in sheets around her jeep, battering it relentlessly. She could barely see two feet in front of it and she was emitting a stream of curses as she drove through Bastrop past her new establishment on her way out of town. With the drops as big as they were, she never saw the figure standing inside the café, staring out at her with a forlorn look upon its face, streaks of blood pouring down its cheeks as if they were tears. Tatiana continued on to the airport, hoping that Crina’s flight wasn’t delayed due to this downpour, unaware that she was being watched and that the mist had gotten extremely thick around the buildings.

The trip to the airport remained uneventful through Bastrop, except for the typical accidents that happened with every rain shower. Just outside of the city, there were no signs of rain. No clouds, no wet roads, nothing. Tatiana shrugged and just figured it was another one of those weather anomalies that no one understood, not even the weathermen. She felt that was a good sign, Crina’s flight wouldn’t be delayed. She got into the airport after finally finding a spot up on the top floor of the parking area. ‘It’s the middle of the damned week. Where the hell are all these cars from?’ Tatiana mutters to herself. She hurries into the building, and rushes up the escalator to find the terminal Crina was supposed to be at. She got there just as Crina was coming out of the breezeway. She runs up and hugs her partner tightly.

“Hey! I am so glad you got here safe! How was your flight?” The words just tumbled out of her mouth as the excitement of Crina being there finally caught up with her. Crina was Tatiana and Gabe’s very best and closest friend and now a full partner in the company. They had met online in 2002, talked for two years, and then finally met while Gabe and Tatiana were still in North Carolina. Crina is originally from England, and had moved to New York around 2007 when she got offered a directing assistant job. Tatiana had convinced her to come work with her and Gabe in Texas when they had discussed opening the store/café up in NY, but when she had seen the buildings in Bastrop again, she knew that that was the proper place for them. So, Crina decided to join them once they had gotten the buildings bought and settled in somewhere. Tatiana and Gabe wouldn’t dream of opening their businesses without including her as she had helped with a lot of the decisions and design when they had originally discussed what they wanted to do. She hugged Crina again tightly.

Crina laughed and hugged her back. “Hiya! The flight was long and a bit bumpy in places, but otherwise alright. I’m just glad I got here finally. Where’s Gabe?” She links her arm with Tatiana as they walk down to get her luggage.

“Oh, he wanted to start ordering stuff for the café. He’s gonna meet us at the store after we’ve gotten you settled in your room at the Bed and Breakfast. I can’t wait for you to see the buildings! They’re perfect. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us though. There is a lot of furniture to go through and so much dust and dirt! I cannot believe that these buildings have been left abandoned for so long!” Luna rambles on as they stand waiting for Crina’s luggage to come out.

“I’m sure it’s great hon. I am so happy this is finally happening!” Crina hugs Tatiana’s arm then points. “There’s my stuff.” Tatiana grabs two of the suitcases while Crina grabs the other 2 bags. “I’m having mum ship the rest of my stuff, but this is the most important of it,” she winks then gets a cart for them to push the luggage to the car with.

As they exit the building, a large crack of thunder booms over head, followed by a long and bright streak of lightning. Tatiana jumps slightly then laughs. “Looks like the storm moved up here.” She looks up at the sky and sees not a cloud in it. “Odd.” They continue to the Jeep, putting everything into the back part of it, get in, and Tatiana starts telling Crina about the building the bookstore would be going in as they drive towards Bastrop. As they get closer, Tatiana notices that only the dark clouds hover over Bastrop and no where else. As they drive over the bridge to get into downtown, she notices, now that it’s not raining as hard, that the haze around her buildings has gotten so thick, she can barely see them or the forest next to it. She drives to just outside the fog, and stops, just staring at it. The hair upon her arms and across the back of her neck stands on end as she gawks at this eerie scene. She turns and to see Crina’s eyes have widened, a look between fear and awe written across her face.

“This is pretty disturbing Tia. Is this what you were telling me about last night?” She goes to look at Tatiana, and then stops as a movement catches her eye. She turns back to see what it was, only to cry out. She points in the direction she is looking so that Tatiana can see it too. Standing within the fog are pairs of red eyes, nothing else, just bright pinpoints through the murky cloud cover.

“Ok. I think we better go to the hotel. I hope we caught Gabe before he left.” Tatiana backs the truck up and turns around. As she’s driving away, she looks into her rearview mirror, gasping softly as she sees even more specks of crimson within the unearthly fog.

The two girls practically charge into Tatiana and Gabe’s suite, letting the bellhop bring up the bags. A startled Gabe practically falls out of his chair as the girls fly into the room like the devil himself was on their heels and the girls both start talking at once about fog and red eyes.

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