The Wait – a short story by Sha’Tara


The thing about these blogs is, if they aren’t babysat constantly, they seem to just go dormant.  I caught my fingers typing dormat, as in door mat but no, I don’t mean door mat, I mean dormant.  Everything just stops.  It’s like the so-called news: if “they” aren’t pumping new confusticated claptrap out into the ether every second, no one is informed about stuff everyone apparently needs to know but can’t remember for more than fifteen minutes.  Why not just write a short “newsey” article on the month’s planetary happenings… once a month, or if you really want to be generous, a once a week snappy tale of woe? (And don’t forget the horrorscope)  Ah, but of course, that wouldn’t pay for the ads… or is that vice-versa, or just plain vice?   Anyway, to fill in that thunderous silence of a 2-3 day “abandoned blog” here’s a little story.  Not a great story, just something I once wrote during a coffee break.   And don’t ask if people who work for Coke take Coke breaks: they don’t. 

a short story by Sha’Tara

          The steel-framed, rusting hexagonal clock, hanging high on a cement wall partially covered by flaking green paint and brown water stains, ticks away loudly. He tries to imagine the sound of passing traffic or ocean waves to blot out the heart-pounding beat but to no avail: nothing covers over the infernal sound filling the ponderous silence. Tick—tick—tick—tick. Like the drip of a tap in a sink full of last night’s dirty dishes half submerged in cold, greasy water; like the slow, steady creaking of a tightening chain in an inquisition torture chamber; like the heart-beat of the pursued in a green-fogged nightmare… running—running—running—and red-eyed orcs and slimy ghouls hiss all around; like the hungry wolf pack relentlessly stalking the tired trapper stumbling through a December blizzard; like the mountainous gray wave of a tsunami rising and rising; approaching; threatening to engulf creation.  He feels like a deer on a freeway caught in the cross-hairs of a dozen approaching headlights, unable to move.

        He brings his shaking, clammy hand to his mouth and bites his fingernails. One tears and he watches the finger bleed. He spits the detached crimson piece upon the cracked cement floor and stares at it for a moment before covering it with an unlaced, torn, muddy runner. Why? He doesn’t know. He doesn’t remember. His head pounds from a blow or bump. He moves sideways slowly to ease his sore back and the chair creaks. He almost jumps up with a scream and a cold steel needle of visceral fear pierces his spine. The chair holds him fast. Thump—thump—thump—thump—his heart hammers like an old steam donkey, the pulsing arterial flow forces the goose-pimpled flesh against the damp black leather jacket. Cold sweat beads on his forehead when he hears movement in an adjacent room, or thinks he does. He tenses, stretching his hearing to maximum; tries to make something of the noise: nothing—only the ticking of the clock, the thumping of his heart, and his insane fear.

         He tries to relax only to find his mind wide open to the night’s scattered memories. The explosions; the screams, the crash, then the chase that seemed to go on and on and on, with no one gaining… only the endless screams of sirens, or was it the screams of the damned? Of his friends lying on the roadway in pools of blood? His own screams coming back to haunt him as the wind rushed through the broken windshield? The screams of tires on dry pavement as the truck bounced wildly before taking off of its own volition from the scene of destruction and death like some wounded wild beast?  In his mind he tries desperately to roll back those hours; to make it that nothing happened; it was just a violent reaction to a bad hit.  It’s not real, it’s not real, it’s not real, please make it go away: it’s not real.

         Pale sunlight shining through the one barred window high in the center of the south wall creates shadows that move slowly within the room, lengthening with every tick of the clock, every pounding of his labouring heart. Again that shuffling noise—real this time; closer. The knob on the door turns. He stares as its grimy brass face grins at him maliciously. His anxiety reaches an all-time high as the door is flung open. A black-uniformed giant looks down at him with piggish, bloodshot eyes full of resentment, of hate, of punishment: “You’re next!” 


32 thoughts on “The Wait – a short story by Sha’Tara

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Yes, thanks for the comment… and why in hell would WordPress ask that a comment from you have to be approved on ~burning woman~ all of a sudden? Do they think you and I had a falling out? 🙂 Thankfully, in this, or most cases… ours is not to wonder why, just tell them to go fly… oops, be nice, Sha’Tara, be nice, you can do it; just stop typing, press “reply” – that’s it, easy does it, easy now…

      1. thesarahdoughty

        It might be because I changed my email. It’s possible WordPress thinks I’m somewhat new. And not to worry. I wouldn’t forget about you.

  1. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Firstly: Vivid and well-honed short story.
    Secondly: Computer programmes are sullen and sulky beasts that get easily confused. My own AV has tried to classify my blog as suspicious, if approached from another blog. (Wot a larf !)

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I think Sarah’s explained it: to WordPress any change is suspicious activity. Can’t have change, upsets the Matrix applecart and when you do that you realize that under that nice topping of shiny apples is a truck load of rot! Just kiddin’… and maye not.

      1. Woebegone but Hopeful

        At the end of the day all computer programmes have a ‘klunky-wheel-fall-off’ factor; it shows the human factor.(either that or Skynet is truly at work)
        ‘Ware the day when they can make their own programmes, for ‘Humanity’s Own Good’ (Suggested Reading: ‘The Joy Makers’ by James Gunn- pre-dates The Matrix films by 30 years)

      1. Woebegone but Hopeful

        Thanks Lisa…
        It all comes from…
        (Solemn Voice over as in Terminator Films)
        “In 1986 the UK’s national taxation system was supposed to be handed over to computers.
        Some of the staff took a solemn vow written on true paper with ink of cold very strong tea, that this would not be so.
        30 years on and despite heroic efforts from a few The Machines continue to…. (voice change to one of exasperation Act like the Warner Bros cartoon Big Goofy Character, who wanted a friend he would call ‘George’!”

  2. Lisa R. Palmer

    Love this story, Sha’Tara! Intense! You truly have a gift for writing emotion, and putting a reader actually in a scene…

    But the snark… Oh my, you are a Master of writing snark! Love every word!

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Lisa… but, errrrm, ahhh, that is, mmmm, … snark? What’s “snark?” Snorkeling shark?
      … I’m NOT googling it, I’ll wait for an answer, there, said it, stick by it, that’s it.

      1. Lisa R. Palmer

        Snark is humorous “smart-ass”. Not sure where it came from, but one of my younger co-workers accused me of being “snarky” and I liked it so much I kept it. Turns out it’s an actual thing, and not just me… lol

      2. Lisa R. Palmer

        Snark is humorous “smart-ass”. Not sure where it came from, but one of my younger co-workers accused me of being “snarky” and I liked it so much I kept it. Turns out it’s an actual thing, and not just me… lol

      3. Sha'Tara Post author

        Ah yes, snarky… I know Snarky, I just forgot about his little sister Snark. Damn, I must be getting old with old age. They do make a great pair, mommy and daddy should be so proud. Can’t wait to see them in their graduation togs. Yes, yes, they’re graduating together, you see, they’re twins, though not identical, obviously. Apparently they do stage work, stand up comedy that sort of thing, on weekends, like today, here, on this blog. Wow, what a treat… thanks for the intro.

      4. Lisa R. Palmer

        Lol! Seriously! Laughing out loud… I think my cat thinks I’ve finally gone off the deep end… Oh well, he wouldn’t be wrong, I suppose… 😉

  3. Sha'Tara Post author

    NO SHIT WORDPRESS! I am on my own fargin’ blog and WP just asked me to identify myself, and log in so I could comment. Then it asked me if I wanted to “Follow” this blog. The NSA must be snooping around again, looking for moles in the carpet… sheesh, I’ll give them moles… and scorpion comes to that! But ain’t artificial intelligence just the thing, though? 🙂

  4. Mary Cathleen Clark

    Loved your story. The ending still left a bit of a mystery–“You’re next!”–next for what? But I can fill it in with whatever I want. 🙂
    And the dormant blog thing…I do well to post two or three times a week. I don’t know where people find the time to post multiple times a day and get anything else done, but maybe I’m just slow.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for the comment. I used to hate short story teasers that ended just like that when taking English Lit. So now I’m getting even! 🙂 I use a lot of hyperbole in my writing so when I write about “dormant” or “dying” blogs, I was using that as an example of people’s general short-term memory which is getting much, much worse with the advent of “stuck to my hand” i-whatevers and not-so-smart phones and of course 24-7 (or is that 25-8) non-stop “news” which aren’t news but noise. Blogs are easily re-activated. You just “follow” a whole bunch of people, and a whole bunch of people “follow” you… then when you start losing your place in the line-up, just throw another post on the page… and watch the sparks fly. It’s like putting another log on the fire, simple. One could ask, “why do you do it then?” My answer is, how else to get to know how other people think; how they live; how they express themselves? Blogging is my way to travel since I boycott airlines (won’t do the being treated like a prospective terrorist thing to please any security agency and their lap dogs) and I wouldn’t spend a penny supporting any airline that so easily gave in to the security bull shit. If people boycotted airlines world-wide for one week, the whole tax-payer supported security farce would be over with. But… as with so many other things that keep the elites in power, people are sheeple and they love living in panic town. Panics and collective fears are just another cheap control drug and while the panic is running, it’s easier to avoid facing the real world and its real problems.

  5. intrudesite

    Fabulous writing….and the explanation.
    Yes , we do fall in love with minds and not with noise. We live in the times of terrorism and mayhem ….and the pre-google, pre-smart phone , borns are like in the times of before Christ ! Sort of unused to the new gadget bibles around us… exist even if you do not blog…..even if I never heard you …..yet , the urge to be heard , to listen, to care is a human urge……like the way birds chirp together , ants fall in line and bees find their hive …..we do find like minded people in every space and it makes life worth living…….! Thanks for your stubborn need to remain an individual and defend your self against the trend in a trendy space…..:-)

  6. L. T. Garvin, Author

    So vivid and intense! Next for…questioning, I suppose? Great suspense, keeps everyone guessing what is next. You are a wonderful short story writer, Sha’Tara, do you ever send your stories in for publication? As for WordPress, there seems to be many glitches attached to it. I post a lot in the summer because I am off, but I will be working a lot beginning in September…so who knows if I will ever post anything again after that, ha ha. I just try to find an outlet for my writing, trying to improve, yada yada…and they say that you must blog.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for the comment. I “blog” (hate that word!) when time permits, or some story pops out of my fingers in the middle of the night and I post it. Long ago, like in another life, I thought of publishing. I’ve got novels just waiting… and ss galore as well as the esoteric out-of-this-world stuff from the Teachers and poems up the wazoo… but… I don’t beg! I can’t be bothered sending “feelers” to publishers who are basically only interested in the bottom line. I take care of my own bottom line and not being hungry… I’ll just keep posting on WP because I know how to work a “blog” now and I’m in no mood to try learning a new game at the moment. Soon, (maybe, and that’s final) I’ll post my “novels” on “Smash Words” because I think they publish free material, i.e., people can publish there and give their stuff away. Oh, and I boycott Amazon because of the way they treat their employees and their families in their huge warehousing facilities – I read all about it, disgusting and inhuman conditions. Sorry, more than you asked for…

      1. L. T. Garvin, Author

        Oh that’s okay, I didn’t know that about Amazon. I’ve published on Smashwords, and yes, you can put them on for free. Trying to publish work is time consuming and very trying. I go through phases where I send stuff out, and then become burned out with all the hassel.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        The hassle, yes, that’s exactly what I won’t go into. Hey, if they can’t immediately recognize my superior genius, to hell with ’em! 🙂

      3. L. T. Garvin, Author

        Ha ha…that’s one way of looking at it. Then once you do get published, then you have to promote, promote, promote, and now I’m having to learn all about that trying to get my children’s books out there. Quite stressful…..

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