Train Wreck Waiting To Happen #ThursdayDoors @StoryADayMay

Ever hit a metaphorical brick wall?

Me, meet writing a story today. Writing a story today, meet me.

My door pictures (and my train pictures) were not taken in Georgia; they were taken in Louisville, Kentucky. I don’t know how Tybee Island got into it, except that I adored the week I spent there, and I revisit it in memory often.

OMG, they have live cams! God bless the interwebz!

Anyway, say goodbye to Steffie for another year’s Story A Day May. Is this story finished, or is it the first salvo in a longer piece?

Train Wreck Waiting To Happen

The minute Steffie drove out of Savannah and onto the … bridge? raised highway? causeway? … that led to the islands, she was in love. Water all around her, fresh salt air swirling through the rental car’s open windows, and a whole week of vacation ahead.

On the far end of the highway was Tybee Island and a cottage on the beach. It was early January, so she wouldn’t be swimming, but she could relax: walk the beach, shop in the tourist traps, visit the local sights —

Just as her front wheels touched the island, she saw the sign for The Crab Shack. Definitely on her list of eateries while she was here.

She stopped at the real estate office to get directions to her cottage, sign the paperwork, and pick up the key to the cottage’s front door.

There was the faintest sheen of sweat on the Realtor’s face as he greeted her. His hands didn’t tremble, but the flimsy paper of the rental agreement stuck to his fingers when he separated the customer copy from the office copy and passed it to her.

“Enjoy your visit,” he said. “And be careful. Like my father used to say, just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean the laws of the universe are, too.”

Steffie laughed and nodded. “Good advice.”

So somebody knew she was here. They must know what Realtor she was using, unless they had bribed, subverted, deceived, and/or threatened every Realtor on the island, and that was unlikely.

Did they know she was on vacation, or did they think the vacation was a cover?

Now there was a thought: Was something going on under her agency’s radar, and she’d just happened to book a vacation in a hot spot? The simple explanation was usually the true one, and it was a simpler explanation that she had triggered an alarm that was already set, rather than that somebody had ferreted out her vacation plans and thrown a web over the whole town just for her.

According to the mystery she’d read to amuse herself before the drive, there was an unexploded bomb somewhere off the coast of Tybee Island. Maybe they’d found it, or somebody else had and had offered the payload to them.

The the second two scariest words she knew: Dirty bomb.

Fortunately, she knew two scarier ones: Steffie’s here.


This second-story exit looks like a train wreck waiting to happen.

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Somebody hits a brick wall.


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Train Wreck Waiting To Happen #ThursdayDoors @StoryADayMay

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 28, 2020 at 12:48pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Mitch! I kinda felt like it was just the beginning, but I just couldn’t grind it out today. It happens. 🙂

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  1. Dan Antion

    May 28, 2020 at 8:37am

    Steffie’s here – ruh-ro! Time to be one of the lucky ones getting off the island.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Ally Bean

    May 28, 2020 at 10:07am

    That is one uniquely painted building. It reminds of Jell-O salad. The door situation is not good, of course. But the attention to detail on the exterior paint job is memorable.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    May 28, 2020 at 11:01am

    They have those cute little houses at the Jersey Shore – we never stayed at one, as we were within an hour and a half, and going home at night meant sleeping in our own beds – but we had to pass through acres of summer houses on our way to Island Beach State Park. The kind where Dad dumped Mom and the kids for a week at a time, and the neighbors were yards away.

    I always wondered whether they had AC, never found out. When I grew up, our vacations were to my grandparents’ house in Acapulco, and it didn’t have AC either, but I was a kid, and there were fans and hammocks and we slept like little rocks after playing in water all day.

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  4. sustainabilitea

    May 28, 2020 at 4:08pm

    Sounds ominous to me!! I like the realty “house”/building. The thought of that humid heat makes me grateful for the dry heat of a 107 day!!


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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 29, 2020 at 8:27am

      It’s pretty comfortable there in the winter. I need to make it clearer that the Realtor was sweaty because he was nervous. 🙂 And I agree about the types of heat. I grew up in Louisville in the Ohio River Valley, and summers could be what we called “close”. You felt like you were in a steambath, and not in a good way!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  5. Norm 2.0

    May 28, 2020 at 4:27pm

    Yeah that second story door is one of those “watch that first step” moments 😉

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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