Summer was coming but it hadn't quite arrived yet. Clara walked down the narrow side streets of Breach Point toward the ocean, camera case in hand. She passed little shops selling cheeses and chocolates, a stationery store, and an oral surgeon's office. "Who would get their mouth operated on in a little tiny place like that?" she thought as she remembered the pain she'd felt when her wisdom teeth were removed last year.
The ocean smell grew stronger as she crossed the next block. She could hear the waves, too. It was nice. Very different from her town, where the few big businesses were more industrial, and clustered in areas that you'd never just wander past.
Clara passed a small alcove with a sign that read "Funeral Arrangements" and wondered where people were buried on the island – if they were buried here at all. They probably had to send them to cemeteries on the mainland where the ground was less saturated with water.
The entrance to Brumbaugh's Drug Store stood just past the Funeral Arrangements place. Clara pushed open the stubborn door. A rusty chain of jingle bells nearly hit her, but she ducked out of the way before it could make contact.
"Watch yer head," said a miserable-looking cashier behind the counter.
"A little late with the warning," Clara thought as the woman rang up two kids buying sour candy.
Clara turned slowly, taking in the drug store. It must have been there for fifty years. At least fifty. Items in the center aisles were laid out on flimsy card tables, making the store feel more like a flea market than an actual retail shop.
She made her way into one of the aisles, eyeing up the saddest toy selection she'd ever seen. The action figures, paddle ball sets, and lawn games reminded her of products she used to see advertised in the back of her father's old magazines. "And they were already old then," she thought.
Clara heard the bells jingle again and headed back toward the front of the store. Miserable cashier gave her the minimum obligatory eye contact.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"Yes. I was wondering if you develop film here?" Clara tapped on her camera case for emphasis.
Miserable held one gnarled finger toward Clara and cocked her head to the back of the store.
"Phil! We still send out rolls of film to get developed?" she asked.
An equally unpleasant voice from the back answered: "Yeah. I do it when the old people ask."
Miserable turned back to Clara, who noticed that one seemingly-missing tooth had actually just migrated over to its right, nearly covering its neighboring incisor. "And an oral surgeon just down the street," Clara thought.
"Yeah. We can do it for you if you want," Miserable snarled.
"Oh great," Clara said.
Miserable wrinkled her mouth. She seemed annoyed – permanently annoyed.
"Well? Ya got 'em?" she asked.
"Oh, no. Sorry, I haven't taken them yet." Clara chastised herself for the apology – she hadn't given the cashier any reason to think that she had film to develop now. The misunderstanding was her own fault, not Clara's.
"Awright. Bring 'em in when they're ready," Miserable said. "Should take a week and a half to get the prints back – if yer lucky."
Clara faked a smile. "Thank you. I will."
She gave a little nod and walked toward the front door when something on the bulletin board at the end of the counter caught her eye.
Amidst the tattered "musician wanted" requests, local high school production posters, and cheap business cards was a retro-looking flyer printed on flecked red paper, peeking out from the bottom. Clara pulled it free.
YOU ARE READING
Breach Point (Haunted)Paranormal
When high school sophomore Clara Tuffney is hired for a summer internship at an engineering firm, she accepts an invitation to live with her Aunt Maureen in the quiet seaside town of Breach Point, New Jersey. Soon after arriving, Clara learns of t...