Owen stood quietly in his dark bedroom, watching the sun rise through a window. He had an excellent view of the town and could see the deserted streets. He loved when everyone was still asleep and Hopewell was silent.
But one thing about his view was off, and he couldn’t put his finger on it. He turned towards the bed, where his girlfriend Abby slept. She worked the night shifts at the hospital, so she was always crawling into bed as Owen was just waking up.
Once he returned his gaze to the window, Owen knew what was bothering him. Usually he could see clear across town, right to the recreation center, but now he could only see to the pharmacy where he worked. There wasn’t even any fog; it was as if the rec center had just vanished.
At 8:30am, Owen was on his way to work. He liked being a pharmacist. He walked down Main Street, passing restaurants, shops, a library, a school, and the hospital. He waved happily to the people he saw.
Owen reached the pharmacy on the outskirts of town, and stopped dead in his tracks. The recreation center was, in fact, gone. It used to mark the end of town, but now the pharmacy was the last building.
“Did they tear down the rec center?” He asked his coworker once he was inside the pharmacy.
“Isn’t that the strangest thing? Everyone’s talking about it. It just up and disappeared during the night,” she replied.
Owen left work around 6:00, and went to Al’s Diner for a bite. Once he left the restaurant, he looked towards the end of town, and to his horror, saw that the pharmacy and the neighboring clothing store had now disappeared into the surrounding darkness. It was as if the town was shrinking.
An emergency meeting was called. Apparently, there were a couple people in the clothing store who had vanished along with the building. Everyone was terrified, and the town officials had no solutions.
Owen didn’t want to go to sleep that night, petrified of what else might disappear. The next day, the blackness around them had swallowed more buildings and people. Residents holed up in the school in the center of the town. Owen couldn’t find Abby anywhere, and then he heard that the hospital had evaporated too.
He cried himself to sleep that night. The next morning, he looked out the window and saw nothing but infinite darkness surrounding him completely.
Mindy Johnson sat grumpily by her fireplace. She was fuming from her last phone call, when her agent told her that due to low sales, they would not be picking up her latest book in the “Town of Hopewell” series. She had immediately downed a glass of whiskey and then began burning her manuscript, page by page. She picked up another sheet and saw it was where she introduced Owen for the first time.
“Sorry Owen,” she said sadly, placing the paper into the flames.
Story Credits: Reddit User sp00kyscary
Background Music © Purple Planet Music
Corridor by Chris Martyn/Geoff Harvey