Time to practice what I learned from all the books on writing I’ve been reading lately. I’m especially intrigued by the revelation that the key to writing a good horror story is building suspense. I read that Stephen King spent many pages of his novels just to build the suspense that make his stories so terrifying. As I was reading this, I began to wonder if it’s possible to write a suspense story about buckets. It sounds silly, but it’s worth a shot. Here goes.
Buckets – A Suspense Story
Clark stocked the last bucket on the shelf in the cleaning aisle of the hardware store where he worked nights. He stood back to admire his handiwork. There they were, all 50 buckets stacked on the shelf, the last of the items that needed to be stocked from the night’s workload. Now he was ready to go home.
Clark glanced at his watch. It was just after 3 o’clock in the morning, which marked the end of his shift. He was the only one working, and it felt creepy being alone in a dark, empty store.
Clark headed to the break room where the time clock was and clocked out. After gathering his belongings, he headed to the exit in the stock room at the back of the store. As he walked through the empty and dark store, he couldn’t help but admire how the shelves were all neatly stocked with merchandise and the store itself took on a very clean appearance, ready for another day.
He entered the stockroom and saw the exit door. As he reached for the door to push it open, he was startled to hear what sounded like a distant sound of a door slamming shut.
Clark stopped in his tracks.
What was that?
He paused for a few minutes, ears fully alert and listening.
After waiting a few more minutes, Clark concluded that the noise was just his mind playing tricks on him. Exhaling in relief, he reached for the door again.
Suddenly there was a sound of crashing followed by something dragging across the floor. Clark could almost swear he heard some footsteps mixed in with the noises coming from the store. Trying hard not to panic, he cautiously peeked out of the stockroom. His eyes cautiously surveyed the aisles as he sought to identify the cause of the commotion. Again he saw nothing but heard the noise slowly fade away to silence. Clark waited a few more minutes to see what would happen next but nothing did happen until the sudden loud sound of a door slamming shut.
His heart racing, Clark felt his curiosity and vigilance overtake his fear and he dashed into the store in a desperate attempt to locate what he thought was an intruder. He ran past aisle after aisle, his eyes quickly scanning each one during his desperate pursuit. Each aisle appeared empty, leading him to believe that the intruder would be hiding in one of the aisles ahead. And what if the intruder was armed? Clark kept running, determined to find and capture the unwanted visitor.
Then Clark reached the cleaning aisle where he had just stocked the buckets.
All the buckets were gone.