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Yes, what you see above regarding the Premium Membership is absolutely true, 180% of what you pay is returned to you, and is the norm at RS1. Click here for more information. - LLH
This is where I switch hats from "LLH the Trader" to "L. Lloyd Holton the author.” That's the name I use for writing. I'm a novice, closet writer and mostly do so for personal enjoyment. There's a wonderful sense of fulfillment through creating your own stories. Writing for me is not only a challenge, but an avenue for stress release as well. I find it therapeutic to let whatever’s hiding in my mind, trickle down to my fingers and out through the keyboard. I'm still honing my literary skills, but am determined to see the fruits of my labor in print someday. I mean, of course, other than on my own web site.
I hope you enjoy reading my stories. As more are written, they'll be added to this web page. If you have any comments, good or bad, I’d like to hear them. If you’d be so kind as to send an email to ShortStories@RS1.biz I’d me most grateful. Please, I’m a big boy, so be brutal. The reproduction of these stories is not authorized without the written consent of the author.
By L. Lloyd Holton
September 4th, 1999
Okay, that’s a wrap for today, “I’m going home… Goodnight.” Another week of fending off angry clients has ended. Often I think of myself as Pavlov’s dog, only instead of salivating each time a bell is heard, I curse every time my office phone rings. Stepping out of the red brick office building, I’m caressed by a chilly, gray evening. The smell of cold, wet pavement, not sensed for many months, awakens me to the primitive reality of the cool, darkening world. This is so different from the sterile, florescent confines of my office. All that has melted is rapidly turning to ice again. I think to myself “just like life, two steps forward, and two steps back.” Maybe tomorrow there’ll be more progress? I guess the outside world really isn’t so different from the inside.
I hurriedly march to my car during that glimpse of time, when the sun's last rays subside over the silhouette of the city. The frosty night air silently envelops me as yawning street lamps consume the evening shadows.
There’s a lone shape on the sidewalk before me, gently held by the yellowish glow of the city lights. I catch myself fighting an urge to approach this destitute figure. While yearning to go home to the satisfaction of a hot meal, a powerful drive pushes me to pass closer to the stranger. With no intentions of engaging in neither conversation nor eye contact, I realize I’m transfixed. As though helpless, I begin to follow the mysterious figure.
The rawboned image has wispy, transparent like locks, eyes of pale gray and trapped in the attire of a blue-collar worker. His well-worn clothing is draped over his frame, as though it were the faded uniform of a war-weary soldier. Prominent cheekbones poke from a hollowed face like the protruding hips of an old cow, complemented by a thin, straight nose. And yet somehow still, he looks stately. He could have once been a great monarch or perhaps a captain of industry, massing together fortunes for future generations. My mind is whirling with curiosity, but why? Why am I beckoned by this lonesome being?
I pickup on a message exuding from his gaunt, stiffened torso, that with deafening silence seems to scream "do to me as you please, you can't worsen what life's already ravaged," at the same time, a tranquility emanates from deep within him. An impression is left by his fallen condition that he's grown tired from having been alive for so many decades. I wonder if he’s a product of too many long days on the job? Possibly he’s stressed by an income that’s never been large enough to support his dreams and aspirations; coupled with age, I speculate, he's gotten tired far too many times to ever feel rested up again. With his youth all gone and his hopes laid to rest, I wonder what’s left for him?
Trailing behind the lonely voyager, I contemplate possibilities of his impending evening. Will he go home? Biding time at the end of day, sitting quietly, sipping coffee, and wondering exactly when his life changed to what it is today and why? Was it when his wife died? Was it when his last friend or family member was put into a nursing home? What a musing of deep thoughts must dwell upon him. Does he think, “when did the life I remember end? When did everyone forget, who used to fill my days with joy and friendship, that I’m still here, and that I still have feelings and human emotions, the same as I did years ago?” Will he find himself alone this evening, at his kitchen table, peering past the curtains? Will he see nothing but a darkened bleak night and his own haggard reflection staring back in the glass? Is he a widower? Does he prepare a meager meal for one each night?
Perhaps he stops in a local café, where a matronly waitress tends to his needs. Would he like to be drawn in each evening, for a brief reminder of what it was once like to be cared for? Does he look forward to having his mind and heart flooded with memories of long ago through the serving of a warm meal? At home will another night of restless naps, exhaustion, and hallucinating dreams beat back the aches and pains of his aged body? Before laying back will he recheck his alarm? Does he have a fear of rising late? If eternal rest should finally seek him out, would he prefer to be at home, in the park, or near the business district where he worked for so many years? Will he lie in the shadows of another long night and wait, listening to the endless ticking of the clock… wondering what the end will bring? Will he softly murmur "what ever happened, to who I once was?”
I manage to break myself free of the short-lived spell and get back on my original course for home. After finishing a meager meal, I find myself sitting at my kitchen table, peering past the curtains. There are so many deep thoughts for me to dwell on. I can’t help but muse over the fascination that I felt with the old man on the street. Perhaps I just felt sorry for the old codger? Oh well… means nothing to me. I suspect a man makes the bed he chooses to lie in. On the other hand, I wonder if someday a middle-aged man will follow me down that cold, dreary street?
Perhaps what frightens me most is the inevitability of autumn’s leaves, loosening their grip on life, to make room for spring's budding predecessors.
By L. Lloyd Holton
October 12th, 1999
I was out hunting with my dog when I drifted upon another hunter, clad in turn of the century attire. This struck me as odd. I thought… My God, I think I’ve just seen a ghost!
After realizing the vision wasn’t going to disappear in a flash, I acknowledged the fellow. He didn’t seem to notice me. I waved more vigorously and upon seeing me he quickly walked off. I thought, how rude, people in this area are usually very friendly. Overwhelmed by curiosity, I decided to follow the guy. Though, I do have to laugh at myself for taking the situation so seriously. Obviously, it must be someone who really gets into the joy of hunting by dressing in old-fashioned clothing. I don’t even believe in ghosts, the afterlife, and all that anyway.
I lost sight of the man, who, I began to think of as a local eccentric. Not having paid close attention to my surroundings, I found I’d strayed from the familiar part of the woods I’d hunted in so many times over the years. Shortly, through a fair amount of hill climbing, I saw a small collection of buildings. These were old wooden buildings like you’d expect to see in an abandoned mining town, from the covered wagon days. I don’t remember ever hearing of a town in this area.
How strange… Could this be a setup for some movie company? I suppose that’s possible. I see the gentleman I spotted earlier. He’s down by the river, a few hundred yards from the main part of the little town. He’s talking to several people wearing the same era of clothing. It looks like there are about 20 town’s people gathered around him. There are some blankets on the ground; they must be having a Sunday social. Perhaps I’ve found a community of Amish? I don’t see any camera equipment around, so I guess there’s not a picture company involved after all. I can’t say I recall ever hearing of any Amish living in this area though.
Standing at the edge of the woods, I’m unable to hear what the man is saying to the others. I can make out by his gestures though, that he’s excited about something. I wonder if he’s bagged a deer or if perhaps someone’s been hurt? I pickup on the sound of laughter coming from the crowd. I see the man, I’ve been following, march away from the rest of his friends as though he were angry. His friends then commence with their picnic and games.
I start wondering about how I’m going to find my way home, when I realize, Queenie, my golden retriever, has disappeared. I don’t remember when I lost track of her… Thought she’d been right beside me the whole time. Come to think of it, it seems like I’ve been gone an awfully long time. I would think I’d be very hungry by now, but I’m not at all. I guess I must be too involved in finding out where I am to worry about eating.
Well, I’d better find a paved road. Hopefully I can find one that’ll take me back to my car. After winding through the woods for a few minutes I come around a large thick section of brush. To my surprise I find myself nose to nose with the man, who I’d gotten lost, following. I’m startled somewhat, but he jumps wildly, falling over himself. Thinking to myself “If you’re a ghost, you’re about the poorest example of one that I could ever imagine.” I try to help the poor guy up, but he manages to get back on his feet by himself, as he scampers backwards. I end up standing there staring, wondering what in the world is wrong with him, as he runs off towards his friends by the river. Apparently he has some serious, social shortcomings.
I continue to walk and realize I no longer have my rifle slung over my shoulder. I must have dropped it when I bumped into that poor fellow a little earlier.
Finally, a paved road! Hopefully I’ll find my car parked along here somewhere. If I’m really lucky Queenie will already be there, waiting for me. I’d think the sun would be going down by now, but it’s still high, as if it were noon. Apparently I haven’t been gone for as long as I thought. I feel relieved to be back in a part of the woods that I recognize again. I’m quite certain that I’ll find my car and, hopefully, my dog as well, around the next bend in the road.
Upon finding the spot where I thought I’d parked, I don’t see my car. I could swear I parked my car right here! Could someone have stolen it? There wasn’t a paved parking lot here either. I guess I’m confused and haven’t found the right place after all? I walk to the entrance of the parking lot and see a sign dedicating the park. The sign reads “The legion of the Headless Hunter lives on. He is still reported as being seen in these woods by members of a local commune.” That’s spooky… I continue to read. “Many years ago a decapitated body was found in these woods. It’s believed, but never proven, that the gentleman was killed by a roving band of thugs, known as the High Noon bandits. It wasn’t until several years later that the victim of the heinous crime was identified. May your soul rest in peace, James Hammons.”
What a coincidence! My name is James Hammons tooooo…
Hey Queenie! Well, I see you’ve managed to pull our lunches out through the car window and eat most of mine. Sometimes I wonder if our annual 250-mile drive is worth it? Now who do you suppose these guys, pulling up beside us, are? They give me a sort of creepy, Deja Vu feeling? They’re probably looking for directions. Come on Queenie… Let’s help get them on their way so we can get back to hunting, it’s almost noon already.
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