A Slice of Pie
Type: Original Stories
This is a short story I wrote for school. The topic was freeform but the first sentence had to start with one of the teacher's examples. 'There's a man sitting on a park bench...' was the one I chose. Please enjoy!
There’s a man sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper with the headline, ‘FOUR DEAD IN SERIAL STABBINGS’. He calmly scans the article. No new suspects, no new evidence, just a poorly run investigation by the police. He folds the newspaper back up and tucks it under his arm before continuing his morning walk.
The man never thought such a thing would happen in Pine Springs. The population reaches no more than three hundred, all tucked away in the mountains. The nearest city is hundreds of miles away. And yet, this seemingly perfect suburbia in the middle of nowhere is home to a serial killer.
Keeping his mind off such uneasy thoughts, the man starts to whistle a merry tune through Central Park. He hears the laughter of a couple further down the path. The woman’s smile could be seen yards away, plainly happy. Her other half kisses her on the cheek. The man dips his hat in greeting when they pass.
The grass is an emerald sea, being used by the neighborhood children to play tag. Screams of ‘you’re it!’ make music to the man’s ears. Surely a wonderful sound of children playing would affect a murderer?
When the man reaches the end of the park, he crosses the street to his favorite diner. It’s red and white exterior reminds the man of how much he loves this place. He opens the door and smiles at the ringing bell announcing his arrival.
“Henry! Come! Sit!” a jovial waitress greets the man from behind the counter. He follows her over to a stool where she hands him a mug for coffee.
“How are ya today, Henry? Beautiful day isn’t it?” she asks as she pours steaming coffee into his mug.
“Oh, the most beautiful, Alice. I think I’ll take my usual today.” He takes off his hat and sets it on the counter in front of him. The kind waitress nods and disappears into the kitchen.
Henry notices the newspaper still under his arm and pulls it back out. He ignores the gruesome cover story and skips to the comics in the back.
A few minutes later, a Reuben sandwich appears. “Just for you, Henry,” she sings as he sets it on the counter. She notices the article on the newspaper and panic appears on her face. “Henry,I hope you didn’t read that story on the stabbings. It’s just exaggerated to sell more papers.”
He folds the paper up and takes a bite of his sandwich before saying, “The truth is, Alice, it’s still true. Exaggerated or not. People have died.”
Alice frowns, a bad look on her, Henry thinks. She sets the coffee pot down and tucks a lock of blonde hair behind her ear. “What’s happening is horrible, I know, but if I let myself think about someone I’ve served, someone I know, killing people…”
“…it’s better to pretend it’s not as bad as it is,” Henry finishes.
She nods. “Yes.”
“Well, Alice, if you keep yourself in the dark like that, you won’t be prepared when it happens to someone you know or love.”
Alice blinks slowly at the man. “I hope you stay safe, Henry. Bill’s on me today.”
Henry shakes his head. “No, no, I couldn’t ask you to do that. You get paid so little as it is. You’re more in danger than I am. I’ll stay until your shift is over and walk you home.”
The waitress lights up. “Oh, would you, Henry? That would make me feel much better, thank you. I’ll be off in a few hours. Take your time with your sandwich.”
By the time Alice’s shift was over, the blue sky has turned to a deep purple. The park behind Henry became shadows, silhouetted by the streetlights.
“Thank you again, Henry,” Alice says as she grabs her jacket.
“It’s the least I could do for my favorite waitress,” he replies, holding the door open for her.
They walk out together on the sidewalk, keeping close together and remaining silent. Neither dared to speak the obvious: it’s really quiet.
In a town like Pine Springs, everyone went home at decent hours to wake up bright and early for another blue-sky, green-grass day. At 8 o’clock at night, the only people outside are a man with a hat and a waitress with a regret for being out so late.
It’s only a block from the diner to Alice’s apartment, so they make it there in only ten minutes. A soft breeze raises goosebumps on Alice’s arms.
She pulls out her keys from her purse when they approach the building. “Henry, this has been too kind of you. A slice of pie on the house, just for you.”
He smiles and dips his hat in farewell. “That would be lovely. Have a safe night, Alice. See you tomorrow.”
She waves goodbye with her free-hand and goes inside. Henry stays on the sidewalk until he sees the light in her apartment turn on.
He whistles a sweet, melodic tune as he turns around and heads back home. He admires the soft light that comes from the streetlights. It lights his way home in an old movie fashioned way.
It’s when he gets close to his home that he becomes uneasy. The dark shadows that seemed so gentle by the diner start to turn sinister looking. The streetlight in front of his home flickers. His old movie fashioned walk turned into a horror film.
But Henry laughs it off. How silly of him to think he was in danger. He keeps walking at the same, slow pace he used all day. It's a pace that revealed his calm and collected nature.
Henry pulls out his key from his pocket and slips it into the doorknob when he hears a scraping sound down the street where he came from. He whips his head around to look. He sees nothing in the dark, his flickering streetlight useless.
Wetting his lips, Henry turns his key in the door; a satisfying click tells him he’s safe now. He pushes his door open and quickly closes it behind him. He gives a sigh of relief and clicks the lights on.
His heart comes to his throat when the lights reveal a woman standing in his kitchen. She’s wearing a yellow dress and a white apron. Her blonde hair is tied back into a ponytail. Upon her nametag it reads, ‘Alice’.
“A slice of pie on the house, just for you, Henry,” sings Alice as she pulls a knife out of the chopping block in front of her.