Disappearance by Robert Vaughan

“If you’re looking for the river, you just missed it. Easy to miss, most people only see the billboard on that same corner.” He must have noticed how blank our faces were.

“You didn’t see the billboard either?” He scanned the camping gear in the back of our truck. “The one that says ABORTION KILLS in big purple letters?”

“Yeah, I saw it,” my wife said, then sighed, her huge belly protruding. “But we’re not looking for the river.”

“We’re looking for some cabins called Rivers Glen,” I said. “Are they back that way?”

The man stroked his beard. I noticed his eyes were two different colors, or one moved strangely, floating randomly in its socket. “They’re over in Bristol,” he pointed. “’Bout ten miles further up. Follow the river road.”

“Okay, thanks,” I said.

As we pulled away, Karla said, “Why’d you tell him where we’re staying?” She looked back through the cab window, one hand on the baby.

“I didn’t.”

“Yes, you mentioned Rivers Glen.”

“I only said we were looking.”

“Well, we’re not looking to buy, Tim.”

“You’re paranoid.” I wasn’t willing to admit it: he creeped me out, too.

“I’m sensible. You don’t go giving personal details to complete strangers. That’s all we need. Santa Claus to show up at our fire pit.”

I chuckled but knew she was right. I stared out at the stream, packets of fog in dancing patterns, soaring off the stream, their misty shapes disappearing into sunlight.


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Filed under Robert Vaughan

33 responses to “Disappearance by Robert Vaughan

  1. Floating eyeball… creepy, but nice touch!

  2. Catherine Davis

    Eerie-lovely. Love those eyes. (Shudder.) Good.

  3. Randal Houle

    Nice atmosphere, and a sideways introduction to the theme. way to eyeball it… lol

  4. Theo

    Spooky and strange, really leaves the reader to imagine what might happen to this couple. Great way to capture an atmosphere, too.

  5. Yasmine

    You have created a lovely day, Tim and Karla embarking on this camping journey, and yet, with the run-in to this eerie Santa dude, who knows what their future holds. And it brings up the question: do any of us know about our own?

  6. Love the fog on the stream…and then remembering the title, realizing….

    And the stakes, she with her hand on her baby bump.

    Really nice.

  7. How lovely, that he didn’t see river nor billboard, yet sees the wisps in the stream. Well written, Robert.

  8. Len

    i could picture this so clearly. your voice, the dialouge, the characters and the peppered in details of the eyes and beard. your writing keeps getting stronger, which is really saying something.

  9. Shari

    Yikes, the title of this really scares me having read the entire thing. I had to wonder if it referred to the fog lifting, or the seeds you so cleverly planted all along about that scary Santa fellow. And it got me thinking about the random encounters we have on a daily basis and how just one can take a dark turn. You are so great at this menacing quirky style. Excellent dialogue too.

  10. Kim Hutchinson

    Love the details and tone in this piece, particularly the dancing fog.

  11. Andrea

    Great story…grips you by the title. Maybe because I hail from the big city, the country always freaks me out a little. To quiet and too still. Great story…I’m with the wife.

  12. Don

    This is one spooky story, and I should be getting used to this from you by now! You do sketchy characters so well. The eye details are just so darn scary. And I wonder what happens to these two. Or to anyone who lets some personal information slip that they ought not to. Nice job, Robert.

  13. Cynthia

    The details are gripping, dug me deeper into my seat. I love how you had the dichotomy of the billboard and her depth of pregnancy built into the mystery of the story. Nice questions raised here.

  14. Wallace

    The irony about them missing the billboard, then Tim seeing that POV about the stream at the end is just amazing. I really loved this one.

  15. Spooooky little story, but very gripping.

  16. I hope they lock the door at Rivers Glen. On second thought, If I had given personal information to a guy with one randomly floating eye… I would have changed my plans. Nice tension. Doris

  17. So subtle — the billboard, the baby-in-waiting, the lifting fog, the title to make it complete. Fabulous take on the theme. Feel I need a sequel. Peace…

  18. Liked this on f’naut and like it here. It has a foreboding that really got me in the gut, like when you’re scared all of a sudden driving down a dirt road in a quiet wooded area, and who might drive up and corner you…
    good story!

  19. Pingback: Week #34 – Floating away | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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