For the A to Z Challenge I generated a list of random words, and I will be writing a short story incorporating those words. Each day a little more of the story will be unveiled. You can read the full story, to date, here. For those of you who have been following along, Old Mark is now Mr. Cross. Sorry for switching names in the middle of a story, but I'm making this up as I go along. Here we go:

 Mark ran.

He was sure he was running towards nothing. He doubted Aston Miller would be there, and he knew there would be no speeding truck chased by cops with lights flashing and sirens wailing. As he raced past the student parking lot he took a moment to curse his car, a twelve-year-old Pontiac with a busted transmission. He dashed to the edge of campus, looked both ways, and crossed University Avenue. King Street was one block over, and has he rounded the corner he looked frantically for a speeding truck. There was traffic on the street, but they were all cars. He changed his focus, looking for Ashton Miller, but he didn’t see anyone familiar.

He pulled his phone from his pocket, and checked the time. He still had five minutes. If “about eight” meant eight o’clock, and not seven fifty-eight. He pocketed his phone again, and took a less panicked look around. Across the street was the head shop. The business name, Bliss, was written in neon lights, and through the front window, he could see the merchandise and the clerk behind the counter, gesturing wildly as he talked with a customer. Neither of them was Ashton. Mark turned and looked at the store behind him, a trendy clothing shop for lovers of spandex with too much money and not enough sense, but didn’t see his quarry there either.

Time was running out, and he realized that Mr. Cross hadn’t given him many details. King Street in front of the head shop. But was it directly in front of Bliss? Or was it on the opposite side of the street? In the distance he heard a squeal of tires, but there were no sirens. He started, then relaxed. He supposed he would have to wait for Ashton to reveal himself.

Mark didn’t have to wait long. Out of the video store directly to the right of Bliss, stepped Ashton. Mark was surprised by how plain the man was. Tonight he was wearing jeans and a pullover sweater, too warm for the evening, but it didn’t seem to bother him. His lank hair swung as he turned to grab the door as it closed behind him. He appeared to be having a conversation with someone inside. In the distance, a single siren began to sound.


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