It’s SINful Saturday!
Take a look at the latest episode of.. SIN of the Shed.
He must be exaggerating. Towns don’t just close down. Well, at least they didn’t before Snatcher took me.
I should be considering Sin’s words or demands, but I’m trying to take it all in—the light, the colors, and the landscape. Everything is burnt orange and brown, which is beautiful against the blue sky, but this place is nothing like home. We had grass, very green grass and wildflowers. There are no flowers here.
My legs feel heavy with each step, but I don’t want to complain. I can’t complain. We need to get out of here. We need to get as far away from here as possible; even though there is nothing but vast open space. I don’t see any roads or highways in the distance. I don’t see anything in the distance. “Where are we?” I ask.
“Shh. Keep your voice down, will you?” Sin snaps.
Confused, I look around, trying to understand why he would tell me to be quiet since there’s no one around. I look behind us toward where the shed and basement were. The house adjacent to the basement is larger than what I thought now seeing it from this angle. I release a heavy sigh as I let my feet drag against the dirt “How much farther until we reach a road or a highway?” I ask softly.
Sin stops suddenly and turns to face me. “Look, I know you’ve been locked up for three years, and you have a million questions, but just assume I don’t have the answer to any of them right now. Okay?”
“No. It’s not okay. You’re right. I have been locked up for three years, so don’t you think I deserve some information? Anything? Like even the name of this stupid town. You can’t just mute me…like your father did.”
Sin grabs me by the loose material of my overalls and pulls me up to his chest. His forehead shimmers under the sun and his hazel eyes grow wide with anger. His veins swell under his skin, and I’m realizing I’ve pushed the wrong button. “I am nothing like that man. Nothing.” He releases me quickly and turns back around, continuing in his direction.
With a deep breath, I continue in Sin’s shadow, noticing another shed off in the distance. That one is mostly flattened too, although, there are a few planks of wood still standing upright, unlike my shed. One of the standing planks has a shower head dangling by a metal rod. A shower in a shed. I didn’t have a shower in the shed I was in. I was given a bucket of water and a dried out bar of soap once every three days.
Water. I need water.
I feel like I’m wilting from the sun. It’s beating down on my neck, and I know I’m going to burn. It’s bad enough I’m blonde and pale, but after no sun exposure in so long, my skin is probably going to blister.
I find myself breathing heavier as we continue, and I really want to know where we’re walking. “Five more minutes until we’re there,” Sin says. I don’t ask where there is. I don’t want to ask after dealing with his whiplashing mood. Even if I did ask, I’m sure he won’t answer me. “See that?” He points ahead of us. I squint to see what he’s looking at, but the sun is reflecting off of the horizon, making it look like gasoline is rising from the dirt. I think I see something now, though. It looks like more sheds.
He turns to me. “Do you remember the rules?”
“Rules?” I repeat softly.
“Stay behind me and don’t say anything, please.” Wow. I get a please this time. “We’re about to enter the other part of Chipley.” That’s the name I heard Snatcher say. I was right about it being the town.
As Sin turns back down the path we’re walking, he grabs my wrist and holds it tightly against his side. “Let’s go,” he says.
The closer we get to the sheds, I notice they’re different. They’re made of stone. They’re like the one I was in, but more confined, even a little sturdy. If my shed were made of stone, it wouldn’t have blown down in the tornado. There’s one shed after another, lined up perfectly with less than twenty feet or so between each structure. We’re walking down a path between two rows of them. I’ve never seen a town like this before.
After passing six or seven sheds, a door opens on one of them in the distance, but I’m close enough to see a middle-aged woman walk out—she’s dressed in a grey, rag gown, which looks torn above the knee. Her hair is long, dark, and bone straight—it hangs over the side of her face, concealing her features like she’s hiding.
The woman closes her door tightly and turns down the path we’re walking on, and I see that the back of her dress is tied together with thin, white cotton ribbons. It almost looks like something a patient might wear in a hospital, but a little more form fitting.
A lump feels like it’s forming in my throat as my nerves prickle against my skin. My curiosity and thoughts are causing a bad feeling in my gut. As if Sin can sense my feelings, his hand tightens around my wrist, making me a little more nervous.
Another shed door opens, but on the opposite side this time. Again, I watch to see who comes out. This time, it’s a man. He’s completely bald, dressed in a white t-shirt and grey sweatpants. No shoes. I look ahead of him at the woman, and she’s not wearing shoes either.
“Sin,” I hear from the distance. “Sin.” His name sounds like a hiss more than a word, but I can clearly hear someone calling him. I look around in every direction, not seeing anyone. But as I keep looking, I notice movement in between two of the sheds on the left side. There’s a man lying on the ground, wrapped under a burlap blanket with only his head poking out. His hair is greasy and long around his ears. His beard looks well over a month old and his face is covered in dirt.
“Who’s that?” I whisper. “Do you know him?”
“Yes. I know him. That’s JJ,” Sin says under his breath, pulling me at a quicker rate. “Shit.”
“What?” I ask. Although my question seems to get lost in the midst of clatter as several shed doors opening. Men and women pour out onto the path we’re on; all of them dressed the same as the first two people I saw. “What’s happening?” Most of them are walking at a fast pace while others are running.
A loud flutter sounds from the sky, and I look to see if there is a plane up above, wondering where it’s coming from and where it’s going. The right direction might point us toward a nearby city. Regardless, there’s an aircraft, which means Sin and I aren’t completely lost in the middle of nowhere. Not as it seems anyway. A helicopter finally appears on the horizon behind us, and heads in the direction we’re walking. The sound of the propellers biting at the wind becomes painfully loud as it flies over our head, and the rush of wind nearly knocks me over. I can’t help but wonder why it’s flying so low over this town.
“Bad timing,” Sin says. He stops suddenly and drags me off the path and behind one of the sheds where no one can see us. Over here, I see trees in the distance. They’re the first trees I’ve seen—maybe that means there’s a road on the other side of them.
“Should we go that way?” I ask, pointing toward the green blur of leaves.
“No. That’s not the right way,” he says. Sin squats down, pulling me down with him until I’m resting on my knees. “Listen. In the next few minutes, you might see things that scare you, and when you see what I’m talking about, I’m going to need you to remain calm.”
“I am calm.” Not necessarily inside, but I’m good at pretending.
“I know you are easily excitable, and I can understand why, but right now, it’s important that we stay calm.” He places his hands on my shoulders and looks me in the eyes. “Do you understand?”
My skin tingles beneath his touch, even separated by the thin material of my shirt. “Please tell me what’s going on.”
He nods his head and looks away from me. “We left the safe area. The shed and the basement—those are safe zones, meant for the caretakers. Chipley is an isolated town, imprisoning many people from the outside. Including us.”
“Isolated?” Imprisoning… Caretakers?
“There’s no way out. Not that I have found yet. We’re surrounded by an electrified wall.” Every piece of hope I had developed over the past twenty-four hours has shattered into a pile of dread.
“I don’t know if we’ll make it out, but we're damn well going to try. And this might be the only way.”
“What is the reason we are confined in this town?” I ask, unsure if I want to know the truth.
“You and I are the only two people who don’t have a reason to be here. So, I can’t answer that.” There’s no reason for why I was taken. There’s no reason for why I’m confined to some compound of a town.
“And there’s no reason for why you are suddenly so kind to me… I don’t understand any of this, Sin. And I most definitely don’t understand you.” My breaths shudder as I try to compose my anger, sadness, and fear. “You’ve been so mean to me, but then there are moments like now, where you’re nice. Why?”
“I’m angry,” he says through a growl. “Your existence here has made this more complicated than it once was for me. I need to protect you. And for that, part of me feels resentment. However, the other part of me feels deeply connected to you, and for that reason…I can’t fully resent you.”
“I didn’t ask for this,” I tell him. “And you don’t need to make me your problem.”
“It’s too late,” he says as his hand cups around my cheek. Gentler than I thought capable, he presses his lips against my forehead and pulls me in against his chest. Again, I hear his heart beating—the comforting sound of not being alone. Warmth covers my body from the roots of my hair to the tips of my toes. I hate how he makes me feel so many different things at the same time. “Reese, I will do what I can to keep you safe.”
“Safe from what?”
Before he has a chance to either ignore my question or answer me, I hear his name called again. “Sin,” the voice shouts in a whisper. I glance over Sin’s shoulder, seeing that man with the blanket again. JJ. He’s limping toward us with a paper bag. Food? I pull out of sin’s arms and take a few steps toward the man. I’m starving.
“Is that food?” I ask.
“Reese, no!” Sin shouts.
***Recommended for anyone 18+ due to upcoming dark themes and adult language***
Don’t forget this is an interactive story. Each week you have a chance to lend ideas to Shari’s story. Check out her website for more details. And click HERE to leave comments on this week’s Episode.
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. It will air on Friday on Shari J Ryan's blog!
About the Author:
Shari J. Ryan is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author, a Barnes & Noble Top 10 Bestselling author, and an iBookstore #1 Bestselling author.
She hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates. When Shari isn’t writing, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.
To learn more, visit her at, www.sharijryan.com.
Brought to you by the Author, Shari J Ryan and Paging Through The Days.