I moved toward the back of the store when an unexpected noise caused me to stand at attention. I caught the distinct sound of footsteps on the wooden porch of the general store. I turned around and peered out the door to see…nothing.
“Hello? Anyone there?” I called out.
There was no response.
I crept towards the door slowly with my hands out in front of me, just in case. I slowly peeked around each corner before verifying that no one was standing outside and made my way back out to the street.
I was sufficiently creeped the fuck out at that point.
I decided to pack it in and come back later with friends. It was just about then I heard the crack of thunder. The weather app on my phone said zero chance of rain, but the clouds overhead were moving in fast. I thought about hoofing it the half mile in the rain, but it came down fast and hard. I didn’t want to go back into the general store, so I darted to the nearest building — an old house.
The front door was unlocked and the door opened on the second pull. Standing in the parlor, I looked around at the old furniture and dusty floors and decided to sit on an old wooden chair that seemed sturdy enough. The storm raged outside and I could see water coming in from the ceiling. There were several old papers sitting on the coffee table in the living room and after a while I got up to go look at them.
The yellowed papers were single page editions of an old periodical called the Elsewhere Gazette. The stories covered church events, pie recipes and an advert for the Elsewhere General Store. One of the papers in the stack bore the headline: “Tragedy In The Schoolhouse.”