500 Word Short Story
Scott A. Gese

500 Word Short Story

As soon as he walked in the door he knew something was terribly wrong.

Ryan was suspicious as soon as he turned to head up the drive. The gate had been left open and now there was a strange car parked in front of the house. He was expecting his brother-in-law from out of town, but this wasn't his old car. Maybe he got a new one, he thought. But still, something wasn't setting well. Something was just not right.

Why hadn't his dog or his wife greeted him at the door.

Ryan called out to his dog. “Matti!” She didn't show.

He called out to his wife. “Peg?” There was no reply.

Everything was eerily quiet. Ryan could feel a slight worry setting in. He talked himself into remaining calm. “I'm sure they must be around here somewhere,” he thought out loud. He searched through every room in the house. Nothing. Now the worry started to set in for real.

Peg gone, Matti gone, strange car out front. “What the hell is going on here? He asked himself. “Maybe his brother-in-law showed up early and the three of them went for a walk.” It was a slightly calming thought that lasted for a sum total of five minutes.

Suddenly the phone rang. Ryan grabbed it, hoping it was Peg. “Hello,” he said, trying to sound calm.

The unpleasant voice of a man was on the other end. “Get in the car that was left in your driveway and go to twenty eighty-one west everest street. The keys are in the ignition. Be there in twenty minutes and don't be late. You'll receive further instructions once you arrive. No cops, we have your wife.”

Ryan panicked. “Who is this? What is this about? Is she OK? You lay one finger on her, I swear I'll come back from the grave to hunt you down...”

The voice on the other end interrupted. “You're in no position to be making idle threats. Better get moving.” The phone went silent with a loud click.

Ryan quickly plugged the address into his cell phone. His map program showed the destination to be a small upscale restaurant. Ryan made it there in fifteen minutes. He parked the car and went in.

As soon as he stepped through the door a young female hostess greeted him. “Table for One?”

“I was told to show up here. Where's my wife?”

“You must be Ryan.” she replied. “Please follow me.”

He was led down a back hall to an unmarked door. “Don't bother knocking. Go right in. They're expecting you.” She quickly turned and went back up the hall.

Ryan took a deep breath and opened the door. The room was dark. Suddenly the lights flipped on. “Surprise! Happy birthday!”

Ryan was stunned. “What the hell?”

Peg stepped up and gave Ryan a kiss and a drink. “Remember the stunt you pulled on me last year? I told you then, the payback would be hell. Gotcha.”

© Copyright 2018 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.