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       Type, p.1

           Khalil Woods
 
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  A SHORT STORY

  By Khalil Woods

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Copyright © 2016 Khalil Woods

  All rights reserved.

  ISBN-13: 9781520642789

  Table of Contents

  Storage 1

  The Typing Sounds 9

  The Letter M 17

  The Letter U 31

  The Letter R 45

  The Letters ? ?, and ? 73

  About the Author 93

  To my two mothers, father, my three sisters Kamila, Kamaria, and Misa, my brother Derrick, aunts, uncles, and to all the friends who have supported me over the years. Also, I would like to thank God for helping me finish this short story.

  Storage

  Crumple, crumple, crumple. That’s all you could hear while you spend your Saturday rustling through a complete archive of your mom’s documents by yourself. It was a privilege I had to take when I didn’t take out the garbage Thursday and she knew that it would be difficult to find her latest draft. Actually, I don’t think it was just a privilege; it was like a punishment.

  My name is Ashton Patch, the youngest child of the Patch family with Rosie being next and my oldest sister Rebecca being last. I’m just a normal 16-year-old attending Richardson High School right in the middle of Richardson, Texas. It’s basically a school filled with fights, thugs, and low expectations for the school board. I just picked a small group of friends to hang around, including Dareeka, a cheerful and caring Choir girl that loves solving situations with me; James, an independent jock who keeps his grades high and his social status low; Timmy, a scrawny-looking buddy stuck in his fantasy world while having a passion for cracking a lot of codes; and then there’s Brandy, a socially-active, tumultuous, flirtatious, crazy girl whom I hang around...for some reason. Oh, I almost forgot about Mom for a minute.

  You see, Mom is a full-time New York Times bestselling author of her mystery series called Beneath the Well. It was a #1 bestseller on Amazon last year and now she’s continuing to reach that goal by finishing her novel that she had kept away since the move in ‘12. By the way, it was supposed to be published two months after her fourth novel, The Dweller, but was postponed and set to be published in 2016.

  I have read one of them once and I fell asleep on the first chapter. Now I only use it as a night time remedy to help me sleep.

  I was searching frantically, searching everywhere for that piece of manuscript in this immersive storage room. So many boxes I had to look through to get to it, and I can’t even remember if I had looked in them already. Over 30 boxes in all, 5 stacked at a time. I really need to ask her to find the crazy thing. So I crawled out the Void of Drafts and asked, “Mom, how do you know where to usually find your manuscripts?”

  “I just told you that,” she said as she was sitting at her desk writing out the outline for her next book called The Runes. “I put all of my manuscripts in an individual box in alphabetical order.” I went back in there but she soon said, “And make sure you look at the sort of the names.”

  “What sort?”

  “You know when you put the definite article before the noun.”

  “Mom, I’m not a literary person. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

  “Just look for Runes, The. That’s the simplest thing I can say.” Crawling back into the box-filled labyrinth, I searched for “Runes, The” (mimicking what she said). After looking through all of the R’s, I found it last in the order but, without looking down, I stubbed my toe on a file cabinet near the doorway and a typewriter supposedly on a ledge came tumbling down on the same foot, making it hurt worse.

  Screaming pain.

  I yelped silently, and looked down at the injured toe. My filthy sock hadn’t turned into blood red yet but it feels as if the typewriter was made of an anvil that was carved to look like a normal typewriter. I then picked it up.

  I’ve always had this dream of owning a typewriter. One time, I dreamed of walking out of the room with the typewriter grasped in my left arm and a pack of paper in the other. I was typing on it furiously and then when time sped up, I was on the red carpet for my latest work — I think it was called Cranium High School — and it too was on the bestseller list. So remarkably famous that night, and it only ended when…

  “Ashton, did you find my manuscript box yet? It’s getting late.”

  “Coming.” I walked out with the box and the typewriter in my hands. She retrieved the box and looked down at the device and said, “Oh, I see you’ve found my typewriter. I was about to go get it myself. Thank you, sweetie.”

  “Yeah. It almost took the life out of my foot when it fell. Wait, you needed both?”

  “Of course.”

  “Why didn’t you tell me to get it for you before?”

  “Because I know how much you’ve been struggling to get The Runes. How else will I be able to type up my novels?”

  “I don’t know. Maybe the computer?”

  “Oh, you’re so funny. I stopped saving stuff on the computer years ago. They lose information and if somebody is using my computer while I’m doing something else, they could find out about my books and they might try to copyright it themselves.”

  I was about to say something else, but she stated, “And I have tried to encrypt my files but I learned that they could still get deleted. Trust me, having a typewriter is like having a writer’s dream.”

  “Yeah, but what happens when your papers get lost or burned or torn? You can’t put a save button on that.”

  “Ashton, if you keep pointing out the bad sides of Smith-Corona, then it might happen.”

  “Wait a minute. Smith-Corona?”

  The Typing Sounds

  “Yes. Smith-Corona’s the name.”

  I can’t tell if Mom’s going demented or if the typewriter’s real name is Smith-Corona. I’ve only heard that name once and that was in the town’s newspaper in the Origins section.

  This lady living in the segregation age was an American poet residing right in Rich Oak Road. She too had this typewriter that was “Smith-Corona” (almost sounding like the beer Corona). She had had a long and stressful period promoting her book out in the streets when people weren’t interested in her work of poetry. (She focused mainly on the gloomy side of her past.) But then one day she came across this publishing press that accepted any and every type of literature. So she paid them a measly $25 and her books were on the market.

  The most consulted-about part of her life was when she murdered 5 of her foes (one still missing), killing off one by one on each day that had passed. She was about to be arrested but she ended her life short by killing herself with the Smith-Corona. It’s almost like she wanted to be with the typewriter for eternity. Even though there were splashes of blood from the impact of her head, it was completely clean when they put it out for an antique sale.

  And the weirdest part is that the people who picked it up didn’t clean it or spot anything on it during the investigation.

  Now that’s paranormal.

  “Where did you buy it,” I interrogated Mom.

  “Oh, it was years ago, when they still had that sales store on the corner of Narrow Street called Barney’s Goods. It was on sale for a refurbished price of $33.”

  “So you mean that it was used?”

  “Yeah.”

  “By who?”

  “They didn’t give me any details on who the previous owner was. They probably won’t even tell a private investigator who it was unless the place was abandoned or it was in the middle of a crime scene investigation. I mean,
you should’ve seen how peculiar the clerk was acting.”

  “Was it a…”

  “1975 Smith-Corona Electra? Of course, it was!” She looked at the clock and she said, “Oh, I forgot to get you something to eat. Let me fix you up something real quick.” She went into the kitchen and fixed me some peanut-butter sandwiches. I studied the typewriter on every corner. Smith-Corona Electra.

  This must’ve been one of those typewriters people used when they were a receptionist or making telegrams in an office. The keys looked finely polished and there wasn’t any smudge on it perceiving that anyone had used it before. When I first knocked on the device ever so slightly, I noticed that it wasn’t metallic at all; it was just cold and heavy. The plastic finish made it look vintage enough.

  When I was walking away from it and going into the kitchen with Mom, I could’ve sworn that I heard a key click by itself. So I looked at it and I observed that one of the keys descended into the board as if it has been pressed down and a second later, it released.

  I was scared out of my mind right now, if this was the exact same typewriter that the deceased poet used and that somehow her body latched onto it as if it was still her own possession. I started to tell Mom, but she had always despised my “chilling stories”.

  I’m not crazy, but that’s what a lot people say with unorthodox experiences these days.

  “Here’s your sandwich, Ash,” Mom said to me, setting the plate on the table. She also put a drink on the coaster and proceeded to use the typewriter, reeling it over to where she was sitting with her outline.

  “You know, this typewriter has a blissful typing sound as you whisk away tapping keys on barren slices of wood. I mean, if you just tap it once, you’ll notice how light the QWERTY is.” And there she goes talking like she’s narrating one of her books again, sounding so whimsical right now.

  I suddenly asked her, “Are you sure you don’t know anybody who has used this machine before you? It can’t be a newly, antiquated device.”

  “Hey the person didn’t list it; I’m not worried. Why don’t you just relax and eat your sandwich? It’s nicely crafted, just the way you desire it.” Minding her nonchalant matters about the typewriters, I just proceeded with eating my sandwich. Still warm and waiting to be stuffed down my throat.

 
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