Sidney felt a trickle on his face, but with the rain falling it had to be expected. The shanty was a boarded up den of wood sent down on the riverboat long ago when the ghost town lived a fine life. Chipped pieces of timber flake off the walls and he kicked the dead cattle skull that sat on the floor boards. Once this beast, like the town, had a name.
The flooded roads forced him into the building when he realized his gas gauge was wrong and he ran out of gas on the highway that ran near the old town.
Inside the aged place, a photograph of a young woman sat on the shelf, perfectly preserved in the remains of the place nobody remembered.
Sidney took out his phone and tried to get a signal. He found none and sighed. When the rain stopped, he'd walk back to the highway and hitch hike. He remembered a town somewhere not too far back on the road he had taken.
The photo seemed to indicate the woman was someone important. Her eyes seemed soft as if they would live on in the two dimensional outtake of the forgotten three dimensional woman.
He took the etched glass framed picture into his hands. He brought her image closer to his eyes. The haunting glance that she gave the camera made him wonder who she was. The dress she wore draped her figure to her ankles. Yet despite the old fashioned clothing she had an appearance of a modern girl. His hand gripped the photograph and his index finger touched her face. It was almost a sacred act to touch her.
He felt the swirl of wind flow through the holes in the walls like the spirits made their way through that time to this one. The rain stopped all at once as if the ghosts demanded they be allowed to go back to sleep. He set the picture back onto the shelf. The dust from the neglected years turned into a film of slime.
With the rain gone, he went out of the building, happy to leave the place.
A mile down the road, he saw a welcome sight – a car. He waved vigorously as the sedan passed. The returned bright sunlight made the glass of the sedan glare.
He turned around to wait. He waited to see if the car would stop. After a moment of breath holding, the car pulled to the side of the road. He ran to the halfway rolled down window, still unable to see as the rays of the setting sun reached the metal car.
“What happened to you?” a female voice asked through the window.
“I ran out of gas. Please, could you give me a lift?” Sidney said.
“I don't give rides to strangers.”
“Oh, well.” Sidney looked up and over the roadway. “Can you call a tow truck for me? I'm a tourist – ”
He went around to the passenger side and got inside the car.
He turned to say thank you and stared at the woman. She was the woman in the photograph -- or at least she looked strikingly similar. Sidney felt a strange feeling, as if an arrow opened up his heart.
Sidney thought of the ghost town as he glanced into the rear view mirror.
Written for maximum impact.