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Today I'm sharing the opening of a short story I submitted to a contest this past week. Out of Time follows a young woman searching for a lost family history. In the haunted town of Benton, she discovers that past and present memories overlap, and that ghosts aren't always what they seem.
The autumn sun burned in reds and golds as it set behind the desert mountains. Benton Hot Springs, an almost ghost town off California Highway 120, only six miles from Nevada, was home to approximately thirteen and a half souls, according to the welcome sign. Kayla was there to find answers. Looking around at what was left of the town, she wasn’t sure she’d find them. Weathered, wood buildings slumped in between sage bushes. Half-walls and crumbling stucco hinted at structures that had been. The shell of an old general store still stood, with no-trespassing signs affixed to the plywood covering where the windows should be.
There was a cemetery high on the hill overlooking town. Kayla would hike up there tomorrow morning to see if she could find the tombstone of her great-great-great-great Aunt Adeline.