I was bone-tired when I locked the last gas pump, turned off the lights and closed the garage door. It had been a long day. One of an endless number of days.
I crossed the concrete apron, got in my jalopy and started the motor. I gave the filling station a last look. It was tired and grubby in the early night. I'd really tried to make a go of it here, but one man can only do so much.
All I wanted was to get a hot bath, food, and some sleep. I lived half a mile down the road from the station. The cottage, nestled among some pines, had looked good, like the station, when I'd first brought Helen here. Now, as the headlights swept over it, the cottage looked like the station. A pitiful lot of nothing for a man to break his back over.
I parked the crate beside the cottage. When I entered the small, dark house, I got the living hell knocked out of me.
by Talmage Powell