Excerpt from my soon-to-be-published novella ‘Finale’:
“Stay calm,” Agnes says even though she herself feels her neck muscles tighten. “It’s no use freaking out.”
The BMW has turned off the highway and into the petrol station. However, instead of driving up to one of the petrol pumps, it has stopped out by the big sign with the gas prices. Engine still running. White exhaust drifting over the tarmac behind the car. It’s the same BMW. Even as it has kept away from the bright light under the petrol station’s canopy, it’s still being illuminated by the dim light from the price sign. There can be no doubt. It’s the same car.
“I was in a robbery once,” Belinda whispers. “I was working at the big Shell station on the other side of town back then. By two junkies. They parked close to the station in the same manner for a real long time before they came in and held us up, using box cutters.”
Agnes moves her glance from the car to Belinda’s face. “What happened?”
“We gave them the money and called the police when they were gone. One of them were shaking like crazy. I almost considered taking him down, hitting him with something heavy, you know, but of course, we’re not allowed to do so. Same rules as here. Give them the money. Close the petrol station. Call the police.”
“I’m so scared of being robbed. I don’t know if I could handle something like that. I mean afterwards, the trauma.”
Belinda sends her a hard glance. “You will sooner or later, working a place like this.”
The car’s still out there. A sudden cold fills Agnes’s insides. “How did you handle the trauma afterwards? Did you get counseling?”
“Nothing really happened, you know. No need for any of that.”
As location plays such a huge role in both horror and thriller stories, I find myself always looking for places that I could use in a story someday. A petrol station has its own atmosphere. Even in daylight. It’s a safe everyday kind of place. A place we all visit from time to time. I bet, you can even smell it if you close your eyes. However, on a dark and lonely night the atmosphere of the place seems to change as darkness surrounds the bright lights of the canopy and shop, making you feel exposed and vulnerable in that sea of light, unable to see whatever evil is lurking out there, past the lights, in the darkness.