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Abyss Cove


Colleen Mitrano

Images are free use and require no attribution. Image by Kanenori from Pixabay


Carrie shook her head and blinked as she woke up.  A loud thud followed by what she was pretty sure was a mumbled curse from another passenger as they dropped their IPAD across the aisle awakened Carrie from her slumber.   She glanced down at her watch.  It was a quarter past three.  Carrie couldn't believe she had slept for over an hour, yet she still had about two and half hours left before the train pulled into Abyss Cove Station.  

Her stomach rumbled.  Carrie grabbed her water and took a few sips.  This would have to do for now, she wasn't in the mood to make her way to the dining car, and she didn't want any of the chocolates she brought along for the ride.  Carrie watched the snow-covered landscape pass by through the window.  It had been a particularly cold January with a few early storms that left everything looking like a winter wonderland.  "What a deception", she thought to herself.  

Where Carrie was headed was anything but a wonderland.  She envied the other passengers on the train.  Most looked enthused, happy to be traveling.  Carrie imagined they were probably going to be reunited with family they haven’t seen in a while with warm hugs and laughs to be had.   

A strong feeling of resentment ran through Carrie.  She despised that she was summoned back to Abyss Cove.  Knowing that her time outside was over made Carrie long for the moment when she got permission to go and explore the world.  Although now that felt like a lifetime ago, she still remembers it like it was yesterday.   The day her father told her she could go up and live like everyone else.  Experience life to its fullest, it was the happiest Carrie had ever been and today was now the saddest. 

Carrie looked around her car.  It wasn’t full, but there was a decent number of people on it.  A range in ages which was a bit surprising to her.  She wondered if the other cars had similar travelers. 

“I’m from Fort Worth, Texas” said the woman sitting in front of Carrie.  She had auburn hair with a little grey piece here and there.  She looked to be in her early fifties.  The woman had struck up a conversation with the young man sitting directly across from her.  He had dusty blonde hair and hazel eyes.  He looked like he had a tan, Carrie got the impression he liked being outdoors, especially by the water. 

“I have two dogs.  Lanna my Terrier mix and Grace my Pitbull.”  She pulled up a picture on her phone to show the young man.  He smiled.  “My cousin is going to take care of them for me. I’ll miss them for now, but I’ll see them again.”  She said.  Carrie noticed a tinge of melancholy in her voice.  Hearing the woman talk about her dogs made Carrie almost excited to see her family dog Spark.  Although she was sure Lanna and Grace were a lot cuddlier than Spark was.

“We used to have a family dog” replied the young man.  “His name was Petie.  He was a Lab.  He passed away a few years back; Petie was an old guy and he lived a good life.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Answered the Auburn-haired woman.  “I’m sure you’ll see him again.”

“Yeah.” The young man said with a half-baked smile.

The train’s whistle blew.  Then a voice came over the loudspeaker “Next stop Abyss Cove.  Please gather all your belongings as this is our final destination.”  People started moving around.  Putting away anything they were doing or eating.  Bags began being zipped and snapped.  A sense of excitement and anxiousness could be felt in the air.  Carrie felt more of the latter.  She wasn’t overjoyed about going home. 

The train began to slow up.  Carrie looked out the window, the station was now in view.  It was rather busy, but then again this was it.  A knot grew in Carrie’s stomach as the train came to a full stop.  The doors opened and voices started clambering in from all directions.  As passengers began to disembark, people began running to one another, their faces lighting up as they were reunited.  There were of course a few people like Carrie who didn’t have friends or family meeting them.  Like her they seemed to slowly walk towards the steps leading to the exit. 

Carrie ignored the taxis lined up; looking for those lost souls who needed a lift.  She didn’t need a ride; it wasn’t far, and she knew exactly where to go.  As she walked by the last cab, the driver tipped his hat to her.  She smiled, Carrie couldn’t believe he still drove for Charon after all these years and most of all still recognized her.  Carrie then put her head down, continued walking and a little smile grew across her face.

It was twilight.  There was a crimson hue cast over the sky.  The streets were bustling with a few riders stopping by pubs and shops before heading to wherever their eventual end would be.  Most travelers took advantage of their time in Abyss Cove before departing.  Although it was a busy place at times, it was rarely an actual final destination for anyone stopping here.  Most found their way to other places beyond the Abyss to spend their time.

Carries’ travels took her farther out of the village.  The streets got darker, the buildings less inviting.  There was practically no one around now.  She wasn’t surprised, people didn’t tend to head this way.

“Hey” she heard a familiar male voice call to her.  Carrie turned around to see that young man with the dusty blonde hair from the train running towards her.  It startled her a bit, as Carrie really wasn’t expecting to see anyone.

“Yes.” She answered.

“I think I’m lost.” Said the man a little winded as he ran up to her.  “I was under the impression my grandparents would be meeting me at the station, but they weren’t there.  I’ve tried to get a hold of them or anyone and I keep getting nothing.  Is service bad here?”

Carrie’s apprehension about heading home lessened as a bit of sorrow crept in.  “Service is really bad here.  Unless you have the right connection.” She replied.  The young man looked at her confused.  Carrie saw the puzzled look on his face and quickly continued before he could question her. “Anyway, were you positive your grandparents would be here? 

Again, he looked at Carrie a bit bewildered.  “Of course, I was positive.  They are my grandparents.  Who else would want to see him when I arrived?”  He answered vehemently. 

“Okay. Okay.” I wasn’t implying you were lying or something.  I was clarifying so we could figure out where to look.  Carrie responded, trying to ease the tension that was rising.  “This guy was definitely a bit high strung” she thought.

“Sorry.  My name is Marc.  I’m just anxious to get where I need to be, that's all.”

“It’s okay.  I’m Carrie.  So are your grandparents’ permanent residents of Abyss Cove or were they just meeting you?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure.  I’ve never been here before.”

“Well, most people haven’t” replied Carrie with a slight laugh.  Marc smiled a little.

“You have though. Haven’t you?” Marc asked with intrigue.

“Yes.” Carrie replied uneasily.  She squirmed in her jacket. She figured her all too relaxed attitude and familiarity with the place gave her away.

“But you came back?” he asked.

“You could say that.” She answered with a bit of relief.  Marc’s thought process was headed in a different direction than she anticipated.  “Do any of these houses look like something your grandparents would live in?  Or do any of these houses just draw you to them?  Like you’d want to stay here for a bit?”

Marc glanced around and shook his head.  “No.  Not for me and not for my grandparents.  These houses are all kind of depressing looking.  My grandparents were full of life, they would have something that reflects that.” 

Carrie wasn’t surprised none of these houses would be occupied by his grandparents, most of them were just rentals.  His grandparents probably weren’t Abyss Cove resident types.  People who stayed here did so until they figured things out.  Decided which direction they were headed in or got the calling to move on that sort of thing. 

“Do you have family here?” Marc asked.

“Yeah.  We are just a few blocks away.”


“Don’t worry we’ll probably get you settled before then.  It’s okay I wouldn’t want to meet them either if I didn’t have to.”  They both let out an awkward laugh.

“You’re not looking forward to seeing them?”

“Not really.  We’re not the warm and fuzzy type.  Our family is complicated.  Although I am sort of excited to see Spark.  She's our dog.”

"Sort of excited?" questioned Marc looking a bit puzzled.  "Is she a beast or something?"  He continued with a chuckle.  Carrie awkwardly smiled back.

"Ha, that's one way to put it.  Let's just say she is a hellish of a hound."  

"Eh, wouldn't want to meet her on a bad day I guess?" Marc responded lightheartedly.

          Carrie tried to keep the upbeat tone of the conversation going.  "Nope.  She's a feisty one."   They continued walking and the world just kept getting more desolate.  The sky still had that crimson overcast but it appeared darker.  The trees seemed to be less alive.  Birds no longer sang, there just seemed to be nothing.  Carrie hoped Marc would find who he was looking for, but he didn't.  She knew he wouldn't.  That initial pin of sorrow she felt when they met up a few blocks back told her everything.

             "Woah did you hear that?" Marc jumped.

              "You can hear it?" replied Carrie somberly.  She was hoping he wouldn't be able to hear them, that never boded well.

               "Yeah.  Those are the loudest dogs I've ever heard."

           Carrie felt a knot in her stomach, she knew what it was.  They were close now.  The hounds could sense them, and they were alerting her family.

                "Are they your dogs as well?" Marc seemed a little nervous.

                 "Kind of.  Family dogs.  They are all a bit fiery."  Carrie answered.

                "Fiery.  They sound downright demonic."  Carrie let out a huge laugh.  Marc just looked at her with a sense of bewilderment and panic.  She could tell he was starting to figure things out.

                "Well if the shoe fits." she answered.  Carrie just continued walking leaving Marc to his thoughts.  They finally came to the end of the block.  In front of them stood a large Victorian house.  If anything looked like it belonged in a scary story it was this.  They stopped in front.  There was a locked gate. Carrie took out an old key.

"Wait, is this your stop?" asked Marc.

"Yeah of course.  Where else would I go?  This is the end of the block."  Carrie replied.  She unlocked the gate and walked through.  Marc just stood there staring.  "Aren't you coming?" 

Marc, still a bit uneasy, followed her.  He looked around as they walked up the pathway.  The house was old, you could even see gravestones off in the distance.  They climbed the stairs.  Carrie stopped on the landing before opening the door.  She looked at Marc.  

"I shouldn't feel sorry, but I do.  I'm sorry you didn't realize this is where you were going when you got off at Abyss Station.  Most people know.  I'm not sure what you did, but they must have thought you had some chance of redemption in you, or they wouldn't have let you walk with me.  Normally one of Charon's drivers picks you up and gets you here, but I guess your scales weren't in place yet.  I'm sorry they didn't fall in your favor and your grandparents weren’t called to get you."

Marc didn't reply.  He just stared at her stone cold.  There was a shift in his eyes though.  The kindness that she saw on the train and when they walked completely vanished.  A vicious demeanor came through, one that she often saw here.  It saddened her, that's why she liked being on the other side so much more.  There is always a chance the scales could balance differently.  There is so much promise in humanity and she loved seeing the good win over the bad. 

         Carrie turned away from Marc and opened the door.  She looked at it, there engraved on it, "Porta Inferi" as if she could forget.  Carrie walked in and then motioned for Marc to follow “C'mon Marc.  Go Down the hall to the first office on the left.  My dad's waiting."

 Marc didn’t look at Carrie as he passed her and headed down the hall to his fate.  Carrie walked through the long corridor towards the living room.  She could feel the heat of the fires below and hear the loud rumbling snores from her Hellhound Spark who was probably curled up in her normal spot by the living room entryway.  Yes, she was home.


This short story was written for Writers Unite! | A community for writers to learn, grow, and connect. ( January edition of Write the Story. Please visit the their site for more wonderful stories inspired by January's photo.

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