Short Story Sunday: Bloom

Everyone thought she was crazy watering her yard with a hose. It wasn’t like she had a lawn. It was all bark and flowering plants. There was a drought so the water only went where she wanted it to. Besides that there was a drought. She was disgusted by her gutter flooding neighbors killing off native trees with their overwatering and unfashionable green lawns.

Water was expensive. The flowers were worth it, but times were hard. The Covid pandemic had almost killed her the trendy little pub she’d built on her own in an old building she’d inherited from her great uncle. She’d figured if all else failed she could take advantage of the over inflated housing market, sell her cute little 1920’s bungalow and move into the top floor over the bar. Or she could sell them both.

Fortunately she had a good cook and was able to get a thriving food-to-go business. That helped. Over the years she’d also made some unusual friends. It never paid to judge her patrons and now it paid off. She’d listened to them tell her their backstories, bad jokes, and tales of lost love. She’d celebrated the good times with them.

“Hey Cassie.”

She looked up from her watering. In front of her on the sidewalk stood a guy in a brown plaid shirt, wearing a brown leather porkpie hat.

Cassie smiled. “Floyd, I thought I’d never see you again.”

“I thought I’d never see me again either.”

“Where have you been?”

“To Hell and back, literally.”

“Visiting your family?”

“Yeah. They’d been pressuring me to come home. I told them I had a life here. They just don’t understand that I want something different. You know I love them and all, but I’m not like them.”

“I’m proud of you Floyd.”

“Thanks Cassie. Do you mind if I walk you to work. I have some downtime and thought I could just sit in the back beer garden and read for a while, that is you know, if I’m not in the way.”

Cassie noticed his forked tail flick behind him. “Your tail…”

“Oh, right, thanks.” He tucked his tail back under his shirt. “Sometimes being a Demon sucks.”

“Sometimes being anyone sucks,” said Cassie. “Don’t worry about it. Come on in and have some lemonade while I change for work.”

“Your yard looks great,”

“Thanks.”

About fifteen minutes later Floyd escorted Cassie a few block away to her business. He sat in the garden with a copy of Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. He closed his yellow eyes and savored the quiet. There was no screaming. The only flames were from the outdoor fireplace. Later on nobody would poke him with sharp objects, or ask him to do mean things, or laugh at the misfortunes of others. He would hid what he was knowing he’d changed, or at least knowing he was who he wanted to be, not what was born to be.

That was a good thing. He closed his eyes and thought of Cassie’s flowers, and knew October was the time to plant spring bulbs. Floyd thought of himself as a spring build. He’d been a small lump covered with a dry husk and with love and care had started to bloom. It was a good thing – a very good thing.

~ end

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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