Short Story Sunday: Escape (a new story for 2023)

This is the first new Tangled Tale of 2023. In light of the storms we’re having in Northern California I was inspired to jot down this quick story for you today. ~ Juliette

Escape

“Damn, the power is out.” 

“How long do you think…” 

“Could be minutes, or it could be days depending on what fell over, on top of, or exploded. The utility companies are useless. I’ll get the lanterns. We have candles as well, but we’ll start with lanterns. Damn. Oh well, it isn’t like we all didn’t grow up without electricity,” said James, pulling looking out the window into the rain.

“Most of us. What about Frankie?” Andy asked his friend.

“Frankie is a cockroach. He’ll be just fine.”

“But…”

“But what? He told me he needed a job and a place to stay. I gave him a job. I paid him well. He never paid the agreed on rent. Said he was broke so I loaned him $5,000. Last week I saw his bank statement. He has over three million in the bank.”

Andy could smell cigar smoke coming from outside. 

“What about Lori?”

“She left this morning. Lori is the fourth old girlfriend who has come out here to shower attention on stoma neck cigar smoking Frankie. The fourth in so many months. I’m sure he has a con going on them too. Poor Frankie, come on out and shower him with attention and cash. I told him today that he has thirty days to get his ass out of here.”

“Is he well enough to move?”

“Cockroach.”

“I know but…”

“Andy,” said Pierce to his best friend, “something would have to smash him flat to make him die. He will be fine. Fuck Frankie. He is his own worst enemy, not me.”

The lights flickered then went back on. Pierce and Andy, followed by three cats, and a small unicorn went into the main living room of the house. Despite the storm, the view out the massive wall of windows was spectacular. Pierce and his cousin Tansy had owned the spectacular view for over a hundred years. They’d planted the vineyards, and had an award winning winery. It was mostly Tansy’s doing, and Pierce always gave her full credit.

Tansy came in, wearing mud splattered jeans and an old gray sweatshirt. “I got the generator started. Just called down at the winery. Everything is fine. No flooding. No wind damage. No flooding in the vineyard.”

Andy had come up a few days before to bring Pierce’s unicorn home. The poor thing was missing Pierce. God only knows why a unicorn had attached itself to Pierce, who was one of the most immoral Vampires (or any kind of creature) Andy had ever known. But Pierce was also Andy’s best friend. Andy knew that in a pinch Pierce could come around and be halfway decent if he wanted to be.

“I’m still worried about the storm,” Tansy said.

“We’ve survived prohibition, earthquakes, other floods, droughts, Vampire Hunters, and frost. We’ll survive this my dear,” said Pierce, as he picked up one of the cats, a large orange tabby, and rubbed noses with it. “We have cats, a unicorn, and Andy. What else could we wish for?’

Tansy smiled and then gave Andy a hug. “I’m glad you’re here my dear, despite the bad weather. Oh, one more thing. I saw Frankie drive off. He put a bunch of boxes and a couple of suit cases in the car.”

“Good,” said Pierce. “Maybe he had the decency to leave for good. He didn’t take any wine did he?”

“He might have,” said Tansy. “Two of the boxes were from the winery.”

“Go figure. What an asshole,” said Pierce. “What car did he take? Not one of ours I hope.”

“He took the yellow Escape.”

“Damn it. If he doesn’t get it back by tomorrow I’m going to report it stolen.”

The three sat down and watched a few movies over a couple bottles of Zinfandel, some mulled wine, and hot buttered popcorn. It was a double feature of Glass Onion and Pale Blue Eye. 

Just as the credits rolled on the last movie there was a knock on the door.

Pierce went to answer, followed by the three cats. The unicorn stayed curled up next to Andy.

A lovely woman of about 30 stood on the front porch. She had a red daypack, and a rolling carry on size suitcase. Pierce noticed how bright her blue eyes were, and could smell warm blood and the scent of her gardenia shampoo.

“Hi. I’m Heather. Frankie’s friend.” She said her words as if she was asking questions, not stating facts.

“Come in. Did you drive?” Pierce didn’t see a car.

“I took a ride from the airport.”

“With all of the roads out I’m surprised you made it here,” said Pierce.

“I almost didn’t. On the way there was a horrible accident. A giant tree fell on a car and smashed it flat, right in the middle of the road.”

“What kind of car?”

“A yellow Ford Escape. Oh my god, it was horrible. Nobody could have survived that. Is Frankie here?”

“No,” said Pierce. “Frankie isn’t coming back, but you’re welcome to stay as long as you like.”

He helped Heather with her bags, and poured her a glass of wine. Then he smiled and thought to himself, yes, sometimes good things do happen to bad people. 

~ end

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