Short Story Sunday: Magnolia

Nobody takes notice of frumpy middle-aged women walking old dogs. Magnolia walked down the path through the trees. She thought of the Hawthorne story Young Goodman Brown imagining when he walked down the path to find his innocent young wife dancing with the Devil. That was an odd thought for an Easter morning.

It had been years since she’d been to church. She hated to be a holiday Christian. She hated going to church, always had. Yet, she loved the old music and certain songs.

Christ has risen.

He has risen indeed.

Someone called her name. She turned around to find her neighbors. They were on their way down to the lake for a sunrise service.

“Come with us,” they said.

She hesitated then decided to join them. Down at the edge of the water they sang traditional hymns she’d known as a child. It was a gathering of joy and love with words of hope. Old people, youngsters, babies and dogs were all there. Even the geese and ducks had come to the gathering by the edge of the lake.

After saying goodbye to a few friends and neighbors she made her way back up the trail towards home. All the dusty file drawers in her mind opened up letting the memories and thoughts flow. She thought of the Easter dresses her mother would sew when she was small. She wondered why people were so fascinated with the sexist patriarchy Duggar family and the freakish sleazy Kardashians. The idea of all of them disgusted her. She thought about how she should have gone to a different college.

She wondered if anything she’d ever done had mattered. What she was doing now mattered, sort of, at least to her kids, but she wondered about the past. Did any of her old boyfriends ever think of her? Could she have ever been the CEO of a creative empire? Could she have won an Oscar? What if she’d gone to Nepal with Mac Andrews or moved to Santa Barbara with Bill Van Pelt? Why had she come back to her parents after she’d backpacked alone across England? Would the kids like a raspberry coffee cake or blueberry muffins today? She’d send the extras home with her brother because she didn’t want them around the house to tempt her later. He said he was going to bring a green salad but she was afraid he’d bring potato salad. At least they’d have wine.

She wondered if life would have been different if she’d had a different name. She was always Magnolia, never Maggie or Nola.

Stopping at the top of the bluff she looked across the lake to the next town over. She was invisible. Women like her always were. A short, overweight, frumpy woman of no consequence. People were always telling her “if I had your talent I’d rule the world” or do something wonderful. That was if THEY had her talent. Her passion had been beaten out of her. She was always up for more rejection and in turn, more discovery, but… maybe she’d take a Zumba class at the gym. Zumba sounded like a lot of fun and if she took it easy she wouldn’t hurt her knee again.

At the end of the trail she saw a man. She smiled. What if he really was a Vampire and offered to take her away, or at least offered her a new life. Would she take it? No, it would be too much work. What if the woods were haunted? Did ghosts of Victorian lovers and Jazz singers dance through the night together. She passed the man, a young man in his 20’s with a large brown dog of unknown breed. Her large white dog of unknown breed sniffed it, everyone exchanged greetings and went on their way.

At home her family was just getting up. The kids gave her sleepy kisses. Her husband had started coffee and was making smoothies for the kids. So much for coffee cake but smoothies were always a good thing. He always put too much honey in them but she never said anything to him about it.

“Did you have a good walk?” Her husband gave her a hug as he asked her.

“It was nice. A lot of birds were out.” She didn’t say anything else. Magnolia was so used to not being heard that it was easier just to be the invisible woman.

Pouring a cup of coffee and went out on her deck. Her husband came out and said, “you’re quiet. What are you thinking about?”

“Nothing really. Nothing that matters.”

 

~end~

 

 

Dark Dreams of the Hunted

Short Story Sunday: Dark Dreams of the Hunted

Sharp pain then exquisite pleasure unlike anything he’d every imagined. Teeth sinking into his neck, the idea so repulsive, as to make him jerk away, but he welcomed her fangs, her lips her mind on his mind, her heart on his… her cold unbeating heart on his going so fast he thought it would burst out of his chest.

Then he woke in a cold sweat.

“I have a date with a Vampire,” he said aloud as he stared up at the ceiling in his bedroom. The clock said 2:49 am. She’d be wide awake. Their date was for 8:00 pm the next evening, at dusk. Maybe he’d surprise her and show up early.

Then again surprising a vampire wasn’t always a good idea. As a Vampire Hunter Austin had learned how temperamental and jumpy the creatures could get.

With his gun in a holster under his jacket and a knife strapped to his leg he drove to the house of the vampire. She was his vampire. He smiled at the thought.

Elizabeth wasn’t like the musty creepy creatures he found in the basements and attics of the old buildings he restored. She was alive and living in the real world – his world. Smart, stylish and successful is how he’d describe her – almost charming and quaint in her quiet way. Yes, there was still that sense of unease knowing she was a predator and he was the hunter. Either one of them could become prey at any moment but he doubted that would happen. Well, sort of doubted in a wishful thinking sort of way.

It could turn into a love affair, a science experiment or a fight to the death. He was up for any of the three options but as hoping for the first. He’d never been involved with a Vampire in any sort of social situation, much less having one in his bed. What a rush. No matter what happened he’d make sure he was on top of and in full control.

He stood in front of the arts and crafts house knowing she was inside. Her car, an unassuming Ford Fusion was in the driveway. A faint light came through the living room curtains. Sure she could see in the dark but the soft glow of artificial light was always welcome.

 

The front door opened. She stood in shorts and a sweater. An average girl. That is if an average girl was around 180 years old.

“Austin, what are you doing here?” 

“You could smell me couldn’t you.”

“I sensed you were out here. You should be in bed.”

“Yes we should be.”

 

Then he snapped out of his brain fart fantasy and continued to look at her front door wondering what she was doing inside. A light came on in another room. He could see her with another woman and a man. He recognized both as Vampires. No dark shadowy creatures were here. They were the hippest of the hip. Modern Vampires who had no intention of sleeping in basements or lurking around in shadows.

Walking back down the block to his car Austin thought about the weirdness of it all. He was sure they despised the Vampires he exterminated as much as he did.

There was something about Elizabeth that was so human and alive. He remembered her cold hands and lips then thought of how hot she was. He thought about how afraid she was of him, but then again how… no, just don’t even go there tonight. In a few hours the sun would come up, then the dusk would come again and he’d put on a suit and pick her up for their first official date.

It isn’t everyday one dates a Vampire. It isn’t everyday one dates a Vampire Hunter.

 

Vampire Maman

 

For the first part of this story of Austin and Elizabeth click here for The Hunter.