Home > Flash Fiction, Horror, Magic > Anniversary

Anniversary

I love the automated posting feature that lets me schedule these things ahead of time. It is what let me post this story today since I am not online. Today, I am with my darling wife, celebrating our twentieth anniversary.

This story is for her. I love you dearest.

L E White

Anniversary

Rhonda walked up to the house, the steady click of her heels on the stone path quieting the sounds of night birds and crickets. She looked around, nervous to be alone in the country with no security lights or neighbors.

You are being silly, she thought as she rested her  hand on her purse. The zipper was undone and she could get to the tiny pistol in a moment, but there wasn’t anything around to be afraid of. She had just given herself the creeps because she was alone. Stop acting like an idiot and be a professional.

She stepped up to the door, brushed a strand of long, dark hard away from her face, and rang the bell.

“Just a minute.” An old, scratchy voice called out. Rhonda watched a dark shape through the frosted glass as it made slow progress towards the door. She stood waiting, fidgeting from foot to foot, until the knob turned with a click and the door shivered as it was forced open with a series of tugs.

“Hello?” An old man, old enough to be her grandfather stood holding the door. His white hair was thick and a little wild, although she could tell that he had tried to smooth it as he came to the door.

“Hi, I’m Rhonda.”

He smiled, a little lopsided and nodded. “You are right on time, please come in.”

I hate old customer, she thought as she walked in. She didn’t catch him looking her up and down, but she was pretty sure he just waited until she was past. Old men in need of comfort made up a lot of her income, but that didn’t mean she enjoyed doing it. It always took forever and she felt bad if they couldn’t perform. She still charged them, but she felt bad about it. “So you are Mr. Black?”

Her host made a sound of agreement as he shouldered the door back into place. When he turned back to her, the guy was just a little red faced from the effort, but he smiled at her anyway. “Why don’t you have a seat on the sofa and I will get us a drink? Then we can discuss the details of the evening.”

Rhonda smiled and nodded, hating this but needing the money too much to turn it down, before walking into the living room. She wondered if he had a cleaning service, because most lonely old men didn’t keep the place this neat. Everything was dusted and the furniture was in good shape.

A minute or two later, the guy walked in and sat a glass of red wine on the coffee table in front of her. Rhonda waited for him to sit beside her, but instead Mr. Black satin the chair opposite of her. I wonder if he just wants a show. She kind of hoped that she was right. Putting on a show was easier than pretending to get off with someone who wasn’t operating at one hundred percent.

“Alright handsome,” She said after taking a tiny sip of very good wine. “You read the add so you realize that this is two hundred an hour right?”

“I do.”

Rhonda stood up and reached back to her zipper. “So, anything specific you are wanting to do or would you prefer it if I take care of you?”

“I would like you to discuss this with you before starting anything. Please sit down”

She shrugged and sat back down on the couch. If he felt the need to be in charge that was fine.

“Today is my wedding anniversary,” Mr. Black began. “If my wife were here, we would be celebrating sixty years.”

Rhonda nodded and tried to look interested.

“You look quite a bit like my wife, which is why I hired you. I want to celebrate our anniversary.”

“Ok, then what specific things did you do to celebrate?”

“First, my name is Larry.”

“Alright Larry.”

“Second, I invited you here for dinner. You can keep your dress on.”

Rhonda blinked in surprise. “You just want company then?”

“And some help with the dishes, yes.”

The night turned around. Rhonda felt her mood spin as she realized she wouldn’t be doing anything physical with him. “I think I can do that.”

Larry smiled and took his time standing up. Once he was upright, slow steps brought him up beside her so that he could extend his hand. “Then why don’t we take care of dinner?”

***

Rhonda was laughing as she put the plate into the dishwasher. Larry was talking about the time that he and his wife, Erin, had went to a go cart track to race. “The worst part was that while I knew she was a better driver, I had done this before. She beat me by half a lap and I never stood a chance.”

“It sounds like she was really something.”

“She was,” he said, standing beside the fridge with one hand on the door. “She was amazing.”

“So what now?” Rhonda asked. “That was the last plate.”

“I made her favorite dessert,” Larry said. “Do you like Crème Brule?”

“I never had it.”

“Well then, you are in for a treat.” Two small white bowls came out and Larry sat them on the table. Each one had berries on top.

“Did you make those?”

“Yes I did.” He sat down and waited for Rhonda to bring over two spoons. “After she tried this, she said it was her favorite dessert, so I learned how to make it. Over the years, we would go to restaurants and she would get them. Every time, Erin would take the first bite, make a face, and then tell me that it was good but that she would rather have mine.”

Rhonda bit her lip to keep from making an ‘Awwww’, sound as Larry reached up and wiped his eyes. “I wish she could have dinner with me tonight.”

“I understand.”

He snorted and held the spoon over the top of the dish. “I even made an extra to set out for her tonight.”

Rhonda pushed her bottom lip out. The whole meal had been his wife’s favorites. Things he had worked for years to learn to make just the way she liked them. Dinner tonight had been the result of so much time and preparation.

Rhonda tasted the vanilla custard and groaned. “No wonder she said that. This is delicious.”

“Thank you.”

When they finished, Rhonda sat staring at the empty dish, thinking of the extra dessert in the fridge. She felt her eyes getting heavier and sat up straight to fight off the sleep that was sitting in after the meal.

“It’s ok Rhonda,” Larry said. “It will be easier on you if you go to sleep.”

The escort felt her head nod as she fought to stay awake. “Easier?”

“Yes, then you won’t feel any pain.”

Deep inside her mind, Rhonda knew she should be panicking, but the sweet taste of vanilla and the full feeling in her belly pulled her into the sweet darkness of sleep.

***

It was so much harder to do this than what it was a few years ago. He was getting old, his body was getting frail, and Larry knew that he would soon be going to the other side, to join his girl.

But not tonight and on this night, he would spend it with her. Here.

The skull on the altar belonged to one Erin Black, a remarkable woman who had lived a full life with the love of her high school sweetheart. She had been an amazing person and a powerful witch.

The skull was covered in hieroglyphs and runes. Symbols that had been hand carved into the smooth white bone by shaking hands. The surfaces were polished, showing a few spots from oil left behind by careful hands or from tears that could not be wiped away after they had fallen.

Below the skull, on a silver plate that Erin had picked out at an antique mall some forty years ago, sat the warm red heart of the human sacrifice.

Beside the plate, sat a dish of creme brule.

Larry knelt in front of the altar, pale skin and bony shoulders on display in front of the candles and statues of their beliefs. Ribbons of incense smoke wove floating tapestries in the air around the old wizard as he chanted.

Candles dimmed, a chill draft chased around the room and the heart beat once on the plate before going still again.

Larry sat on a black rug. A circle and triangle had been painted on it years ago by the soft hands of a natural artist who didn’t believe in herself enough to share her work with the world. Today, her pictures decorated every wall of the house.

Larry sat in the circle, eyes closed and rocking back and forth as he continued to mutter his incantation. He did not see the smoke settle to the floor and crawl along like snakes in short grass as it collected in the triangle.

He didn’t need to see it happen.

The smoke swirled and rolled. It drew in and twisted together until it began to take shape. Full breasts and long, curly hair that shifted from grey to dark brown came into being from nothing but love, force of will and thin air as the wizard began to sweat from his efforts. Curves took shape and sparkling blue eyes looked around the room before settling on the figure in the circle.

When Larry stopped chanting and opened his eyes, tears streamed down his cheeks and he smiled, a real smile that split his wrinkled cheeks and made his eyes disappear in an explosion of crow’s feet.

“There’s my girl.”

A soft voice, a whisper that was made of memory and dream tickled his ear. “Happy Anniversary.”

 

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Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror, Magic
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