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Bedtime Romance

With stringy hair, a muddy face, and a panting breath, a young woman stumbles into “Greely Green’s.” Her shirt, once white, is a matching dirt brown. Her ripped jeans reveal scrapes and blood at nearly every hole.

Lee the bartender wipes the counter as he notices the stranger plop down on the stool in front of him. He tries to meet her gaze, but she buries her face in her arms. He then observes her head bob up and down and hears a faint sniffle. She’s crying.

           The girl lifts her head and wipes her face. “Uhh yeah” she says in a raspy voice, barely above a whisper. “Can I please have a cup of water.”

           Lee obliges and leans against the counter, meeting her at eye level. “Are…are you okay?”

           She gulps the whole glass. “Yeah, I’ll take some more water though, if you don’t mind.”

           He refills her glass. “Miss, I don’t want to pry, but if there’s anything more I can do….anybody I can call?”

           She sips the water this time and places it down. “Maybe you can answer this question for me. Where am I?”

           “Why, you’re in Greely Green’s!” he says with a smile. “Friendliest bar in Patsville, Massachusetts.”

           “Massachusetts…” she says to herself

           “Miss, seriously if there’s anything I can do. Anything at all. Just tell me everything that happened.”

           “No. No.” she says, looking around the bar. “I’m done explaining things, if that’s ok with you. If you don’t mind telling me where I can find a hotel or something, that’d be great.”

           Lee takes a step back, pauses. “Uhh, yeah…If you just head straight down Dawson and make a right at Phillips, you should find “Sally’s Inn” right there.”

           “Great. Thanks.” The young woman finishes the rest of her water, grabs a crumpled wad of cash out of her pocket, and sifts through the bills. She finds a one-dollar bill, flattens it out on the table, and nods her head. “Name’s Missy” she says, then turns and walks out the door.

***

           “I said Jack and Coke...Lee? Hello?”

           Lee startles and shakes his head, thawing out of his frozen state. “Yea-sorry about that, Timmy. One Jack and Coke coming up.”

           A minute later, Lee returns with the requested drink. As Tim raises it to his mouth, his grip on the glass feels sticky. The alcoholic soda is dripping on the sides. “Something…on your mind there, Lee?”

           Lee notices only a few other people in the bar, all occupying the round wooden tables by the windows. He walks around and takes a seat next to his old friend. “Isn’t it the customer that’s supposed to unload his problems to the bartender?” he jokes.

           “Just spit it out man.”

           Lee tells of the young woman who came into Greely Greens not ten minutes before Tim. “I don’t know…I just feel like I, or like we have to do something you know? Who knows what kinds of horrors that kind of woman has gone through? Can’t imagine she’s got any money.”

           “Well, you said she’s staying at Sally’s…Hell, I’ll go with ya.”


***

           Tim and Lee ring the door-bell. A classic Victorian House with colorful detail, Sally’s Inn rests on a vast lawn decorated with geometrically trimmed hedges, a beautiful garden, and a tasteful apple tree. The door opens.

           “Sally” Tim says. “Hate to disturb you at this hour.”

           Although nearly 80 years old, Sally flashes a warm smile that emphasizes her youthful spirit. “You couldn’t possibly. How are you guys doing? Would you like to join us for dinner?”

           “I think we’re ok” says Lee. “Now this might sound strange, but did a young woman named ‘Missy’ stop by here?”

           “Oh, yes! What a sweetheart, that girl.”

           “You mind if you tell her that we’re here? That is, if she’s awake.”

           The old innkeeper looks back into the house. “Sure, one second. I’ll let her know you’re here. You sure you don’t want to come in? I made lasagna…”

           Lee chuckles. “Really, it’s fine. Don’t worry, we know how good of a cook you are.”

           “Oh, you’re so sweet” she says. “And how’s Linda doing? She is such a wonderful soul.”

           “Linda…is…good. I’ll tell her you said hi.”

           Sally presses her hands together, almost as if in prayer. “Oh, please do. That was such a nice wedding. So pretty. St. Paul’s Church in the Spring! Nothing like it. And the whole town that raised you was there to celebrate. Oh-so precious!”

           “Thank you, Sally. Yeah, it was…special.” Lee scratches his chin, urging to end the conversation and make clear his purpose for being there.

           “I’ll go get Missy then, right?” she says, beaming at both Tim and Lee.

           “That’d be great, yeah” Lee says, starting to feel tired.

           After a few minutes, the door opens. Out walks a beautiful, blonde woman in a pink nightgown. Her radiating beauty on a cold Michigan night is more intoxicating than the drinks Lee and Tim had shared at Greely’s. Lee studies her face and can only recognize the smallest resemblance to the disheveled vagrant in the bar. She grabs Lee by the hand. “You have past my test. Now you may have me.”

           Jaw agape, the befuddled bartender turns to Tim, who shrugs his shoulders. Lee allows Missy to lead him into the house, leaving his friend behind. Her soft, lustrous skin and sexual energy stir up his loins as they walk up the stairs.

           They make it to her room, the beautiful mansion’s top tower, which serves as a citadel to the small town of Patsville. He looks out the arched-shape window. “I can see my house from here” he says. Pauses. “That’s where my…”

           “That’s where your what?” Missy says, gently touching his face.

           He turns to her and grabs her waist. “Nothing.”

           “Kiss me” she says.

           He does so, while caressing her body. They make their way onto the bed and continue. Lee cherishes her soft lips against his, until he feels a jolt in his spine. A syringe needle protrudes from his back as he falls face first onto the bed. He lifts his head up to look at the woman. Although appearing angelic a moment before, her blonde hair starts to darken, her eyes turn red, and her skin shades into a ghostly white, manifesting signs of an evil spirit. Although shedding effulgent innocence, in this form, she somehow looks even sexier.

Before he fades out, he hears her words: “You have failed my test. Now you may have nothing.”

***

“Hello” Sally Smithers chimes as she waits outside Missy’s door. “Are you finished in there? I made oatmeal raisin cookies!”

“…Come in…” says a faint voice.

A red-eyed, pale-white woman humming a lullaby and dancing around a dead body: such is the scene as Sally steps into her often-vacant tower-room.

Sally places the cookies on the nightstand and walks over to the closet, opens it. “Put him with the others.”

As if Lee’s body were a bag of feathers, Missy grabs him by the shirt and tosses him in the closet, all the while humming her lullabies.

“Good” says Sally. “Have a cookie dear, they’re fresh.”

Missy obliges as they both munch on oatmeal-raisin goodness.

“My dear” Sally continues. “We will rid this town of all the sinners until we can restore some values here. One at a time.”

Missy looks out the window, surveying Patsville. “One at a time.”

June 04, 2021 20:33

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