Pollyanna

Written in response to: Write a story about lifelong best friends.... view prompt

4 comments

Horror Thriller Suspense

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

(Content Warning: Graphic Violence, Language, Murder, and Mature Themes.)

Time is a wonderful mistress. She can caress your aching bones and brighten your dark complexion with a weary smile. Then when you least expect it, the cold hard bitch can remove all hope and leave you with nothing. Ironic really, but that’s not what life is all about—it’s about changes.

Roy Hastings knew all about change. Over the years, he had lost his wife to cancer, his son to a drunken driver, and his precious daughter to a violent madman who called himself her husband. Yes, it was fair to say that change was the one thing Roy could always count on, but if we truly want to be technical, I suppose we could add his best friends, Charley Oats and Pollyanna Mills.

Charley was a steadfast friend who enjoyed everything life had to offer, which was a stark contradiction to his old pal Roy’s point of view. Roy tolerated Charley’s company because they were old school buddies, and like an infestation of roaches, he couldn’t get rid of him. He tried many times, but Charley was the type of guy who refused to give up on people—especially a friend.

Pollyanna was a rambunctious forty-eight-year-old woman who loved the spice of life. Over the years, Roy formed a special connection with her, but out of loyalty for his late wife, he thought it best not to pursue a romantic relationship and was content with being friends. With her rosy cheeks, strawberry blond hair, and curvaceous body, Pollyanna knew a lot of men wanted her but remained a free spirit. Roy loved her bold, in-your-face attitude. Maybe that desire would have worked out in a different life, but things were good, and he had no complaints.

Contemplation is always a route to disaster, but it was a beautiful sunny day in Oakland, California, so Roy turned his mind away from those thoughts and back to his newspaper. The park was bustling with life, and Roy enjoyed watching the comings and goings of everyday people go about their business. It was soothing to watch, but at fifty-two, he knew it was better than being cooped up in his house alone.

“What are you up to, old buddy?”

The husky voice startled Roy, but only for a second. He knew right away who it was. “Are you blind, Charley? I’m reading the morning paper!”

Charley smiled and sat down on the park bench. “I might be old, but I’m not blind,” he squinted to get a better look at the paper, “at least not yet.”

Roy folded the paper and offered it to Charley. “Care for a read?”

“No,” he replied with a smirk, “I know how the world is, and I don’t need the paper to tell me any different!” He pulled out his phone and continued, “Besides, I read all the news on the cloud.”

“Suit yourself,” Roy scoffed. He put the paper down, wrinkled his forehead, narrowed his eyes, and looked at the sky. “Cloud?” 

Charley laughed. “Yes. The cloud is—”

The look on Roy’s face was priceless, so Charley halted his explanation. Roy didn’t understand technology or how modern things worked. He was old-fashioned in his ways and didn’t care about that kind of change.

“Well, go on!” Roy ordered.

Charley squished his lips and shook his head. “No. It’s too hard to explain. Anyway, the only thing the news talks about these days is crooked politicians and some war on woke culture. I honestly don’t understand why people are so tired. I mean, I wake up every morning at seven!” 

Roy slapped his knee and yelled, “Ha! I got you beat there. I get up at six!”

“Good for you,” Charley grumbled. “You’ve always been an early riser. Maybe that’s why you’re such a grumpy old fuck!”

“Ha, ha, ha, ha!” Roy laughed.

Their witty banter was nothing new. It was always give-and-take and getting under each other’s skins that made them feel alive. It was their way of bonding, and they never took it for granted.

“Any plans tonight, old timer?” Charley asked.

Roy cocked his head to the side and cracked his neck like someone cracking their knuckles. “I do.”

Charley shivered and groaned, “Ugh! I hate when you do that. Aren’t you afraid of arthritis?”

“My whole body is full of arthritis!”

“Yes, yes…” Charley rasped. “But what plans could you possibly have? I thought we were going to have a game of chess tonight.”

“Oh, you’ll get over it,” Roy gloated. “Besides, I beat you all the time anyway.”

“No, you don’t!” Charley snapped. “You know I always kick your ass! What the hell do you have going on?!”

Roy stood and fixed his red bow tie, which complimented his brown dress pants and knitted sweater, then sat back down. “I have a dinner date with Pollyanna.”

Charley rolled his eyes. “Her again?!”

“Yes, and I’m looking forward to it.”

“You always talk about this woman, and yet, I’ve never met her. Why are you keeping her from me? Is she even real?!”

“Of course, she’s real!” yelled Roy. “Why would I make her up? I’m old and have very little time left for making up stories.” He looked at Charley with steely eyes and boomed, “If I have my way, you will never meet her.”

“Why?”

“Because I know how you are with women!”

Charley lifted his eyebrows and ordered, “Explain yourself! What do you mean?”

“It’s no secret you like to meet women, bed them, and then turn them loose with broken hearts.” Roy watched Charley’s face turn from anger to embarrassment and continued. “Pollyanna and I are just friends, but I will never allow you to meet her because you’ll screw things up for me.”

“No, I won’t,” Charley protested, “besides, I have a woman already, and I would never think of doing something like that to a lifelong friend.”

“She’s not a secret!” insisted Roy. He fell silent for a moment and then pressed on. “I didn’t know you were seeing someone.”

“Ha!” Charley yelped. “What a pair we make! We both have secret girlfriends.”

“Pollyanna is not my girlfriend!”

“Okay, already. I get it, I get it.”

After a moment of silence, Roy asked, “Well, aren’t you gonna tell me her name at least?”

Charley took a deep breath and smiled. “Her name is Grace, and she just blew into my life like a lonely tumbleweed from a ferocious tornado.” 

Roy reached up to wipe the sweat beads from his brow. The excitement of getting riled up was beginning to wear him down, and the hot sun didn’t help. “I’m happy for you.”

“Thanks, Roy,” Charley said. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but I wasn’t sure if Grace and I were serious, but after some thinking, I believe we are.”

Roy hung his head low, almost ashamed to show his face. “I’m sorry too. I should have introduced you to Pollyanna sooner instead of talking your head off about her every day.”

Charley stood up with a warm smile and patted his pal on the back. “No worries, my friend. The day is getting on, and I should let you go so you can get ready.”

“We’ll have that chess game tomorrow night,” Roy said, revealing a smile of his own. “What will you do tonight?”

“I’ll figure something out. Maybe I’ll brush up on some moves for our next game, or I could see what Grace is up to and see a movie later. But I warn ya, I smell a victory for tomorrow’s game!”

“That’s the spirit, you old bastard, ha, ha, ha!” Roy stood with new vigor and gave Charley a brisk farewell. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“You bet,” Charley said, “and good luck tonight!”

Later that evening, Roy went through his usual routine, which included shaving, showering, and putting on his best clothes. Tonight—it was a nice gray suit with a light blue floral tie. Pollyanna loved flowers, and he thought it was a nice touch. Hearing Charley talk about how he fell for his new gal, Grace, made Roy long for a different kind of companionship. It was a feeling he hadn’t felt for ages, but it was enough to churn the wheels of change once more. He couldn’t let any more time pass between them. It was now or never, and sometimes you have to take a chance in life.

I’m going to tell her how I feel tonight!

After a quick stop at Lilly’s Flower Shop down on Main Street, Roy looked like a young stud all dolled up for his first date. Sunflowers were Pollyanna’s favorite! He felt a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach, which he could only describe as butterflies exploding, but it made him feel alive. He even turned the radio up and tapped along the steering wheel to one of his favorite fifties songs—Walkin’ After Midnight by Patsy Cline.

This was going to be a magical night!

As Roy’s Ford Bronco pulled into Pollyanna’s driveway on Buster Street, he noticed something odd. He saw an old Dodge Ram parked in his usual spot. There was no mistaking that faded gray color. It was Charley’s truck!

What the hell is he doing here?!

The exploding butterflies in Roy’s stomach quickly transformed into a fire-breathing dragon who wreaked hell upon his intestines. He stormed out of his Bronco, slammed the sunflowers on the hardtop, and briskly pounded on Pollyanna’s door. He needed answers to the thousands of questions running through his mind, and he needed them quick.

To his surprise, Charley answered the call.

“What the hell are you doing here, Roy,” Charley asked with a bewildered gaze. “I thought you were going to see Pollyanna tonight.”

“What the fuck do you think I’m doing right now!” Roy yelled.

Charley crinkled his forehead and narrowed his eyes. “I’m really confused right now because this is Grace’s house.”

Roy balled his right hand and slugged Charley square in the nose. When Roy saw a drizzle of blood flowing down his best friend’s face, he knew there was no turning back. “You came here and stole my girl! How could you do that to me?!”

It took a brief moment for Charley to regain his balance, but he was no stranger to fights. He had seen his fair share of them over the years with his many lovers and the husbands they kept in secret, but this was his lifelong best friend. How could Roy punch me like that?!

Charley pulled his left arm back and cracked his fist against Roy’s right cheek. The two men looked like a couple of old dogs fighting over a piece of raw meat.

“You have the nerve to come to my girlfriend’s house and think you can pull a fast one over me,” Charley snarled and drew back for another punch.

Roy wobbled in the doorway, thinking about his next move, when a sharp feminine voice brought the fighting warriors to a screeching halt.

“Stop acting like barbarians in my house!”

Charley and Roy looked past each other and saw a beautiful woman wearing a black dress with blond hair tied up into a bun with a look of furious anger plastered on her face. It was a look that only the devil could love.

“Grace?!”

“Pollyanna?!”

The woman rolled her eyes and pointed to the kitchen table down the hallway from the main door. “Sit down. Now!” she ordered.  

Roy and Charley followed her suggestion and sat at the kitchen table so they could face each other. They didn’t know what was going on, but they thought it best to keep each other in plain sight.

The woman wasn’t far behind, and as she entered the kitchen, she said, “My full name is Pollyanna-Grace Mills.” She stood defiantly between the two lifelong friends expecting one of them to say something, but they were dumbfounded.

“Don’t speak all at once, boys,” she said.

Pollyanna-Grace reached over the counter, pulled out a cigarette, and placed it between her lips. With a quick lite, she inhaled deeply and blew out a thick stream of smoke. “You know, I’m kind of relieved in a way because all this sneaking around was driving me crazy!”

Roy looked at Charley and then turned his sight to Pollyanna. With the room spinning, he uttered, “I don’t understand. What’s going on here?”

Charley cleared his throat. The only thing he could think to say was, “You smoke?!”

The woman they thought they knew took one more drag and blew another line of smoke in Charley’s face. “Don’t be so naïve, Charley! Although… you were never the brightest chicken in the coop.” 

Roaring to a stand, Charley asked, “What the hell are you talking about?”

Pollyanna laughed at his uproar. It’s always fun watching mice shiver with confusion. She turned her back to him, snuffed out her smoke, and snarled back around to reveal two sharp fangs protruding from her juicy red lips.

The startling admission to evil shocked Roy out of his seat while Charley laughed, thinking the whole thing was a bad joke. But it was real—Pollyanna-Grace was a vampiress. 

“Shut up, Charley,” Pollyanna hissed. “I’ve had enough of your childish behavior!”

Charley watched Roy shuffle his feet until he reached the counter behind the table. On the top—shining like a golden beacon—was a set of stainless-steel knives. If there was a plan, Roy didn’t quite know what it was until Charley motioned with his eyes toward the cutlery. A distraction, plain and simple, was the only thing they needed.

“You need to explain yourself, Grace,” Charley pleaded. “What the hell are you?”

The vampiress licked her lips and slid closer to Charley like a cobra ready to strike. Meanwhile, Roy reached up and fumbled through the knives until he found the biggest one.  

“Ah… so you want to know what’s going on, huh?”

“Fucking tell us, or I’ll end this relationship right now!” Charley warned.

“The explanation your looking for is not that straight forward, but since your feeble mind is paying attention, I’ll tell you.” Pollyanna shivered, almost as if she was enjoying this, and continued, “The queen needs a new king by her side, so I’ve been courting you two. I wanted to see who was more loyal to me.” She paused and breathed deeply. “Now, I’ve made my decision.”

Charley glanced at Roy and saw he was ready to throw the knife. He hoped his aim was true. “Now, Roy!”

Without hesitation, Roy threw the knife at Pollyanna’s head, but she caught the blade without turning her evil gaze from Charley. He stared into her empty eyes, which were pure black, and gulped, “Oh, shit…”

“Urgh!!!”

The vampiress gripped the knife and quickly slashed Charley’s throat. A shower of blood sprayed forth, and as his body crashed to the floor, she drank deeply. The evil goddess didn’t stop until she sucked every ounce of his warm nectar.  

Roy scrambled to his feet and ran for the door. He still had more questions than answers, but at this point, they were the last thing on his mind. His lifelong friend was dead, and vampires were real. Was this a bad dream?

When Roy opened the door to make his escape, Pollyanna was there in her blood-soaked dress to greet him. She pushed him back inside and sank her fangs into his neck. The taste of his warm blood brought her to orgasmic levels of ecstasy.

“So, you’ll kill me too,” Roy gurgled.

“Mm… No, my love. You will become my king and rule by my side. It will be a big change, but I believe you’ll be fine. Am I right?”

The power of her embrace was intoxicating. There was nothing else Roy could do but give in to the darkness.

He smiled and gasped, “Change… is the one thing I know all too well…”  

June 15, 2023 06:27

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4 comments

Sarah Saleem
17:52 Jun 29, 2023

Your writing style is wonderful, really love the thriller and suspense in this one.

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:52 Jun 30, 2023

Thank you so much!! As of now, I think you're the only one to read this one...lol. It's probably because I didn't submit it to the contest, so thanks again. I really appreciate your wonderful comments!!

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Kayla Tackett
05:09 Jul 25, 2023

I love this!!! I was wondering where the 'thriller' part was there for a moment, but I'm glad it kept me reading for more information. Amazingly epic as always man!

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Daniel R. Hayes
18:33 Jul 25, 2023

Hi Kayla! Thank you so much for the wonderful comments. I'm glad you liked this one. I didn't enter the contest with this one, so I don't think many people have read it, but I think it's cool nonetheless :) Welcome to Reedsy!!!

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