The Apothecary, excerpt IV

An excerpt from The Apothecary, a romantic horror novelette:

He stands, and turns his back to me and the fire. He walks over to the spinning wheel, and begins unraveling the threads. “There’s nothing to say about my father,” he says.

I stand too. “But I’ve been wondering––”

“You need to go home. It’s getting dark.” The words are harsh, but he speaks them softly. They hurt more than way. With his back to me, with the mask out of sight, I want to run to him, tell him I don’t want to go home. Not tonight. Not ever.

But if I do that, he’ll turn to me, with that mask.

I put down the cup, and put my cloak around my shoulders. The spinning wheel starts circling, squeaking slightly. I catch a glimpse of mask slithering where a cheek ought to be, and again I shiver, though not from cold. He says nothing as I slip out the door.

The Apothecary, excerpt III

An excerpt from The Apothecary, a romantic horror novelette:

He gave me calming tea that tasted of flowers. He apologized for having no cake or biscuits to serve along with it, as he wasn’t used to having visitors. That was fine though; as much as I liked him, it would have been hard to eat with that mask watching me, crawling like maggots.

In my childhood innocence, and with my da not around to shush me, I asked him what was under it.

“Nothing interesting,” he said. He voice always seemed to come from far away. “I think you’d much rather see something like this.”

He swept a powder into the candle on the table between us and the flame danced gold and silver.

I laughed and he gave me some of the powder so that I could throw it into the fireplace, and the whole room danced gold and silver, including his mask. But that didn’t distract me entirely from questioning him. I ran to his side and said “Where’d you learn all this?”

 

The Apothecary, excerpt II

An excerpt from The Apothecary, a romantic horror novelette:

That first time I met him, he towered above me, encased in a black cloak. At first glance I thought he had no face, until I saw the mask wavering in the shadows.

I was terrified. I hid behind my da as the frightening figure knelt before me and opened a little paper packet. He blew on it – though how he did so with the mask there I couldn’t tell – and fairies and unicorns danced in all the colors of the rainbow in the air between us.

The mask would continue to induce repulsion in me every time I saw it quiver, but I found other emotions were placed beside this repulsion – expectation, wonderment, joy. He gave me sugary candies better than any candy I had ever tasted, and something he called chocolate, which was better than anything at all I had ever tasted. He set off miniature fireworks in the rafters of his workspace. He sprinkled a powder over his sheep in their pen that turned them blue and pink. It was something new every time I got the opportunity to visit.

The Apothecary, excerpt I

An excerpt from The Apothecary, a romantic horror novelette.  It might seem familiar, ’cause I based it off a drabble I’ve previously posted.

“Alisandra?”

I’m jerked out of my daydream by the sound of his voice. I’ve been staring.

“Are you all right?” the apothecary asks. The firelight plays over his mask in blacks and oranges. It’s always so dim here in his home, the windows shuttered tight against the sun, leaving only the hearth fire and the candlelight to illuminate the jars of liquids and powders and plants.

But I always study his mask.

“Yes!” I say, too forcefully. “I’m fine.”

“Then, here is the poultice for midwife Bera.” He holds the tiny paper packet out to me. Though his hands are gloved, I still shiver when my fingers brush his.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asks. His mask roils and wavers as if insects crawl under it. “Your face is flushed. I can fix you something, whatever’s the matter.”

I clutch the packet to my chest as if that can slow my heart. “It’s nothing. I just… ran all the way here. Well, goodbye. Ms. Bera’s waiting.”

I dart out the door before he can say anything else. I run down the path all the way to the road before I stop to collect myself.

Stupid, I tell myself. Stupid. Stupid. How can you love a man that won’t show you his face?

The Apothecary

This is the last one from the list!  And this one was hard to come up with, probably only because it was the last.  As for other things, I’m working on rewriting some short stories that are part of a series, so I still might not be posting quite so much.

Drabble

He held the tiny paper package out to her, and his leather mask slithered and roiled, as if something crawled beneath it. “This is the poultice for Midwife Bera.”

Though his hands were gloved Alisandra still felt her heart flutter when his fingers touched hers.

“Are you ill?” he asked. “Your face is flushed. I can prepare you something.”

“No!” Her cheeks grew hotter as she smiled at his kindness, always his kindness. “I’m fine.”

She sighed when the door closed behind her. How stupid to fall in love with someone who would never show you their face.

Truth

Bonus drabble for the prompt “blind,” based on my characters from Carbon.

Drabble

It’s daylight when I wake. I can’t see this, but I know it. Just as I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. I hear your breathing and your soft snores.

I reach out and find your face inches from mine, and feel it with my fingertips. A straight and creased brow: indicative of a worrier. A roman nose: stubborn and fiercely independent. A heavy upper lip: a teller of truths.

But I knew all that already. Even last night when you told me you love me.

That’s unfortunate for both of us.

My love is only for sale.

Shy Shy

Shy boy, I am just a shy girl. I could never talk to you. I can only take your picture, as you dress, as you leave your house, as you stop at Starbucks, as you walk to the very street I live on. To the very house I live in. To my backyard…

Shy girl, I am just a shy boy. I wish I could speak to you. But I can only grab my morning coffee and journey to your yard, hide in the tree outside your window. I can only wait with my camera for a glimpse of you.

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Ouija

Drabble: ?

“You’re moving it!”

“I am not!”

“Okay, okay.”  Alexis squared her shoulders and put her fingers back on the planchette.  “Let’s be serious here.”

“I’ve been serious this whole time!” Carrie argued, her fingers settling down beside Alexis’s.

“Let’s ask it something.  Like…  Who has a crush on me?”

It didn’t move at first.  Then Carrie sucked in a breath as the planchette shifted on the board.  Alexis’s heart was pounding as letter after letter was pointed out.

“C…” she whispered.

“A…” she went on.

“R…R…I…E…”

She looked up at Carrie in shock.

“I lied,” Carrie said, blushing.  “I was moving it.”

The End

Short story: Fantastical horror love story

In my head is the dim far-off image of a mother crying, a hawk ripping at a mouse’s belly, the final exhale of a possum in its den. Across from me, he tells me with a seriousness I find almost comical that he has cancer.

“Stage four, terminal.”

My fingers brush stubble as I take a drag on my cigarette. Damn, I forgot to shave again.

When I say nothing, he clears his throat. I realize too late I’ve made him uncomfortable, responding with my cigarette. I stamp out it out in the cheery blue ashtray.

“I wanted to tell you.” His cheeks flush under my steady gaze. “You know, before this went any further.”

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