This story is by Anna Mae Dickinson and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“That’ll be ten dollars,” a voice screeched from the booth’s speaker. I winced from the static and tossed the bill through the slot in the window.
I entered the fairgrounds just before dusk. Several children’s screams, drew my attention.
“I’ll beat you,” a boy with fire red hair hollered.
“No, you won’t,” a chubby boy claimed.
The boys rushed pass me.
A gentle breeze swirled behind me. It blew my dress upward. I forced it down. Heat rose to my face and I glanced to see if anyone noticed. Thankfully, no one witnessed the incident, so I continued my stroll through the fairgrounds.
The harvest festival is the event of the year. Many nearby towns joined. I came to the small farm community in spring after I accepted the job as town librarian. The strange thing is I never applied. One day, a letter came with an employment opportunity. I found it odd, but my friends thought I over thought it. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder; < is my presence here luck or some strange force that beckons me. >
Since my arrival, recurring images visited my sleep. I dreamt of a tall, attractive man. His striking looks and gentle touch took my breath away. Night after night, he’d come. We’d talk, laugh and make love. I’d wake up fulfilled and content from the encounters. I consider myself intelligent and realized their dreams, but to me it felt real. So real in fact, I mean it sounds crazy, but I swore his scent lingered on my sheets.
My stomach rumbled from the mouthwatering aromas of funnel cake, popcorn and cotton candy. It brought me back to reality. I must hit the food stands before I leave.
“Robin,” A familiar voice sounded from behind. I spun and found a woman I knew from the library.
“Mrs. Thomas.” I raised my brow. “How are you?”
“Fine,” she smiled. “I had to stop by and say hello.”
“Mommy, hurry, I wanna see fire sprinkles,” a little girl with long blonde curls whined.
“Make sure you don’t miss the fireworks,” the woman insisted and rushed away.
My inner child agreed with the girl. It had been years since I watched fireworks. It would be the perfect way to end the evening.
An elderly couple cuddled on a bench by the lake. I envied their closeness. I pretty much gave up on love. I’m a thirty one year old bookworm and spent most of my life in the library or at home where I cared for my ill mother. After her death I needed a change so, here I am. I’m content with my decision to relocate. The people here are genuine and kind.
The fireworks display is scheduled to take place over the lake. I strolled over, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of deep reds, gold, orange and yellow leaves that littered the area around the water’s edge. Of all the seasons, autumn by far is my favorite. I love the crisp sound of fallen leaves beneath my feet, the rush of cool wind against my face and the smell of bonfires, cinnamon and decaying foliage.
A breeze swooshed through the trees. The multicolored leaves swayed and played a soft ear-pleasing song. I closed my eyes to enjoy its serenity, but it is short lived because all the amusement rides lit and blinked in succession against the black of the night. I found an area to settle several yards away from the crowd of spectators and sat on a blanket of colorful leaves to wait for the show to commence.
Three streams of light ripped across the star littered sky. A deafening boom followed and echoed across the field. I fixed my eyes upward. Brilliant light flashed, fizzled and crackled. Fiery blossoms of red, blue and green illuminated the heavens. I stood in awe of its wonder.
The spectacle lasted around twenty minutes. I scanned the crowd. Children’s faces lit up, while lovers snuggled and laughed beneath the shower of lights.
The field went dark.
A finale of pyrotechnics began to explode above. The audience erupted in applause. Thick white smoke crawled across the field. I raised my hand to my nose. “Ewww sulfur.”
“Goes with the territory, I’m afraid.” a tall dark figure emerged from the cloud.
My heart danced with excitement. Our eyes locked. Hair rose on my arms. Oh God, I whispered. It’s the nameless man who enters my dreams. >
Flashes of light exploded above us. I squinted. My mind played tricks on me? His amber eyes glowed and his complexion appeared milky, almost ghostlike.
I nibbled on my bottom lip. I couldn’t move a muscle. < Could he, sense my affection? Did he have the dreams too? > It seemed strange to foresee someone before you’ve met them, but in my dream, he’s the man I love.
“How do you find the show?” he asked in a low deep voice.
“I almost wet my pants.”< Oh God, did I say that out loud? > I rolled my eyes and blushed at my graceless reply.
The corners of his deep red lips curled. They parted.
“You’re funny,” he smiled. “I’m Castiel,”
“Robin.” I reached out.
He kept eye contact and bent down to kiss the back of my hand. A warm sensation rushed over me.
“May I see you tonight?” Castiel’s eyes softened.
“Robin.” The woman and girl from earlier approached.
“I’ll see you later, then.” He nodded and hurried away.
“I see you met our new neighbor,” Mrs. Thomas grinned.
“What do you know of him? Is he from around here?”
“From what I know, he arrived about month ago. He bought the decrepit plantation over on Dawson Street. Weird bird if you ask me. He comes to town to stroll at night.”
I watched him disappear into the darkness. < will I see, him again? Would he be able to find me? I should have asked for his number. > Annoyed at my stupidity, I strode back to my car.
A strong wind kicked up and a light hazy rain trickle down. To avoid the down pour, I rushed to my car. The council sent a letter informing me of the sudden storms and frequent power loss of the region. The day I arrived I found a welcome basket filled with candles, a flash light, some matches and assorted snacks. A silly gift at first glance, but I’m relieved I won’t need to stop for supplies on the way home.
People piled into automobiles to avoid the rainstorm. I found mine. A bouquet of dahlias sat tucked behind the windshield wiper. I grabbed the tiny note attached. The words were smudged, but readable.
My dearest, no more dreams.
I glanced to my left, then right. < Who is he? Why is he in my dreams? How’s it even possible? > Dark storm clouds rolled across the sky. My heart beat in my throat. Heat rushed over my body and I took a moment to gather my emotions.
Drenched, I pushed the front door open to my apartment. The power’s out as expected. The light from my phone helped. I lit the candles in my bedroom, took a quick shower and burrowed within my covers with a flash light and a good book, but couldn’t concentrate. Castiel’s amber eyes revisited my thoughts. < How could I fall for someone in a dream? > I embraced the fantasy. He became my lover and I hoped every night to dream of him.
Thunder rolled in from the west and lightening flashed. I wrapped myself in my blanket and drifted off to sleep.
A gush of wind chilled me. My eyes flew open. I shivered. An unexpected crack of thunder shook the house. I squealed and rose when the French doors flew open. Dense fog lingered on the balcony. It crept into my bedroom.
Too my surprise Castiel appeared and entered the room. In one swift motion he lifted me onto the bed. Our eye’s locked in a shared understanding. I melted into his arms.
He lowered the straps of my nightdress. His lips met my breasts. I cried out in pleasure.
“It’s time my love,” he whispered.
“Time for what,” I asked. My heart raced. “Whatever, it is, the answer’s yes.”
His lips parted. Sharp teeth flickered in the candle light. I drew breath and gripped his head to guide him closer. His fangs penetrated my skin. I whimpered, weakened and lost consciousness.
I awoke to the sound of birds chirping. < Was it another dream? Please let it be real. Please let it be, real. > I sat up. My mouth went dry. An assortment of autumn leaves encircled my silhouette. Tiny droplets of blood trickled down my bare chest. Tears gathered in my eyes. It wasn’t a dream. I half smiled and knew he’d come, again.
Selma Writes. says
Hello Mae, your beloved was a vampire. What a tease you are.
The entire story moved smoothly, and then bang: That was quite THE perfect ending. I loved it. What was it Mrs Thomas called him? A weird bird? Ha! And he has been in her dreams — good for her. And the dreams turned real. Very nice Mae. Way to go! I wish you well in the contest. Selma.
Lori huff says
Jan Buchanan-Medina writes as Jan Darling says
Congrats Mae, delicious story and my favourite kind, too. The twist at the end requires absolute conviction throughout the story and you did it beautifully. Thank you.
Wonderful description and the ending does not disappoint. Well done!