Category Archives: Lisa Barry

Ted the Accountant by Lisa Barry

For Remi Paquette, I hope you enjoy it!

Ted, the accountant walked out on stage and looking over the assembled gods realized that this was not going to be a fun presentation.

Clearing his throat, Ted nodded at the crowd and then turned to his laptop, already connected to the big screen before them. He cleared his throat again and tried to steady his hand before turning back to the crowd.

He gave a weak smile as he fished the laser pointer from his pocket and aimed it at the pie chart on the screen.

“Thank you all for coming today,” Ted said and cringed as his voice boomed by some god’s will over the colosseum.

“I am one of the forensic accountants for Athena.” The crowd turned to look at her where she sat demurely at the end of the second row on the left. She had a small smile on her face but ignored them all.

“As I am sure you all know, most gods take a portion of the collection from the various churches dedicated to their name and use it for their whims on the various planets,” Ted continued. “Madame Athena is no stranger to these practices. Since the advent of the digital world in three of those planets, we have recently upgraded our own systems to track things this way and several gods have even taken classes in the many accounting practices so as to be as knowledgeable as any planetary creature in this nature.”

Someone laughed in the crowd and tried to cover it up with a cough but everyone turned to glare at Hermes. He scratched his eyebrow, middle finger up, his lips quirked.

Ted continued hesitantly. “It has come to the attention of Madame Athena that there are some unusual expenditures on the Earth region. Some of you haven’t dealt with Humans in half a millennium but someone of you are active and visit even now…”

“And we know who you are,” Athena’s voice blanketed the crowd. Ted cringed slightly before continuing. He pointed his laser to the screen. It reflected off a number.

“There are 30,116 visiting gods on earth at any given time…”

“Lies!” someone shouted from the back.

“Put a grape in it, Ares,” Hera shot back, “We all know our procreation is out of control there.”

Hermes choked out a laugh before the room once again gave Ted their attention.

“The problem is not so much the expenditures, odd though they are, but the issue is more with the amount of earth dollars being spent.” Ted cleared his throat again before continuing. He removed his glasses and wiped them with a handkerchief before replacing them and continuing.

“The total of all the various god collections on earth does not even cover the amount that is being spent. What that tells us is that at least one god is,” Ted stopped for a moment and looked at Athena. Her eyes narrowed. Fear rolled over him but he pushed through it. “Living on earth and either earning or stealing to create the funds.”

“How can you prove this,” shouted a deep voice. Thanatos. Ever since Hades started getting so much attention, the daemon tended to be a constant voice at any meetings with more than five gods in attendance.

“What if you live there less than six months of the earth year?” a soft, polite voice asked from seemingly everywhere. Ted thought it might be Hecate.

And he was stumped. He couldn’t recall any law against such a thing. He saw Athena change positions in her chair. Ted started to sweat again. He was supposed to be the expert. Pulled from earth almost year ago, Ted had been sent to the libraries to learn every law on finance and exchange that could be found. Every scroll unrolled, every tablet translated. He had been given the gift of all language by Athena herself and had been content until she forced him to attend the gods in this manner.

Ted gave a silent prayer but after seeing the sudden smirk on Hermes face, his backbone straightened slightly.

“If you were to refer to earth laws, specifically the rules of the Unites States of America, then a person living in one state for more than six months constitutes a homestead. However, there is no law requiring homestead for someone living there for less than six months. From all the tombs I’ve read here in the library of Asgard, I find no reference for or against living somewhere for such a time.”

Ted stared at his feet and waited. The purpose of his presentation was to weed out the gods living on earth and potentially wreaking havoc on their economy. He risked a glance at Athena who was definitely the instigator. She sat, thinking he thought.

It was Hecate who spoke again. Her voice crept in from the sides making you query if she was beside, behind or in front of you. “I have been spending much time in this place called Vegas. I like it. Reminds me of the old days.”

A chuckle from the back. Was that Odin? Ted scanned the back. Odin generally was front center but he seemed to be staying clear of these notions of Athena. Ted scrunched his brows as he guessed why. Perhaps Odin too was enjoying Vegas periodically.

“I too enjoy earth for longer duration,” a calm voice floated easily over the crowd. Several gods and goddesses turned around to stare at Lokey. “What?” His eyes shined with mischief, “It’s fun. I’m fond of the gambling, the smokey rooms, the hot girls, the thieving, the whoring…”

“Enough!” Athena’s voice echoed hushing everyone as it went before it cut off like someone had pulled the PA plug. There was an odd noise and then the end of Athena’s sigh echoed around the room.

“Ted, why don’t you go ahead and pack up. Please leave your slides as I would like to review them again. Directors of the Board, I request your presence in Valhalla for brunch and discussion on the handling of this overage we are experiencing in the mortal realm.

There was some muttering, a few boos and a cat call. Ted wondered the purpose of the cat call and then remembered present company and gave up. He packed everything up quickly and left the stage. Ten minutes later he slipped into his apartment, a small but suitable affair just off the Garden of Eden replica and near the Pool of Life. He grabbed a bag of popcorn and sunk into his favorite chair. He had survived another day. His contract would be up in one month, two weeks, three days.

Ted flipped on the TV and with a toss of popcorn into his mouth, he prepared to outsmart the contestants of Jeopardy again.

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Why It Had Begun by Lisa Barry

For Shelley Martin; enjoy.

 By the time it ended she would understand why it had begun.

Marla blinked at the fortune teller and turned to her friend. Becky was big eyed and nodding in agreement with the fortune teller like she had understood his cryptic telling.

“What a crock of shit,” Marla commented and stood. “You may believe it, but I know better.”

She walked out of the tent and met the dusk with a glare. So much of the day had been wasted at this stupid carnival on her sweet 16th. She looked around for her boyfriend. He’d said he was going to try to win her a prize. She was thinking about making her sweet 16th very sweet and invite him to visit her room later. It would be an amazing top off to this oddball day. Her own parents had left for a bowling tournament in the next town and forgotten her special day. The devil-may-care attitude could sometimes get old. At least she got to take dad’s car. Becky came out of the tent just as Marla spotted Chris.

“That was very rude,” she said but when she saw the look on Marla’s face she paused and turned her head.

Chris was leaning against the seven mirror maze. He was embracing a petite blonde. Becky winced when she saw that it was the kind of embrace you don’t want to see your boyfriend having unless you were having an out of body experience and watching yourself.

Becky turned to console Marla but stopped with her hand out-reached. The blood had faded from Marla’s face and she stood, stony faced and emotionless. Her fisted hands gave away the stark anger that seemed to pulse from her.

A strange wind started up, dusting the dirt up at their feet at first and then whipping through their hair. The haunting carnival music stopped abruptly. A few pieces of hail hit the blonde in the head and she startled away from Chris. He threw an arm over her and looked around a bit frantically.

The wind continued, pulling itself into funnel and sucking up debris only to shoot it up and out. The ground shook in waves.

Becky giggled with glee. Marla’s lips quirked slightly, but she pulled her frown back and squeezed her fists tighter.

People were starting to scream and run around. The seven mirror maze shook, the sound of breaking glass echoing the wind’s roar. Marla yelled and flung out a hand. The maze broke apart and swept Chris and the blonde in before closing back up, pulling in the wind behind them with a whoosh.

Marla let out a contented sigh. Becky giggled again. The music started back up.

“Feel like joining me downstairs to mete out some vengeance?” Marla asked Becky.

Becky nodded but spoke up for the blonde, “she probably didn’t know you existed, ya know.”

Marla shrugged, “By the time this ends, she’ll understand why it begun.”

Becky giggled again. “See? Some of those guys really know how to tell a fortune.”

Marla rolled her eyes before sinking downstairs.

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Of Course Not, Silly by Lisa Barry

From Sandy Bibeau:

In the middle of the night, in the foggy moonlight, the gargoyle jumped out from behind the crooked tree.

Melinda sang as she pranced around the room.

“You’re not supposed to tell anyone,” Shawn muttered. His sister’s face scrunched in protest and her tongue shot out as far as it could reach. He huffed and looked back at the old book.

“It says here that no one really thinks they’re real which is why they can get around so easily and sneakily.”

Melinda stopped and knelt next to Shawn. “I know they’re real,” she whispered.

“You think unicorns are real,” he scoffed. Melinda’s big brown eyes widened.

“You don’t?” she asked.

“Of course not, silly,” Shawn said and closed the book quickly. He stood. “Come on, it’s time for bed.”

“I am six years old. I don’t need you to put me to bed.”

Shawn sighed. “I know but mom asked, so…” He shrugged and started to close the blinds. Melinda pouted as she took a last stare out into the darkness. She climbed into bed and waited for Shawn to flip the switch and leave her alone.

He flipped the switch. The door latched close.

“You know nothing, Shawn Smith,” Melinda whispered into the darkness.

She waited before his steps on the stairs faded away.

Slinking off her bed, she went to her closet and opened the door. A soft glow emanated from the corner. Pushing passed stuffed animals and dolls, she sat next to the small gargoyle lounging with a book open before him.

“The unicorn won’t be able to visit us today,” she said to him. He blinked and a soft growl emanated from his chest.

“I know,” she ran a finger over the cat painted on the page. “He closed the blinds, and I haven’t figured out how to open them yet.”

The gargoyle huffed and snuggled into her as Melinda started to tell a story, oblivious to the meaningless words on the book’s pages.

 

 

By Lisa Barry

4 August 2016

 

 

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It Can’t Be by Lisa Barry

From Spencer –

OH GOD. No. It can’t be. I’m HUMAN!

Moorh thought.

Watching the blood dribble from the hole on the human arm at his side, Moorh’s mind raced. The pain hit as he searched his memory, the sensation running through his nerves and to his brain letting him know the extent of the injury.

He slumped into a chair and covered the hole with his working hand. His mind screamed at him while he surveyed his surroundings and tried to take back some semblance of normalcy.

It seemed he was in a doctors waiting room. All the walls were white. There was a typical beach scene framed on one wall above a row of simple chairs of which one he was sitting in. Another wall held a rack of pamphlets and yet another held a window looking into the reception area and a small door. The last wall was a double door entrance. Moorh stood and headed toward the doors.

“Mr. Stodgant?” A pleasant voice called. Moorh turned to see a beautiful yet human nurse standing at the reception door. She smiled. “I think you might want to get dressed before heading back to the office.”

Moorh glanced down and his lip curled in disgust. His skin was a soft white color, not the bright blue he was accustomed to. Gone was his leather breast plate and dagger, his kilt and boots. Instead, a soft, weak body, held his mind. An anguished noise escaped a mouth he’d never used before.

The nurse came near, reaching for his arm. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Stodgant. It happens sometimes that the simulator is so real, people can have a hard time coming back to the real world. Why don’t you come with me and I can show you your things and fix up your nervous system patch-in? It seems you ripped out the cable.”

Moorh paused and looked around again. He had known it was a doctor’s office hadn’t he? He lifted a hand, his face a grimace as he viewed the lines in the skin and the veins buried within. He glanced back at the nurse just as a deep stabbing sensation cut into the side of his head.

His hand found the wall and he hunched in pain against it, head lowered to his chest.

“Oh, dear, sweetie. Let’s get you to the back, I think you may be having some post-simulation difficulty.” He felt a hand on his arm but it was coarse and firm.

Lifting his head, he could barely make her out through the agony. One of her hands was near his head and the other on his arm. Her skin was more yellow than white. Her head larger than it should be.

Cybertrolls.

Moorh bent to hide his emotion. He blinked trying to clear his head. His feet were blue again, wrapped in leather boots. Then white with odd looking shoes.

“Which?” he whispered.

“Don’t worry sweetie, I’ll take good care of you.”

Moorh moved, a heavy hand to her head. The snap gave him no pleasure but the pain in his head subsided when she slumped to the floor.

He slumped to the floor and breathed in several long heaves before squinting around.

A bulbous canary skinned fellow stood in the doorway.

“Bravo,” the creature said and clapped mildly, “such a lovely game.” Moorh stood slowly and reformed his hand into a mallet.

“I don’t like games,” he snarled and lunged.

By Lisa Barry 04 August 2016

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Fire Doomed by Lisa Barry

For Erica Allbee, my fiery redheaded friend…

The fire burned hot.  So hot I felt it singeing the depths of my lungs with every breath I tried to draw in.

I hugged the blanket closer, pulling it over my entire head as I pushed myself farther into the room finally hitting the wall. My hope drizzled from me, saturating the tears that leaked from my closed stinging eyes.

The fire licked the doorway of the small room as I huddled in the corner. I felt it then. The headiness, my weakened heart. My breath was so shallow now I knew if my eyes were open they wouldn’t see clearly.  It was no different than drowning really. Suffocation feels the same anywhere I guessed. It was the heat that made this worse.

I hadn’t really thought about how I would die this time, but I certainly hadn’t wagered on fire. Sure, I’ll probably pass out before I actually burn, but the idea of it wasn’t a comfort. I was pretty sure this was the worst way to go.

My body slumped unmoving. Damn it.

Russo was going to get it for this. I will absolutely kill him with fire next time. As I floated above my latest vessel, I couldn’t help but feel a loss. I had really liked that one.

 

I woke and I was so comfortable I was tempted to roll over and bury my head in the luscious pillow beneath my head. But I was also rather excited to find out what my new body was like. We never get a choice. It’s really a crap shoot. Usually the bodies we get inserted in are from coma victims whose owners are long gone, leaving their bodies far behind. You have to get them when they’re fresher. Bodies in comas for too long don’t work so well.

I took a moment to feel. Putting attention on extremities and nerves to see what I was up against. There was a dull ache near my right temple and a throb on my left shin. Felt like road burn. Otherwise, the body felt pretty good. Really good if I had to be honest. I’d gotten another female which was nice.  I felt more comfortable as a female, though I could run a male body around just as easily.

I took in a deep breath and let my eyelids flutter before opening them to check out my surroundings. I would have to meet my new family, friends, and loved ones soon. Had to go through the spiel; What happened? How did I get here. I don’t remember anything. As always, they’ll be happy I’m alive.

“She’s waking up!” a woman screeched nearby. Yeesh. There was some activity and then someone took my hand.

“Lana, baby. I am so happy you’re coming back to me!” The woman sounded like she smoked a ton of cigarettes, but I didn’t detect the foul stench of them. I focused on her then. She had a curly white permed halo around her head and bright blue eyes surrounded by wrinkles.

“It would have been the end of me to outlive you, girl,” she chided though a tear leaked from her eye. It was always weird. I don’t remember ever having anyone care about me like that and yet so many times I had woken with someone there who was so pleased, so loving. Of course, I’d had the opposite too. Where someone had wished I was dead, was hoping for the will to kick in, or just a general jerk of a family member.

For some reason, I liked this lady right away. She continued, her voice strict, “You had better not ever ride one of those killer machines again.”

I blinked. “I love motorcycles.” My voice was a rough whisper. I thought it sounded kind of cool. Her eyes widened in fear. Before she could say anything, a Greek God appeared over her shoulder with a boyish grin on his face. He pushed passed and leaned in, his scent filled me with masculine musk and before I could even think about swooning, he leaned in and kissed me full on the mouth.

I know; What! Today my luck was in the one thousandth of epicness. He pulled back and a large hand wiped a tear from his eye and then ran a finger down my cheek. He smiled and opened his mouth to speak but just closed it again and kept smiling and touching my face.

This man loved me. Or at least he loved whoever used to live here.

And I liked that. Very much. I had been floating for so long.

“I don’t remember what happened,” I said softly my voice recovering slightly. “I don’t remember me. But I remember I love you.”

He coughed and tried to cover up his emotions. “I’m so glad you’re back,” his gruff voice was music to my ears. “I love you, Lana Croft.”

My mother was weeping softly near the foot of the bed. I looked over to her. “And you too.” She snorted and continued to cry though she smiled.

 

It was days before they let me check out. Once everything had been checked and re-checked, I was finally able to see my new body and get dressed. I stepped in front of the mirror and gasped.

I looked just like the Tomb Raider lady. I was hot, I mean smoking. What planet was I even on? I cleaned up and stepped out only to have a doctor pop in for a final check.

“And are you all set, Ms. Croft?” the doctor asked with a calm smile. I stared at him. Each set of eyes was different and it took me a moment to realize who I was seeing. I glanced around before answering.

“What do you want, Russo?”

“Hey,” he waved a consolatory hand, “I’m Dr. Solarly for now.”

“I call truce,” I said quickly. I wasn’t attached to any machines so he couldn’t kill me that way.

“It’s cool,” he said and I think he really meant it. “I’m having fun. Never been a Doctor before. I think the Establishment wanted us to take a break. They even inserted the medical information into my memory so I fit in. Check yours, you probably know all about motorcycles, right?”

I stopped to think and realized he was right. I knew how to take apart most motorcycles and put them back together like a normal person would brush their teeth. I could apparently ride the shit out of them too, seeing as how I lived through a bad accident.

Russo, Dr. Solarly, held out his hand. I reached out and shook it. “Well, little bother, break time it is.”

As our hands separated, my incredibly beautiful boyfriend came to collect me. I was so ready to go home and get me some of that. I took his arm and waved to Dr. Solarly knowing if break time ended, Russo was gonna burn.

~~~

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Hot Damn, Ms. Claus by Lisa Barry

To Trish Collins ~ thank you for the first line that led to such a fun little yarn!

A Santa costume isn’t the easiest place to hide a gun. 

Especially when it’s a cheap Mrs. Santa Slut suit and some asshat decided to ship you a size too small when you needed it fast. I had no idea where I was going to find another in less than a day so I had to improvise.

I went and found a ridiculous pair of thigh high boots and fashioned a furry white topper for each. After placing a buckle on the sides, I was able to tuck the gun inside my right thigh inside the boot. It would be an evening event so the darkness would be on my side.

I was certain that the decorator Mr. Grayson McNeally had hired would keep his home muted and candle lit, soft and seductive for the party, just the way he would like it. Just the way he had set it up at the Halloween costume party. The one I had stumbled into blindly and had my heart crushed.

I stood in front of my full length mirror and smiled. I’ve always been a pretty conservative dresser, hiding my curves in suits or sweats, but it turned out I can rock a whorish outfit with the best of them. The red and black Mrs. Claus suit resembling a teddy more than a jacket hugged me like a glove and then some. The gun pressed into my thigh was hidden beautifully. Mr. McNeally was going to pay for being such a jerk.

I fluffed my long blond hair. Usually pulled back in a ponytail or bun, it hung in golden waves to just below my shoulder blades. Hot damn, Ms. Claus. My eyes sparkled in amusement. I crack myself up.

When I arrived, as I suspected, the house was muted and dimly lit. Classical music played softly in the background, people dressed in just about every holiday costume I could imagine littered the hallways and ballroom. The house was huge. It took me twenty minutes to find the big boss.

He was chatting with the CFO, a tall, elderly woman dressed elegantly but with antlers. Subtle but nice, I approved. Mr. McNeally was dressed impeccably and beautifully–as the Scrooge. His dark hair hung softly over his forehead and curled just a touch at his neck. His deep dark eyes were bright and alert and when they found me, they widened slightly. His full lips turned up slightly and he nodded. I smiled and slowly blinked.

He quickly ended his conversation and moved like a shadow to my side. Without speaking a word, he directed me to the hallway, up a set of stairs, and into a dim room. A game room if I remembered correctly.

As soon as the door shut behind us, without any delay, I bent slightly and pulled the gun from my boot.

“You look so amaz…” he started. The gun went off, the silencer turning the noise into a cough. The bullet ripped through his stomach and ended up in a chair behind him. His hand covered the wound and he staggered back a foot before regaining some control.

“What on bloody earth did you do that for?” he demanded, his English accent melting my heart a bit.

“You take advantage of me and then leave without a word,” I said softly, “That is rude and you needed to know that I don’t take lightly to such treatment.”

I put the gun down on a nearby side table and then moved to sit in a stool by a pool table. I pointed at the table.

“That was fun.”

He chuckled and then growled softly. “You know; you could have just asked. I have a perfectly valid explanation and when you hear it, you are going to feel bad about this.” He waved a bloody hand at her before starting to wipe it off on his pants.

“Maybe, maybe not,” I said. “It’s not often a person gets to shoot someone knowing full well the person will heal in just a few moments.”

“I certainly hope this isn’t going to be a customary way to let your betrothed know that you’re angry.”

“My betrothed needs to learn that he doesn’t get to woo me and then leave me until the next time he wants me. He has to share what’s going on in that thick skull. In his life.”

“I stand here bleeding and thoroughly corrected,” he said and I had to smile.

“I’m pretty sure you’re not bleeding anymore.”

“True, true,” he muttered. I went and took his hand.

“Come on, let’s get you cleaned up and back to your guests.”

“You are unlike anyone I’ve known before, Ms. Blade,” he said as they walked toward the door.

I smiled and my heart fluttered. “I know.”

 

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Meow by Lisa Barry

To Kendra Wallace who turned in this fun line as a Story My Friend started. May you enjoy the dark and light silliness of

The crisp fall air hit my face followed by the smell of pie and spice.  If you closed your eyes, it would seem like a typical October day, but as my eyes focused on the bloody corpse on the floor, reality hit. 

I stood outside the back door looking into kitchen of the small a-frame home. The wind whipped through my hair, protecting my olfactories for the moment. I would have to go in. I promised I would.

What was I thinking!

Lillia needed the blood of a shapeshifter to complete the spell she was working on. She said that it was imperative that I returned with at least a pint. Lillia said I must arrive at 3:05 pm to get it in time.

In time? She hadn’t said the shapeshifter would be dead!

I thought for sure I would just have to knock the lady out or maybe I could even sweet talk her. But this?

As I stood staring at the petite little blond lying distorted and bloody on the floor, a cat meandered in from a door to the left. Its orange and white body moved to sit near the lady, just an inch from the pooling blood. Its yellow eyes stared at the body for a moment before it looked at me.

“Meow.”

The strangely deep sound grumbled from its mouth. Then it started to clean itself.

I frowned. That was odd.

I realized with a jolt that I was standing at a back door of a house I didn’t belong to and peering in at a distinctly dead body. I glanced around. Seeing no one about, I stepped inside and gently closed the door behind me.

The smell was bad, but I gathered she was fresh so it was tolerable – and that I just thought that made me cringe. The cat watched me as I searched the cupboards for some way to get the blood from the corpse and into the pint size plastic container I’d brought. Since the blood wasn’t pumping, I didn’t think my needle trick would work.

I found a turkey baster. My stomach lurched. Then I had an idea. I grabbed a cookie sheet and a knife. I stuck the sheet under her head. It was still warm. I swallow back bile. I then sliced the back of her neck.

I watched the blood pool into the sheet. Sighing with relief, I left the body to search for a towel or blanket, something to put her head on when I was done. I couldn’t just leave her there like that.

The house was small but clean and there were shades of yellow in every room. Like she was really happy or trying really hard to look it. When I came back in the kitchen, I saw that the cat had moved. It was now lounging against the back door. When I met its eyes, it yawned.

When the cookie sheet was filling dangerously close to the top, I held my breath and lifted her head. I slid the tray along the floor and tucked the towel in its place.

Carefully, I brought the tray to the sink and putting my container in the sink, poured in the cooling blood. I sighed as I saw it was less than half of what I needed.

I repeated the process twice more without fully vomiting. By the time I put the lid on the container and washed the sheet, leaving it to dry in the drainer, I had determined that I was some kind of macabre, horrible non-feeling person.

Or maybe I’ll have a career as mortician?

I looked down at the pretty girl. I don’t know who had done this, but her life had ended much too soon.

The cat meowed. It had moved away from the door and in fact seemed to be waiting for me to open it. I frowned at it. I can’t remember the last time, if ever, I had heard cat meow at me. I checked my bag for the safe packaging of my spoils and opened the door.

The cat ran out with an odd whine, and I closed it behind me with some sense of finality.

I was about to turn away when a man came around the corner. A handsome young man, my age. He frowned.

“I was hoping you were Gwen. Is she in?”

“No, I’m afraid not,” I answered willing my heart to stay as normal as possible. I can’t sense the supernatural amongst the humans like me but I know what they’re capable of. “I was just dropping off a few recipes.”

That made him frown further. I should have known she wasn’t much a cook by the contents of her cupboard. Damn it!

“Dumb ass, Dumb ass,” the bird in the tree behind me chanted. I knew damn well who it was talking to and I would have killed for my bb gun right then.

“They’re for these no-cook chocolate treats. Really yummy,” I said with a bright dental commercial smile.

His frowned eased a hint.

“How did…why do you smell like blood?”

Thank goodness I’d actually thought about a retort for this one. “Well, that’s rude. I don’t run around asking males why they wake up with erections. Now excuse me,” I went around him careful not to touch him. “I need to get back to work.”

“Ha Ha Ha Ha,” the bird sang.

I could tell he turned and I felt his eyes laser beaming a hole into the back of my head. I really hoped the perfume I put on just for this visit would mask my scent. Actually I prayed. I think divine forces might be needed right now, at least there was a high possibility that my future life depended on it.

When I got to the car, I already had my keys out. I slid into the seat and before I could get the door shut, that crazy cat jumped in. My heart was up my nose he scared me so bad. With no time to waste, I turned on the car and got the heck out of there.

The cat had settled into my passenger seat and purred the whole way to Lillia’s. It was surprisingly peaceful. The way having cats should be.

Lillia was already in the doorway waiting for us when we pulled into her driveway. I swear she could have been drooling feverishly and rubbing her hands together. The cat whisked by her feet and into her house.

“Hello, handsome,” she said to him as he vanished inside.

“I’m so sorry, Lillia,” my voice wobblier than I wanted.

“It’s no problem. Thank you, Holly,” she said, closing the door behind us and holding her hands out to me like she was going to cup water. She was tall and thin, but muscled like an aerobics instructor. I pulled out the container and dropped it into her strong yet dainty hands.

She floated down the hall and to the back of the house to what she called the spirit den. The name had creeped me out until I bled a dead body for her. Now it seems tame.

She was already pouring the thick dark liquid into her cast iron pot heated by a state of the art induction stove. I heard a loud purring and spotted the cat sitting in purple couch across from Lillia, watching carefully every motion Lillia made. It meowed again before settling down with stretch.

Weird.

I shivered. She had told me that she just needed help with this one little thing and then should would make my spell. Seeing as how my little problem wasn’t manifesting right now, I couldn’t help but wonder if she had done the spell already. Like chanted and danced or whatever things she had to do to make it work. If not, this spell should prove to me that I came to the right place. I may not approve of her methods, but if she can help cure me of my…ability, I will be forever grateful. I sat down on the other end of the couch and watched.

The pot snapped and gurgled as Lillia stirred. After seemly forever she declared it ready and after dipping in a large metal ladle, she poured the black stuff into a wine glass and gave a child-like giggle. She gave a glance that seemed a little sultry to me toward the cat.

It started to meow and while I was wondering what her deal was, the meow altered into something else, something decidedly human. I looked over to the cat just in time to see a faint glow dissipate and a very hot, very naked man was now seated on the couch next to.

“Jeez! Uh, ah!” I fell from the couch and landed in a heap on the floor.

Lillia giggled again and came over to me with a metal to-go cup in her hand. She waited for me to stand and then handed it to me.

“Here’s your payment, dear. Now be on your way.”

The man stood, dangly bits and all, and went to Lillian draping an arm around her as she downed the contents of her wine glass.

I hightailed it out of there. When her front door closed behind me, I stood and let my heart settle into its normal calm rhythm.

“Hey!”

I looked around searching for the owner of the voice.

“Hey! Can you get my ball? Please, please, please.”

I sighed and started looking for the dog. I could just make out its nose in the neighbor’s fence. A neon yellow ball glowed in Lillia’s front yard.

I looked at the mug in my hand. I didn’t actually see what it was that Lillia’s potion was supposed to do but I was pretty sure I’d want to give that one a miss. I looked at the dog.

“Hey!”

I lifted the mug to my lips and drank. It tasted like pink lemonade. I guzzled the rest and as it slid down my throat I listened.

“Nanner nanner nanner….tweet, whistle, tweet.”

“Hey, please, please…ruff, ruff.”

I smiled and blinked back tears. Then I picked up the ball and tossed it over the fence. And then I went home.

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