“I asked for two pounds of ham and I want two pounds of ham!” the woman complained. “Not one point nine!”
“Sorry, Ma'am.” I replied, putting another slice on the scale, my mind wandering again.
Handing the woman her package, I glanced back over at the bakery counter.
“He's looking at me again!” I squealed.
“Just go talk to him!” Judy urged in her graveled, low-pitched voice, “Life's too short to mess around.”
“I can't just go up and start talking to him!” I argued.
“Suit yourself... smoke break.” Judy announce, removing her apron and leaving the deli counter.
We exchanged glances several times over the next few minutes as I wiped counters, trying to work up the courage to talk to him.
“You two! Go talk to him already!” Judy urged.
“You really think I should?”
“Go!” she snapped.
I washed my hands and casually walked toward the bakery, pretending to look at the various breads and rolls on the shelves.
“Hi.” I greeted, finally braving a direct approach to the counter.
“Uh... hi.” he replied.
“I... I'm Emily.”
“I'm... uh, Jacob.”
“Hi, Jacob... did you just start here?” I asked, twisting my long auburn hair with my finger.
“I didn't think I'd seen you before.”
“My uh... my uncle works at the store over on Palmer St. He got me on here as soon as I turned 18.” he said.
“Really? That's cool. I just turned 19.”
“I know, uh... Judy told me.”
I looked over and gave the smiling Judy a menacing glare.
We talked for as long as we could get away with, our conversation cut short by the supervisor taking one of his rare breaks from playing solitaire on his computer.
“Are we paying you to chit-chat?” he asked.
“Sorry, Mark.” I apologized, wondering if they paid him to play games.
Over the next few minutes, he gave me his cell number using hand signals. The rest of my shift was spent texting him in-between pesky customers.
We texted well in to the night, even after I went to bed in my one bedroom studio apartment. I eventually fell asleep while waiting for a reply from him. He had apparently fallen asleep as well.
Arriving nine minutes late, I punched the clock and headed to the deli counter. I looked for Jacob but didn't see him. He probably overslept also.
Several hours passed and he never showed up. Around noon, my supervisor called me in to his office.
“Emily, these men are detectives. They want to talk to you.” Mark said, making a motion with his hand toward two men in suits.
“Wha... what's going on?”
“Please have a seat, Ma'am.”
“I'm Detective Harrison, and this is Detective Paulson.” the taller one said, “We need to ask you a few questions about a 'Jacob Anderson'”.
“Jacob? What's... is... is something wrong?” I stammered.
“Ma'am, I'm sorry... Jacob is dead.” Detective Harrison informed me, without emotion.
“He's... no, there must be a mistake. I just texted him last night.”
“His parents found him this morning. He was apparently killed late last night.”
“It can't be him... we just... What happened?”
“It would better if you didn't know the details, Ma'am.” Detective Harrison replied, “But we need to ask you a few questions.”
“Not again...” I whispered, my hand to my mouth.
“'Again' Ma'am?” Detective Harrison asked.
Tears trailed down my cheek as I sat in stunned silence.
“Ma'am?” he repeated.
“Huh? I'm sorry...” I replied, snapping out of my trance.
“You said 'Not again'.”
“I... my... my mother. Right after I was born.”
“What happened to her, Ma'am?”
“They never figured it out. They found her... in... in the woods. She was... I can't! I can't do this right now!”
“Take your time, Ma'am.” Detective Paulson said.
I took several deep breaths and tried to pull myself together.
“They found my mother in the woods. She had just given birth to me. Her body... was... was... they said it might have been a bear.”
“I'm sorry, Ma'am.” Detective Harrison said.
“My aunt raised me.” I added.
The detectives remained silent.
“And... a... a boy I liked when I was sixteen.”
“What about him, Ma'am?”
“They found him... in his bed. he was... just like my mother.”
“Mutilated?” Detective Paulson asked.
“Yes!” I cried, putting my head in my hands.
“Ma'am, I need you to come down to the station with us.” Detective Harrison said, standing up and adjusting his suit.
“Are you... am I under arrest?”
“No, Ma'am.” he assured me, “We just need to take a statement from you. Please get your things. It should only take an hour or so.”
I walked back to the break room to get my purse and winter coat out my locker. Some of the girls were sitting around the table eating lunch.
“... said it was like a wild animal had... Emily! Are you...?”
“I'm OK, Diane.” I answered, “The detectives want me to give them a statement.”
The girls stared at me as I gathered my things.
“What happened?” Diane asked.
“I don't know.” I replied, “I... I gotta go.”
The detectives asked me a lot of questions and had me sign a form. They told me not to leave town without talking to them first. I couldn't help but feel as if I were under suspicion, but maybe it was just because I was nervous and had never been in a police station before.
The chill wind stung my face as I watched the bus make its way to me, stopping several times before finally pulling up. I found a seat near the back, away from other people, leaned my head against the window and watched the road scroll by as I held back the tears.
I had a strange dream last night. I felt as though I couldn't move; as if my blanket were being pulled tightly over me, toward the floor at all four corners. A small impish creature was sitting on my chest, his feet on either side of my head. He was a dirty yellow color, almost light brown. He looked to be about two feet tall, was hairless and had long, slightly pointed ears.
His arms and legs where thin, but the muscles were well-defined and it appeared that he could be quite powerful for his size. At the end of each finger was a sharp claw, maybe one inch long.
Because he was naked, I couldn't help but notice his erect penis only inches from my chin. It was large for his body; about the size of a frankfurter.
He looked down at me, slightly pointed teeth showing though a mischievous grin. He put his taloned index finger on my lips as if to shush me. I thought it odd that I was not frightened, but I somehow knew it was only a dream.
“Belong to us! No one else!” he whispered.
I tried to speak, but he pressed his finger harder against my lips.
“Soon!” he exclaimed, then stood up, slightly hunched over and still straddling me. The small creature seemed to tower over me, his stiff penis hovering above my face as my mind faded back to the dark oblivion of sleep.
I took a couple of days off work as Mark suggested, but was going crazy sitting around the house. It was too cold to go anywhere without a car so I decided to go back to work a day early.
I talked to Judy throughout the day, telling her about my mother and my first boyfriend. We discussed the similarities between them and what happened to Jacob. It seemed an implausible coincidence that four people in my life had been murdered and mutilated.
Judy suggested I might be cursed. She told me of other people she had heard about that were cursed. They were scary stories, but I took them as just that: stories.
She suggested I go see Ritha, her Haitian fortune teller friend and even offered to drive me there and pay for it. After initially laughing it off, I decided it couldn't hurt anything and agreed to go.
The bell over the door clanged as we walked in to Ritha's small shop in a seedy area of downtown. It was right out of a movie. Fake shrunken heads and voodoo dolls hung from strings along the counter. There were many shelves lined with dusty, old books, and a large snake slithered around in an aquarium behind the counter.
Ritha came out of the back room, the beads that served as the door rattled as her large frame pushed through them. Her garish clothing and huge earrings were exactly as I expected.
“Judy!” she greeted, in a heavy accent, “So nice to see ya! And who's your friend?”
“This is Emily.” Judy answered, “We think she might be cursed.”
“Ah!” Ritha exclaimed, “I be the judge o' that! Follow me!”
We followed her to another movie set room, complete with round table, a crystal ball covered with a colorful scarf, and several lit candles around the room.
“Judy, I think maybe...” I began, only to be interrupted buy Ritha.
“Shoosh, Girl, give me your hand!”
“That'll be $25, Judy.” Ritha said, as she took my hand.
Of course it was $25. I was feeling very silly for coming here. Judy dug through her purse, pulled out the money and handed it to Ritha.
Ritha studied my palm, and seemed to get more and more agitated.
“This cannot be!” she said, grabbing an old book off the shelf behind her.
After flipping through the pages, apparently finding what she was looking for and slamming the book shut, she put the $25 back on the table.
“I cannot help you!” she exclaimed excitedly.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Please just go!” she snapped, “You have been bargained! I cannot help you!”
“Bargained? What does that mean?”
“Take your money and GO!” she yelled, shooing us out of the back room.
“Please tell me what you mean!” I pleaded.
Ritha grabbed my arm, looked around as if to see if anyone was listening and lowered her voice to a whisper.
“You have been bargained! Do not resist!” she said, pushing us out the door.
“I... I don't understand!” I stammered, as the door slammed in our faces.
“Your 'friend' is a KOOK!” I growled.
“I... I've never seen her like that!” Judy replied, “She gave the money back... she was terrified!”
“She's a kook, Judy. Please take me home.”
The bare trees projected eerie shadows across my bedroom wall as the cold wind battered them about. The occasional slapping of the branches against the window prevented sleep from fully overtaking me.
Drifting through the realm that lies between dreams and consciousness, my mind conjures images, sounds and scents from my past, and from the deep, dark well of my imagination.
To the left stood my mother, her body stiff and unmoving, smiling as if posing for a photograph.
Between my legs sat an imp, his hands on my thighs, pushing them apart. He is bent over and deeply sniffing my vagina, eyes closed, a look of euphoria on his wrinkled face.
Another, smaller imp, sits at the foot of the bed picking his nose.
My mother looks at me, the joy on her face morphing into profound sadness.
“I'm sorry, Emily, I didn't know.” she whispers, a single tear trailing down her cheek.
I smell the Fourth of July.
I force myself out of bed with the morning light, feeling worse than if I had not tried to sleep. My naked body is sore, every muscle tender and weak. I do not recall removing my clothing. My throat is raw. I must be coming down with something.
Wrapped in several layers of clothes, I am still chilled to the bone as the bus comes to a stop in front of me. I exit the bus a few minutes later and walk the two blocks to Ritha's shop.
“I cannot help you, Girl!” Ritha snapped upon seeing me enter the shop.
“Please, Ritha... I need to talk to someone. I'm having strange dreams. Little creatures...”
“Tell me no more!” she interrupted, “Do not involve me, I beg ya... please go!”
“What's going on, Ritha! My mother...”
“I said, Go!” she snapped, putting something in my hand and pushing me out the door.
Standing in the biting cold, I looked down to find four cone-shaped incense in my hand.
I drifted off to sleep, the light, oddly metallic scent of the burning incense slightly irritating my nostrils.
Moaning softly at the warm sensations in my groin, I lifted my eyes and attempted to shake off the remnants of sleep. I tried to move, but my body was uncooperative.
I gradually became aware of a building fire in my vagina. Still unable to move my limbs, I lowered my gaze. The impish creature looked up at me, licked his lips with a long, purplish, forked tongue, then turned his attention back to my vagina. Instead of fear, I felt an intense annoyance, not unlike a girl whose younger brother incessantly prods her in the back seat of the family car.
My annoyance gave way to lust, as the creatures tongue explored and probed my feminine region. My paralyzed body trembled and my vagina ached for release from the building pressure.
A dark shape moving in the corner of the bedroom briefly caught my attention. I closed my eyes as my body involuntarily stiffened and convulsed with ecstasy. This was my first orgasm, if indeed this was an orgasm, and I never wanted it to end.
As the sensations faded, my body exhausted and drained, I again noticed the dark shape in the shadows as it appeared to move closer to me. I attempted to focus my bleary eyes on two yellowish spots in the darkness. An overwhelming sense of pure evil washed over me and I tried to scream, but was unable to produce any sound.
The spots blinked as I fell back in to the welcome darkness of slumber.
I awoke the next morning terrified, but somehow calm. I know now that I can't seek help; anyone I contact will end up like my mother, or Jacob. Whatever this is, I must face it alone.
I'm still unsure of the purpose of the incense, but I did seem to be more lucid last night than I had been on other nights. At least, I am now sure it really happened and wasn't just a dream.
I was lost; I had no idea what was visiting me, why they picked me, or how to fight them. Searching the Internet turned up mostly fantasy stories and religious web sites.
After giving up the search and lying back down on my bed, Ritha's words rang through my head: “You have been bargained!”. It all started coming together in my mind; the image of my mother the other night, her tearful apology and grizzly fate.
I now understood what I was facing and wept in despair, knowing there was no choice but to accept my fate.
The remaining three incense filled the room with a smoky haze; I wanted to be fully lucid. The window cracked open to allow fresh air to enter also lowered the temperature several degrees. I fought sleep until the wee hours of the morning and do not remember drifting off.
The blanket slid across my body, pulled by unseen hands to my right. My breath was visible as I panted rapidly, the anxiety building. My limbs were heavy, requiring great effort to move them even mere inches.
The imp creature climbed his way up the side of the bed, crawled between my legs and sniffed my vagina.
“Master! She is ready!” he squealed with delight, then scampered away, out of sight.
My breathing slowed and deepened as I tried to calm myself down. I have accepted my fate; I now only wish for it to be over.
A figure moved in the shadows, the dim light from the moon illuminated the large clouds of vapor emanating from its panting mouth. Its breathing was loud and rapid.
It took a step closer to me, the slanted beams of moonlight shining through the window revealing the lower half of its body. His skin had a dark red hue, massive thighs bulged with muscles. Yellow eyes peered lustfully at me from the shadows.
It took another step toward me and his penis emerged from the darkness. I recoiled in horror. It was fully erect and clearly too large for a human female. I kicked my legs weakly, trying to get away, to run for my life.
Clawed hands appeared from the sides of the bed. Imp creatures were everywhere, grabbing my ankles and pulling my legs apart. Two of them wrapped their thin hands around my wrists, pulled my arms outward and held them in their vise-like grips.
They cheered and laughed as another, larger imp jumped up on the bed, tore my nightgown off and held it over his head for all to see. He threw the nightgown on the floor and with one swift motion, tore my panties from my body. He put them up to his nose, sniffed deeply and jumped off the bed, cackling with glee.
I closed my eyes tightly and prayed the only prayer I knew; the one my aunt used to say with me as she put me to bed.
I felt the bed lurch to my left, then to my right as the weight of red creature pressed down upon it. I kept my eyes shut and turned my head. If I saw his face, I'm was not sure I could maintain my sanity.
I could feel his hot breath on my stomach. The room was dead silent except for his heavy, deep panting.
The warmth and size of his tongue startled me the first time he ran it up the lips of my vagina., lapping me over and over as I sobbed helplessly.
His weight again shifted the bed several times. Rough hands grabbed my hips on either side, raising me off the bed, arching my back as my wrists and ankles were still firmly held in place by the imps.
I tried to scream as he pierced my virginity. Pain shot through my body as if I were being split in two. Almost immediately the pain was replaced by a euphoria that I cannot explain; it was beyond orgasm. My head spun and my mind soared through clouds of passion. I kicked my legs free of the imps grasp and wrapped my legs around his massive hips, thrusting my body in sync with his.
The nearly-spiritual orgasm continued while he jammed his penis in to me repeatedly. It did not subside, even after I was exhausted and collapsed back on to the bed. He huffed and grunted, pumping my vagina furiously.
I cried with joy as my body writhed in endless ecstasy. I prayed in vain for the pleasure to stop. My eyes rolled back in my head and I wondered if it was possible to die from orgasm.
The windows rattled lightly at creatures deep, guttural roar. His hips jerked in sync with his grunts of pleasure. Hot semen filling my vagina.
Mercifully, the orgasm faded as his penis slid out of me.
I waited through many minutes of silence before I braved opening my eyes. The room was cold and empty.
Several weeks passed uneventfully. I awoke late on this cold, but bright Sunday morning and went directly to the bathroom to pee, carrying with me the bag from the drug store.
I sat on the edge of the bed watching the clock for several tense minutes.
After waiting the prescribed amount of time, I looked down at light blue plus sign, and wept.