132

By BK Swain All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Thriller

A man, a woman and a swimming moon

Lester Hatch hid his eyes behind his cagey fingers. The graphic images of innocent young people being slaughtered by a seemly invincible masked goliath were too much for him.

He peeked through when he thought it was safe, saw the end credits rolling and dropped his hands quickly to avoid any questions of manliness from his date. He gave a muffled sigh of relief and turned to look at her.

Under the warming house lights, he remembered why he had perused her so relentlessly after first seeing her downtown.

She was nice to him, which Lester was not accustomed to. He had been bullied in school as a child and at home by a crazy overbearing mother who insisted he would never amount to anything.

Imogenes’ strawberry blonde hair appeared more auburn in the dimly lit theater, but it was her eyes that truly captured his awareness.

Her pupils had opened up wide in the darkness consuming the blue that he loved so much but welcomed him back nonetheless.

“Scary movie huh Lester?” Her nasalized voice reminded him of a telephone operator.

“Yes, very scary. I’m glad I could be here to protect you.”

“My hero” She batted her lashes, nestled his long slender arm in hers and rested her head on him as they exited into the lobby.

Lester stood head and shoulders above the next tallest man but tended to walk hunched over expelling an aura of low self-esteem. His pale skin sometimes took on a green hue in a certain light, and the fluorescent tubes hanging overhead highlighted this abundantly. Normally people were put off by the tall, lanky, malachite fleshed ghoul like man but the attention he gathered on that night was one of wonderment as to why such a pretty young girl was on the arm of a middle-aged human stick figure like him.

Outside, the parking lot was wet from a storm that had passed over providing evidence through small islands of mirrored pools.

“I love a walk at night after a good storm,” Imogene said. “The moon’s reflection off the puddles always feels so personal. Like it came down from the sky just for me.”

“I know what you mean,” Lester replied. “It seems to follow us in one, then swim under the asphalt and pop up in the next.”

He pointed ahead at a beaten 1958 Pontiac Bonneville Woody Wagon that had lost its shine over a decade ago. “Here we are. She’s not much anymore, but for being twenty years old she’s sturdy.”

Imogene leaned against the car and crossed her arms, tilted her head to one side and gently bit her bottom lip. Keeping her eyes on his, she reached up and began slowly playing with her long hair.

Lester watched as her splendidly nail tipped fingers twisted the strands around. “Your very beautiful Imogene.”

She smiled. “Thank you, Lester. What would you like to do now? Get a room maybe?”

“No.” He said quickly. “That’s not what I paid for. I don’t want that.”

“Ok.” She nodded. “Then what do you want? We just watched a great movie, which is something I don’t get to do very much, so thanks for that. This is Kansas City, there's plenty of trouble we could get into.”

She reached over to him and rubbed his arm. “You know. You’re the first guy that when I asked him if he wanted a date, wanted an actual date-“

“A picnic.”

“A what?”

“A picnic. You asked me what I wanted to do. I want to take you on a picnic.”

Imogene was speechless for a few seconds. “A picnic? You want to go on a picnic? At night, on Halloween?”

“Yes. Please.”

His voice sounded shyly child like to her and she giggled. “Alright, cool. Where would you like to go?”

He smiled and opened her door. “I know the perfect place.”

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