REBOUND: A SUPERNATURAL SHORT STORY
Carole was my best friend the moment we met. Three months ago, she arrived at my small, West Village walk-up like a wayward angel, and asked, “Are you, Zoey?” She was looking for an apartment, and I was in need of a roommate when my useless boyfriend of five years stranded me for another woman. After showing her around the apartment, and learning about each other’s lives, I was certain she was a decent person. Without further thought, I offered her the second bedroom.
A day later, she arrived with minuscule possessions—a small bag of clothing, a laptop, and a beautiful bejeweled box, explaining she’d given up worldly possessions for a minimalist lifestyle. “Besides,” she’d said, “I work from home as a remote business consultant, so there’s no need for a large wardrobe.” I soon learned her adoptive parents, who passed away a few years ago, left her financially secure with a large inheritance. That’s when Carole told me her biological mother abandoned her as an infant. She grew up an orphan never knowing her true surname or date of birth. She accepted her plight and never pondered her real family.
Carole and I are total opposites. I’ve been told a constellation of ginger freckles bridging my almond-shaped eyes and nose is my most attractive facial feature which is unusual for a brown-eyed, brown-haired African-American. At five-feet-four inches, I’m dwarfed by Carole’s willowy five-feet-nine-inch frame. Too independent for most men, they soon feel emasculated and run the other way when I refuse to be the helpless doting girlfriend. Carole’s drop-dead gorgeous. The quiet, mysterious beauty guys fall head over hills for, the type who doesn’t realize her allure until admired by others. Her humility is endearing.
Persistently, rivulets of brunette strands fall about her milky complexion. But there’s something about her features that strikes me strange. In daylight, her eyes turn several shades of gray. At moments, her face shifts in different light, I assume her complexion’s opalescence creates the surreal quality. Sometimes it seems another shape is trying to escape her face. When she’s resting, facial bones fluctuate in odd alignment as if struggling for symmetry. I assume when she’s in deep thought, fleeting emotions account for the anomaly. However, underneath her beauty dwell a modest soul and perhaps the reason we get along so well.
Carole’s spiritual and a little odd at times, but I like that about her. She hangs crystals on the window, drinks copious amounts of green tea, and practices tai chi and yoga. Sometimes at night, I swear I’ve seen her sitting in the dark meditating. She believes in mystical topics I have no interest or belief in, such as spirits, past lives, and fortune-telling. Occasionally, I ponder Carole’s mysterious arrival. She appeared ten minutes after my online advertisement for a roommate, and a day after I ended my relationship with Peter.
. . .
Carole answers the door on Saturday night and immediately recognizes Michael, but Michael doesn’t recognize her new form. She can’t stand being in the same room. Flashes of their past encounter trigger an unusual effect. She feels her conscious battling to separate from her body. The scent of a familiar cologne lingers in her nostrils. She doesn’t want to smell him or remember, not now, not here. Afraid her true form will show itself, she excuses herself and leaves Michael waiting for Zoey.
Carole rushes to the bathroom and in the mirror sees the irregular contour shifting into place. As soon as anger subsides, her face assumes a normal shape. But she can’t go back out there. It could happen again. She rushes to the closet and pulls out the bejeweled box. Inside lays a tiny, blue crystal jar and colorful beads. She takes a small sip of the blue potion. Again, she’s one with Anna. From a velvet sheath, she withdraws a glistening dagger, bedeviled with a mystic’s spell. She has to wait for the right moment to use it, although she wishes she could tonight. She has to wait for the storm to come. It has to happen in the same place and at the same time, an orchestration that will happen because Anna saw it a year ago before we became one. I have to wait.
“Carole, we’re going?” Zoey yells from the other room.
Quickly, Carole closes the box and clears her throat. “Have fun, I’ll see you later.”
“Nice meeting you, Carole,” Michael yells.
But Carole can’t bring herself to say the same. So she says nothing and the front door closes.