Falling in love was easy. Turning the dream into reality might not be.
|1650 word count August entry for "Paranormal Romance Short Story Contest"
It was a strange and wonderful creation, this relationship. Gail Simone had been captured by surprise. To be rescued by storm’s thunder and lightning from a fate worse than death? Superman really existed, she’d said.
Only the clothes he wore were normal. He stood over her assailant masked in jeans, t-shirt and those slip on cheap china loafers men liked. The rapist was dressed in a vacant face devoid of its previous threat and lust.
“You came out of nowhere.” Actually he’d appeared from a brilliant sunset bleeding across the sky. How gentle he’d been, this new super hero, reaching down to caress her back to her feet. It was a pre-teen’s luscious puppy love dream.
“He’s been stalking you for weeks. A fan I guess. You didn’t see me, no-one does when I don’t want them too. I’m a chameleon of sorts.” There was a strong grip to his hand but not overpowering. It drew her close to him and the moment.
It was such a stark contrast to fearing for her life or worse. “You know me?”
Realization broke upon her in a sudden rush of what this wonderful stranger had said. “Stalking me? A fan? Were you stalking me, too?”
She felt a warm blush turn her eyes away from his, bluer than the sky, where she’d been momentarily lost. “I suppose I should report this to the police.”
A deep vibrato chuckle added its allure making her lips falter, tongue dance at the edge of a question, asking who he really was and where had he been all her life. Being saved had something to do with it, but there was something more.
“You’d best get back to your work creating horror comic books, Gail Simone. I’ll take care of this broken lapsed moral tale gone to seed. He won’t bother you again.” There was no threat, it was more like a friendly promise.
“How do you know so much about me?” Gail Simone's senses were heightened by stress of what she'd just gone through and washed by relief in finding safety in such a gentle and caring fashion.
He’d winked and then he was gone. So was the monster who had attacked her. Gail Simone’s startled gasp brought a scuffed hand to her throat. That and a few lonely bruises were all that revealed what had happened had not been a fantasy.
The dreams in following nights had echoed the feeling. The fear, heightened awareness, useless struggle, the weight being lifted off. It made her days sitting at her desk in the home office a useless task of concentration. “Crazy girl crush.”
She found herself going on walks. Ending up where they had met ever so brief but intensely. Talking to him and herself. “So long since I felt this way if I ever did. Where are you? Where did you go?”
It was a certain madness. Prettying herself up for the invisible man. What kept her coming back was feeling invisible eyes watching, protecting her, testing her resolve. The chameleon came out of hiding on the last day she’d promised herself to allow an emotional nakedness never given before.
“Yes. I’m here. No I’m not the dream you’ve been imagining I am. It is time you found that out.”
“You’ve been listening to my silly prattle. You are making me blush all over. Who are you if not a dream fantasy made real?”
She was talking as if she was the heroine in some bodice ripper. He was bringing a side out of her that wasn’t the usual Gail Simone. A sigh sent her into his embrace and soul kiss to plunder a desire so deep it seemed an endless well.
He made her weightless, lifted her up, carried her like a kitten in his arms. The wind became a part of them, cool caress. The blur of speed sent her thoughts reeling. “Are you even human?”
“My feelings for you tell me so.”
He settled her down below the mist of a waterfall where their images joined in the pool’s reflection. “I’m what they call an enhanced human. I have heightened hearing, eyesight, running ability, and can blend into surroundings at will.”
Had she given up her dream to meeting a freak? “Are you some kind of escaped military secret weapon?” He seemed harmless enough. “What do I call you? Agent X?” There was that tickling chuckle. She joined it in spite of herself.
“Try calling me darling, sweetheart or dear. But can you put a little more life into it? May I kiss you?”
His lips were smooth as silk, his breath warm where it shared her own. “I’m becoming lost in you.” Gail Simone pushed away, surprised she remembered her own name.
“I’ll call you when I want you which is now,”
When their union was over she felt him still in her, within a new richness of heart and soul. “Can you read minds?” She whispered against his chest.
“I want to spend all my tomorrows with you, Gail Simone, if you’ll let me. It will take that long to get to know each other as completely as we both want.”
They talked the day into long shadows, making love on a whim to answer any question mark. He didn’t really know who he was or where he’d come from. His life seemed to start at his first endearing sight of her.
“I followed you around like a puppy. A gym signed me up on trial until I get verified. Health food on account isn’t half bad when you’re hungry. The pool and shower comes with the plan. Another homeless dude shares his locker and shaver. That’s about what I know.”
His English held no accent. His manners were pure delight. When they grew hungry he fed her wild fruit, berries and nuts dropped one by one into her mouth, and ice cold cupped up hands of waterfall they bathed in naked as Adam and Eve. He knew his surroundings well.
When it was her turn there wasn’t a thing she wanted to hold back. “You don’t need to know about my x-husband. I wish I didn’t. The only good thing he gave me was my two pre-adolescent boys, Roy and Elvis. They’re visiting my mom while I finish my next project. You are going to be a super surprise to them.”
“Don’t worry, Chameleon’s fit right in anywhere.”
And that is how Roy and Elvis got to know their mom’s invisible friend. It seemed weird at first hearing her talk to herself, giggle and kiss the air. Their home cleaned itself up in no time. Stuff flinging itself back where it belonged.
“I think mom invited a poltergeist in. She acts like she’s lost in some kind of magical spell.” Roy had gotten used to sleeping the summer outside in the boy’s treehouse with Elvis. They’d tried trapping the creature but so far had failed. Footprints appeared in the flour spread on their bedroom floor but disappeared when they brought their mom in.
“It’s so spooky, like living with a ghost.” Gail Simone just smiled and nodded. “You’ll meet him when it’s time. I like how he’s shaping you up. No more teasing tricks, whining about chores or asking to stay up all hours. I like the new you.”
Lately, when they’d gone indoors around midnight to the bathroom, they could hear two voices in their mom’s bedroom instead of one. “Sloppy love talk, yuck.”
Unknown battle lines were drawn. The invisible man had moved in with them. Stolen their mom’s attention. Made it a point to invade and attack the boy’s privacy. Roy and Elvis learned, becoming second hand chameleon’s of their own, acting like angels instead of kids.
The time would come when they could reveal themselves as fallen angels when the invisible man made his first appearance. “Kind of nice finding our favorite breakfast on the table, meals on time and such. Mom don’t nag half so much.” Elvis didn’t sound wistful. The good old times were losing their evil power’s hold of getting away with murder on him.
“Does this ghost have a name?” Roy screwed up his courage to ask over his favorite steak dinner.
“I call him Pet, but he isn’t one. He may look invisible but he’s just finding himself. He’s gone camping for the weekend back to a favorite spot. Want to go meet him?”
It meant meeting the invisible man on his own ground. Roy looked at Elvis who looked back licking his lips. His mom and her invisible lover might have won the first battle but they had yet to win the war.
“Sure, mom.” The boys echoed on cue. They could finally put their sights aimed where they belonged.
While Gail Simone packed up, humming herself happy, Roy stuck his slingshot hiding under his shirt in his back pocket with a bunch of marbles used for fire power. Elvis’ backpack grew round with sneezing powder, his mom’s unused sleeping pills, and lots of glue. “Ready, Freddie.”
Mischief and their own hiking boots were afoot. Their tent went up as far away from their mom’s as they could get. Tin cans tied to stakes were hammered into flowers growing around where they slept.. “Warning us in case of bears,” Roy said.
“Uh huh.” Gail Simone could see the storm clouds growing where no-one else could see them. She knew the signs of her sons past shenanigans. “This is going to be an interesting reality check, Pet.”
There was that low pitched tickle of chuckling laughter. “This is going to be harder than dealing with a wannabe rapist, isn’t it? I think I’ll be needing some moral support.”
“Pet or Pete?” Your name is Pete?” Elvis goggled at the sudden appearance of a man walking towards him through the trees.
“You can call me anything but late for dinner. Hungry? I am. How about some fresh cooked trout?”
“Sounds fishy to me,” snorted Roy, sliding his slingshot back in place. His stomach was growling, needing reinforcement. Maybe taking on Pete could wait.