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Desiree’s Leap – Horror Short Fiction

February 29, 2016

Picture Prompt from FB group Elements of Genre Writing

No Face

Desiree’s Leap

She sways in the gentle morning breeze. Her body comes alive once again. She has form and subsistence. She lifts a hand to her face and touches it. Two eyes, a nose, her lips. It must be February 29th, she surmises. A young child screams at her mother. A crowd of people stop and stare, terror on their faces.

Damn, Desiree thinks, I guess I returned to a crowd of people this time. This was a deserted lake when I left four years ago.

She looks down at her scantily-clad body, her clothes in tatters. Damn cheap clothing, she swears under her breath. She remembers in the past, when she would return, her clothes barely looked worn, but clothing had been cheaply made since the mid-80s and they barely withstand the void. Hell, she barely withstands the void.

The once deserted lake is now a popular vacation spot. Houses and shops have crept up on the landscape. She walks down a newly constructed sidewalk, digs into what’s left of her slack’s pocket for the small amount of money she took with her the last time. Lifts out a $50 bill. Hopefully she will be able to buy something decent to wear with that. She makes her way to a small outlet store.

The passersby stare at her as she goes past them. She glances into a shop window. Her hair is a mess, but she is alive and looks as young as she did when she left the last time. Not bad for a 76 year old woman, but of course, Desiree only ages once every four years. By all accounts, she looks only 19.

She purchases a t-shirt and pair of jeans. Clothing prices have skyrocketed in the last four years. Starving, she goes to the coffee shop next door and buys a coffee and pastry with her last few dollars.

As she sits on the patio outside the coffee shop, Desiree contemplates her life. She has one year to do what? Live? If you could call it that. She has no family. Her parents have been long dead. Her brother and sister had passed away the last time she materialized. She’s never had friends or even a lover. How could she? What could she tell them? You have one year with me and then I will see you again in four. Yes, that would go over well.

Desiree sighs deeply. 76 years of loneliness. Her parents never understood. They deserted her when she was 6, or 24 in their years. Still, she was but a child and all alone. Her siblings hated her. How dare she interrupt their lives every four years like that. Like Desiree had a choice in the matter. She didn’t ask to disappear every February 28th nor materialize again four years later on February 29th.

“If only I had been born the day before,” she whispers. “Oh stop pitying yourself!”

She needs a job and a place to live. No time for pity. She wonders if Old Sage was still around. She would need his help again.

Desiree makes her way to the house where Old Sage lived the last time she’d been here. She knocks on the door and when it opens, it isn’t Old Sage, but a younger man about 20 years of age.

“Hello? Is Sage Brewster here?” she asks the young man.

He stares at her long and hard for a good minute. Then smiles.

“You must be Desiree,” he says finally and opens the door wide. “Come in. I’ve been expecting you.”

Desiree is stumped by his words, but follows him into the house anyway. He leads her to the small study where she’d always sat with Old Sage on her previous three visits. The young man offers her a seat and she sits down. He sits across from her in the old leather chair Old Sage always sat in.

“I am David. Sage was my grandfather,” he tells her as he offers her a cup of tea.

“Was? Does that mean…”

“Yes, grandfather passed away last year. But don’t fret. He told me all about you and what I must do to help you.”

Desiree sighs, relieved. She sips her tea as she watches David closely. He is a handsome man, she surmises.

“I have the documents ready for you. Birth certificate, drivers’ liscense, and grandfather left some money for you.”

Old Sage was the closest thing Desiree had as a friend. She’d met him back in the early 2000s. He had been a forger in a previous life, but was retired. She’d met him through an acquaintance. He’d been forging documents for her ever since.

Desiree sits her cup down on the table beside her. “I am sorry your grandfather has passed on, but I am grateful that he passed my plight on to you.”

David stands up and leaves the room. When he returns, he is carrying a small packet. He hands it to her. “Everything you need is in there.”

Desiree accepts the packet and smiles up at David. A queasy feeling stirs within her stomach. She frowns and moans softly.

“Are you okay?” David asks, concerned. He places a hand on her shoulder.

“I… I don’t know. Something doesn’t feel right.”

A sharp pain courses through her body. She doubles over, holds her stomach. She feels her body shimmer. She lifts a hand to her face. It fades away slightly, then comes back to flesh.

“What’s happening?” David asks as he backs away from her.

“This shouldn’t be happening so soon,” Desiree whispers.

“What shouldn’t be happening?”

She feels a tingle along her cheeks and blinks. The world around her goes dark for a moment, then comes back into focus.

“Oh my God! Desiree, your face!”

She shimmers again. Feels the sinking nothingness of the void entering her body. She gasps for air.

“No, not yet! I still have 365 days. You cannot take this away from me!” she screams.

“Desiree! Can you hear me? Desiree?” David tries to grasp her hand, but it fades away, flickers and returns.

“David? David, are you there?”

She blinks her eyes again and David’s handsome face appears before her. His eyes wide and blank.

“I may not be here long,” she whispers.

“But what is going on? Grandfather says you stay a whole year.”

Desiree sucks in air. “David, I am 76 years old by your time,” she barely whispers. “I think I am dying.”

David slinks to the floor beside her. He tries to touch her, but she shimmers and fades partially away.

“What can I do? Desiree? Tell me what to do!” he begs.

Is this what death feels like? Do you just simply fade into nothingness? Desiree reaches out a hand toward David’s face. It goes black, then shimmers back into focus. It’s now or never. Should she take the leap? She leans into him and kisses his lips. Her first kiss. Her last kiss.

©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.

(1163 words)

7 Comments
  1. Great story and landed here through Jacqueline’s blog-o-ween party… ready to get your Site haunted?click here to get scared https://sasha1010blog.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/blog-o-ween/ woooo…hoooo…..😈

  2. That’s very sad, poor Desiree. That’s quite a curse she was under. Great story!

  3. inkbiotic permalink

    Chilling, creepy, great story! 🙂

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