Marks and Scars

Writing Challenge
small town
supernature earth

His eyes were so cold, so stunning that it stopped everything around me. It took a moment for me to get past the eyes and see him. Everything about him screamed to run away. His dark hair was either perfectly messy or perfectly styled to appear messy, framing his tanned face. His eyes were dark and piercing. He had a strange pattern of tattoos climbing up his left arm, disappearing beneath the sleeves of his black t shirt

Everything about him seemed to be something I should avoid.

“What are you afraid of?” he repeated. “Right now. What’s stopping you?”

“I don’t think I’m afraid of anything,” I said honestly, raising my shoulders. “I’m just trying to be responsible.”

“Responsible?” Jeremy laughed. “Are you telling me… don’t you know?”

“Don’t I know what?” I asked him.

A storm of frustration clouded his eyes and I instinvtively shrunk back.

His lips crashed against mine.

I tensed up, but my resolve melted before I could fully process what was happening. All of the sudden, I had been dying of thirst and his lips were sweet nectar. I raised my hands, laying them on his chest gently, curling my fingers into his soft black T-shirt. When I didn’t resist, he deepened the kiss, parting my lips gently. He slid one of his hands up my arm and gently wrapped it around my neck.

Excitement sparked within me along with the sensations his fingers left on my skin. I wondered what was happening to me. This was more than just a bad decision following a night of drinking. This was something more, something that I felt deep down. I needed this. I needed him.

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Calm Before the Storm
It was 7:50 PM. Ten minutes until closing. I was sitting on my stool, hunched over the glass of the display case that served as a counter for the tiny gift shop. No customer had come through the open front door for at least an hour. I drummed my fingers on the glass, staring out the open door and into the night. It opened onto Bull Street - one of the busiest streets in downtown Savannah. Yes, even at this time of night, tourists were milling around. Most of the night life was a little further North of the gift shop, but stragglers still made it this far south while wandering the historic district.  I sighed, pushing myself from my seated position, and started gathering my bag and my jacket. No one would notice if I locked up just a few minutes before closing time. Besides, Cathleen was waiting for me. She’d been sending texts to my phone every two minutes for the past half hour. My best friend was waiting for me out in the square instead of heading to B&E’s to save us a seat.  I went into the back room and flipped the breakers that controlled the lighting- something we did to cut the lights since we couldn’t find the switches for half the lights in the store- and I made a mad dash back to the storefront in the dark, barely managing to zip in between the fragile displays littering the small space. The store was pitch black, and definitely haunted. But what part of Savannah wasn’t? I often heard the tour guides say that you can’t move six square feet in Savannah without crossing over someone’s grave, down beneath the asphalt.  It wasn’t that I was afraid of whatever entity occupied the gift shop, I just wasn’t all that excited to meet their acquaintance.  I locked the door to the store and jogged across the street to Wright Square. Cathleen sat on a bench beneath a streetlight, right next to the boulder that served as a monument to Chief Tomochichi.  “There you are!”she shouted, jumping up and effectively spooking a nearby troupe of girl scouts. Tonight, she had her long lavender hair pulled up into a loose ponytail with a few loose pieces strategically framing her bright blue eyes. She was wearing a short sleeve, bohemian dress that stopped half way down her thighs and was the same deep violet shade her hair had originally been when she dyed it. It suited her, complimenting her porcelain skin and petite figure. She joined me as we started our trek to B&E’s, her brown boots clicking on the stone bricks that paved most of the streets downtown.   “You could have come into the store,” I reminded her, “Or headed on down and saved us a table- or at least got us a spot in line. We’ll probably have to wait close to thirty minutes now.” Cathleen just shook her head. “Nah, Tyler said he can probably sneak us in through the back gate. We’ll be solid.” I rolled my eyes. I didn’t like the idea of having to cross through the alley that led to the back gate.Within ten minutes we could hear the music from the clubs surrounding B&E’s. The franchise was normally just a chain burger restaurant, but since this location was downtown in the midst of several night clubs, they had a large outdoor seating and entertainment area with live music to bring in business.  Cathleen led the way into the dark alley that backed B&E’s, and I glanced around us suspiciously. Cathleen grew up here- she knew the city like the back of her hand and had no qualms about taking shortcuts through sketchy alleys or side streets. But it wasn’t just the alley that was skeeving me out. I’d felt an icy sensation on the back of my neck most of the night- since I’d gotten to work around 2:00 PM. But I also watched too many horror movies and was paranoid, so I brushed it off. Being in the alley though, was different. While we waited outside the wooden privacy fence that blocked off the back entrance, I could have sworn I could see someone at the other end of the alley. And it looked like they were definitely watching us.  Before I could start to panic, the fence swung open, and Cathleen’s older brother, Tyler, was ushering us inside. He too was glancing around furtively, but probably just to make sure no one else sneaked in behind us.  Tyler and Cathleen were siblings, but couldn’t have looked any more different. They were both fair skinned, but where Cathleen’s hair was blonde (when she wasn’t testing out every color of the rainbow in hair dye), Tyler’s hair was dark- about the same shade of brown as his eyes. He was incredibly tall, towering over the both of us, and spent the time he wasn’t working at the gym. Cathleen said he’d spent about eight years in the Marine Corp, and it showed.  Now though, Tyler was mine and Cathleen’s temporary roommate, and the newest bartender at B&Es. And he made the best damn margaritas I’d ever tasted. I followed Cathleen and Tyler out to the patio and we sat at the pub table closest to the outdoor bar.  Cathleen picked up a discarded menu from a neighboring table. “What should we order to eat?” she asked. “Are we here to eat?” I asked, honestly surprised. Cathleen just raised a blonde eyebrow at me. “Well, no. But you aren’t allowed to have anymore tequila without some sort of carb lining your stomach. So, loaded cheese fries or nachos?” I laughed lightly. “Cheese fries.” “So cheese fries,” Tyler noted, “And…” he pointed at me “Margarita on the rocks, right Kara?” I nodded enthusiastically. Then he turned to his sister. “What are you trying tonight?” Cathleen looked over at the cocktail menu, scribbled on colorful chalkboards hanging above the bar. She looked back to her brother and shrugged. “Something with whiskey, surprise me.” Tyler nodded, swinging around on one foot, headed back to the bar. “Don't be afraid to make it strong! And don’t forget our sides of ranch!” Cathleen called after him. I stared across the table at Cathleen. She narrowed her eyes back at me. “What?” “Did you drive here?” I asked.  “No, mom. We’r taking an Uber tonight, calm down.” I nodded appreciatively, ignoring the mom comment, and glanced around us.  Fairy lights were strung above us, lighting the patio in a soft golden glow. It was crowded like most Saturday nights. The night’s band was some punk rock cover band playing songs that Cathleen knew every word to. She bobbed her head, singing the words - her voice was lost in the sound around us. People milled all around, gathered in small groups around tables. Some of them were pre-gaming for the clubs next door. Others were like us - they’d rather spend the night here than at the club.  We were Tyler’s favorite customers whenever we came. Our drinks were on the table in no time, and our food followed not long after. We also ended up with a decent discount on the final check, which didn’t hurt his tip one bit. “How was work?” I asked in the break between sets. I was picking at the cheese fries, waiting on a margarita refill.  Cathleen just shrugged. “About the same as always. Filing, researching, that sort of thing. You?” I made a face. Cathleen worked as a paralegal at Stumble, Hodges and Marks- a small law firm not far from the gift shop. “I’m a cashier at a gift shop Cathleen, I sat at a counter all day, helped people with purchases and gave directions to tourists.” Cathleen made the same face back at me. “You had that homeless guy wander in and start photographing you that one day. And then he chased all of your customers down the block.” I rolled my eyes. “There were no appearances made by any hobos today, I’m sorry to disappoint.” Cathleen laughed. “What about poltergeist incidents? Were there any of those?” I felt myself start to grin a little. “No, none of those either.” Finally, Tyler returned, setting down my second margarita and cleared away our empty cheese fry platter. The rest of the night sped by. After my third margarita, I’d felt all my stress and anxiety melt away. I sat in my seat, watching Cathleen who had been dragged away from the table, and up closer to the band.  “Don’t feel like dancing tonight?” Tyler asked, sliding into Cathleen’s vacant chair. I smiled and shrugged. I never danced, and it was no secret. I couldn’t dance, and no amount of alcohol would make me embarrass myself in that manner.  Tyler watched his sister with a cross look. Or rather, he wasn’t watching his sister, but the taller guy who had pulled her away. He wasn’t unattractive, I’d decided, but wasn’t exactly Cathleen’s type. I didn’t think Tyler had anything to worry about from the big brother standpoint.  I tapped my empty margarita glass against the table. “I’m ready for another drink, if you don’t mind,” I told him, trying to distract him  before he did anything to embarrass Cathleen. Or himself. Tyler looked at my glass and broke into a wide smile. “Are you sure you want another margarita? Or do you want to try a mystery cocktail?” I stared at the near empty glass of Cathleen’s he was waving his hand around and scrunched my nose. She’d only had one cocktail, and my usually reserved friend was on the dance floor with a stranger. “I think I’m gonna have to pass,” I told him. “A margarita would be awesome though!” “Got it!” Tyler clapped loudly, “One mystery cocktail, coming right up!” “That is not what I said!” I argued before he could start to walk away. “Hey! If you drink the cocktail, I’ll comp the bill,” Tyler promised, holding up his right hand up, his fingers forming the boy scout salute. I took a breath, but before I could respond, he spun around on his feet and marched off toward the bar. “You will not regret this!” He yelled over his shoulder.  I sighed, and curiously took a whiff of Cathleen’s glass. I leaned back, holding in a gag.  It smelled like acetone.

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