The Unseen Woman

March 20, 2008
By Erika Lafnear, Clarkston, MI

Vera sat in the vinyl clad booth of an old, but still thriving diner thinking about the wretchedness of her own existence. She stared at the gray, overcast sky. It mirrors my mood really nicely, I wonder if it’s coordinating with me. After wasting a few minutes mocking herself for thinking that she was important enough for the sky to try and coordinate with her, Vera downed the rest of her coffee (which had grown cold during her melancholy contemplations), dumped enough money on the table to cover the bill and a tip for the less than attentive waitress, yanked on her jacket, and headed out into the frigid November afternoon. Vera silently berated herself for being irritated with the waitress; it wasn’t her fault that she hadn’t been attentive. It was all that man’s fault. Everything was so rotten because of his selfishness. If she ever got her hands on him she was going to . . . She sighed, that’s never going to happen. She was stuck in limbo while he was gallivanting around with Gods knew who, doing Gods knew what. He was such an irritating man. Vera shook her head and sucked in a deep cleansing breath, telling herself that there was no point in getting all worked up over something that she didn’t have the power to change.

As she rounded a corner, Vera stumbled into a man coming from the opposite direction. He had been traveling at such a speed that he was actually thrown backward onto the pavement from the force of their collision. Vera, who had managed to keep her balance, cocked her head to the side quizzically as she looked down at him. She supposed that some would consider the dishwater blonde hair that hung into his eyes, his baggy jeans, and “trendy” loose t-shirt attractive, but she sure as hell didn’t. He just looked sloppy to her. Besides, he reeked of one of those trust fund babies that tried to be ghetto. To sum it up, she admitted that he wasn’t exactly hideous, just very, very sad. While Vera had been noticing all of this, the man had managed the extraordinary feat of lying dazedly on the concrete, apparently unable to figure out why he had ended up there. After a short time had passed, he picked himself up, twisted at some odd angels, in what seemed to be an effort to make sure that everything was working properly and resting at an appropriate angle, and moved on without ever glancing in her direction. As soon as he was out of sight, she began, once again, her aimless meandering of the rat-infested city that she called home. How is it possible to physically run into someone and have that person not realize your existence? Vera growled in frustration. Never mind that, I know how it’s possible, I just never dreamed that that damn spell could have this extensive of an effect. There is no way that I am ever going to be able to reverse a spell that has the power to completely mask you from the notice of all humanity. It can’t be done.

She continued wandering in this way for some time before she looked up and realized that she had no idea where she was. Vera chuckled to herself, she had thought that she had explored every inch of her dungheep of a home, but she had, yet again, been proven wrong. Typical. Even when there wasn’t anyone around to contradict her, she was still proven wrong. While she swung about, trying to decide which direction to go in, a small, decrepit house slowly entered into her awareness. The two-story structure was completely constructed of wood and looked as though a soft wind would send it tumbling to the ground. A lacquered sign nailed next to the door declared it to be: Madame Makaila’s Specialty Items. Vera sniggered as all of the different connotations of specialty items entered her mind. And then she realized that she had unconsciously begun to move toward shop. She tried to stop, but felt herself being inexorably pulled towards the front door. Vera began to pray fervently as she ascended the steps that led to the porch, silently pleading with the Gods to keep her 120 pounds from squeezing the ancient stairs’ last strength out of them. Her hand, of its own accord, reached for the rusty knob and she entered the darkness beyond.

The shadowy, musty, incense-filled room that she found herself in contained rows upon rows of shelves, which towered over her, almost touching the ceiling. A fine coating of dust coated the surfaces and she had to hold her breath to prevent the sneeze that she felt building in her sinuses. Now that Vera was inside, the force that had been pulling her forward seemed to have released her. She had the sneaking suspicion that someone was trying to trap her, but just as she turned to leave, something caught her eye. It was a light in all the darkness, candlelight if she wasn’t mistaken. She couldn’t help but investigate. In what appeared to be the center of the room, she found a pedestal, ringed with lit candles. On the pedestal sat a thick leather bound book, the only thing in the room that did not look like it was coated in an oppressing layer of dust. She could feel the energy radiating from the tome and couldn’t stop her hand from extending to caress it. But just before she made contact, an all too familiar voice called out from behind her, “Greetings Vera!”

She swung around, her foot nearly taking out one of the candles. She could feel her heart trying to claw its way out of her chest. Before her stood a man that dwarfed her five foot five inch frame. His shoulder-length hair, the color of which had always reminded her of the wet soil after a hard rain, was tied at the nape of his neck somehow, probably with the ornate bone clip that he had always worn when she had known him in the past. If Vera had had to guess, she would have said that it was probably the same bone clip that he always used to wear. His glowing green eyes, cat’s eyes, seemed to be able to peer into her and witness the fear that he had caused to bloom in her chest.

“Hello Evron, long time no see.”

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