By the Candle Light

Image result for candle

She was beautiful, that much he could tell. In an attempt to conserve energy, the writer had opted to use candle light. In the dim light, he could still feel the woman’s radiance. His fingers were paused over the keys to his type writer. It had been a shadow that distracted him from his work. It was clearly cast from a human. He lived alone in his single bedroom apartment. He stared wide eyed and shocked when he saw a woman. Her skin was a pale white, almost as white as the gown she wore. Her head was tilted as she stared at him. Her smile was wide. He could have sworn that he saw her eyes, but every time he focused her shoulder length, inky black hair obscured them. He looked her up and down.  There were little shard of glass by her feet, reflected by the glow of the candle. The orange glow from the candle colored her pale appearance. There was an inexplicable pain in his neck. It felt as if his neck had been bent in an unnatural position, even though he hadn’t moved. He tried to open his mouth to say something to her, but no words came out. He blinked, then blinked again. His cheek was pressed against his arm. He lifted his head and looked around. He was still at his desk. There was an orange glow coming from his blinds as the sun began to rise. The candles had long since burned out. He got up to wash his face, the image of the woman still in his head.

He waited at his typical café for a group of his friends; three writers who were the few people who could successfully get the recluse of a man out of his apartment. He looked up to see his friend walk into the café, as boisterous as ever. He gave a few more strokes of his pencil to capture the loose strands of hair that covered the perfectly symmetrical face. He wiped at his nose, and sniffed away any wetness that had been there.                                                                                                                                                                                               He didn’t even look up as his friends pulled out their chairs.

“What’s up?” one friend said. There was a pause, and the friend looked over at his drawing.

“Nice pic, Sam. Who’s the girl?” Sam looked up and closed his sketchbook. He couldn’t contain his smile.

“The most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“She looks kind of creepy,” another friend said. Sam grimaced at him. When he looked back at the picture his smile crept back on his face. He turned to look at the window. He could have sworn he saw the woman. She flicked her hair over her shoulder to look at him and smile. His throat felt dry. Her clothes had a yellow and brown twinge to them, even though it looked like the same white gown.

“She looks like that one girl,” his friend said. Sam snapped his attention away from the window to face him.

“What girl?” he asked. The friends looked between each other. The stayed quiet for a moment.

“The car wreck, Sam.”

“Don’t you remember?” Sam pressed his lips together and tried to think. He say a highway. There was music, loud. He could smell the alcohol on his breath as he laughed loudly with… a woman? She turned to him, a wide smile on her face. He remembered taking his eyes off the road to tangle his fingers into her hair; an inky black.

“Sam, oh my god!” one of his friends shouted. He looked between them and realized that there was a wetness coming from his nose and streaming over his lips and down his chin. He used the back of his hand to wipe it away. One of his friends had already jumped up to run to the front counter. When he brought his hand back up, it was covered in blood. His head began to hurt. He could feel a napkin being used to wipe his face and another being used to hold at his nose. He took the napkin into his own hands and muttered a quiet “thank you”. They guided him from the table, one friend staying to pick up his belongings. They sat him down at the bench. In his haze, he tried to look for the woman from before, but to no avail. The friend with his belongings sat down.

“Dang… some got on your drawing,” he said. Once they got his nose to stop bleeding he looked down at his sketchbook. Blood had indeed gotten onto his picture of the woman. A splatter had covered her face; a face that he didn’t really remember drawing. The splatters had also made a line at her neck. His friends offered to walk him home, but he declined.

Night came much faster than he had expected. He had set up his typewriter to get some work done, but his mind couldn’t focus. The same shadow was cast from the candle light. His heart skipped a beat. He turned a round and his voice caught in his throat. It was the same woman from before. Her skin was a sickly yellow and blue. Her clothes were tattered and her hair was in tangles. But he was drawn to her face. She was still as beautiful as she had been the other night. She smiled widely.

“Hi,” she said. Her voice was soft. Sam could feel butterflies in his stomach. He stood up. The pain from before ebbed back in, and intensified with each step that he took toward her. She took his hands. They were cold and clamy. He closed his eyes; he couldn’t tell if he was breathing or not.

It had been almost a week since Sam’s home had been entered. The police officer covered his nose with his hand. The smell was enough to make him gag. The apartment was immaculate, the bookshelf stacked beautifully, the hardwood floors clean aside from the thin layer of dust. He walked with his superior officer to open the door to the bedroom. His stomach turned as the stench wafted throughout the rest of the room. The body was still in the chair in front of a type writer. It’s head was tilted back. From where he was standing, he could see dry blood caked onto his nose. There was a line from where blood had dripped from the man’s lips. There was no visible trauma to the man’s body. The officer looked over at the candle, the wax completely burned down. He walked over to it. From the layers of the hardened wax, it looked like it had been lit several times over the past week. He looked up at the window and saw two figures. He took a step back. It was a man and a woman. The man… looked a lot like the body in the chair. The woman… he couldn’t see her face that well, but he was drawn in by her inky black hair. He looked down at the body again. Its lips were turned up into a smile. When he looked back at the window, the figures were still there, but they seemed to be staring right at him.

I hope you liked this short story!

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