Disclaimers: You know the drill. Don’t own them. Just like them. Look familiar, but they’re not.

Violence: Nah. Well, not really bad.

Subtext: In this one there may be a smidge. Nothing major; certainly not graphic by any stretch.

Note: This short isn’t exactly a Halloween story per se, but more just a story that happens to take place on October 31st, and has a bit of an eerie feel to it. Enjoy.


If you’d like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am, or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com

when souls collide by kim pritekel


"The case of the woman brought into the hospital last Tuesday still remains a mystery to San Diego police. The woman, dubbed as Jane Doe, had been involved in a hit and run accident, and lay in a coma for the past five days.

"Area police are asking anyone who may have some details as to the identity of this woman, please contact Sgt. Tony DiOfrio. Jane Doe is estimated to be in her mid to late twenties, black hair, and blue eyes." the news announcer said, his voice smooth, velvety. "Today in weather,"

A woman stepped around the corner from the kitchen, her short, blonde hair standing on end, her legs bare with only an over-sized night shirt on. She plopped down on the black leather couch across from the set, and watched with droopy green eyes as Rod Jenner announced the weather.

"More rain." she muttered, stifling a yawn. Last night had been long and draining, trying to attempt to get all the figures that her short, bald, idiotic, sexually frustrated boss had asked for. She was an accountant for a large firm in downtown San Diego. If the money weren’t so good, she would have told her short, bald, idiotic, sexually frustrated boss, Dennis Davies to go to hell.

The blonde turned her head when she heard the scraping of metal tags against the wood floor. Her basset hound, Spud trotted across the living room of the condo, his big, droopy eyes half closed as usual, dark brown ears dragging next to his wrinkled feet.

"Hello, my boy." she cooed, scooping him up into her arms, and laying him on his back in her lap, his big ears spread out like wings on her legs. In answer he stuck his tongue out so it lulled to the side as he panted. The blonde grinned. "How’d I get such a short, wrinkled little son?" she asked, scratching his chest. He whined, squirming against her thighs, large paws pawing at the air. "You know," she said, looking at the basset hound speculatively, "You almost look like my boss." Spud whined again, almost as if he knew just what kind of insult that was. The blonde chuckled. "Just kidding, my boy." She set the dog down onto the couch, and stood, stretching her arms above her head and groaned, then headed off to the bathroom and the shower.

Spud tried to dig himself a comfy spot on the leather, then plopped down, his short little legs folded up underneath him, his big brown eyes trying to stay open, but slowly closing as he listened to the outrageous voice of his owner belting out the classics to the beat of the pounding water pressure. He raised his head, staring off in the direction of the hallway that led to the bathroom. With a small whine, he lowered his head, and closed his eyes with a doggy groan.

"San Francisco! San Francisco!" the blonde sang, her eyes closed as she rinsed her short hair before grabbing the bottle of Pantene, and squeezing a blob of the fragrant shampoo onto her palm. She stopped, biting her lip as she rubbed the goop into her golden locks, realizing that she had forgotten the words to the song. "San Francisco," she muttered, running her fingers absently through the soapy, gooey hair, working the strands together, and slowly bringing them up between her palms, making an impromptu Mohawk. "San Francisco, San. Ah, hell." She thought for a moment, her hands still working steadily on her new hairstyle, the very tip flopping over to the left. "On top of old smoky, all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed!"

Spud whined again, burying his face into the pillow at the arm of the couch.

"Okay, big guy. Have to go." the blonde said to the basset hound who still camped out on the couch. He raised his head, then plopped it down again. The blonde made her way into the kitchen, buttoning the cuffs of her cream colored silk blouse, fastening her earrings. She walked into the kitchen, grabbing her travel mug from the strainer next to the double stainless steel sink, and walked to the end of the counter, by the phone, toward the coffee pot. She still whistled Old Smoky under her breath, but stopped, the last note falling from her lips in a breath. No coffee.

"What the," she leaned down, examining the pot, noting the switch that read ON. She looked into the basket. The grounds were still there, mocking her with their strong aroma. "No way," she muttered, flipping the switch off then on again. Nothing. "Damnit!" that was the third coffee pot to die on her in as many months. "Piece of junk." She grumbled, tossing the travel mug back into the strainer. Glancing at the wall clock above the stove, she saw that she was already running a bit late. Now she had to make a stop at Starbucks. She felt jittery without her morning caffeine. "Damnit."

The day was chilly, considering it was late October. The blonde stopped for a moment, realizing that it was Halloween. She raised her brows in surprise, then headed on out toward the parking lot next to the building. Perhaps she’d have to grab a bag of candy on her way home from work. There had been a few trick-or-treaters in the building the year before.

"How do, Miss. Lauren?" the doorman asked as he walked around the side of the building, taking the yellow dishwashing gloves off his large hands. The blonde grinned at the gloves.

"More doggy runs, huh?" she asked. The large, dark man nodded.

"Yep. Think folk's’d be able to pick up after they own animals."

"Have a good one, Tyrone." The blonde said, shaking her head and patting the man on the arm.

The parking lot was empty, most of the cars already gone. The blonde saw her BMW right away toward the back of the lot. She had gotten home late the night before, and had to park out in the boonies. She brought her key ring up, and clicked the little blue button on her alarm remote, the black car chirping to life as she walked to it. When the blonde reached her car, she stopped, the hair on the back of her neck standing on end. A slight shiver running down her spine. She opened the door, standing between it and the car itself, and turned, expecting to see Sid Metcalfe, the strange old man from 32B who loved to sneak up on her. No one.

"Come on, old man. I’m ready for ya." she muttered, as she looked around the deserted lot. Still no Sid.

The blonde turned back to her car, but could not shake the feeling that she was being watched. She shivered again, and got into the car.

The drive to Starbucks was punctuated by groans of irritation as folks in the city seemed to have nowhere to go, and no specific time to be there.

"Come on!" the blonde shouted at the little blue Chevy truck in front of her. "In this country green means drive!" the truck continued to sit right on through to the red light, the driver’s head bent down, obviously finding the morning paper much more interesting than the road. The blonde laid in on her horn, trying to snap the man out of it. She gasped as she saw an arm fly through his window, a middle finger attached. "My god." She breathed. The blonde completely understood the reasoning behind road rage. Finally, as the light turned green a second time, the blue Chevy puttered off, covering the black BMW with a cloud of foul smelling smoke. "Jerk."

The parking lot for Starbucks was crammed with cars. The blonde sat behind the wheel, staring at them, all gleaming under the early morning sun.

"Damn." she muttered, knowing that though this was a bad thing, her without her morning coffee was even worse. She needed something strong. Something that others would say would put hair on her chest. Well, she supposed she could just drink the coffee that she knew would be left in the pot from yesterday in the employee lounge. "Damn," she said again, pulling into a parking space, yet again, out in the boonies.

The noise level was hideous for eight-fifteen in the morning. The blonde hated mornings, especially when they were turning out as shitty as this one. She groaned when she saw the swarm of people mobbing the counter. Five flustered workers ran circles around each other trying to fill orders.

"Damn." The blonde muttered as she looked around, trying to determine where the line actually ended. No formal pattern visible, so she just picked someone, and stood behind them, tapping her fingers impatiently against the side of her skirted leg. She looked down at her watch. "Damn.’

Finally, large mocha latté in hand, the blonde made her way through the crowd that was like Grape nuts; the more people who left, the longer the line. She hurried out to her car, sipping the hot brew as she went, plopping down in the driver’s seat, closing her eyes in pleasure as the strong coffee made its way down her throat.

"Oh, yeah." She smiled with a contented sigh, setting the cup into the cup holder attached to her dashboard, and started up the car.

She officially had twelve seconds to get to work. No problem. She grumbled to herself again as she pulled out of the parking lot, and onto the main strip.


"Man, you are out of your friggin’ mind." Darryl said, frowning at his buddy, Roger who sat next to him in the dump truck.

"Nah, I’m telling you the truth, Dar. She stuck her ass in my face.’ Darryl glanced briefly at the road, then turned back to his friend, disbelieving eyes beginning to turn into a wistful look.

"Did she a, did she have a nice ass?" Darryl asked, swallowing. Roger looked at him like he was stupid.

"Of course she did! How do you think she got that job dancin’ anyway?"

"Ah, man. Man oh man oh man oh man! If only Sally had let me go with you. Man oh man."

Roger grinned, glancing out the windshield, his eyes bulging.

"Look out!" Darryl’s head snapped around just in time to see a little black BMW heading toward the intersection. "Shit, red light, dude!"

"I know, I know! Shiiiiit!" Darryl pushed his foot down onto the brakes as hard as he could, hearing the heavy load of the truck groan with the burden.


The blonde glanced at the dash clock, and groaned. She was so late. She saw up ahead that the light was still green, but had been for a while, and didn’t want it to change before she could get through. She went to press down on the gas pedal when out of the corner of her right eye she saw a blurb of black beginning to step off the curb, and slammed on the brakes, the car skidding slightly as it came to a stop. Breathlessly, she glanced to the sidewalk to see if the person was okay. She drew her brows; no one was there. Then her head snapped around in time to see a huge dump truck fly by, dirt flying out of the back as the driver was trying to stop. Her heart was beating out of her chest as she watched the truck finally slow, only to begin to pick up speed again. She watched until the truck was out of sight. Placing her hand to her chest, she glanced to the sidewalk again, trying to see what could have possibly caught her eye. No one was there save for the old guy with his grocery cart who stood under the overhang of Gibs’ Shoe Shop. Instinctively she knew that the old man had not been what she had seen. If she had seen anything at all.

"Gah!" the looked down as she felt something burning. Her large mocha latté had flown from the cup holder, and had slammed into her, spilling the hot fluid all down the front of her silk blouse. "Damnit!" she hollered, swiping at the stain with a napkin from Starbucks. With a sigh, she downed the rest of the coffee, setting the empty cup back into the holder, and staring down at herself. A large, dark brown stain in the shape of what almost looked like Texas, spotted her left breast, the tip of Texas running downward. She dabbed at it with the napkin, stopping it. "What an auspicious beginning." she muttered, and got the car back on the road.

The Fentnal building was large, boasting more than forty-eight floors to house law offices, banking headquarters, and of course the accounting firm where Lauren worked. It was even rumored that Anthony Hopkins had an office somewhere in the place.

She hurried to the front door, briefcase in hand as she passed by the front desk, not even bothering to say hello to Kayla who was the receptionist. She just gave her a backward wave as she raced off toward the elevators. The blonde watched the floors slowly light up as she waited for the number twelve to be lit.

"Come on." She chanted, finally a loud ding filling the car, and the doors slid open. The blonde hurried down the hall, then slowed, steeling herself for when she had to pass Davies’ office. Taking a deep breath, she revved up her internal engine, and tried to zoom past.

"Lori!" she heard slither out of the door.

"Lauren." she hissed quietly through her smile as she turned to face the open door. There stood the short, bald, idiotic, sexually frustrated Dennis Davies.

"How goes it?" the little man stood from his desk, and hurried around it to stand a mere two feet away from the accountant. She noted with disgust the partial erection visible through his badly fitted pants. Lauren took a casual step back, smiling at the man she detested. Davies smiled back, staring. She took in his short stature, putting him nearly at eye-level with her own five-four frame. His balding head bouncing reflections of the overhead light around, except where his comb-over was. His beady little eyes, nearly gun-metal gray, stared at her through black rimmed glasses, his long, clefted nose jutting out from under them. His tight-lipped smile widened as he took in her blouse, and the Texas stain across it. "Tough morning?" he asked, his bushy brows raising then falling. Lauren nodded, but just kept on smiling. "That’s too bad. I need those figures as soon as possible. As in five minutes ago." He said, that same tight-lipped smile on his lips. Damn, was he a ventriloquist, or what?

Instead of asking, Lauren smiled, nodded, and backed out of the office, nearly sprinting down the hall to her own office.

The one window showed a beautiful fall day outside. The trees danced gracefully with the breeze, people walking along the sidewalks, cars zooming down the streets. Lauren gazed, her chin propped on her left hand, her right clutching the pen that had been writing notes and figures on the yellow legal pad on her desk blotter. With a sigh she tore her eyes from the scene, and turned her attention back to her work. Green eyes widened when she saw that she had been unconsciously doodling. She drew her brows as she examined the drawing. It was a figure of some sort. She turned the pad, examining it from a different angle. Yes, definitely a figure. Black, as will happen when black ink is used. The silhouette of a person. The person was in profile, but not really, wearing a baseball cap, the bill seemed to be pulled low as very little of the facial feature outlines could be seen. A jacket, or bulky sweater, or just something bulky, was worn along with pants. There were no defining lines, as in silhouettes, all lines blended together. Lauren dropped the pen and sat back in her chair. Strange. She wondered where that had come from. She was an incessant doodler, but usually she actually had a clue she was doing it.

"Gah!" she screamed for the second time that day when the harsh buzz of her intercom phone filled the room. "Y-yes?" she placed her hand over her heart, closing her eyes as she tried to calm.

"Hello, Lucinda." Oozed the response.

"Lauren." she muttered. God, she hated that short, bald, idiotic, sexually frustrated man. "Yes, Mr. Davies?" she asked in her sweetest voice, literally biting her words as she spoke them.

"Yes, well I need those figures ASAP. So, if perhaps you could hop those little buns to it." The intercom clicked, and Lauren just stared at it. Oh, creepy, creepy little man.

The blonde gathered her stack of papers in a manila folder, and stood, but then glanced at the clock on the wall. It was nearly lunch time, and she knew she’d be working clear through lunch once the copies were made.


With a sigh, she tossed the folder to the desk, searched through the Rolodex, and found the number to Plimpton’s deli two blocks over, and dialed. Lunch ordered for delivery, Lauren grabbed her folder, and headed off toward the copy room.

Irritated beyond belief when she saw the OUT OF ORDER sign on the copier on her floor, Lauren headed toward the elevators. She nearly ran as she knew Davies had "the" meeting in twenty minutes. She stopped just shy of running smack into the stainless doors of the elevator, and pushed the button with the little down arrow. She waited, staring up at the lit number band, waiting.

"Come on." The light stopped at number 3, and did not move again. "What the hell," she breathed, feeling her blood begin to boil. Lauren looked around, "Aha!" she exclaimed, taking off toward the red door that led to the stairs. She pushed it open with the force of a train, and ran on. She felt her heal catch before she realized what a bad thing this could be. "Oh, crap," she muttered as her body lurched forward, her shoe slipping off. Lauren lost her hold on her folder, sending folder and papers flying to scatter on the cement floor. Lauren saw the rail just ahead of her, the twelve floor fall just beyond. Oh, god, oh, god! She put her arms out to try and catch herself, but the rail caught her at her middle, causing her to bend at the waist as the red rail embedded itself into her gut, knocking the wind out of her. She felt her feet raise off the floor, but then suddenly she stopped, someone grabbing the back of her shirt.

Lauren grabbed onto the rail, both feet firmly back on the ground, her breathing out of control as her heart pounded tons of gallons of blood. She placed her hand over her heart, and turned to see an amused woman standing behind her, a white paper bag in hand. The blonde looked down at the bag.

"Hey, that’s my lunch." She said, recognizing Plimpton’s bag. The woman grinned, nodding. "That was quick."

"You okay?" she asked, snapping Lauren out of her hunger-powered reverie. She blinked up into a face half covered by a black baseball cap.

"Uh huh. Thank you."

The woman held up her other hand, a gray high heel swinging from her index finger. "I tried the other two, but it just didn’t fit." Lauren grabbed the shoe, slipping it onto her foot. "Listen, you want this now, or,?"

"Oh, uh, can you run it up to my office? Lauren Atwater. I need to go make some copies downstairs." The woman nodded, turned and left the stairwell. Lauren watched her go. The woman wore a black leather jacket, the belt swinging at her waist, whacking her thighs as she walked, and black jeans. With a shrug, the blonde started out again.

The blonde made her way through the law offices of Trout/Kline, finding the copy room. She was often on the eleventh floor, as Trout used their firm for their bookkeeping. She hurried, smiling when she saw a man and woman with a stack of papers leaving the copy room. Woohoo. Maybe she’d get lucky and be the next in line. Lauren’s excitement died when she saw the large woman with the even larger flower-patterned dress standing in front of the machine. Mary-Margaret Smith. The woman’s behind shook back and forth as the old woman moved, slipping three papers into the sort slot at a time, then when they were copied, she’d take the three out, staple them with the electric stapler on top of the machine, then start with the next three.

The chipper old woman turned to look over her shoulder, her eyes lost in the wrinkles and folds of her face. Her mouth, pushed together to make it pucker, smiled, the dark pink lipstick she wore smeared on her front teeth.

"Hello!" she said, her hands automatically still stapling her three pages together. Lauren smiled, mainly so she wouldn’t scream out in frustration. "How are you? This is such a fine day. Don’t you agree? Just lovely. It’s chilly, but not too cold. You know how much I hate the cold. That’s why we moved out here." The woman covered her mouth with her hand as she giggled, her body giggling right along with her. Lauren stared down at the papers in Mary-Margaret Smith’s hands, a look of longing in her green eyes.

"Um, do you think you’ll be done anytime soon?" she asked. Mary-Margaret Smith glanced back down at her pile, then back to the blonde.

"Oh, gosh, honey. I just don’t know. I have all these to do, and staple. You know, I really hate to staple papers. One time I got my finger caught in a stapler,-"

Lauren suddenly got the vision of Linda Blair as Reagan in The Exorcist, her head spinning around, vomit flying from her mouth, and then for some reason she could almost feel the handle of a knife in her hand as she imagined Mary-Margaret Smith taking the place of Janet Leigh in the shower. Lauren raised her arm, hand in a fist, teeth bared, then lowered her hand. With a sigh, she waited.

"Well, hi there, Lana." Davies reached out for the folder Lauren held out to him.

"Lauren." She smiled, turned and walked out of the office.

Once feeling safe from Davies’ eyes and slobbering mouth against her own closed door, Lauren realized that she had a delivery girl to pay. She looked around her small office, and realized that there was no delivery girl there. Drawing her brow, she walked over to her desk, seeing the white paper bag sitting next to her adding machine next to the yellow legal pad. She saw a note scribbled out on it:

Catch you later for the lunch. A

Lauren stared at the note for a moment, then her eyes traveled over to the doodle she had done earlier. She narrowed her eyes, and grabbed the legal pad, staring at the drawing. The delivery girl? She stared at the baseball cap that was pulled low, covering much of the face. She thought back to the woman. She saw very little of her face, actually; basically only her mouth and chin, the slightest bit of her nose. The woman had long, very dark hair that was tucked behind her ears.

Lauren sat down, humming the Twilight Zone theme. She ran her hands through her hair, her bangs falling back into her eyes. Such a strange day.

Night was creeping in, so Lauren turned on her desk lamp, spilling a strange yellow hue around her, like a halo of light, the blackness of her large window behind her. The blonde ran a frustrated hand through her short hair tired of going over the same numbers all day. Because that short, bald, idiotic, sexually frustrated little man had decided to change his pea-sized brain, she had to completely re-do the figures.

Lauren tossed the papers aside, and sat back in her chair, her back and neck screaming at her, her eyes burning. The thought of going home to a nice, relaxing shower made her smile, but that smile died before it really began. She groaned as she remembered that Davies had given her the file earlier that had to be dropped off at the office across town. No, could not wait until tomorrow. No, could not be sent by the friggin delivery guy. No, Lauren Atwater had to do it. She pulled the directions the old man had given her out from under the stack of papers on the blotter, and squinted as she tried to read the small, sloppy scroll of her boss. The directions made no sense whatsoever to her, but she had never been over that way before, so could not exactly venture out on her own.

"Damn." She mumbled, and clicked off the desk lamp.

The night had cooled substantially, and Lauren shivered as she walked out the front door of her office building, wishing she had worn a jacket. The silk of her blouse making the cold all the more arresting. She crossed her arms over her chest, uncomfortable with the anatomical reaction.

As the blonde hurried to her car, she drew her brow, the ever present feeling of that morning still with her. She looked around nervously at the dark parking lot. The three street lamps were out, and had been for over a week. The strange thing was that even though the feeling was disconcerting, it did not necessarily scare her. Just didn’t feel right.

"Please don’t let me get raped, please don’t let me get raped," became her mantra as she dug her keys out of her pocket, hitting the blue button. She felt a slight bit of relief when the car chirped, and she hurried to open the door, tossing the folder she had to deliver onto the passenger seat, and climbing in.

The streets were relatively bare, not much going on in the city on a Halloween Monday. Lauren glanced at the directions Davies had given her again, the piece of paper held in her left hand as it rested on the wheel. She looked at addresses, seeing she was pretty far out of the loop, and realized that she was actually in some dangerous territory. The buildings were old and run down, the night making their empty windows gawk like the vacant eyes of a skeleton. She shivered at the thought, and reached down to turn the heater up a notch.

"Damn. I knew I should have taken a left instead of right." She muttered, still looking for anything that might look remotely familiar. "Damn." Lauren pulled the BMW to the side of the road, and looked down at the directions, pulling her city map out from the pocket in the door, opening it up to try and figure out where the hell she was. "Okay," she breathed, tracking the road with her finger. Lauren jumped when she heard a tapping on her driver’s side window. She glanced up to see the smiling face of a man with dark skin, crazy braided hair, and a knife. Two other men stood behind him, one checking out the car, the other checking out the driver. "Oh, shit."

"Open up the door, sugar." The man said, his wide, white grin seemed more like a leer to her. She shook her head, never taking her eyes off that knife. "Come on, baby. Ain’t gonna hurt ya." Again the blonde shook her head. Her eyes widened when she saw one of the men pull out a gun of some sort. Whatever it was, it looked rather dangerous. "Come on, now. Me and my boys just wanna play." The blonde saw the other two begin to split up; one went toward the front of the car, the other toward the back. She sucked in a breath as she felt the car move, then again. Back and forth. They were both pushing on the car, making it move up and down. Lauren closed her eyes, her hands firmly on the wheel, her body tight as a bow string.

"Oh god, oh god," became her new mantra. She just wanted to live through it. The rest would just have to be a bonus at that point. Her breathing was erratic, and she felt absolutely helpless as the rocking continued.


Lauren cracked an eye open, and saw to her absolute shock and delight a dark figure kicking the utter crap out of all three men. Two already lay on the ground, one moaning as he held his crotch, the other knocked out cold. Lauren’s eyes traveled back to the one who had been at the window as he fought the savior. He was losing a losing battle until finally he collapsed to the street with his buddies. Frightened green eyes looked up as the dark figure walked toward the car. The figure waited for her to open the door, the window, something, then bent down and tapped on the glass. Lauren only stared.

"You going to let me in or not?" a woman’s voice said, though it was muffled through the glass. Lauren just stared. The figure stood, arms crossed over a leather-clad chest. Lauren looked up, and it hit her. The woman with her lunch! The blonde unlocked the door, nearly hitting her with it as she plowed out of the car, wrapping her arms around the delivery girl.

"Thank you, thank you," she gushed into the woman’s shoulder, felt the woman pat her back, rubbing her shoulder. Lauren stopped, remembering where she was, and that she had absolutely no idea who the woman was, she slowly pulled back from her, giving her an apologetic smile. "Uh, sorry." She took a step back, her hands folded behind her back, slightly rocking on the balls of her feet. The woman smiled.

"It’s okay." She looked over the blonde’s shoulder, and shook her head. "Hope you have a spare." Lauren followed her gaze, and saw where one of the men had slashed her tire.


"Listen, um, I think the car can be driven a little. We kind of need to get out of here." The woman said, indicating the three unconscious thugs laying on the street behind her. Lauren nodded, and climbed back into the car, motioning toward the passenger side for the woman.

The street was even darker and seemed to ooze danger, but Lauren did not feel afraid for some reason. She stood out at the side of the quiet street, her arms crossed protectively across her chest as the woman knelt next to her left rear tire, jacking it up. The blonde looked down, seeing the woman’s hat, which she had turned backwards to work. She squinted against the night to try and see what was on the front. Two wings. White, feathery wings, and the words: Angel’s Wings

"What is Angel’s Wings?" she asked. The woman began to remove the ruined tire, and grunted,

"That’s my runner business." She wiped her hands on her jeans, and turned, extending her hand toward the blonde. "Angel at your service." Lauren smiled, and taking the larger hand in hers. Lauren drew her brows for a moment, cocking her head to the side. "What?"

"What are you doing here?"

Angel smiled.

"Oh, I’ve been here and there all day.’

"Oh." Lauren looked around the dark street, praying that Angel would hurry with the tire. She wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of Dodge.

"There ya go." The brunette stood, rubbing her hands together, looking down at her handy work. "All fixed." The blonde looked back up at her, relief shining in her eyes.

"I cannot thank you enough." She said, her stomach fluttering, and the events of the past hour beginning to register. She looked down, her fingers on her forehead.

"Hey. You okay?" the blonde felt a hand on her shoulder. She nodded, but could not look up for fear that the woman would see the tears that shone in her eyes. "Come on. There’s a diner just a few blocks down. Let’s get you some coffee. Something to eat, maybe." The blonde nodded, finally looking up to see the brunette turning her baseball cap around, the slightest bit of a smile on her lips.

The diner was quiet and mostly empty, save for a few sitting in old, torn booths, their dirty hands wrapped around a cup of coffee, or a glass of water. Obviously the diner made a great motel for the night.

"I know it doesn’t look like much, but they make a mean pastry here." Angel said, grinning down at her companion who still shook.

"Great." Lauren muttered, looking around, almost waiting for her eyes to settle on those three men from earlier.

"Come on." Angel led them to a back booth, both sliding across the old vinyl, the squeaky seat protesting. "You’d probably better eat something. May help." The blonde looked up at the woman, wondering if she were serious.

"I don’t think I can. My stomach’s a little to upset."

"Have you eaten since this afternoon?" Angel asked, her brows drawn in concern. The blonde shook her head. Angel nodded, and looked over toward the counter. "Hey, can we get some coffee over here, please, Linda?" the woman behind the counter in the stained uniform, the ruffly head piece slightly crooked on her wild red hair, glanced over at them. She stopped writing out a ticket, stared at Angel for a moment, as if she were seeing a UFO right there in the diner. Angel looked at her, shaking her head just the slightest bit. Lauren glanced from one to the other, then back again. She wondered what was going on, and was about to ask as much when Angel turned back to her with a smile that the blonde could barely see with the shadow from the cap’s bill. "You should try their stew. It’s really good here." The blonde continued to stare. "Well, that is if you like stew."

Deciding to shake off the weird feeling of her day, Lauren looked down at the sticky menu she’d picked up from between the salt and pepper shakers. She stared through tired eyes at black letters that made black words that were beginning to make black blurbs. She blinked several times, trying to clear her vision and her head.

"Hey, you okay?" Lauren looked up to see Linda the waitress standing at their table, coffee pot in hand. She placed a squat, cream colored mug in front of the blonde, and poured the steaming black brew to just below the rim with skilled ease. Lauren nodded. The waitress poured a cup in front of Angel. "Black, right, honey?" the brunette nodded, and the waitress walked back to the counter. Angel wrapped long fingers around her cup, and smiled. Lauren looked at those fingers, pale, almost clammy. She followed the fingers up to pale hands, some light criss-crossing scars along the back. She drew her brows.

"What happened?" Angel looked down at them, and nudged so the long sleeves of the leather jacket would cover them further.

"Had an accident."

"Oh." Lauren sipped her coffee, scrunching her nose, and reaching for a little plastic cup of cream, tearing the foil off the top, spilling the creamy liquid into her cup. "Strong." Angel nodded with a smile.

"That it is." Angel entwined her fingers around her cup, closing her eyes for a moment. "Lauren, do you believe in souls?" the blonde looked up from stirring her coffee, surprise marking her face.

"Uh, well, guess I never really thought about it." She set her spoon on the table next to her cup, and sipped again, the steam rising to make her nose feel slick. "Do you?" the brunette nodded.

"Very much so," she took one hand away from the cup, and begin to run her finger along the rim of the cup, around and around. "I believe one soul can help another." She looked up, meeting the blonde’s curious gaze, and smiled. "Kinda like I helped you tonight." She looked down to her cup again. Lauren sipped more coffee, reveling in the feeling of the heat as it traveled from her lips to her stomach, warming her up as it went.

"What can I get ya?" both women looked up, started, to see Linda smiling from one to the other.

"Um, I’m fine. Lauren?"

"I’ll have the chili." The blonde said, handing the waitress her menu. Linda nodded, and walked away, placing her pen back behind her ear.

"Not hungry, huh?" Lauren said. "You know, if you don’t eat, then I can’t pay you back for lunch." She gave her companion a small smile, which was returned.

"Don’t worry about it. You needed the food more than I needed the money." The blonde narrowed her eyes, and cocked her head to the side, sizing the brunette up. "What?" the brunette looked slightly nervous as she met the frank gaze.

"I don’t know, but. Well, for some reason I almost have this feeling like you’ve been taking care of me all day. The stairs at work, the lunch order, tonight, the truck this morning," Lauren stopped, shocked at what she had just said. Angel’s expression did not change. Lauren sat back in her seat, her hands in her lap as she contemplated the delivery girl. "No," she breathed. "No way." Angel said nothing just watched as she could almost see the wheels turning in the blonde’s head. "You were there?" she shook her head as if to clear it of what she knew was outrageous. "But, there was no one there." She looked down at the table, talking into her cup. Suddenly she felt so strange, as if she had just seen a vision and knew what it meant.

Lauren took a deep breath, steadying herself with her hands upon the vinyl seat of the booth. She slowly scooted out, looking at Angel, shaking her head slowly from side to side.

"I need to go now." She said, her voice quiet, but sounding almost mechanical, not her own. Angel watched her, her eyes almost smiling, and nodded. The blonde, clear of the table, headed toward the door, and began to push the glass open when she felt a presence behind her, the same presence from all day.

"I’ll get you home. You’re still in a strange area." Was breathed into her ear.

Lauren nodded. "I’ll say."

The drive back to Lauren’s neighborhood was a quiet one, neither feeling a need to say anything, both lost in her own thoughts. Angel pointed out where to turn with her finger, and Lauren dutifully turned until finally she knew where she was.

"You can drop me off here." Angel said suddenly, her voice almost desperate. "Right here. Please."

Lauren slammed on the breaks, the car slightly skidding as it rested next to the curb. She turned to look at Angel, who was smiling at her.

"Thanks." The blonde nodded.

"Thank you."

"Anytime." The brunette looked deeply into her eyes, as if she were trying to read something so deep within Lauren that even she did not know it was there. "See you soon." She said, and the blonde nodded, as if she knew those words were true. Angel looked at her, then took her cap off, laying it in her lap as she closed the distance between them. She reached her hand out, gently laying the palm on the side of Lauren’s face. The blonde closed her eyes, then felt the softest lips touch hers, and she responded immediately. With a soft moan, her lips opened, and she felt the warm wetness of a tongue touch just inside her mouth, tantalizing, teasing. When she brought her own tongue out to play, the tongue was gone. Lauren whimpered slightly. She felt more than heard a word breathed against her mouth,


Lauren leaned back, away from the kiss, her eyes still closed as she absorbed the lingering sensations. With a sigh, she opened her eyes to find herself alone. Alarmed, she looked around the street, back behind her, behind the car, squinting to try and see through the dark night. Nothing. Then it struck her that she was parked along the curb in the exact same spot she had been that morning after Starbucks, on her way to work. She saw the sign for Gib’s Shoe Shop, and slumped back into her seat.


Lauren looked around one more time, looking behind her, then to her right. Her eyes stopped when they spotted something on the passenger’s seat. She picked it up, a finger tracing the rougher texture of the embroidered angel’s wings on the front of the cap. She sighed again, suddenly not afraid, and knowing.

With a smile, the blonde put the cap on, put the car in gear, and drove down the street.

"In other news, late last night the mystery woman, known as Jane Doe, awoke when she was visited by a young woman. Jane Doe, finally identified as Angel Norris, smiled at the sight of her visitor, leaving doctors baffled. In weather news,"

The end

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