Early the next morning, Kavi got up and left his room, checking to make sure Amana wasn’t around.
“Good morning!” Amana’s cheerful voice startled him. She was right behind him. How had he not heard her footsteps?
“I didn’t hear you there,” Kavi’s voice trembled as he turned around. For once, Amana wasn’t wearing black. She wore a red shirt and dark blue jeans. But the scarlet red still reminded him of blood and vampires.
“I didn’t mean to scare you,” Amana said. “I’m sorry. This whole vampire persona thing, I guess I took it too far. But I assure you there is nothing sinister in the backyard.”
Kavi tried to hide the tremors but he just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.
“I was hoping you would stay,” Amana said. “Please? You’re the best translator I’ve had and I also consider you a friend. Actually, I think of you as my best friend. That’s why I asked you about going on a date.”
A date? And get himself killed?
Sure, she would probably pretend she was going to kiss him, only to bite into his neck and suck his blood! She had almost gotten him last time!
“No, I’m not staying,” Kavi said firmly. He got out his phone to call a taxi.
“Um…I almost forgot. Taxis don’t run on Sundays,” Amana said slowly. She kept her distance, realizing Kavi was truly afraid and would back away if she took a step toward him.
“What?!” Kavi stared at her in shock.
“Well…we’re in the middle of nowhere. What did you expect?” Amana reasoned.
Kavi felt anger bubbling up inside him. And most of all- fear. It rushed into him like a wave and threatened to explode.
“Come inside and have breakfast,” Amana coaxed him. “I made scrambled eggs and bacon.”
Kavi’s stomach rumbled.
“Okay,” Kavi finally gave in and went inside, fervently hoping Amana wouldn’t use ketchup this time.
A knock came on the door of his quarters. Kavi cautiously opened it and saw Amana.
“May I come in?” she asked, holding a small book.
“Okay,” Kavi moved aside so she could enter. He told himself to be on his guard. To ever be alert.
“Kavi, I would really like it if you stayed. We’re making headway on that book written by the Indian queen. Don’t you want to find out what the book contains? This connection between the Indus Valley and Ancient Egypt… this could be a new discovery!”
Kavi thought about it. He valued his life more.
“Yes, I do want to keep working on it,” he said. “But that tomb in the backyard….worries me.”
“If I tell you what’s in there, will you trust me?” Amana said. “Will you stop fearing me?”
Kavi shook his head.
“Okay, then if you won’t trust me, will you at least stay until we finish translating that book? I’ll give you a bonus.”
“Maybe,” Kavi said.
“All right, come with me,” Amana held out a hand. “I’m going to show you something.” Without thinking, Kavi accepted her hand. After he did so, he realized what he’d done but felt it would be rude to let go, so he allowed her to lead him outside. Instead of being icy cold, this time her fingers felt warm.
Once they were outside, Amana let go of his hand. She picked up a shovel and began to dig. Kavi watched and waited, hoping he wouldn’t end up in the ground.
Amana dug up a box the size of a large basket. It was a safe.
She opened it with a key from her necklace.
“Come and see. Open it,” Amana said.
Kavi crouched down to see. He slowly pulled open the safe’s door and witnessed several ancient-looking books and scrolls.
“These are my most prized possessions. Some of my rarest manuscripts, which I purchased on a trip to India,” Amana said. “I keep them in here to ward off thieves. After my boyfriend ran away with my rare book, I heard the rumors and decided to go along with them to make a plan for securing my rarest books. And so I installed a gravestone here, to ward off intruders. This way I am protecting ancient history.”
Kavi was speechless.
“This was why I didn’t want to talk about it. I bury my treasure under a pretend gravestone so that people will stay away,” she continued. “But perhaps this story should end. Help me bring this to the library and you can peruse them at will.”
Kavi happily obliged.
“Are you sure it’s safe?” Uma asked carefully.
Kavi spoke into the phone. “Yes, I’ve decided to stay.”
“But what about the rumors?” Uma wanted to know.
“Those rumors were just embellishments of a bad breakup. People can be so imaginative. The burglary had happened around Halloween and so people made up stories and the tales just continued unchecked.”
“How long will you be staying there?” Uma asked.
“Well, I might be staying for a while. Also, Amana has asked me out on a date and I said yes.”
“You’re going on a date with a vampire?” Uma laughed.
“She’s not a vampire; she’s a scholar like me,” Kavi grinned. “And a protector of ancient history. I think we will get along very well together.”
Amana opened the safe and brought out the rare book so they could work some more on it.
Kavi sat at the desk and tried to keep his eyes open. He’d had very little sleep the night before, which had mostly been filled with nightmares.
He reached for the book and Amana stopped him.
“Gloves first,” she said. Kavi dragged the gloves onto his hands and tried to stifle a yawn.
“You don’t look like you got enough sleep,” Amana said.
“Yeah, I had some nightmares,” Kavi admitted.
“Must be the full moon,” Amana joked. “Weird things always happen during the full moon. In fact, I’ll get out my telescope and we can look at the moon and stars tonight if you’d like.”
“Maybe. I’ll see how I’m feeling then,” Kavi said.
“Kavi?” Amana shook his shoulder and Kavi woke up abruptly. He had fallen asleep at the desk with his head down.
“I only left for a few minutes and when I returned you were dead asleep,” she said.
“Oh, I…” Kavi turned his head and saw drool on his sleeve. He quickly wiped it against his side to hide it.
“Go to bed,” Amana ordered. “We’ll continue translating when you’re well rested. I don’t want any mistakes on this book.”
“Sorry…” Kavi said.
That evening, Kavi went to the backyard to see if Amana had set up her telescope. The stars were out and the full moon was brighter than usual.
“Kavi, you made it,” Amana smiled. “I was just admiring the moon. Come and see it.”
She was sitting in a camping chair and had brought an extra one for Kavi. Amana peered through the telescope. “Check out the moon,” she said. “It looks glorious! I can see the sea of tranquility really well. That’s where the first humans on the moon landed. Try it.”
Kavi put his eye to the eyepiece and looked through. “That’s amazing,” he said. “I’ve never seen so much detail in the moon before.”
“Let me show you some of the stars and planets,” Amana said enthusiastically. She didn’t wait for him to move, but positioned herself right next to him, close enough that their shoulders were touching.
“Okay, I’ve found Jupiter,” Amana made room for Kavi and he looked into the telescope.
“Wow,” Kavi said. Then he felt a gentle arm encircle his shoulders. He turned his gaze and saw Amana smiling at him. The touch felt warm and inviting. Kavi was lost in the moment and speechlessly watched Amana’s face getting closer and closer.
Kavi got ready to close his eyes, wondering if Amana was going to kiss him.
Kavi turned away from the telescope and entered into Amana’s embrace. He closed his eyes as Amana gave him a gentle kiss. It seemed like she didn’t want to let go. Neither did he.
Kavi opened his eyes and spotted something large poking out of the ground.
He tensed and Amana slowly let go of him, sensing something was wrong.
“I’m really glad you came,” Amana was saying. “I feel like I’m getting to know you quite well. Ever since my ex left, I’ve been very lonely, and I’m growing fond of you. Maybe we could go on a date.”
She glanced at his face shyly.
But Kavi barely registered her words as he zeroed in on the strange object in the backyard.
It seemed very much like a tombstone.
“What is that?” Kavi asked, pointing.
Amana saw where he was looking and her eyes widened for a moment.
“It’s just an unmarked grave that has been on this property for generations,” she said in a way to signify that the subject was closed.
Kavi shivered just looking at the tombstone. He wondered how many bodies were down there.
Perhaps he should call the police or do some digging- no that would be too frightening.
“Kavi, what’s the matter with you?” Amana asked, coming his way. She reached out a hand.
“Stay back!” Kavi’s voice shook.
Amana stopped in her tracks. “I’m sorry,” she said. “But are you okay?”
“I’m getting out of here,” Kavi said. He had had enough.
“There are no taxis that run this late,” Amana replied in a steady voice.
“I can’t stay here with you! You’re going to murder me too!” Kavi clapped his hands over his mouth in horror.
“Look, I didn’t murder anyone!” Amana said. “Whatever rumors you heard, they’re not true!”
“There’s a tomb right here!” Kavi exclaimed, motioning with his hand. “This is proof!”
“No it’s not,” Amana said sourly. “I’ll explain later. But right now, let’s enjoy this time.”
“Stay away from me!” Kavi shouted. “I’m leaving tomorrow first thing in the morning!”
Amana stared at him with a hurt look on her face. But she said nothing.
She had been so sure that Kavi had feelings for her, just like she had for him, but now he wanted nothing to do with her.
A few days later, Kavi woke up with a fever and slept it off in bed.
“Kavi?” a voice said outside the door. When Kavi didn’t answer, the door opened and Amana came in. She noticed the pile of tissues on Kavi’s nightstand.
“Are you sick?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Kavi said, “I don’t want to get you sick, so you should go.”
But Amana shook her head.
“Oh, this won’t do,” she said. “I can’t have my translator out of commission. I’m going to do everything I can to help you get better. So you can get back to work.”
“First off, let’s check your temperature.”
Kavi opened his mouth to protest, but Amana took that moment to stick the thermometer into his mouth.
“Yes, you do have a fever,” she said.
Later she brought him some herbal tea and soup, which she set on the desk. The soup had a very garlicky scent to it.
“Do I smell garlic?” Kavi asked.
“Yes, garlic is very good for getting rid of colds,” Amana said. “Get better soon and use this walkie talkie if you need anything.”
Kavi took the offered walkie talkie and placed it on the nightstand.
A few hours later, Amana came to check on him and brought him some medicine. Kavi felt a bit nervous at having a possible vampire enter his room while he was vulnerable, but the sickness made it hard to focus on his fears.
“How’s the translation coming?” Amana came in and sat beside Kavi at the desk in the library. Days had passed and Kavi had since gotten over his cold.
“It’s going well,” Kavi said. “This book even has a bit of ancient Egyptian in it. I’ve dabbled a bit in that, so I believe I can figure it out.”
“That’s so cool!” Amana leaned over Kavi’s arm to look at the translation.
Kavi carefully tried to inch his chair away from her, but Amana draped her arm around the back of his chair.
“Good work!” Amana smiled, briefly placing a hand on Kavi’s arm. He flinched and Amana immediately dropped her arm from the back of the chair.
She looked at Kavi for a moment, as if in thought.
Amana sighed and leaned back in her chair. “I’m guessing you heard the rumors?” she continued.
“I know you’re scared,” Amana said, “but let me put your mind at ease. I’ll tell you over dinner.”
For dinner they ate shrimp smothered in a red sauce. Kavi inwardly wanted to ask why Amana always ate meat with some kind of scarlet sauce over it.
“Another one of your grandpa’s recipes?” Kavi asked.
“No, this one is my own,” Amana grinned. “I invent recipes too, you know. And around Halloween I tend to get very creative.”
“Now, let’s get down to the truth,” Amana said, putting down her fork.
“I’m listening,” Kavi replied, curious.
“Here’s what really happened,” Amana said. “I used to have a boyfriend who lived here with me. Then one day one of my rarest books went missing, and I found out this man was a fraud. He had only pretended to love me in order to steal that book. The next day, the book was gone and the guy was nowhere to be seen. I believe he fled the country.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Kavi said. “Were you able to get your book back?”
“No,” Amana said. “But ever since then I keep my rarest books locked up. I can’t trust anyone.”
“You can trust me,” Kavi said. “I’m not a thief, just a scholar of old languages, and my sister can vouch for me.” He gave a slight grin.
“You know, I sort of live up to the persona of the vampire sometimes,” Amana explained. “Ever since my book was stolen and the rumors started, I wanted people to fear me. So I moved away from the city and settled here. And it’s fun to go all out around Halloween.”
“Well, for a vampire, you sure know how to cook tasty food,” Kavi joked.
“I hope you won’t be afraid of me anymore,” Amana said with a grin. “I admit sometimes I do get a little carried away with the vampire stuff.”
“Well, you sure had me fooled. Thanks for telling me the truth,” Kavi smiled.
“Any questions?” Amana asked.
“So you never threw a book at your boyfriend?” Kavi asked.
“I would never treat a book that way,” Amana said with a grimace.
“What did you say?” Kavi’s eyes grew wide.
“You have to get out of there!” Uma was warning her brother on the phone.
“I admit she’s a little different, but I don’t think she’s dangerous,” Kavi said.
“The rumors may be true. The website says she killed her boyfriend by throwing an ancient Egyptian book at his head. It was a big, heavy book, enough to crush his skull. There’s even a police report to prove it, which mentions blood stains found on the wall. They could still be there! Then she buried him in the backyard. When they found the body, it was devoid of blood, the article says,” Uma finished.
“No way, that’s all lies,” Kavi said. “She said her boyfriend stole a rare book and left the country.”
“But did she tell you the whole story?” Uma asked. “Maybe she just wants you to feel safe. Just keep an eye out, Kavi. I don’t want you to end up like this guy.”
“She’s not like that,” Kavi said. “She said she goes along with the rumors, with the vampire image.”
“But why would she do that when she lives alone in the middle of nowhere?” Uma said. She had a good point. “You did say she always eats food with red sauce dripping on it. If there’s no one there to see that, except you, why would she put up with that persona?”
“I don’t know,” Kavi said, and now he was alarmed. “Halloween season, maybe?”
After talking with Uma, Kavi grew more and more concerned, tossing and turning all night.
The following day, Kavi took a cab to town to get some supplies. Some of Amana’s books were so old that they needed special equipment to keep them from degenerating. It was meticulous and careful work at times.
“You must be new in town,” the cashier said as she rang up the items. “Where are you staying?”
“I got a job at a house a few miles from here,” Kavi said. “It’s over on Raven Lane.”
“Raven Lane?” the cashier looked shocked. A few others were in the store and it suddenly went quiet when he uttered the street name.
“You mean you’re staying with the vampire in that haunted house?” the cashier asked in shock.
“She’s not a vampire,” Kavi laughed, but no one else joined in. “She hired me to translate some books.”
“That woman killed her fiance,” the cashier said. “They had some kind of argument over an old book. Then the next thing you know, the fiance disappeared. Amana the Killer Vampire, we call her.”
A man came over and joined the conversation. “In a fit of anger, she threw an encyclopedia at his head which killed him instantly. He’s the first person in history to be killed by a book. After that, do you know what she did?”
Kavi now had the shivers.
A boy and girl hurried over. “Then she turned into a vampire and drank his blood.”
“Exactly,” the man said. “The fiance’s body is buried in the cornfields near the house. The police were called to the house and discovered the dead body, but they could do nothing. They were able to escape in time with their lives. They say she was drinking the man’s blood when they got there.”
“How long ago did this happen?” Kavi asked, feeling terribly uneasy.
“About seven months ago,” the cashier said.
Kavi was feeling understandably uncertain when the cab dropped him off at Amana’s. He hesitantly went in, the door closing by itself behind him like it always did. He’d gotten so used to it it didn’t startle him anymore.
Kavi rushed to his room, shut the door, and went to bed early.
One night, after a particularly scary nightmare, Kavi got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. The bathroom was just a few doors down. As he walked down the hallway, the lights suddenly flickered out completely, and he was left standing in pitch darkness. Only a sliver from the moon coming through the window gave a bit of light.
Kavi tried to feel his way along the wall, but he quickly got disoriented. Suddenly he saw a bright orb of light in the distance, coming closer and closer. He heard the sound of urgent footsteps and a dark shadow appeared right in front of him.
“Help!” Kavi cried out. “Amana!” He raised his arms to shield himself from the shady creature coming his way.
“Kavi, it’s just me,” Amana pointed the flashlight at him. Kavi was cowered on the floor, blinded by the light.
“I thought you were a ghost!” Kavi trembled.
“Come on, it’s okay,” Amana reached under his arm and helped him up. Kavi noted Amana was wearing black pajamas, which certainly looked like something a vampire would wear. He wondered if he was having a Halloween nightmare.
“I was searching for the bathroom but got lost,” Kavi stammered.
“You can use the one attached to my room. I have a generator in the opposite part of the house,” Amana was still holding on to his arm, and she gently pulled him along down the hallway as if he were a child.
Kavi wondered if he was soon going to become a body in the basement.
“No, that’s okay,” his voice shook a bit as he pulled out of her grasp. “May I borrow the flashlight? I’ll use the other bathroom.”
“Suit yourself,” Amana let go of his arm. They were right outside her quarters. She handed him the flashlight and went back to her room.
Kavi made his way back to the other end of the house and found the bathroom. It was hard being in the dark, but he would rather be alone than enter Amana’s lair. After using the flashlight, instead of taking it back to Amana’s room, he went back to his quarters, locked the door, and got in bed, trying not to shake in fear.
“You never returned my flashlight,” Amana said during breakfast the next morning. “I hope you found your way back to your quarters?”
Kavi sometimes wasn’t sure if Amana was serious or telling a joke.
“Yes, um, thank you,” Kavi said. “Sorry, I was just so tired that I went right to sleep. Here’s your flashlight back.”
“Keep it,” Amana said, taking a bite of bacon and eggs drenched in ketchup, “The power outage happens pretty often out here, usually during bad weather. I’m sorry I frightened you, but after the power went out, I decided to come by to see if you were okay.”
Kavi imagined she had come to do him in. He shook himself of the weird thoughts. His mind always seemed to play tricks on him at night. But now it was all the time.
“Wait, let me get this straight. So you thought she was coming to eat you?” Uma asked on the other end of the phone.
“No, I thought she was a ghost coming to murder me,” Kavi corrected. “The power went out and I thought she was luring me into her lair.”
He heard Uma snickering on the other end.
“I want to meet her someday,” Uma laughed. “Anyone that can scare my brother sounds awesome!”
“Yeah, whatever,” Kavi responded.
That night, as Kavi lay in bed, he thought of the night before. He could still feel Amana’s silent grip on his arm, and it frightened him of how close she’d gotten to him. What if the rumors were right and she was a vampire?
The next morning, Kavi woke up early and got ready. He came down to breakfast and saw that the kitchen was empty. Perhaps Amana had been up very late last night. He didn’t take her for a morning person.
Kavi made scrambled eggs and bacon, then ate in silence. He wondered if he should just go ahead to the library or wait for Amana to show him which books she wanted translated.
He stopped by Amana’s room and knocked on the door.
The door slowly opened and Amana stood there in her pajamas, her eyes half closed. The bed behind her was rumpled. She had obviously just gotten up.
“What is it?” she yawned.
“I’m going to the library to start working. Do you have a particular book you’d like me to start on first?” Kavi asked, trying not to think how weird it was to see his employer in such a sleepy state.
“I’ve placed some books on the large desk. You can start with those,” Amana said. “I have a headache right now and am going to sleep it off. I’ll join you in the afternoon.” She closed the door.
Kavi loved everything about Sanskrit. The way the letters looked and the sound the language made when spoken. His native languages were English and Hindi, and he chose to study Sanskrit in college, one of the top ancient languages in the world. After Sanskrit he had moved to other related languages, which had come from his homeland of India.
He made a couple wrong turns, but eventually found the large library. After finding the pile of books on the desk, he looked through each one and selected a particularly intriguing one written by an ancient sage.
The time passed quickly while Kavi was engrossed in the work. Around noon, Amana came in carrying a tray.
She wore a dark hoodie that almost looked like a vampire cape.
“I’ve brought some lunch,” Amana said. “I’ve made bacon, lettuce, and cheese sandwiches. I hope you like it.”
“Thanks,” Kavi said. They ate in silence and he noted that Amana’s sandwich had ketchup in it.
“You must love ketchup,” Kavi observed.
“I do, would you like some?” Amana asked.
“No thanks,” Kavi responded.
“The ketchup adds so much flavor and personality to the dish,” Amana smiled.
“How’s your headache?” Kavi asked.
“Oh, it’s gone now,” Amana said. “I turned on all the lights so you wouldn’t be left in the dark.”
Then she sipped the red fruit juice. She offered some to him, but Kavi declined.
“So how is your new job?” Uma, Kavi’s 20-year-old sister, asked.
Kavi held the phone closer to his ear.
“It’s great! My employer Amana has tons of old Buddhist writings and even some Brahmin books. I’m going to have fun translating the ancient manuscripts. This place is like a museum!”
“And how’s your employer? Is she good?” the sister asked.
“Well, she comes off as a bit creepy,” Kavi laughed. Luckily the door was shut so no one could overhear. “And she looks like a vampire. When I first came in it was all dark inside and the lights were off because they hurt her eyes.”
Uma laughed. “She sure sounds like a vampire to me. Just be careful you don’t get your blood sucked! Lock your door at night. Actually, maybe I should send you some garlic-“
A knock came to the door.
“I have to go!” Kavi said.
“All right, take care. And don’t get turned into a vampire!” Uma joked. They said goodbye and hung up.
Kavi opened the door and saw Amana standing there.
“Dinner is ready,” she said. “I’ve made meatloaf today.”
Kavi laughed to himself. He could imagine Uma making a funny comment about the meatloaf and how the barbecue sauce over it looked like vampire blood.
They sat down and ate in silence. The dining room had a large table and antique carpets.
“This is delicious,” Kavi said, after taking a bite.
“It’s my grandpa’s secret recipe,” Amana supplied.
“So do you live here alone?” Kavi asked, trying to make conversation after a long silence. Then he realized what a dumb question that was.
Amana seemed to think it a strange question as well, because she turned an icy stare on him. Then she took a sip from the glass of red juice.
“Yes, I live alone,” she said slowly, then took another bite of meatloaf. The sauce dribbled down her chin.
Amana glanced around as if searching for a napkin.
“Here you go,” since the napkin was closer to Kavi’s side, he handed it to her.
“Thanks,” she took it and for a moment her fingers brushed against Kavi’s. He flinched a bit at the icy touch but immediately composed himself so Amana didn’t notice. She was busy wiping the sauce from her chin.
“I know you’re wondering why I live alone,” she said. “And you’ve probably heard the rumors.”
“The cab driver told me some far-fetched stories, but I don’t believe him,” Kavi explained. “He mentioned something about a body in a well.”
“The one about the well is new,” she said. “Well, most of the rumors say that I’m some kind of demon or vampire that was engaged and killed my fiance. He’s allegedly buried in the garden, backyard, or basement, depending on whom you talk to. Some people say the attic, but this house doesn’t even have an attic. One rumor says the fiance was found dead hanging from the roof with a noose around his neck. A noose made out of rolled-up paper all tied together.”
“That’s really crazy,” Kavi chuckled.
“Yeah, and I want to assure you that the rumors are false,” Amana said. “You are in no danger here, I promise you.”
She picked up her glass and drank the red juice.
The cab pulled up to the one and only house for miles around. It was evening and the sky was slowly giving way to nightfall.
“Are you sure you’re going in there?” the driver eyed the house suspiciously.
“I start my new job here,” Kavi said.
“You must be from out of town if you haven’t heard the stories,” the driver’s voice lowered to a conspiratorial whisper. Kavi wasn’t sure he wanted to hear these so-called “stories.”
“They say a woman lives there who killed her fiance during the night of the full moon. I heard they were fighting over a secret book, probably one that contained spells and such. The woman turned into a monster and murdered him, then threw his body into the well. The body was never found. And to this day, everyone that values their life avoids that house.”
A shiver ran down Kavi’s spine.
“I don’t pay you to gossip,” Kavi remarked. The driver shook his head slowly, as if Kavi were in grave danger and would never be seen again.
After the cab left, Kavi walked up to the porch, glad the long drive was finally over. And thank goodness his employer had paid the taxi fare.
All he could hear was a crow which sounded like it was laughing. Laughing at him.
Suddenly something scurried near his feet. Kavi let out a yell and leaped a few steps back, startled. It was only a lizard. He took a deep breath to calm himself. Gosh, he hated lizards.
Kavi was afraid of the dark as well. The darkness always felt to him like the cold embrace of uncertainty. The fear of the unknown was the worst fear he could name.
He’d responded to the job ad for a translator of dead languages, and after a brief email correspondence with the employer, he’d been hired and given directions to the house. He’d never met the employer before.
Kavi scratched his head. He hadn’t realized the house would be in the middle of nowhere. The home looked a bit like a home you’d find on the haunted list. Now Kavi wondered if he was making the right choice, in taking on an unknown client. For all he knew, he could be walking into a trap. What if the client turned out to be a murderer, just waiting for him…
Kavi shook himself of the awful thoughts. It didn’t do any good to make up these stories. He took a deep breath, picked up his bag of reference books, and proceeded to the front door.
Before he’d even knocked, a woman wearing dark clothes answered the door. She was in shadow, as if having come from a dim room. Actually the entire house was dark. Kavi wondered how the house could be so dark. Was the house so old it didn’t have electricity?
“I’m not interested,” the woman said, eyeing the bag of books Kavi carried, and then started to close the door.
“Wait! I’m not a salesman!” Kavi said quickly. The woman halted her action but kept the door ajar.
“Who are you and what business do you have here?” she said, her dark brown eyes glaring.
“I am Kavi,” he said, extending his hand. The woman didn’t shake his hand.
“You hired me to translate some of your Sanskrit books. The books I have here are my reference materials,” Kavi stammered, hoping she didn’t shut the door in his face and leave him stranded at night in the middle of nowhere.
“Understood,” said the woman, opening the door the rest of the way. “You’d be surprised at how many book sellers make surprise visits to my house to try and sell me false ancient manuscripts. My name is Amana. Come inside and I’ll show you around.”
Kavi was relieved. At least she had stopped glaring at him.
He followed Amana down the hall. The clang of the door startled him when it closed behind him.
“Why is it so dark?” Kavi managed.
“Sorry about that,” Amana said, flipping on the light switch. The hallway immediately illuminated. “I sometimes get headaches and the light hurts my eyes. But I’m feeling better now.”
Kavi studied his new employer as they walked down the hall. She was the same height as him and had sleek black hair. He guessed she was in her twenties, like him. The dark clothes reminded him of a vampire and he hoped Amana didn’t have a vampire’s personality to match.
Amana stopped walking and Kavi almost bumped into her.
“You know, I hadn’t realized you would be so…young,” she said. “I was expecting an elderly scholar.”
“I get that a lot,” Kavi assured her. “Though I’m only 27 years old, I assure you I’m well versed in the Indo-Aryan languages. I’ve studied both Vedic Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Pali.”
“Very impressive. I applaud your hard work,” Amana said with a hint of a smile. She resumed walking down the hall and they came to a large library.
“Here is where you’ll be working,” she said.
Kavi looked around in excitement. The entire room had floor-to-ceiling bookcases. Many books looked dusty and like they hadn’t been touched in ages. Kavi knew Amana was a collector of rare and ancient books. He couldn’t wait to get his hands on the rare volumes!
“Don’t get too excited,” Amana studied him. “You seem like you’ve just laid eyes on a grand feast.”
Kavi grinned. “Well, that’s what books are to me, food for the soul and the mind. The older the better. They’re like buried treasure.”
At that last line, Amana fixed him with a strange look, then turned towards the door. Kavi hoped he hadn’t offended her.
“I’ll show you to your quarters,” Amana said. “Follow me.”
They exited another doorway and climbed the stairs to the second floor.
“The room was just remodeled, and I hope it’s to your liking,” Amana said.
They entered the bedroom and Kavi looked around in awe. It was like a modern room with an antique style. There was an empty bookcase, a large bed with a nightstand, a dark wooden desk, and a dresser.
“This is wonderful! Thank you!” Kavi said.
“Make yourself at home. Also, the bathroom is down that way, and the kitchen is downstairs. There’s a garden in the back. Have you had dinner yet?”
“Yes, I had dinner before coming here,” he said.
“Then I will leave you to settle in,” Amana replied.
“Thanks again,” Kavi said as Amana left the room.
Now alone, Kavi closed the door and placed his reference books in the bookcase. After bringing his suitcase in and getting situated, he lay down to take a much needed nap after the long journey.
It was always a strange experience sleeping in a different bed and in a different house. Kavi hoped he’d get used to the sounds of the unusual home.
He woke up in the middle of the night and immediately had a craving for a snack. Kavi listened at the door and heard silence, then turned on a few lights and made his way down the stairs. He found the kitchen and stopped in his tracks.
Amana was sitting at the kitchen table, putting ketchup on a sandwich.
Kavi stared, wondering why in the world she was putting ketchup on bread.
“I get weird cravings sometimes,” Amana said, as if reading his mind. “By the way, help yourself to anything in the kitchen.” She picked up the sandwich and bit into it. Then she reached for her glass and took a sip. Kavi noted that her glass was filled with a dark red liquid. Could it be some kind of fruit juice?
“Oh, um, thank you,” Kavi said. He made himself a quick sandwich, devoid of any ketchup, and then hurried back to his room as fast as he could.
By Sara Casalino (July 2022)
I was walking inside an empty train, feeling confused, and wondering what I was doing here. Then I spotted a woman sitting in one of the seats. She was the only other person onboard.
I hurried over to her and paused to catch my breath.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Where is everyone?”
The woman turned to look at me.
“Hello,” she said. “I guess they have all gotten off at their stops.”
“Where’s my stop?” I asked, feeling more and more anxious.
“That depends,” she said. “Where are you headed?”
“I don’t know,” I glanced at the floor.
“Sit with me,” she invited me kindly. I sat down across from her.
I studied her for a moment. She wore a light blue button-up shirt, black slacks, and had a black visor hat.
I glanced at her name tag.
“I’m Amelia,” she smiled at me.
“Do you need to see my ticket?” I asked her.
“No,” she smiled. “That’s not part of my job. That’s the train conductor’s job.”
“Wait, if you’re not the train conductor, then who are you?” I asked her, feeling more and more disoriented as I looked around once again at the empty train.
“I’m the driver,” she grinned at me. “The train engineer.”
“Wait, but if you’re the driver, and you’re sitting here with me, then who’s driving this train?” I felt anxiety building up inside of me.
She gave me a mysterious smile.
“It’s so nice to be alone here,” she said, extending her arms out. “Peace and calm. This is exactly what we need. Sometimes instead of driving, I like to just sit back and relax and let the train take me wherever it goes.”
I looked out the window at the moving scenery.
“Yes, but surely someone’s driving this train,” I said again.
“I was driving, but I decided to take a break,” she informed me.
“Why do I get the feeling that you’re hiding something from me?” I asked her, willing her to tell me the truth.
“Okay,” she said, putting her elbows on the table and her chin in her hands. “I didn’t want to tell you so as not to scare you.”
“Tell me what?” I said, not comprehending.
“No one is driving the train right now,” she said.
“What?!” I stood up quickly and stared at her.
“Sit down, you’re safe,” she said.
I sat down with a thump.
“But how? Are we safe?” I was getting more and more anxious.
“You’re perfectly safe,” she said. “You’re here because you’re going somewhere.”
“Are you for real?” I asked her. I felt awful that I couldn’t remember where I was headed.
“This is a dream,” she said to me, watching my reaction.
“Huh? No it’s not,” I said. “Look. I can touch the seat. It’s made of leather. I can touch the wall here. Everything feels real.”
“What about the passengers? Where are they?” she asked me, raising an eyebrow.
“They got off at their stops. That’s what you told me,” I was a bit suspicious of her now.
“I told you what you expected to hear,” she slowly folded her arms. “But this is in fact a dream.”
“No way,” I said. “Everything feels real.”
“Then how did you come to be on the train?” she leaned towards me as if trying to look inside my mind.
“I um…” I stopped, realizing I had no idea.
“It’s a dream,” she said again.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yes, your dream is giving you a message. Do you know where you’re headed?” she asked.
“No, I have no idea,” I confided to her.
“Do you trust me?” she held out her hand.
“I’m a train engineer,” she said. “My job is to make sure you arrive at your destination. Let’s go find out where you’re headed.”
“All right,” I accepted her hand and we both stood up. She hurried down the train corridor and I followed after her.
“We’re going to find out where this train is going,” she said.
“You mean you don’t know?” I asked her.
“I don’t. It’s your dream,” she said mysteriously.
Suddenly we reached the last passenger car and stood there together for a moment, staring out at the scenery retreating behind the train. There was a lot of green and a beautiful lake in the distance.
“Beautiful, isn’t it,” Amelia peered out at the scenery, seeming to take it all in.
“I think we’re in the wrong place,” I told her. “If we want to find out where the train is going, we need to go to the front of the train.”
“That’s the locomotive,” she said.
“Hurry!” I grabbed her hand and pulled her along.
We hurried quickly through the entire train, which seemed to take a long, long time. Finally we reached the first car of the train- the locomotive.
“Quickly! Get in and drive!” I tried to push her towards the driverless chair.
“This train is not for me to drive,” Amelia resisted. “This is your dream, remember?”
“What am I going to do if I can’t reach my destination?” I pleaded with her. “I can’t stay here on this empty train forever. Please, I need you to drive me.”
“But it’s your dream,” she repeated and turned to walk away from me.
“But I don’t know how to drive a train!” I called after her.
She stopped walking. “Yes you do,” she turned and gave another mysterious smile. “This is your life.”
And then she walked away and shut the door behind her.
I found myself all alone.
I took a deep breath. “Okay, if this is a dream, then surely I can drive a train,” I said. I sat in the driver’s seat and hesitated when I saw all the controls. I had no idea what did what.
“I guess I’ll have to experiment,” I said.
I looked straight ahead out the window and saw that the coming tracks were forking in two different directions. I needed to decide which path to take.
“I don’t know which one to take!” I said aloud.
And then Amelia was right next to me. “If you hit that button, you’ll go left, and if you push that other button, you’ll go right.”
“Okay,” I said, and then I noticed something. The track on the left led to a mountain, while the one on the right led to a cave.
“Do you want the mountain or the cave?” she asked me. “Where do you want to live?”
“Mountain or cave? I don’t even know what that means!” I tried to calm myself down. The fork in the tracks was coming up fast.
“You must decide soon!” Amelia urged me.
I wracked my brain. “Okay, do I want to live in a cave or climb a mountain? Is that the message? Neither of those sound good to me.”
That’s when I noticed another button. It was blue and had a unique star shape.
“What does this do?” I hurriedly asked her.
“That’s not for me to say,” she replied.
At the last second, I quickly hit the blue star button and the train didn’t veer left or right. It rose up off the tracks and into the sky and the scenery turned into clouds. I could hear the wind rushing by and I gazed at the various hues and colors in the sky.
I let out a breath. For a few moments, I watched the beautiful sky and said nothing. Then I turned to Amelia.
“Was that the right choice?” I asked.
“How would I know?” she said with a laugh. “You’re the driver!”
“I chose the sky,” I realized. “I didn’t have to choose whether to hide in a cave or climb a mountain. Instead of hiding or climbing, I chose to fly. I will forge my own path from now on.”
“I’m so proud of you!” Amelia grinned, placing a hand on my shoulder.
“Thank you,” I smiled. She gave me a wink and then everything began to fade.
I woke up in my bed, feeling confident. Now I knew where I was headed.
By Sara Casalino
I sat in the auditorium, watching the performance as the magician made a bunny disappear.
“For my next trick,” the magician said. “I’m going to make someone disappear by having them eat a magic pastry.”
I thought to myself, “This isn’t a usual trick. I’ve never heard of this.” I was curious to see what would happen.
“Calista,” he called. “Would you mind coming up and helping me with this trick?”
Startled, my eyes widened at the mention of my name. Surely he was calling someone else? But Calista wasn’t a very common name.
The magician was staring straight at me. He knew who I was! But how? The auditorium was completely filled with people!
Then a spotlight came over me. Everyone turned to look my way.
I shut my eyes and tried to disappear.
“No, you have to eat the pastry first if you want to disappear,” the magician said.
I lowered myself in my seat, trying to hide, still keeping my eyes shut. I slowly opened them and watched as the magician left the stage and walked up the steps, heading towards me. I was sitting near the back, a few seats away from the aisle.
The magician reached the aisle and approached until he was a few feet away from me.
“Please come with me,” the magician extended his hand. I saw the sparkle in his eyes as he gazed at me, believing I would come.
I shakily stood up and accepted his hand. I was trembling all over as everyone’s eyes followed us as we descended the steps in the dim auditorium.
I worried I would trip and at one point I did almost trip and fall, but the magician took my arm and steadied me.
“I’ve got you. You’re safe,” he said. The magician was very charming, probably about my age, mid-twenties. I admit I felt spellbound by how attractive and charming he was.
He wore a dark blue cape and a black hat.
At last we reached the stage and I squinted as things got brighter under the spotlight.
“I baked these pastries fresh today,” the magician said. “And I saved them for a special person.”
He took out a tray with tiny pastries all arranged neatly and looking scrumptious. As if a chef had made them. I wondered if he had gotten them from a bakery.
“Which do you prefer?” he asked, holding a tiny pastry on a tiny plate.
I said, “It doesn’t matter which one. They’re all going to taste the same.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
And so I looked over and saw that each pastry was completely different. They were all unique. He had placed each one on a tiny separate dish. I thought about how having each pastry in its own dish would create more dirty dishes for the magician to wash.
“I made this one especially for you,” he said, holding out the chocolate pastry which was on the tiny dish.
I reached out and gently took the pastry.
“Once you eat it, you will disappear,” the magician grinned.
I wanted to do just that. I brought the pastry to my lips and took a bite, then another, finishing the pastry in two bites. I chewed while the magician watched me.
The pastry was totally delicious and I savored it. It was so good that I was able to focus on the pastry and forget the audience watching me.
The magician then took a black sheet and threw it over me, pulling the sheet away just as quickly. The audience gasped. Then I heard cheers and clapping.
“Thank you!” the magician bowed and the curtains closed.
“Thank you for helping me with the trick,” the magician said.
“How did you know my name?” I asked.
“Magic,” he grinned.
“You didn’t really turn me invisible,” I told him. “Why did the audience clap?”
He smiled again and didn’t answer.
“I want you to meet someone,” he said.
“Who?” I asked.
He walked to the other end of the stage but I stayed where I was.
I wanted to know who he wanted me to meet. Especially since I like to be prepared before meeting strangers.
A few minutes later, the magician returned with a tiny, white dog in his arms.
Of course being the animal lover that I was, this broke the ice for me.
I hurried over, my face filled with excitement.
“Can I pet your dog?” I asked.
“Sure,” the magician said. “She loves people. Her name is Magica.”
The dog looked at me in a happy way and I patted her on the head.
“Would you like to hold her?” the magician asked.
I nodded, completely in my element now.
He passed the small dog to me and I hugged her close, talking to her and smiling.
Several minutes later we sat at a small table, the dog eating out of a bowl on the backstage floor.
“Would you like some more pastries?” the magician asked me, pulling out the box which held about six of them.
“Yes, thank you,” I said, choosing one with a strawberry on it.
“Did you really bake these or did you get them from a bakery?” I asked him.
“I really did bake them,” he said. “If you don’t believe me I can teach you. Baking desserts is one of my hobbies.”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“I’m Alexander,” he said. “You can call me Xander.”
“Calista,” he said. “I wanted to ask you something. There’s a reason why I sought you out.”
He had my full attention now. I wondered in suspense what he was going to ask.
He took an envelope out of his pocket and handed it to me. I opened it and found two movie tickets inside.
“Oh, what’s this?” I asked.
“These are movie tickets,” he smiled.
“Is this like a date?” I asked.
Alexander blushed and said, “Yeah.”
“Okay, I’ll let you know,” I said.
Then I realized what had just happened. Someone had asked me out on a date. This never ever happened, and so I was in shock.
“I mean, of course,” I quickly amended my response, “I’d be happy to go.”
“Is it okay if I bring a third wheel along?” he joked, pointing to Magica.
“By all means,” I smiled.
By Sara Casalino (2020)
Honey: (talking to Crystal) Can you believe that all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer is gone? I would pay a lot of money to have them!
Crystal: I wonder if Silver has some. She runs a medical office, so I’m sure it’s well stocked.
Honey: Let’s go over and see.
Silver’s medical office
Silver: Hey guys, things are crazy around here with the virus. Are you the volunteers they sent me to help with the sick?
Honey: No, we were wondering if you had any toilet paper or hand sanitizer.
Silver: I do, but I need it for my office. People are getting sick and supplies are running out.
Crystal: You said you needed help here. We’d be happy to help out. What can we do?
Silver: First, wash your hands for 20 seconds. Then put on these gloves, mask, and this poncho.
Honey: A poncho? But it’s not raining.
Silver: We ran out of scrubs, so we’re using ponchos instead. Oh, and try to stay 6 feet away from everyone if you can.
Crystal: What do you need us to do?
Silver: We’re going to administer tests. There’s a long line of people waiting to be tested. They may or may not have the virus. If the result is negative, send them home. If the result is positive, bring them to the quarantine room.
In a dark warehouse
Onyx: (sitting at a table in a dark room) You may enter.
(A timid-looking boy, Litmus, enters)
Apex: You may approach.
(Litmus walks into the light, under the only lightbulb in the room.)
Litmus: Why is it so dark in here?
Apex: Don’t ask questions. What do you want?
Litmus: I ran out of toilet paper. Do you have some?
Onyx: We have plenty. What kind of toilet paper do you need?
Litmus: Any kind. I’m not picky.
Onyx: The toilet paper I was able to get are the crazy kinds. I have one with smiley faces all over it.
Litmus: I don’t care as long as it’s toilet paper.
Onyx: Bring out a roll.
Apex: Here it is. (Puts it on the table)
Litmus: Why does this place look like an interrogation room?
Apex: We ask the questions here, not you.
Onyx: This roll will cost you.
Litmus: How much?
Onyx: I want a batch of cinnamon rolls.
Litmus: But I don’t know how to cook!
Onyx: Then go and learn! Doesn’t your sister know how? Ask her to teach you.
Litmus: Okay, can I have my roll now?
Onyx: Give him the roll, and keep your distance.
Apex: I’ll use the stick. (He puts the toilet paper roll on a long selfie stick and gets it to Litmus.)
Litmus: Thank you! (Runs away happily.)
Apex: Next person! Enter!
Silver: I need the strongest hand sanitizer you got.
Apex: Stay where you are! You’re the doctor! You’ve been around sick people all day! We want you to stay 12 feet away at all times!
Silver: I wanted to send one of my assistants, but none of them were willing to come. They were afraid.
Onyx: Afraid of what?
Silver: Afraid of this dark warehouse. They’re afraid of ghosts.
Onyx: This place is not haunted. Trust me on that. I had it checked by ghost-hunters.
Silver (sarcastic) How resourceful of you to get rid of something that doesn’t exist!
Onyx: So why are you here?
Silver: I want to make sure I don’t get sick. I’m the town doctor, and if I go, then everyone goes. Everyone would be on their own.
Onyx: You have a point there. Since you’re the doctor, I’ll give you everything for free.
Apex: But why?
Onyx: Shut up and do as I ask! Give her all the best hand sanitizer bottles we got. Give her the sanitizing shampoo and the sanitizing sprays as well.
Apex: But the whole point of this endeavor was to make money!
Onyx: We can’t make dirty money! We need to help the only doctor we have!
Apex: Fine! (He puts everything into a large suitcase)
Silver: Thank you! I’ll pay you back later with free medical services and medicines.
Honey: I’d like a roll of toilet paper, please.
Apex: We have different colors.
Honey: Really? Okay, I’ll take the polka-dot one.
Apex: What are you willing to trade?
Honey: Well, I am the town archivist. Maybe I could help you find archives of your ancestors.
Apex: Why would I want to do that?
Honey: Don’t you want to know your history?
Apex: It’s not my history. It’s other people’s history. People I’ve never met!
Honey: (shakes her head) Some people just don’t get it!
Apex: I’ve got a better idea. How about going on a date?
Honey: With who?
Apex: With me, of course!
Honey: No, I’m leaving. (turns away)
Apex: Wait! I’ll give you two rolls!
Honey: (turns back and smiles) Give me five and we have a deal.
Apex: It’s a deal!
Onyx: What is this little boy doing here?
Dusk: Hello, I would like to sell you some hand sanitizer for your black market business.
Apex: Go away, you little twerp!
(Onyx holds up a hand)
Onyx: Wait, let’s hear him out. Dusk’s small size allows him to get into secret places. Perhaps he has a good stash.
Dusk: (holds out a small suitcase) I’ve got tiny bottles of the best sanitizer in here. They’re perfect for traveling and for hiding. Nobody can steal your sanitizer if they don’t know where it is.
Onyx: Let me see. (He opens the small suitcase and sees tiny bottles of 100% alcohol sanitizer with different scents.) Do you make this stuff yourself?
Dusk: Yes, me and my schoolmates prepared it. And Flavia designed the labels. (The label says: Annihilavirus)
Onyx: Isn’t that brand name a little long?
Dusk: Well, I wanted to name it Crush Corona, but Flavia said this sounded much stronger.
Onyx: How much do you want for this Annihilavirus?
Dusk: I only ask for one thing. I have a specific list.
Apex: Why do you have a list if there’s only one thing on it?
Onyx: Shhh! Let’s hear him out. I find him very intriguing. He’s smart for one so young.
Dusk: I want the key to the city.
Apex: What?! How can you ask for something like that?!
Onyx: And why do you want that?
Dusk: So I can get juicy details whenever I wish. I can hide in the air shaft and listen in on political conversations.
Onyx: But don’t you know that city hall meetings are open to the public?
Dusk: Yes, but I want to hear what they say when the public’s not there.
Onyx: You got yourself a deal, little man! We will get that key for you.
Apex: What is this world coming to? That little boy is a blackmailer, and you’re about to give him power to keep blackmailing people!
Onyx: I really admire him. He’s the strangest but craftiest little boy I’ve ever seen! And how can I say no to that face?
Apex: (grumbles) If you keep this up, I’ll start my own black market business.
(At night, Alumine (the medical assistant) is sitting outside the medical office, crying)
Apex: What’s the matter? Why are you crying?
Alumine: Things are spiraling out of control with this virus. We’ve run out of face masks at the medical office. Silver is working overtime, poor thing, and I fear she will get sick. All the healers are in danger!
Apex: Well, you’re in luck. I’ve got a deal for washable face masks. Me and my people have been sewing nonstop to make these.
Alumine: (stops crying) Can I see one?
Apex: Of course. Here’s one I made today.
Alumine: (smiles) Where did you learn to sew?
Apex: I got Flavia the seamstress to teach me.
Alumine: How many of these can you make in a day?
Apex: Why, I’ll make as many as you wish! It takes an hour to make 10 of them.
Alumine: Then get your sewing machines ready, I want 100 masks as soon as you have them.
Apex: I’ll get to work right away. Now, about the payment…
Alumine: Of course, how much?
Apex: I would like someone to make my meals and deliver food to me three times a day.
Alumine: That’s quite the sum. Heron often is the cook at the medical office, so I’ll talk with her and have her arrange your meals.
Apex: Great! I just want to eat good food again! Since my brother got sick, there is no one to cook our food anymore.
Alumine: (laughs) Well, you could always learn. I mean, you did learn to sew. What if we have Heron teach you to cook? I mean, if she got sick, then you’d have no one to bring you meals.
Apex: True! Okay, I’ll exchange the face masks for some cooking lessons. Deal?
Alumine: Deal! I’ll talk to Heron and we’ll make a chef out of you.
Note: I got the inspiration for this story from a video by Lilly Singh. It's the health dealer portion, which begins at 3 minutes 30 seconds.
By Sara Casalino (2020)
Melynda: Ow! I hurt myself!
Crystal: What happened?
Melynda: I was climbing the tree and scraped my hand on the bark!
Sunlight: Here is a band-aid!
Crystal: Thank goodness you had that with you.
Sunlight: (rummages through her purse) I also have some cough syrup and aloe vera lotion.
Melynda: (laughs) No thanks, I won’t be needing those.
Sunlight: What about chapstick or lip balm?
Melynda: Uh, no. I’m good.
(Sunlight takes out sunglasses and puts them on.)
Crystal: Good idea! It’s so hot out here! The sun is so bright!
Sunlight: I’ve got enough for everyone. (Takes sunglasses from her purse and gives them out)
Crystal: Wow! You seem to have everything!
Sunlight: I’m always prepared.
At the doctor’s office
Silver: I’ve had it with these children always running around the office! I’ve provided toys for them. And books! Why won’t they read the books and play with the toys?
Sunlight: Maybe they want to draw in the books. I have crayons.
Silver: But I don’t want them to draw in the books.
Sunlight: I have coloring books. I’ll pass them out.
Silver: Wow! The children have settled down! Thank you!
Sunlight: I’m always prepared for everything!
At the post office
Bank clerk: I’m so sorry. I don’t know where all the pens and pencils went.
Sunlight: I’ve got a whole bunch of them. Got them at a discount too! They were selling them for 10 cents a piece, so I bought a lot!
Bank clerk: Wow! Thank you so much! There must be a hundred in here!
Sunlight: I’ve got more where that came from. (reaches into her bag and pulls out 50 more, gives them to clerk)
Bank clerk: I guess we won’t have to buy new pens for a while. It’s all thanks to you.
Sunlight: I’m always prepared for unforeseen circumstances.
At the store
Sunlight: Wow! They have a sale on unicorn erasers! I’ll take two hundred!
Honey: But why? You don’t need so many. You’re not a teacher or artist.
Sunlight: Well, it’s on sale. I’m sure there might come a day when I or someone else might need it. Better to get it when it’s on sale!
Honey: Let’s go look at the clothes!
Sunlight: I’ll take this shirt from the men’s section, and these fluffy socks, and this hat with a peacock feather.
Honey: Are you getting costumes for the play?
Sunlight: No, I’m getting these because they’re on sale. I never know if I’ll need any of these in the future.
Honey: What could you possibly need a man’s shirt for?
Sunlight: What if I have to disguise myself as a man in the future? What if I become a spy?
Honey: And what are the fluffy socks for?
Sunlight: Well, what if I star in a play as a cute critter? I would definitely need these.
Honey: What about the hat? And why with the peacock feather?
Sunlight: What if I star in a beauty pageant or something? Or I could wear it to the zoo when I look at the peacocks. They would feel that I’m one of them.
Honey: You have a crazy imagination!
At the pharmacy
Litmus: (pharmacy owner) What would you like?
Sunlight: I would like one of each over-the-counter medication you have.
Litmus: Are you getting supplies for Silver’s medical office?
Sunlight: No, I just want to be prepared in case I get sick or if my friends get sick. On second thought, make that two of every medication.
Litmus: (grins) Like Noah’s ark, eh?
Sunlight: You’re right! I’ll need some animals too! I have to go to the pet store after this!
Litmus: I was only kidding! If you did get animals, you’d have to get their food as well. And all kinds of supplies.
Sunlight: Well, I’ll stick with the medications for now. If I want animals, I’d have to get an ark first. Someday it will happen.
Litmus: Okay, here are all the medications for common ailments.
Sunlight: I would also like medications for uncommon ailments. And some medical pliers. What if I accidentally get magnets stuck in my nose?
Litmus: Really? Okay. (fills bag with medications) But the magnet thing is absurd and will probably never happen!
Sunlight: I just read an article today that it happened to a doctor. If it can happen to someone else, it can happen to me. I always want to be prepared in case problems strike! Thanks!
Outside at the street corner
Melynda: You should all fear! Doomsday is coming!
Sunlight: I’m not afraid.
Melynda: Why not? Aren’t you scared you’ll run out of food or toilet paper?
Sunlight: No, I have an entire room filled with food and paper products. I have everything I need.
Melynda: It sounds like you have enough for the whole neighborhood as well.
Sunlight: Of course! I think of others too!
Melynda: How do you have so much money?
Sunlight: Well, it’s from my inheritance money that my parents gave me.
Melynda: Wouldn’t you rather use the money to buy yourself a beautiful house with waterfalls? Maybe even a private jet? How about a cruise liner?
Sunlight: No, those things don’t interest me. I just want to be prepared in any situation. And no, I don’t want a repeat of the Titanic.
Melynda: Do you know when the end of the world will happen?
Sunlight: No, probably when the sun runs out of gas.
Melynda: It will happen this month, in April. When the fool arrives.
Sunlight: What fool?
Melynda: April Fool’s!
Sunlight: Oh, that’s right. Today is April Fool’s. I have to play a joke on everyone!
Melynda: Want to team up? My idea was to try to convince everyone that doomsday had arrived and watch them scurry to and fro like chickens with their heads cut off. But so far it’s not working.
Sunlight: Yes! I have an idea! Let’s create the illusion of panic buying. Let’s go to all the stores and buy up every single roll of toilet paper. That will create quite a stir!
Melynda: And let’s get a bunch of CLOSED signs and put them in front of the stores, the post office, and the medical office! This will be so fun!
Sunlight: I’ve got a bunch of those signs at home! Let’s go get them!