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[𝕌𝕟𝕥𝕚𝕝 ℕ𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥, 𝕊𝕖𝕣𝕒𝕡𝕙𝕚𝕞]

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oh god not more names
Jul 7, 2021
"Sleep, those little slices of death. How I loathe them." — Edgar Allen Poe

A simple mystery/horror story featuring romance and NSFW elements... though, it may be a tad slow.
This story features dark themes and may deal with heavy topics. The story written is ultimately no more than a work of fiction escaping from the mind of a person with a surplus of free time—it is not intended to offend any who may read it, and I apologize if I do not handle these sensitive topics with the care they deserve.

I may also misrepresent things used in the story. Some of these places I've never been, and some things, I've never seen nor done. All the same I'd like to enjoy my amateur writing, and if it's all fine for those who may read this, I hope you'd enjoy reading it.

I'm not yet sure where I'll take this story. I have various plot points planned, but I'm not sure how deep I'll get with the horror, or mystery, or romance. If there's anything particularly sensitive, I'll post a warning above.
Briarbloom is a sleepy town located in southeastern Arkansas. It's remote, with a population comprised mostly of the elderly and little to no new tourists or passersby to give it life. In such a desolate and small town, we find Evan Churchill, an aspiring actor running his father's coffeehouse as he lays low in order to hide from his past. Much like everyone, Evan has little hope held for Briarbloom's future.

But little did he know, his life and the lives of many others would change at the sudden arrival of a new resident. A strange and beautiful girl named Magnolia visits his coffeehouse near midnight, and despite himself, he finds he's taken by something about her and her nightly visits.

Unbeknownst to him, Evan would find that this woman came with more secrets than she appeared; some bad, others worse... and few even involving the darker history of Briarbloom.
=𝕌𝕟𝕥𝕚𝕝 ℕ𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥, 𝕊𝕖𝕣𝕒𝕡𝕙𝕚𝕞

For death means nothing. =================================================
F/M, F/F, M/M, psychological, soft horror, paranormal, mystery, death, powerplay, violence ======================
Chapter I New


oh god not more names
Jul 7, 2021
My name is Evan Churchill. I live in Briarbloom, Arkansas, a sleepy town located in the southeastern state near the ouachita mountains. I moved down here after a more… miserable, spell in my life, at the insistence of my father. He’s an old man living in a retirement home with one single property still to his name; the Candid Bean. It’s a local coffeehouse that’s since fallen on hard times in age with little to no customers new or old coming in anymore.

But that’s to be expected in such an old backwater.
We don’t get much traffic. The town stays quiet 24 hours of the day, seven days a week. The last tourist to ever touch down was passing through just four months ago, and the last new resident to ever walk the streets was me just a year ago. It would be safe to say this place is dying with its elderly; the young will get up and move out if they know what’s good for them, and the little town of Briarbloom will become nothing more than a cemetery for the past.

This place has nothing to do with me despite my residence. I feel nothing for my neighbors. No sympathy in hard times, nor care or gratitude if they show some modicum of kindness, no feeling of interest in their lives, and no concern for the changing youth. Not one bit of this sleepy town has touched me because I know I’m so much more than this. Even if I’m just having a rough patch in life now, I know I’m destined for greatness. I’m an aspiring actor looking for a big break in the near future. I’ve gotten in contact with a few talent agents, and although I never got any parts, I know I made impressions. There’s no one in this world who’s anything like me. That’s why this place is so unimportant. I’m just here to lay low for a while and work my way to my dream steadily.
Nothing else matters.

June 24th, a simple Tuesday night.

In passing, I’d learned we had a guest in town.
I was uncaring of the fact initially, but when I was closing down the Candid Bean that night…

Chapter I

Boredom. An enemy most cruel.

This simple coffeehouse generated so little revenue, it was nearly more work to keep it than to sell it off. Had it not been for the fact that the upstairs had been converted into a simple residence for those who’d run the joint, I would’ve sold the property entirely and found some other way of getting money out of this small town, my father’s wishes be damned, but the combo at least made up for the crippling boredom you’d receive from tending to a place with one or two regulars and the odd kid or other old folk who’d barge in.

I’ve kept to watching movies from my laptop, seated in one of the Candid Bean’s many chairs with a view of the outside through the building’s front windows. The shop’s WiFI connection was always staggering. On some days, I could stream the entirety of the Lord of the Rings trilogy at 480p, and on others, I could barely play a small YouTube video at 360 without buffering and stuttering every 8 seconds. The varying comfort was vastly annoying, but I’ve never been one to need much new stimulus for entertainment. I had a small CD collection of various pirated films I kept in the back drawer behind the shop’s bar, and one of those many movies in my collection was Pulp Fiction, just the movie I was watching now. Quentin Tarantino was a true genius of cinema, and I personally believe Pulp Fiction was one of his greatest masterpieces. It was easily high up in my top ten, so the movie made my Wednesday nights of no internet pretty often.

I’ve been living in this backwater town for a year. Many Wednesdays have passed since. Despite myself, I can’t help but feel bored watching this movie I could recite line for line.

I yawned, chuckling softly at Christopher Walken’s gold watch monologue. Either way, I’m closing up shop soon enough. It’s nearing 12 AM and I’m quite tired—


The doorbell chimes, the noise inexplicably summoning my attention threw my earbuds. Someone was coming in at this hour?
But no one was there.

I shuffle in my seat, an invisible wind chilling my bared arms as I immediately write off the incident as no more than my mind playing tricks. I must be more tired than I thought… better to close up a few minutes early if I’m hearing things.

My hand moves to the touchpad of my laptop and I click to pause the movie. Getting up, I stretch out my body briefly, hearing a few satisfying ‘pop!’ noises for my troubles before I’d head for the door to flip the sign.

I intended to do just that… but I’d find myself rooted near my chair, my body being unusually unresponsive to the commands of my brain. Why can’t I move? Am I just that unusually exhausted, or… I try to shake the feeling away and force something to work. Move. Move, damn you..!

In my fight for control, I finally begin to notice the tightly forming knots in my stomach and the claminess of my own skin. A deep sense of unease was strangely building within me, and my own inability to move was no more than an animalistic instinct to avoid danger.

But a danger… of what? My eyes look to the doorbell, avoiding the other pair of eyes on the other side of the window.

Was I afraid of the chime of my doorbell? The strange noise that had played without a cause. I’d never been a man of the supernatural; I believed solely in science and that the root of the unknown is completely understandable. Such things as magic, ghosts, spirits and even God were all either fabrications or just things we had yet to understand. In a more realistic world, aren’t all these things completely ridiculous? Of course. Naturally. So it stands to reason that these things can be explained.

That’s right. No matter what, science can explain any phenomena.

I feel the unease peeling off my skin. At that moment, I felt like a silly snake.

What the hell was the point of being so afraid of quite literally nothing? I shake my head at my ridiculousness and go over to shut the open door, flipping the sign as I did. There. Now I’ll be able to close up shop with no further incident.

I turn back around to face the rest of the room
there’s something sitting at the bar.

… When, did they come in? Why didn’t I see or hear them?
I take a cautionary step back, my eyes looking over the figure carefully…

An oversized satin blouse with color mirroring the image of sea foam striped with coal black and cobalt blue lines running vertically. The waist of the blouse was tied by a dark sash giving a stronger view of the person’s hourglass figure, and the two ends of the sash drifted down freely to clash with the colors of the person’s long flowing bohemian skirt. The skirt was colored similarly to their top, yet the tone of the clothing was several shades darker to mimic something more akin to a stormy cloud—a similarity made stronger by the lopsided length of the skirt which showed only a singular clear view of their legs on the left side. What of the legs you could see showed of them one cuff-like silver anklet on their left leg and simple black sandals.

This person, whom I’ve never seen before, was seated quite primly at the bar with one arm laid flat on the countertop and the other holding a small book. I could see their crystal blue eyes reading through the letters at sedate speed through the fringe of their back-length thick black hair; it was styled so that the right of their face would be bared and the left partially obscured, giving them the appearance of both a strange mystique yet inexplicable feeling of honesty. The clash was so intoxicating, I’d nearly missed the large black bag they — rather, SHE — had placed on my bar’s countertop. It was leather, looked expensive, and had a hideously dirty bottom.

“Ahem,” I clear my throat, my indignation at the snuff to my cleaning job momentarily overtaking the fear I’d felt at the sudden presence of a stranger. “Ahem,” I tried again when she hadn’t looked my way.

This would serve to do the trick, however. The brunette jolted as if shaken from a deep trance, her gaze shifting to me with bewilderment and confusion, then, understanding. That was all the better for me. Clearly, she must’ve realized her affront and would be quick to rectify the issue.

“Ah,” the woman started in a surprisingly young-sounding voice with a british accent. “I’ll have a macchiato with almond milk and sweet cinnamon dolce syrup.”
… I blink. She blinks. “Oh!”

The woman turns to grab her bag, sliding it off my clean countertop and rummaging through it to pull out a wad of cash. I stared at her incredulously as she shamelessly wiggled it in front of me, her expression expectant. Then, further confused as mine doubtlessly showed irritation.​


oh god not more names
Jul 7, 2021
“You’re dirtying my counter,” I stated. I had to restrain my anger as, instead of being met with understanding and an apology for the insult, this woman dared to look MORE confused. I stood there waiting a solid 20 seconds before she realized her folly and finally reacted like a normal person.

“Oh, goodness! I apologize, sir—really! I had no idea!” She stood up clumsily and began dusting off her—

“STOP!” I called out, freezing the girl in her place as she nearly dug her hole even deeper between us. “For God’s sake, lady. Just… hold the bag.” I was just enchanted by her beauty and mystique, but her idiocy was doing a damn good job of keeping me awake and lucid. Still, with her simply standing still and holding her bag without saying anything more, I was able to think a little more on the situation. From there I started.

“Where did you come from?” That was my burning question. I was just alone in the Candid Bean with no soul in sight—I was sure of it. Her presence here completely contradicts my former solitude, and how did she get in?

“Um… outside?” But she just reacted with dumb confusion. As anyone would if they had only done a simple act in their eyes, I’d imagine. It frustrated me… but I couldn’t fault her. Maybe it really was just me. I can’t imagine this girl would have ANY chance of sneaking anywhere, not with that unusual presence she carried. With a nod, I waved away the strangeness of the situation.

“Look, I’m closing up shop. I don’t know when you came in but you’re a little too late to ask for coffee now. Please leave.” I walked away back to my laptop, expecting her to offer something along the lines of another apology followed by compliance.

“W-wait! Really?” Instead, she seemed to want to fight the issue. Was she one of those crazy customers with entitlement issues? I looked her over again over my shoulder… she certainly looked wealthy. “Please, I only need a moment longer, if that’s not a bother to ask? I’ve been traveling so much and I’ve had such a rush of ideas hit me, b-but it’s so late and I’m tired so I need something to keep me up…”

“Not my problem. I’m tired myself and I’d like to sleep. Please leave.”

“Could you not spare only a few minutes time, sir? It’s my work! It’s— I just know if I sleep now, I’ll lose all of my ideas in the blink of an eye! And I’ve had such a strong writer’s block as of recent, I don’t know if I could get it all flowing again, and—”

“Ma’am, as much as I’d like to help, the shop has to close and I need my rest. I’m sure you can simply write your ideas away on a notepad and keep that at your bedside or something, but I need to rest.” I look away to close my laptop.

“Sir!” My motions halt, a shiver going up my spine as I quickly turned around and jumped back as the woman suddenly invaded my personal space. Her bottom lip was quivering so obviously, her blue eyes wet with unshed tears as she leaned forward with her hands held together. “Please… I simply cannot risk it. Even with my ideas stored and saved, the actual feeling present in this moment cannot be recorded. I cannot reclaim this moment ever again…”

I felt something… strange, blossoming within me. This girl’s act was so obviously fake—it doesn’t take an aspiring actor to see the flaws in her movement. Her eyes weren’t focused enough on mine, as they’d shift quickly every now and again to spot any changes in my form to belay my reaction. She was overdoing the lip quiver, and although the tears were impressive, the other flaws in her approach ultimately brought down her act to an unimpressive 6.

Knowing this, why could I not stop the strange sympathy I felt for her plight?

“... Pay extra,” my lips moved before I could stop myself. “Double the amount for the macchiato. You leave in 30 minutes irregardless of how much you got done or how you feel, and I want no trouble out of you for the duration of your stay!” Fuck. If I’m breaking to something this obvious, I really have to be tired out right now. I’d only feel more irritated at the feeling of satisfaction I felt at her elation, the joy in her eyes burning away the wetness—as she moved in to wrap her arms around me in a gentle hug.

“Thank you, sir.”

With a desperate quickness, I pushed her away, my heart beating quicker and my grip on her shoulders tightening. “Don’t do that,” I hissed. Ignoring whatever reaction she’d have to my rebuke, I stepped away from her to go handle her order, my stride much quicker in my need to escape the woman.

I could still feel her warmth… that subtle scent of the ocean breeze she carried. The softness of her body as she pressed herself against me, her modest breasts squishing against my more solid frame to inflame my natural desires…

I held my breath for five seconds. Then, released.
“Pah…” Fuck.

I’m going to hurry up and finish her strange order. We don’t have anything fancy like that cinnamon dolce syrup or whatever she mentioned, but almond milk is a must for a coffeehouse irregardless of how rundown it is.


oh god not more names
Jul 7, 2021
June 25th, Wednesday morning.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

The utterly splitting ring of a demon’s bell cuts the comfortable silence I resided in like a sword through the clothing of a poor village boy. My sluggish body being that of a poor village boy’s and the demon’s bell being a sword.

With great struggle, I pull my arm up high to slap the snooze button on my alarm, killing the goddamn noise and providing myself with a small measure of satisfaction. Now I could go back to sleep… but, those thoughts wouldn’t last long. Truth be told, I’m lucid on the third ring. I’ve always been a particularly light sleeper, so my simple alarm easily does the trick in waking me. When I was young, I remember I was such a light sleeper that my father would never have to call me for breakfast—before he’d know, I was already dressed and at the table with a fork and a knife.

Or so he says. I wasn’t nearly so enthusiastic to eat my old man’s bland eggs.

I wrestle around with my covers and lift off the bed, swinging my legs in an arc and slipping my feet into my beat up slippers. With a yawn, I got up and stretched out the kinks from last night, then sighed with relief and checked outside. At 7 AM, the weather was what one would refer to as “shit.” It was a cloudy day with, judging from the drops on my window, a slight drizzle. The humidity was likely on the annoying side accompanied by the doubtless mild heat you’d get from early summer Arkansas, and I’d bet two dollars this would be the type of weather that could flip on a dime and suddenly become a torrent of rain.

This is exactly the reason why I smiled with delight.

An unhappier outside means less people on the streets. I had to go out for groceries today, so it was just my luck that this was the type of day most would stay in and forgo any shopping.

With a slight kick to my step, I hopped out of bed and headed for my closet. My casual attire consisted of a white button-down with jeans or shorts depending on my mood and a simple pair of blue unbranded sneakers—an outfit quite similar to my work attire. With the weather as it was today, I figured now would be a reasonable time to pick out my blue hoodie to throw on over my button-down, so I took my chosen outfit out of my closet and threw it on the bed for later.

I don’t shower every day, so I forgoed that and simply left to brush my teeth and mind my other morning needs. When I’d freshened up, I put on my clothes and left downstairs, entering into the Candid Bean and heading for its kitchen which was dual-purposed into my personal kitchen. In the fridge, I had some milk and eggs. My cooking wasn’t exactly chef-level, but I made sure I could at least make a simple breakfast of eggs and sausages in the morning. For an aspiring actor with incredible potential such as myself, it’s important to start the day with a balanced meal to fuel any training or other work I need to do.

In this case, it was just to stay healthy. While Wednesday was a prime working day for most, this was actually the day I took a break from my personal training in order to rejuvenate. I’ve found that missing my mid-week break would usually result in me being incredibly thin on patience, a unique byproduct of living in this incredibly drab town, no doubt.


The instant coffee machine makes a fuss near me from my position at the toaster. I head over to smoothly eject the coffee pot and deliver the bland drink to my awaiting cup, the maneuver going quickly as I’d practiced time and time again. Once filled, I returned the coffee pot to its machine and turned back to finish the rest of my breakfast. I flicked a dirty knife from a newly jammed piece of toast into the sink.

And I froze.

… Didn’t I wash out all the coffee mugs before closing shop last night?
I question myself as I look at the singular mug in the sink.

I must’ve missed one, I’d guess. But that really isn’t like me. Even though the Candid Bean hardly gets enough customers to make a fight to find enough cups necessary, I keep it as clean as I can in respect to my own clean freak tendencies. I wouldn’t leave a dirty mug in the sink, even if the dishwasher was stuffed.

Still. I remember being unusually tired last night, so it’s probable that I just missed it in my rush to get to bed. Unlike me for sure, but ultimately the most reasonable option.
Mn… but I can’t help but feel puzzled by something.

Oh well.

Later, I’m jumping into my car and starting the ignition. Just as I expected, I found no passersby on the sidewalks and a scarce few cars on the street. I was able to drive right to the local supermarket with little distraction on the way. I got in, I grabbed my necessary groceries, and I was predictably stopped by the one annoyance that never failed to catch me at the supermarket.

“Oh? Well if it ain’t Evan!” I hate his voice so goddamn much.
With practice, I smoothly turn my head to offer a bland stare at the skinny young blonde man making his way down the frozen food section. With a blue tank top that bared too much of his arms than I’d want to see and a pair of distressed denim shorts, he looked like a pretty atypical dude bro. His name? William Hall, but all of his friends call him Billy, he tells me. I typically prefer to not call him at all, but if necessary… “Mr. Hall,” I greet.

“There it is again! What’s with the politeness, man? Golly, it always feels like we’re strangers even though ya been here a full year already! Didn’t all that time we spent mean somethin’ to ya?” It did not. He continued on before I could say this. “Aw, shucks! I’m just messing. I know you care beneath that cold outside you got! Why, you remind me just like my grandpops. I swear the guy’s thorny as a cactus but he’s a real softie—” William froze.


oh god not more names
Jul 7, 2021
“Well damn! You been with a woman?!”

“What?” I question the dumb ass with a tone befittingly bewildered. “Yah, yeah, don’t try denying it! You got yourself a hickey on the neck, Ev. Right on the collar!” William gestured to his own neck where that “hickey” would supposedly be if he were me. I curiously rubbed at my neck to feel it out… and sure enough, I felt something off. “It’s just a rash,” I rationalized more to myself than him. How on earth would I ever get with someone? Not right now, at least.

“No, no! Man, I’ve been ‘round the block enough times to know a hickey when I see one. C’mon, you sly dog! Who was it? Can’t be anyone in town, right? Don’t think these girls are your type, or… is it a guy?” William found himself seriously pondering my sexuality in the middle of a Kroger. “I’m straight,” I plainly responded. This backwater town still dealt with sexual prejudice, to put it lightly. The old people here were far too set in their ways. To them, it had to be a woman and a man together, never a man and man nor woman and woman, but at least William and a chunk of the younger populace were less backwards. If still fairly ignorant.

“Hey, I wouldn’t mind if ya weren’t, man. You know I’d still support you? I’ve got friends who’re gay! I can help hook ya up, I mean, if you need? None of ‘em are particularly smart and I don’t mean that’s a gay thing to not be smart but—” I’ve heard enough. I turn around to push my shopping cart. “H-hey, where ya going?”

William follows me, talking to himself and pretending I gave a shit. I journeyed to finish up my shopping as quickly as possible, even skipping a few things on my list to get to checkout quicker as the motor mouth went on from one thing to another at all the speed of a finger snap.
He said something to catch my ear.

“But enough of all that, man! You see the new girl in town?”

“Who?” I questioned, oblivious to the street gossip.

“There’s some foreigner poking around! Don’t think anyone’s asked for her name, but she’s hot and she’s got one of those British accents, like in the Lord of the Rings? She wears real expensive lookin’ clothing. I ain’t see her yet but I hear she a strange type, like the type you don’t see or imagine coming to these parts often.” William made a few gestures with his hands to try and help me imagine this woman. I completely ignored his stupid antics.

“You sure she’s real? People like that don’t come to Briarbloom.”

“Yeah! Nah, I’ve got it good from my friends, man. I trust ‘em. Not to mention, it’s the talk of the town. I dunno how you haven’t heard nothin’ about it.” It’s because I make a very good habit of avoiding the town, William. “But hey, it’s interesting, yeah? Wonder what she’s doing here. What do you think?”

“I think I don’t care.” Admittedly, I was interested. But I had my groceries paid for and I don’t want to be with William any longer than necessary, even if he could say something of any interest to me. “I’m done packing up. I have a lot of work ahead of me, so I’m going out.”

“Oh! You need a hand?” Not from you. “No thanks. You’ve got your own shopping to do, right?”

I don’t waste a moment in quickly leaving after that statement. William says something behind me, but I don’t care to pick it up. Quicker than a fox, I’m out of Kroger and back in my car, speeding down the road to deposit my groceries before getting on with the rest of my day… but I couldn’t help but consider the topic we discussed.

A strange woman with a British accent? Why did that… almost sound familiar? And what’s more, what’s a girl like that doing in a sleepy town like this? There’s nothing here for tourists. There’s barely anything here for the residents who actually live here. I doubt this person’s gonna stay long if they really exist.

As I’m pondering these oddities, I pass by a particularly weathered building. My eyes are naturally drawn to the slightly ajar door where I see a young woman peeking out from behind.

The legendary “Ghost girl,” was it? I remember she’s one of the local weirdos the folks love to talk about and never with. I’ve only ever seen her outside of that house a handful of times… and never once had she paid me any mind. I couldn’t help but feel like, at that moment, she was looking directly at me.

But that’s ridiculous.


oh god not more names
Jul 7, 2021
I got home far before lunchtime. I’d go on with my day as planned and finally end up opening the Candid Bean in the late afternoon. With the weather of the day, I knew I could get away with a later opening as no one would be coming in anyway, but there were always one or two old folks coming in near the darker hours.

As typical, I wore my standard work attire. My usual white button-down tucked into a pair of black slacks with the sleeves rolled up to my mid forearm. A black waist apron was tied in the appropriate place, and all the way down on my feet, were a pair of brown loafers. The attire was exactly what you’d expect from a late night coffee shop barista. I felt that getting into the typical outfit was good for me getting into character. You could consider it some minor acting practice.

Just as expected, I’d serve about three guests coming in to have their late night cup of coffee and “support local businesses.” The couple of old lovers who lived a bit further down the road from me, and this strange old guy who never spoke much but always ordered the same order with a smile (I suspect he probably was friends with my father and just wanted to check up on me). After that came closing time.

I sighed, closing out my laptop from my usual spot in the coffeehouse and stood up. My legs took me over to the door of the shop and I pinched the open sign’s corner to flip it…

I glanced behind me. There was nothing there.
Could’ve sworn I felt something looking—


I jump away from the door, my hands raised to defend myself from any sudden attack from what I’d thought to be a thief trying to break in. It took me a few seconds to calm down and register what I was actually seeing with some measure of clarity… there was… a strange woman, there.

She was dressed in expensive clothing. A beautiful blouse that broke the drabness of her surroundings and a near matching bohemian skirt. Her long black hair was shaded by a white sun hat with a blue sash tied around it, and she had a black bag around her shoulder. In the moonlight, her clear and pearlescent skin had looked stunning… not simply just out of beauty, but of a near otherworldly luster. There was a pallid texture that I couldn’t quite explain, a uniqueness that would inflame the writing spirit of any poet to form infinite prose with. It was beautiful indeed, but all the same, it could’ve been intimidating… alien. Scary. I couldn’t help but stare as if she were truly and honestly shining.

I recovered from my stupor. “I-It’s midnight,” I stammered out with some irritation. Now that my brain was catching up, I was genuinely maddened by her sudden appearance at closing time. Couldn’t she have come any sooner? “I know,” she responded. Her voice was… somewhat cheerful. She had a British accent that immediately clued me in on the situation. She was the foreigner.

“... Then you know I’m closing.” I stepped back over to flip the sign, making the woman drop her small smile as a strange panic overtook her. “Wait! Why?! Had you forgotten our agreement, sir?! You’d said I could come in again at my own behest!” Her arms flailed lively. She was possessed with a very weird energy to her movements that… I don’t see often, or ever. Especially not in this town.

What the hell did she just say?

“I don’t know you, lady.” My eyes narrowed. “I don’t know who you have me confused with, but we’ve never met. I have to close up shop now. Please leave.” With those words, I flipped the open sign and turned around to leave the strange woman in her place. Or so I would have had she not spoken again.

“You mean you forgot? Mr. Churchill, we… we’ve met before!”

My head swiveled back over to her quickly. She was no longer at the side window now, and stood right by the door as if with the intention of heading in herself. “Who… why do you know my name?” I felt a lump in my throat. This woman was small and seemed harmless. Compared to my height of 5’11”, an average for American men, she only stood at maybe a mere 5’2” and seemed slight enough that I could easily take her if a fight were to break out. But at that moment, she seemed so much larger and more fearsome than even a bear. With impossible innocence, the deceptively unassuming foreigner frowned at me, something akin to disappointment in her eyes.

“I’d left so little an impression? I’d thought we… ah, had a bit of a moment. Was I wrong to think so? You complimented my book.”

“Your book?” Where is she getting this story from? I shook my head. “Look, I don’t know what you’re on, but I don’t know you. We’ve NEVER met, I do NOT appreciate you using my… my…”
A sudden thought struck me.

Her sweet smell like an ocean breeze. The feeling of her softness in my hands.
I caress her carefully as if she’d break. A part of me wanted to break her… but not yet.
She kisses me softly and I respond in kind. Her hand trails down to undo the belt of my pants.
I push her down onto my bed, diving onto her like an animal and wrapping my arms around her—

“Rgrh…” My head hurts. Was… was that..?

“My name is Magnolia.” I hear her voice from the door, and a small anxiety settles ever so slightly in knowing she hadn’t somehow moved. “We met last night? I… I came in after a rough day and you made me a macchiato with almond milk. At first, you were rather rough around the edges, but I showed you my book and you really seemed to brighten up! Does this really…”

I tune her out, more focused on my issues. What were these images? These… memories? I know I’ve never met this woman—she carried a presence hard to forget, and I had a good memory. Be that as it may… I couldn’t help but remember exactly what she was talking about. The macchiato. Her coming in right around this time. Even the promise I’d made after we... and, I was still locked in the moment. I’d told her she could come back again if she wanted.

You fucking idiot, Evan. How would you get yourself into trouble like this THEN forget? I hold a hand up, stalling her words as I ceased my own mental berating.

“Yeah. Yeah… I remember. Sorry.” This was an utterly bizarre situation, but I couldn’t help but feel a tad guilty. As much as I was feeling weird, from her perspective, it had to be worse. To sleep with a guy who’d immediately forget about you the next day must’ve been the absolute worst feeling. I couldn’t relate, but I was clearly in the wrong.

I walked over to the door to open it, not bothering to flip the sign since it remained true. Magnolia looked up at me with a look that was equal parts relieved and conflicted. Understandable, considering the situation. “Really. I don’t know what got into me and made me forget. You don’t have to come in if you don’t want to, but… I’ll keep my word. You… were fun. You’re great and you definitely left an impression.” I sweetened up the words a bit more than I typically would. I just wanted to lessen the guilt I felt in placing this sudden blow to this woman’s confidence. Even if I wasn’t as taken with her as my words made it seem, she certainly was someone deserving to strut confidently, if ever there was such a person.

“...” Magnolia pondered her options, seeming deep in thought. Her answer would finally come in the form of a nod.

“But I want a free macchiato.” I snorted. “Free drinks will run me out of business, but sure. Anything for the lady.” She smiled back. “Consider it a fair punishment for hurting my feelings, won’t you? Even should it cost you the gaff!”

With those words, Magnolia entered my coffeehouse. I closed the door behind her and followed her to the bar.
Chapter II New


oh god not more names
Jul 7, 2021

Chapter II

The days passing onward weren’t the usual type I knew. My mornings and afternoons had remained as steady as ever; I tended to my hobbies online watching movies or playing the occasional game, I engaged in light bits of exercise to keep my body active and healthy, and I’d have my solo acting sessions at my home. Whenever I’d need to, I’d go out to buy groceries or simply just take a walk about to get out of the Candid Bean and clear my head, but for the most part I’d always stick to my own matters and made sure no one bothered me profoundly. These were as my days usually were. They were not particularly exciting or otherwise interesting. My nights used to be the same.

Key phrase; used to be.

Ever since that night so long ago where I’d had my first midnight visit, Magnolia’s been in my nightlife since. Night after night, she’d come to visit the Candid Bean almost always around the time I’d be closing up shop (a fact I pointed out with annoyance, yet she’d only react in innocent ignorance) and we’d pass the time mostly aimlessly. I’d brew a macchiato for her, we’d make small talk, the clumsy woman might try teasing me or prying information out of me about my personal life and I’d simply shut down her obvious attempts without consideration.

Never had a situation arose like I’d once imagined between us on her second visit. She’d never mentioned it nor made any move to pursue anything related to that night. Naturally, I wouldn’t push her. I’ve been getting the impression overtime that what “memories” I’d imagined were nothing more than fleeting fantasies that I entertained in a moment of weakness. The woman was beautiful after all. While I may not think so lustfully as most men, it’s been years since I’ve been with a woman and there’s really only so much one could do on their own. Perhaps the situation of such an attractive foreigner coming into my shop at the dead of night had enticed me, and I’d thought shameful thoughts following…

Even that’s highly unlikely for me, but it’s the most acceptable answer I could presume. After all, while I’ve never pushed her into continuing whatever fantasies I’d had, that’s not to say I didn’t make any moves. I’ve never directly flirted with Magnolia, but I might’ve dropped a few obvious hints here and there just to gauge her reaction. From my extensive research, I was able to conclude that my macchiato-obsessed customer is equal parts clumsy and oblivious as well as likely uninterested. I’ve asked her personal questions about her love life and romantic engagements and she’s only responded honestly that she’s never been in love. I could be kinder to her than normal, claim I’m interested, and a number of other approaches… but she only seems to consider it as no more than friendly gestures.

Add naive to the list of traits. Honestly, I just can’t believe I’d ever with someone like her no matter how attractive she is…

Now, it might be prudent to offer more relevant information. For one; I really don’t know much about Magnolia. According to her, she’s the daughter of a wealthy wristwatch collector and she lived in England (London to be specific) before moving to America and settling down in Massachusetts. She’s visiting Briarbloom on a road trip to see the sights of the country—both small and large—and she’s currently staying in a local hotel.

Truth be told, that’s the most I ever got out of her. Other details she’d very simply excuse as small or simply not mention it, or when I’d intend to ask her something more pressing, it’d always seem to slip my mind by the time I see her… again I can only chalk it up to the rare occasion of my own lust fogging my mind.

All the same, it’s not very important anyway. Magnolia mentioned she’s on a road trip, after all. It’s only been a mere six days since she’s arrived so I can presume she’s tiring of this place. Likely tomorrow or the day after she’ll mention she’s leaving and be off, out of my life for good. She’s certainly made quite a stir in both my usual activities and the town itself as a whole, but eventually we’ll all return to our normal everyday lives. I would almost wish to stay in contact with her though, if only I could really care to hold a friendship over the phone.

But for now, let’s do away with the unrelated thoughts. At present time I’m dealing with something far more pressing… so much so that I’d distract myself with an internal recap instead of considering it. I really don’t often procrastinate, but I can’t help myself. Right now I’m balking at the weight of the task in my future. I’m honestly shaken up, and it’s hard to keep my head on task.

Now just what is this big, monumental moment that I’m approaching? It’s nothing, really. Just an audition for an upcoming hit TV show.

That’s right. For the past hour, I’ve been on the road out of town and I’m driving toward the capital. They’re holding auditions there for a crime drama coming to TV in the next year or so, and I’m particularly interested in one of the parts. The show’s called “Black Theater”. It’s about a family man losing his way after the horrible murder of his wife. Following the traumatic event, the man vows to exact vengeance upon the criminal populace of America’s underbelly; but here’s the catch. That man’s methods are no less than criminal in their own right. He starts off small using his journalistic career to chase criminal stories and investigate cases the police wouldn’t want him to look into, but in time, he begins to go further and further as the crime world darkens his soul.

The part I’m auditioning to play is the role of a minor antagonist being the main lead’s perfectionist co-worker. This co-worker eventually comes to investigate the main lead in time and acts as the sort of antithesis of the main. While the main character is slowly corrupted in his pursuit of vengeance, this antagonist instead follows a redemption story as he falls into his own suffering and pulls through in his own way.

That part sounds like a dream to me. A part that sophisticated, one that’s not too in the light but not far in the background… it’s perfect. Just what I need to start my acting career! I’m no less than enthusiastic and I feel prepped for this, but even so, I can’t help the nervousness from feeding through me. This could be a big moment. I think I’m ready—no, I know I’m ready. It’s just a matter of whether or not I can communicate my talent effectively in the time I’ll be given.

It’ll likely be ten minutes. I’ve already seen the part of the script I’m meant to read through; those auditioning were given it in advance, so I’m aware of my job. I’ve spent so long on this… it has to come to fruition and get me out of this goddamn town.
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