The Moon

Hello Dears,

Yesterday I found pumpkin beer already in stores. It was a moderate consolation for it still being August…

And yes, I bought a six pack of the pumpkin beer without shame.

I hope you can find something good about August as well.

With Screams and Axes,




“What?” Joe asked, looking surprised. He had never heard her raise her voice or swear before.

“These photos of naked ladies,” she said, holding them up for him to see. “Why do you have these?”

“Let me see those,” Joe said calmly, reaching for the photos. Kerri relinquished them willingly but kept the angry look on her face. Joe flipped through the photos casually. “Oh, these are some photos of ex-girlfriends,” he said, setting them on the coffee table.

“Why do you have them?” Kerri asked.

“I don’t know,” Joe said, seeming to search for the right explanation. “I didn’t think they were something I had to get rid of.”

“So, you think it’s okay to keep naked pictures of your exes in our new home?” Kerri asked, hating that Joe seemed so calm like he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong.

“I didn’t think it was a big deal.”

“Why are they all asleep?”

“There’s something about a woman, naked and asleep, that I find arousing,” Joe said, looking suddenly ashamed.

“Did these women know you were taking their picture?” Kerri asked, hoping that she hadn’t moved in with some kind of pervert.

“I showed all of them after I took the pictures. None of my other girlfriends ever had a problem with this,” Joe said.

“I don’t like that you keep pictures of women you’ve slept with. It’s weird.”

“It’s not about the fact that I’ve slept with them, it’s not like those are trophy pictures. It’s just one of those things,” Joe said, trying to explain.

“One of those things?” Kerri asked.

“Yeah, like a fetish. This is my fetish,” Joe admitted, avoiding her eyes.

“Why isn’t there one of me?” She asked him.

Too Hot To Handle

Hello Dears,

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for summer to be over. I’m sick of the sun and the heat.

I hope you enjoy another installment of “Pieces of You.”

With Scream and Axes,




While they had been unpacking, Kerri had found herself going through one of Joe’s boxes. She had tried to tell herself that she was unpacking, that she wasn’t looking for anything, and that she wasn’t snooping. She told herself she was acting crazy and that she needed to stop, yet something in her brain told her to continue rummaging through his things. Then she found it. Under a folded pile of polo shirts, her fingers touched something different, something that didn’t belong in a pile of shirts. This must be the thing she had been looking for. She pulled out an oversized white envelope, with nothing written or stamped on the outside. Inside, she found five pictures. Kerri flipped through them.

Each picture was a woman, each one seemingly asleep with her eyes closed, and each one completely nude. Three were in bed, on sheets she recognized as being Joe’s, one on a couch, also Joe’s, and one on a sleeping bag in a tent. Her mind came up with a hundred horrible reasons for these photos in a just a few seconds. She wondered if these pictures were connected with what they had been receiving at their front door.

On Tuesday, they received two arms folded into a pistachio-green suitcase. Kerri noticed that one of the arms had a tattoo of a skull. Joe’s eyes widened when he saw the tattoo. Though he didn’t say anything, Kerri wondered if he recognized it. Joe suggested they get a security camera. He bought one that night, but couldn’t figure out how to set it up properly. He left it attached to a porch beam anyway, hoping just its presence might scare off whoever was doing this.

Kerri waited as long as she could before confronting Joe with the pictures she’d found. Marching to the living room with the photos in her hand, she snapped at him,

“What the fuck are these?”

Summer Days

Hello There,

I’ve been enjoying my summer so far. I’ve even made it outside a few times without ruining my pale glow.

Here’s some more story for you.

With Screams and Axes,




That night they slept on opposing sides of the bed, backs turned, each wondering about the foot, about the other, and what they might have done to receive such a thing in the mail. Both forgot, however, that the package had been addressed to both of them.

Yesterday, Joe and Kerri had moved in together. They had only been casually dating for a few months, but when Joe had asked Kerri if she wanted to live with him in a cute little house he had found to rent, she had said yes. All of her relationships before had been fast and numerous, with most fizzling out almost as soon as they started. Kerri never blamed herself for this, rather assuming that if the man lost interest then he just hadn’t been the one. No one had ever stayed with her long enough to ask her to move in.

On Sunday morning, they awoke to another package waiting on their doorstep. It was a hand. The fingers were thin but very long, and the nails were filed to sharp points and painted the same hot pink color that the toenails were. Another call to the police resulted in Kerri hyperventilating while Joe tried to calm her, reassuring her that the police promised they’d be sending someone when they could. Joe put the hand in the freezer with the foot.

Joe asking Kerri to move in with him had been a calculated move. He had looked at rental houses for weeks before he found one that he thought she wouldn’t be able to say no to. He had planned the moment he would ask down to the second. He brought it up after a romantic dinner, two glasses of wine, a story that made her laugh, and a confession of how much he cared for her.

Joe had become tired of feeling alone all the time. His apartment had been too big and blank. No matter how many times he stayed out into the early morning hours with his friends or how many dates he went on, coming home to that big, empty place made him feel isolated. When midnight came there, he was just a man trapped in a white room alone with guilt, dread, and anxiety. There was too much to think about, too many memories to attack him, so many regrets and what-ifs. He didn’t like the quiet, he didn’t like the white walls, he didn’t like that there wasn’t anyone else there to hear him or to call out to. It scared him and made him feel out of control. After dating Kerri for a few months, he decided that she would be the one to make him forget about it all.

On Monday morning, they received two legs in a long rectangular box tied with pink ribbon. For a brief moment, before the box was opened, Kerri thought there might be long-stemmed roses inside. Kerri suggested that they stay home from work, but Joe didn’t see the point. That night they tried to stay awake in the living room with their eyes on the window to see if they could catch who was delivering the packages. Both fell asleep before dawn.

Pieces Of You


It’s been a long time. So much has happened. I’ve gotten married, I’ve moved to a different state, and I’ve turned 30.

So here’s the beginning of a story…

With Screams and Axes,




By Mae MacCallum

On Saturday, when Joe and Kerri woke up on the first morning in their new house, they found a package waiting by the front door. Joe brought the box in and set it on the kitchen table, announcing: “First mail in the new place!” He examined the box that was addressed to both of them. “What’s this? Did you order something?”

“No, I didn’t,” Kerri said, looking at the box. “No return address, see?” She pointed to an empty corner of the cardboard.

“I guess we’ll just have to open it,” Joe said.

Getting a knife from the kitchen, Joe grasped it carefully as he slowly sliced through the packing tape. Kerri gasped and covered her mouth when Joe opened the flaps of the box, revealing a severed human foot. They both stared at it for a moment, completely in shock. Kerri was the first to be able to speak.

“Is that real?” She asked. Joe bent his face down to get a closer look at it.

“Looks real,” he said, covering his nose. “It smells real too.”

“Oh my God, who would send this?” Kerri asked, starting to breathe quickly, a whiny wheezing sound. Joe took her by the shoulders.

“Hey, calm down. It’s going to be okay,” he said, holding her close. “I’ll call the police and we’ll see what they say, alright?”

She nodded and tried to calm herself.

“Hello, my name is Joe and I need to make a report I guess.” Kerri watched him intently while he paced around the kitchen table. “Well, this morning I got a package in the mail, and when I opened it I found a human foot inside.” Kerri could hear a slight rattle in Joe’s voice. “No, I’m pretty sure it’s a real human body part.” She wondered how often the police received calls like this. “No, I don’t know why someone would send it to me.” Joe sighed heavily and started rubbing the side of his temple. “When someone’s available? When will an officer be available? Can you give me a time estimate?” Another sigh. She could hear the pitch in his voice getting higher. She’d never heard his voice sound like that before. “Okay, what should I do with it in the meantime?” Joe picked up a pen from the jar of them on the counter but didn’t write anything down. “Alright, thank you,” he said, hanging up the phone.

“What did the police say?” Kerri asked.

“Not a whole lot,” he sighed. “They’ll send someone when they can, but they warned me this isn’t a top priority. We’ll have to wait.”

“Wait? For how long?” Kerri asked.

“I don’t know, he didn’t say,” Joe said, putting his face in his hands. “The best thing to do is just keep it in the freezer for now.”

“I’m not keeping that thing in my freezer!” Kerri shouted.

“Well, where would you like me to put it?” Joe matched her tone.

Kerri took one last look at the foot as Joe folded the cardboard flaps and closed the box, carrying it to the freezer in the garage. This time, she noticed that the foot was rather small and delicate and that the toenails were painted hot pink.

Happy Halloween!


Hello Friends and Fiends! Sorry I’ve been away for so long. It’s been a busy few months planning my wedding as well as working on some larger writing projects.

I hope to have more to share with you very soon.

In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d share a short story I wrote a few months ago. I hope you enjoy it and you all have a Happy and Haunted Halloween.

With Screams and Axes,




Ralph’s friends were all waiting for him at Marcus’ house. In Marcus’ backyard, they were gathering wood for the bonfire and ice for the coolers full of beer. The strippers would be arriving in an hour. The friends had always held bonfire gatherings to mark special occasions. Gathering around bonfires had started as something they had done together in middle school when they were still too young to drink or drive. Since then, fires had blossomed into a tradition that marked weddings, farewells, and deaths. They were excited to raise this bonfire tonight for their friend Ralph, and to see him through to his wedding day. Marcus sent Ralph a text asking him to hurry up and get here. When Ralph felt his phone vibrate with Marcus’ message, he was in the woods, making his way back to his truck through the thick clusters of tall trees.

Ralph had spent the afternoon in the woods with his rifle, looking for deer. The intense concentration of hunting was always something that made him feel focused and centered. He liked to listen to the forest and look for animal signs. Today, he had been tracking a deer for a few miles before he came upon it in a small clearing. Ralph rarely took his shot, instead letting the moment pass him by while his prey avoided his crosshairs. It was never about the violence for him, and Ralph almost never brought home a kill. After having admired his deer so closely, Ralph was leaving the woods emptyhanded.

While he was retracing his steps and finding his way back to the truck, Ralph felt his senses go on alert. He stopped for a moment to listen to the trees. Something was near him, something alive. Ralph looked for signs of bears and gave a few loud whoops to scare off anything that might be nearby. He thought he heard movement behind him, some rustled leaves or a broken twig. He waited a moment in the silence before continuing on. He quickened his pace. He had a party to get to.

As Ralph moved through the brush, he became certain that something was following him. He darted between the trees in a mad dash to get out into the open where he parked his truck, but whatever was following kept pace. He heard the noises behind him and he heard it gaining ground, drawing closer. He was being stalked like a wounded deer.

In spite of the fear fluttering in his stomach, Ralph was able to make it to his truck. He loaded his rifle in the back as quickly as he could and climbed into the driver’s seat. He locked the doors, put his hands on the steering wheel and rested his forehead against his knuckles, trying to calm his heartbeat and slow his breathing. That’s when he heard a noise like a faint wheeze. It sounded like old, dead branches creaking softly in the wind. In the passenger seat sat a young woman. She had skin the deep color of bog oak, and hair that had been shorn close to her scalp. She was wearing a thin, white cotton dress over her graceful figure, and covering her face was a white mask that was featureless except for two small, dark eye holes.

Ralph stared at her for a moment, unable to breathe or to move. He wasn’t sure that she could be real. Finally she spoke in a rasping, breathy voice.

“I’m hungry.” She looked at Ralph and put her hand on his chest. She began to stroke his neck with her long, cold fingers. “Do you have a large family?” Her voice sounded like wood splintering off in the distance.

“No,” Ralph stammered. “My parents are dead. It’s just me and my fiancé.”

“Children?” She asked, leaning further in, gripping him tighter in her strong hands. “I love children.”

“No. We haven’t any children,” Ralph told her, trying to suppress himself from whimpering.

“No children,” she repeated. Ralph thought he sensed the ache of disappointment in her words. “I will eat your love then, but I will need more,” she wheezed at him.

“No. No you will not eat her. You can’t eat Emily, you can’t!” Ralph screamed, feeling himself almost hysterical.

“Why?” She asked.

“Because we’re going to be married soon. I don’t expect you to understand…” Ralph considered her for a moment. Her touched chilled his skin but also filled him with awe and reverence. He couldn’t ask her who she was, because he knew that she was nothing he could understand. There was something about her that seemed old, some eternal ancient.

“Would you die for her?” She asked, moving her masked face close to his. She smelled like wet earth and tree sap.

“Yes,” he answered quickly. Then she made a fast huffing noise that sounded almost like laughter.

“Maybe we make a deal then,” she said.


Ralph arrived an hour late to his bachelor party. As soon as he walked in, his buddies raised their voices to welcome him and give him crap for being so late. They slapped him on the back and handed him a drink.

“What took you so long?” Marcus asked him.

“Sorry. Just, sorry,” Ralph said, taking a long drink of a beer.

“You okay?” Marcus asked. “You seem shook up or something.”

“No, I’m fine. I’m here now. Everything will be okay.” Ralph knew he was acting weird. He was nodding his head too much and his beer bottle was rattling in his unsteady hands.

“Um, Okay,” Marcus said, eyeing him suspiciously. “Well, go take a seat around the fire, the show’s about to start.”

“Right, yes.” Ralph reached out and gave Marcus a brief hug. “Thank you for doing this.”


Ralph and the rest of the guys situated themselves in a wide circle around the fire. Around them night had fallen, and everything outside the orange glow of the flames was deep black. Marcus whistled loudly and four girls wearing very little filed out of his house. From somewhere, a thrashing metal song began to play. The girls came into the circle and began to dance in front of the men, moving around the group so everyone got a look, their hips and arms provocatively arching and jerking in front of the firelight.

Then she was there. Ralph could feel her coming up behind him in the darkness. She put a hand on his shoulder and looked into the circle. With her other hand, she slowly removed her mask and handed it to Ralph. He took it in both hands and held it in his lap, making sure not to take his eyes off it, to keep it safe. He didn’t want to see her face. She entered the circle and then the clamor began. The men shouted and the strippers shrieked. Ralph could hear noises that sounded like tearing, gurgling, choking, and slurping. There was also a deep, low note like a hum that echoed amongst the screams and cries for help. Ralph looked up to witness the devastation he had brought to them, figures of torn flesh and bleeding throats perfectly silhouetted by the flames.


Dragon’s Blood


Hello Horror Fans! I hope you’ll all forgive me for posting this a day late, but yesterday I got engaged! I was too happy and excited to write anything last night. And I won’t bore you with the details of the proposal, but I will say that it involved candlelight, a Katana, and three beautiful dragons. So, it was absolutely perfect.

Thank you for reading!

With Screams and Axes,



As Melissa shook the demon’s hand she felt a sharp sting on her palm. She pulled her hand away to find that she was bleeding. Two drops of blood rolled down her fingers. Max held up a thick pin touched with her blood, and dragged it across his tongue, tasting.

“No going back now,” he said, and snapped his fingers.

Melissa blinked her eyes and found herself back in the chocolate shop, alone. She looked at the clock. It was 9 p.m. Closing time. Melissa touched her hands to her face and her neck, almost as though she was assuring herself that she was still real. She felt disoriented and confused, like waking up on the ground with no recollection of fainting. She wondered for a moment if she had just experienced some kind of vivid hallucination, or if she had fallen asleep somehow. She looked at her palm and saw the small mark on her palm from the pin prick, the deal she made with Max. It was real. She finished closing up the chocolate store, and locked the glass doors behind her.

As she walked down the empty hallway of the mall towards the parking lot, her steps echoed against the tiled walls and the faint ambient music always playing. As she walked she began to feel a change. Something inside her stirred. Her steps became more confident, more sure. When she got to the row of doors leading outside, she flung one open and let herself out into the warm summer evening. It was dark now, and she could see a haze illuminated by the lights of the parking lot. A balmy breeze washed over her and played with the curls of her hair. It was a beautiful night. Melissa decided she wasn’t going to spend it alone, and took her phone out of her purse, dialing his number quickly and without hesitation.

Summer Nights


Hello Horror Friends!

I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday. I had a lovely weekend spending time with friends, napping, and taking walks with my dog. Summer isn’t my favorite season, as it becomes harder to keep my pale moon complexion, and my hair tends to blonde in too much sun, but I enjoy summer evenings more than anything. Once that pesky sun has gone down and it’s a little bit cooler, I love being outside. Luckily for me, my best friend has a lovely patio where we can enjoy the evenings and look out onto the city lights and wonder where the stars have gone.

Please enjoy another installment of “Something You Can’t Forget,” and have a great week.

Thank you for reading.

With Screams and Axes,



Melissa looked at herself in the mirror. She examined her thick thighs, her full arms, and her round face. They were the same size and shape as they’d always been, but she could see the beauty in them now. Melissa had never felt beautiful before, and tears began to trickle down her cheeks. There was more than just beauty there as well; she was sexy now, provocative and compelling.

“What would this cost me?” She asked with a sigh, sure of a steep price that she wouldn’t be able to afford.

“Yes, everything has a price, doesn’t it?” Max laughed. “Have you guessed what I am yet?”

“I have no idea what or who you are,” Melissa said. “And I’m not sure how much I want to know.”

“Well the basics are this…” He looked at her thoughtfully as though carefully considering what to say next. “I’m a demon.” He stared at her pausing for her reaction.

“Okay,” she said, no longer surprised by him.

“And I’ve developed a specific…dietary need, is what we’ll say.”

“Dietary need?”

“Yes. I enjoy eating the hearts of lustful men.” Max smiled. Melissa looked disgusted. “And yes, they MUST be men and they MUST be lustful. It’s just something about the flavor…”

“Okay, what does that have to do with me?” Melissa asked.

“Well, with your newfound sexual appeal and your confidence, men will be all over you. So naturally, I’d ask you to do a little harvesting for me.” Max watched Melissa’s face contort in revulsion. “I would only ask you to procure me one heart a month and I won’t even ask you to cut it out for me! All you have to do is lure a man somewhere, kill him, then call for me and I’ll do the rest. I’ll even take care of the body and all the cleanup!”

“That’s a horrible thing to ask someone to do.” Melissa looked at her figure in the mirror. “It’s murder.”

“But of course,” Max conceded. “But wouldn’t it be worth it?” He suddenly appeared behind her in the mirror. “And think of the beauty of a spider trapping flies in her web. It’s natural for the strong to prey upon the weak and insignificant. Just as those men used to prey upon you.”

Melissa tried to tell herself that beauty wasn’t worth murder, wasn’t worth blood. But as she stared at herself and felt her confidence surging in a way in never had before, she thought that maybe it was.

“Just one heart a month?” She repeated.

“Just one measly heart a month.” Max smiled.

“How will I call you?” She asked.

“With this,” he said, handing her a tiny silver whistle on a chain. “So do we have a deal?”

“We do.” Melissa shook the demon’s cold hand firmly.

A Dark Place


This weekend has been amazing! It was my birthday on Friday, so Love and I spent all weekend celebrating. I received some wonderful, heartfelt gifts, had some delicious meals and was able to see The Conjuring 2 with one of my favorite people in the world. It doesn’t get much better than that!

And today I was able to visit my friend Amanda, creator and founder of Ghoulish Delights Bath Shop. We had an awesome photo shoot in her spooky basement and I was able to check out her studio and see where she creates all her amazing horror themed bath products.

She is an incredibly talented, incredibly driven business woman and I urge you all to check out her shop at for all your bath and skin care needs.

And now please enjoy another installment of “Something You Can’t Forget.”

With Screams and Axes,



As Max put his hand over Melissa’s mouth, she felt a sharp breeze that stung her eyes. She shut them tight, and when she opened them she found herself alone in a dressing room. She stood on a raised platform surrounded by mirrors. There was a pink glow in the dressing room, and the pedestal she stood on began to rotate slowly. She looked at herself turning in the mirror. Her skin looked clear and dewy, and every curve of her body looked full and scrumptious. Her hair was thick with wavy curls and she could see the soft light shining off it. She stared at herself, wondering what was different. She recognized her reflection in the mirror. He body was the same size and the same shape, and even her clothes were the same, but somehow the woman looking back at her wasn’t her. It couldn’t be her, because the woman in the mirror was beautiful. There was something in her reflection that was lovely, something had changed. She stared and stared, trying to figure out what it was.

“Like what you see?” Melissa heard a voice that seemed to come from all around her.

“Yes,” she admitted to the shapeless voice.

“Would you like this?” the voice asked. “Would you like this to be true?”

“What have you done to me?” Melissa demanded. She heard a sigh and Max appeared before her, obscuring her view of herself.

“Isn’t this what you wanted?” He asked.

“I don’t look any different,” she said, examining herself again.

“Perhaps not. But you feel different, don’t you?” He asked her, a genuine look of concern on his brow.

“Yes. I suppose so.” Melissa wanted to hide her feelings from him. But she did feel different, she felt like she never had before. She felt comfortable. Like she had been tensed up in her own body for so long and now she was finally able to relax and breathe.

“That’s because you see different. I changed nothing but your sight.” He smiled with a big grin, proud of himself. “And I can do even more than that.”

Wheel of Fortune


I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately. I’ve been trying to decide what I want. I’ve been thinking about making some big changes. It seems like I’m on the precipice of something new and exciting, I’m just waiting on the leap. I feel like I’m at that point where I need to make a decision and take the leap, but I’m still not sure which cliff I want to jump off. Life is like that though, just a series of choices.

Hopefully soon I’ll have some new and exciting news for you all!

In the meantime, I hope everyone has an enjoyable and thoughtful Memorial Day.

And please enjoy the next installment of “Something You Can’t Forget.”

With Screams and Axes,



He smiled at her with a mouth full of mango. Chocolate drool dribbled down his chin and his eyes flashed wildly with no hints of embarrassment. He seemed frantically strange and proud. Something about the smile was menacing. Melissa was overcome with the feeling that this strange man was somehow threatening her. She wanted him to leave and never come back to the shop again. She wouldn’t even make him pay for the tray of chocolate covered mango slices if that’s what it took.

“I think maybe it’s time for you to leave now, Sir,” Melissa said with her manager voice. “The store is closing.”

He swallowed in one big gulp. Melissa watched, scared he was going to choke. He smiled and showed her his tongue and his empty mouth. “Oh yeah?” He said.

“Yes.” Melissa walked towards the door and gestured for him to use it. He didn’t, instead standing at the counter smiling and shaking his head.

“Listen Melissa, I didn’t really come here for Taffy. I actually had something I wanted to ask you.”

“Something to ask me?” Melissa repeated. “What do you mean?” She couldn’t remember if she’d told him her name or not.

“Yes, I think I have something you want.”

Melissa walked back to the counter and looked the man in the eyes. Everything about him made her uneasy. She didn’t trust him and she didn’t like that he knew her name.

“Oh yes, how rude of me!” he slapped a hand against his forehead. “My name is Max.” He held out his hand for her to shake. She took it cautiously. “You’re right. It’s not fair for me to know your name and for you not to know mine.”

“Why do you know my name?” Melissa asked him.

“Well, you came to my attention. Yes, that’s what we’ll say, you came to my attention. I noticed you, and made it a business of mine to learn more about you.”

“Why?” Melissa felt confused and felt her hands trembling. She saw other mall employees in the hallway outside walking away from their locked stores. Soon the mall would be completely empty, and she’d be all alone with this crazy man.

         “I have special gifts. Yes, I have something special. I like to use my talents to help people when I can, if I can.”


“I think I can help you. I can give you something you want. If you want it bad enough, that is.”

“Are you selling something?” Melissa asked him bluntly, all sweetness gone from her voice. If this was all a sales pitch for a face cream or something, she was going to be livid.

“No, no, not selling,” Max said, waving away the idea emphatically. “But there is a price,” he added, shrugging his shoulders. “But that can’t be helped. Everything has a price.”

“Sir, please leave. It’s past closing. You must go.” Melissa went back behind the counter and reached for the phone. Security would still be here. They’d help get rid of the psycho.

“I know all about Steve, you know,” Max said. She stopped dialing and hung up the phone and stared at him. “He’s not going to call you.”

“How do you know that?” She screamed at him. The anger rising in her against her will. Who did this man think he was?

In one swift motion, Max jumped up on the counter and towered over her. She let out a scream. He bent down and put a hand over her mouth.

“Because I know what you need.”



Hi Horror People! I hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday. I’ve been napping most of the day, which is a wonderful thing to do every once and a while.

I’m excited for summer’s fast approach! I have an awesome photo shoot planned with a lovely horror friend, and I’ll be attending my first horror convention!

There is a lot of exciting stuff on the horizon and I can’t wait.

Please enjoy the next installment of “Something You Can’t Forget.” Thanks for reading!


With Screams and Axes,




The day went by slowly, with customers trickling in every few minutes to buy a few truffles or a chocolate covered strawberry. Melissa tried to entice customers to buy more than one strawberry, knowing that the ones that didn’t sell were supposed to be thrown out at the end of the day, but sometimes ended up shoved in a box in her purse instead. By 8 p.m. her feet were aching from standing and she could see that there was barely anyone out walking in the hallway outside the glass doors of the chocolate shop. She went into the back room and stepped out of her shoes and slipped her feet into a pair of slippers. She knew that when she stood behind the counter, no one could see her feet anyway.

At last, it was ten minutes to closing time and Melissa busied herself with wiping down the counters, tying up bags of trash, and spraying down the glass doors to get all the smudgy hand prints off the glass. She could see other employees, in other shops, doing the exact same thing. Somehow it was comforting to know she went through the motions like everyone else.

At five minutes to close, a man entered the chocolate shop. Melissa was standing behind the counter getting ready to throw the chocolate strawberries she hadn’t sold into the garbage, as she had promised herself not to bring them home with her.

“Do you have any taffy?” The man asked Melissa. He was a strange looking man. He was wearing a tan trench coat that was tied tightly, and he had a short stubby nose. She couldn’t tell how old he was exactly, and something about him was attractive in spite of his strangeness. She was slightly annoyed at his appearance five minutes to close but the more she stared at him, the more she found herself not minding that he was here, asking her silly questions.

“I’m sorry sir, we don’t sell Taffy. Only chocolate,” Melissa informed him sweetly, in spite of how tired she felt.

“I see,” he said. “It’s hard to find good Taffy in this town you know. Hardly anyone sells it,” he said, fiddling with the buttons on his coat.

“You’re right, I can’t think of any place that sells it nearby.” Melissa gestured to the display counter. “Could I interest you in some chocolate covered dried mango slices?” She pulled out the little tray the mango slices were on to show him. “They’re not like Taffy, but they’re fruity and chewy.”

“Fruity and chewy, eh?” he said smiling at her with pale white teeth. “I’ll give it a try.” And with that, he grabbed the entire pile of mango slices with a weathered hand and shoved every single one in his mouth. Melissa watched him struggle to chew with his mouth open, with chocolate smudged all over his face.

“They’re good!” He managed to say through a mouthful of mango.