Dandelions, 1872


He was young and foolish.

Or so I thought.

Kent Mast was 18 and alone in the world. He’d lost both parents and three sisters to fever the previous winter, and while he struggled to put food on the table, he never gave up hope that true love would one day find him.

More times than I care to count, I found him stopped with a dandelion in his hands and blowing the seeds into the air. Never did I reprimand or chide him. I had helped to bury his family, and there was steel in the boy. Any fool could see it.

Still, I thought it peculiar that a young man of 18 was still making wishes.

Today, sitting on the stonewall which separates the Hollow from North Road, I was looking out into that damnable place when I was hailed by Kent.

I nodded a greeting in return and used my penknife to clear out the tobacco in my newest pipe. Kent was humming a cheerful tune as he leaned on the wall, then bent over and plucked a dandelion from the Hollow side.

Before I could stop him, he closed his eyes and then blew the seeds into the Hollow.

“There’s a fair spread, Duncan,” he observed, tucking the stalk of the dandelion into his breast pocket. He waved a farewell and went on his way.

I was about to put the penknife away when there was a soft rumbling sound.

Looking out into the Hollow, I saw several of the dandelion seeds touch down on the soil, and where they did so, a deep gray fog hissed up from the earth. The fog twisted and turned in upon itself, and a moment later, it formed into a solid shape.

A stunning young woman stood before me. In a voice soft and sweet, she asked, “Where is the lonely man who wished for me?”

I cleared my throat and asked, “Mean you any harm?”

She laughed and shook her head. “Nay, Duncan Blood, only to see if we might make each other happy.”

I took the creature at her word and told her where Kent lived.

She thanked me and stepped quickly after him.

I waited a short time and then slipped away, wary of the dandelions around me.

I had enough trouble without someone trying to make me happy.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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