ANNO DOMINI ~Allium~ [Beta version]
***THANKS FOR READING!***
END BOOK 1, CHAPTER 25: OUT OF IDEAS
It was nearly eleven o’clock at night in the small city of Alliance, Ohio. After a long day at the office, Sandra Starling entered her humble apartment, pushing the door open with an unenthusiastic hand. She slipped off her shoes, let down her long, black hair, and headed directly into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, and grabbed an unopened bottle of Tabor Hill Pinot Noir wine she had acquired during an impromptu trip to southwest Michigan the previous weekend.
After popping the cork and filling a wine glass, she swirled it around, aerating it, then lifted it to her nose and admired the aroma. Taking a sip, a moment of contemplation followed, and she swallowed audibly and harshly compared to the delicate way she took it into her mouth. Another brief moment of contemplation followed before she poured the remaining wine in the glass into her mouth, tipping her head back to gulp down the last drop in seconds.
Exhaling a refreshed breath, she wasted no time filling another well-deserved glass of pinot noir for herself.
Although it had been a steady day at the office with plenty of tasks to complete, it wasn’t a particularly exhausting day. The source of Sandra’s exhaustion that night stemmed from her broken heart. It had been less than two weeks since her boyfriend left her for another girl … a tacky, shameless girl with an unsteady income whose name Sandra had no interest in learning.
Sandra trudged into the living room, only one light on (the dimmest and most distant lamp that could adequately illuminate the room), and slumped onto the couch, wine glass still in hand.
There was a 32-inch 720p TV in front of her, turned off, which she stared blankly at. There was probably something interesting on cable she could have been watching, or there was the DVD collection for the anime Guilty Crown left behind by her ex-boyfriend, but the interest of doing so had no place inside her mind at the time.
As the warm, soothing effects of her first glass of wine began to sink in, she sipped on her second glass which was not aerated at all. The refrigerator had chilled the wine far below its recommended storing temperature, yet that was another care that failed to involve her.
Age twenty-two, Alessandra “Sandra” Starling had long hair that was so naturally black that anyone could swear it was dyed. After completing one full year at a community college away from her hometown, she eventually had moved to her current residency in Alliance with her ex-boyfriend where she found a full-time job working in the office of a local marketing business. Satisfied with her current work and earnings, she eventually finished school and obtained her two-year degree.
Now that she was on her own, unable to afford her once-shared apartment, student loan bills, and eat, Sandra found herself in a bit of a bind. Her mother was not a very understanding person and had practically kicked Sandra out of the house after high school for reasons such as “tough love” and “learn how to live as an adult on your own two feet”. Her father … out of the picture, a drug addict and convicted felon. In short, the heartbroken Sandra was on her own and the clock was ticking to find a new sustainable living situation.
She mindlessly skimmed through social media on her smartphone. While it was true she had a few friends in the area, pride kept her from wanting to worm her way into their living situations, and some kind of sense of adventure had her yearning to leave Alliance anyway.
There had to be something else out there somewhere. There had to be some kind of calling that beckoned to her, but she didn’t know how to begin.
Right then was when a visitor arrived.
The sudden knock on the door startled her. Wondering who would visit her out of the blue, Sandra set down her glass of unaerated wine, and then hurried over to the door and looked through the peephole. The face of the unfamiliar man in the hallway made her uneasy as she cautiously opened the door to greet the visitor.
“Yes?” she asked firmly. Sandra was not one to approach a questionable situation without a noticeable level of assertion and confidence.
“Good evening, Miss,” Leon Kampton replied, offering a courteous smile. “Forgive my unannounced visit. I hope I’m not interrupting anything important.” He could smell the wine on her breath as he looked at her and continued to smile.
“No,” Sandra said. “Can I help you?”
“Actually, the correct question is if I can help you.” He paused briefly. “My name is Leon Kampton. We’ve never met.”
There was another pause in which Sandra studied her visitor closely and sharply.
“Go on,” she said, keeping an eye on him.
“I’ve been sent to offer you a proposal,” Leon said. “It has to do with your hometown.”
Now Sandra was very suspicious. The blonde man was very handsome and inviting, almost too much so. Closing the door slightly and angling herself in a defensive, yet unafraid stance, she repeated, “Go on.”
“That’s all. I hope you’ll consider it.”
“What are you telling me?” Sandra asked, much of her confusion now replaced by irritation. “That’s not a proposal, really.”
“Oh, it wasn’t?” he replied flippantly, shrugging. “I’m sorry to have misled you. Although, it would do you some good to think about this encounter. My wish is to help, after all. Have a good evening, Miss.” He turned to walk away.
“Hold on.” Sandra was now halfway out the door, abandoning her previous defensiveness. When Leon turned around to hear what she had to say, she hesitated for a bit before realizing words failed her. “Never mind.”
Leon nodded politely and continued down the hallway. After watching him for a few seconds, Sandra closed the door to her apartment and promptly locked it; keyhole, deadbolt, and chain. She sat back down on the couch, wondering about what had just happened as she sipped her wine, intent on finishing the glass. When there was only one sip left, she stood up and swiftly walked to her bedroom to dig through old storage totes.
Not knowing what she was looking for exactly, she figured she had found it when she came across her high school senior yearbook. She looked first at the pictures of the students in her graduating class, at the classmates she liked and the ones who annoyed her.
Next, she looked at the pictures of the faculty, remembering how her class was special because it was also the last year for the vice principal, Jan Cox, before her retirement, and she also remembered how much of a demon their principal could be and all the students had wished he would’ve retired instead.
Flipping through more pages, she was reminded of the four years she had spent at Lyonbole Public High School in her old hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
“My hometown,” she said to herself, running her finger over the school’s emblem on the yearbook’s cover. “Doesn’t sound like a bad idea.”
Sandra Starling was out of ideas at that point, so she saw no harm in someone else’s idea.
******* END OF BOOK 1 *******
Well everyone, that's the end of this act...
This is the final chapter of Book 1. I plan on continuing this story with further arcs. However, I'm planning on a major transitional stage in my life right now -- new home, new job, new life ... so things will be left to fate, I suppose. :)
If you've made it this far, then I can't express my gratitude! Thank you so much for sticking with this story! All of my fiction is nuts, so pat yourself on the back for sticking with me. Since I'm addicted to writing, I predict I'll have more insanity to share on here.
Until then, happy writing and reading, fellow Honeyfeeders!