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Dandelion Wine Ending by Larry Perkins Jr.
Posted On:
Thursday, September 04, 2014

“Lavinia, I’ve been waiting,” the Lonely One eerily said. How had he gotten to my house before me? I was well ahead of him. Then she remembered the place she used to play when she was young, the secret short cut across the ravine. That’s how he must have gotten home before me, She thought frantically. What do I do, what do I do? Calm, be calm and turn slowly. Lavinia turned calmly to face the dark man behind her.

She thought about flipping the light switch and turning around to face the man, but fear held her back. What if that was all that kept him from attacking? As long as the man was enveloped within the darkness behind her, the man felt in control. But could she just stand there, waiting for him to decide her fate? No. Afraid or not, she had to at least turn around. Gathering up every scrap of courage, she slowly turned towards the living room. The only light to see by was from the street lamps’ glow that snoke tentatively through the windows. Lavinia stood within the shadow formed by the door, and the windows on both sides let in a long trail of light with the cross-shape of the windowpane cutting down the middle. The light ended just outside the living room, continuing to hide its inhabitant. Even so, she squinted and tried her best to make something out.

Lavinia’s heart raced and her breathing stopped. Someone was there. Was it the Lonely One? She couldn’t imagine it being anyone else. All she could think of was why she hadn’t just accepted Francine and Helen’s offer. She could have been sitting together with a friend now, safe, sipping the promised hot chocolate. But no. She’d had to prove she wasn’t afraid, and now the newspaper headlines would read “Lavinia Nebbs; the Lonely One’s Latest Victim.”

The shadow man took a few steps forward, stopping only when the light of the window fell halfway up his thighs. He was wearing a pair of faded jeans and old socks. His fingers dangled out of the darkness and into the light, disappearing before the knuckles. They were thick and strong. The fingers of a strangler.

Her eyes flipped open, and she looked up at him. He was middle aged, balding, and had a look of pure confusion on his face. Lavinia was shocked. Had she really made that dumb of a mistake?

“B-but my key worked.”

The man rubbed his eyes with his palms to rid them of sleep and paused. Then he blushed. “I guess that would explains why mine didn’t work.”

Lavinia, now having recovered from the surprise, started shouting at him, far angrier with him then she had been at Frank Dillon. “Then how did you get in here? I know this is my house. My lemonade from earlier is still out there for God’s sake!”

The man backed away, putting his hands up as if to fight off any blows. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I guess I had a little too much to drink.”

“But how did you get in?”

The man paused. “Kitchen window.”

Lavinia pushed him out of the way and quickly undid all the locks. Then, without a word, she fiercely shoved him outside, shut the door, and then locked everything back up again. She leaned against the door and sighed. Finally her night was over.

Lavinia walked over to the phone to call Francine like she’d said she would. After dialing, she waited until she heard her friend pick up the phone.

“Lavinia, is that you?” She sounded urgent.

“Yes, it is. You won't believe what happened to me tonight.”

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