Pretty One
A Short Story by Karina Sanchez
Written using the suggestion "Washington"
Originally featured on 08-09-2007
As part of our series "Out of the Sandwich"

“Here have an apple.”

“I’m sorry, what did you say?”

“You look hungry,” the woman bent towards Penny, brandishing a basket. “Take an apple; take two if you want.”

The idea of generosity was lost on Penny, and she watched the woman suspiciously. “I’m fine.”

“Don’t be silly; you’re obviously starving. Do you not like apples? Can I get you something else?”

Penny wanted to leave but she was sitting on the sidewalk and the woman was leaning over her; Penny felt claustrophobic. “I’m not hungry. Just shove off.”

To Penny’s horror the woman sat down next to her. She looked to be around 35; she had a dusty pink blazer on over a long floral skirt and her blond hair was pulled back into a tight bun. Penny thought that she looked like a librarian. The woman sat her basket down, which was filled with apples and oranges, and wrapped her arms around her tucked up knees.

“My name’s Rebeka but you can call me Becky if you would like.”

Penny stood abruptly and pulled her tattered hoody around her shoulders. Collecting her spanging paraphernalia, her cardboard sign and plastic cup, glanced at Rebeka. “I’m not sure what you want but you aren’t gonna find it here.”

“On the contrary, I have found exactly what I’m looking for.”

“Don’t be creepy. I’m gonna go now.”

A secret smile spread across Rebeka’s face. “Oh, but I don’t think that you are, Penny. You should just sit that bag right back down and have yourself an apple.”

Penny stopped at that, “I didn’t tell you my name.”

“Didn’t you now? I can hear you whispering ‘run, Penny, just run’. I don’t think that you are going to, though, otherwise you would already be gone. It isn’t as if I would chase you!” Rebeka through her head back and laughed. Penny noticed that she had numerous teeth missing.

“I didn’t say that out loud.”

“You don’t have to, us fortune teller’s have secret ways. Now I suggest that you take an apple. I promise they aren’t poison.”

In a trance like state, Penny bent down and picked up a shining red orb. Without the barest hesitation she bit into it. It must have been much longer since her last meal then she thought. She was starving. Unselfconscious now, she devoured the apple, core and all.

“Very good girl! Why don’t you sit down next to me now?”

Unable to think of a reason for protest, Penny sat down next to Rebeka. “You put something in the apple didn’t you Becky?” Penny didn’t really care what was in the apple. She only asked out of curiosity.

“Of course I put something in the apple. Now lean closer and give me a kiss. I need your youth.”

Not caring enough to defy orders, Penny leaned into Rebeka and closed her eyes. After a moment she could feel the woman’s mouth hovering over hers. Slowly she could feel her breath being drawn from her body. She felt curiously cold. When Rebeka finally pulled back, Penny felt light as a feather, as if everything had been drawn out of her. She didn’t care about anything. She didn’t worry about what ever Rebeka had taken from her. She was floating in the buoyant coldness. Nothing mattered now.

Read More By Karina Sanchez

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Portland Fiction Project

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