Lilacs & Sycamores

Stella spent a whole year planning her wedding, weeks went into picking the perfect location. She mulled over it incessantly, until she found it. A desert, amidst paradise a strip of dry land, a scientific and geographic anomaly.

Yet, even with all of her ceremonious scheduling and arranging, God still got his say.
The day before the wedding, there was a torrential downpour, historical in it’s own right. Knowing the rain was coming, Stella would have canceled altogether, it came seemingly out of the blue.

But, this wasn’t the end of it.

On the way to the location, they were passed by a bus of nuns who were there to see the dessert which had bloomed rare yellow flowers. At the ceremony, because of the moist atmosphere the groom, Clyde, dropped the ring. And after all of this, when Stella believed that the situation couldn’t get any worse, it did.

Christa, one of her closest friends, was delayed taking the wedding certificate to the judge. She was forced to put it through the next day setting her official marriage day as Saturday, May 13th. All of these were signs of the marriage failing in different aspects.

However, despite all of the bad omens, the following years rolled on smoothly. They even had a child a year into the marriage, a happy and healthy baby girl with a sweet temperament. But fate and destiny has an odd way of remaining unpredictable.

Stella awakes to a loud crash in the middle of the night. She looks around her and Clyde’s shared bedroom, but sees nothing out of the ordinary. Her heartbeat quickens and she shoves her husband to consciousness.

Clyde startles from his sleep blinking until his dark eyes focus on Stella. “Wha–” he mutters voice hoarse from sleep.

“I heard something,” Stella whispers urgently as her eyes skirt around the room.

“Stella, Stella, my worried Bella,” the man serenades her in a singsong voice. “We’ve been married for five years and you’re still worried about–” Clyde halts at the sound of another crash. He sits bolt upright and looks at Stella.

“I told you,” The woman grips her husband’s wrist as he moves to get up. “Be careful.”

“You too, hon. I love you,” Clyde mutters as he retrieves his baseball bat something Stella was now grateful he’d kept. The man practices swinging it before winking at her. Stella gives him a half smile before he disappears into the hallway.

She waits a moment, sitting on the bed clutching Calilly, an stuffed elephant toy that had been patched up more times than she can count over the years. After she watches two minutes slip away she slides off the bed and heads down the hallway. Letting herself into her daughter’s room, she finds the girl burrowed under pillows and blankets. “Max, you awake?” She crawls onto the girl’s bed and pulls her from under the pillows.

“I heard something,” The four-year old sighs out resting her head in Stella’s lap. Stella pets her wavy honeydew colored hair and let’s out a shaky breath.

“Yeah, we heard it too, M.” Stella’s eyes lock on the door of the bedroom.

“Where’s Daddy?”

“He’s uh- checking on it. You know, making sure everything is okay.”

After a few beats of silence, Max nuzzles her head closer to Stella’s stomach.“I don’t feel good.”

Stella frowns, they just had soup for dinner and frozen greek yogurt for dessert. Nothing too heavy on the stomach. “Your tummy hurts?”

“No, I just don’t feel good, mommy.”

“Like something bad’s going to happen.” Stella looks up in realization as Max lifts her head to nod at her. She’d been restless all day long, more anxious than usual. “Something bad’s going to happen,” She gasps out. “Max, get in the closet, now please. Say your words.”

Max obediently heads to the closet as she recites the spell as she hides in the closet. “Twice around the circles bound. Sink all evil to the ground. Twice around the circles bound. Sink all evil to the ground. Twice around the circles bound. Sink all evil to the ground. So mote it be.”

Stella smiles at the girl and steps off the bed herself, rubbing at her thumbs. She would need to move quickly. Padding down the hallway, she retrieves her cell phone from the bedroom and then she scopes out the house. Moving to the kitchen she still finds no signs of Clyde or an intruder.

When she gets to the living room, Clyde is approaching a man who’s hunched over their crate of collectors baseballs. Clyde is winding up and the sight of it all takes her breath away. Without thinking about it, Stella releases the single chase door and as it swings back closed it emits a loud whine.

The burglar whips around and when Stella sees the glint of the gun, she jumps in front of Clyde. The bullet hits her in the stomach and she drops to the ground. As she lay there, she utters a quick  transferring spell using her hand to cover the wound before it disappears. She sits up and points her finger sends the wound to the burglar. The man falls forward face first.

As Stella gets to her feet, she looks at the stranger and notices there’s blood spreading from his back as well. A frown contorts her face, she was hit in the front, why would there be blood on… Stella whirls around and looks at her husband.

The bullet has passed through her and hit’s the man who was leaping toward her to protect her. At his crouched state, the bullet must have passed through her abdomen and hit her husband in the chest.

The lets out a wet breath that’s interrupted by bloody hacking. “Clyde,” Stella cries out cradling her husband’s head.

“Are you ok?” The man raises a shaky hand, running it through her rust red hair.

“I’m fine,”

“That’s good, Stell. You know, I love you, yeah?”

“Yeah, I know.” The woman nods, cradling his head. “I love you too.”

“Really?” Clyde raises an eyebrow. “That’s grand.”

“I love you so much, you’re going to be okay.” Stella raises her hand over his wound and closes her eyes concentrating on her magic, feeling it course through her veins. She puts her total effort into it, knowing that spells of this caliber can’t be done consecutively in such a small time period. The magic sparks up an electric orange color before fizzling out. “You’re going to be okay, okay?”

“Of course I’ll be okay. You said that you loved me, Stell.” With this, Clyde lets out a greatly satisfied sigh and never takes another breath. Stella takes another shaky breath as her hands begin to tremble and her eyes burn. She scrambles for her phone forgotten near the door still swinging softly and dials 911.


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