Strigoi (Part 5)

Roy bursts through the flower shop at full speed, heart racing and breath shallow. Michelle was wrapping up a dozen of daisies for a customer at the counter when they both turned, staring at Roy in alarm. He walked around the small shop, peering around the shelves and opening the door to the restroom, walking in and looking around and walking right back out. Michelle hurriedly rang up the customer’s order and rushed them to the door, thanking them for their service. Roy continued to walk around the store, fingers running through his hair, mumbling “I know you’re in here”, while going through aisles of fertilizer, plant and flower seeds and dozens of different breeds of flowers. Michelle looked at Roy in shock and grabbed the store’s cordless phone that she kept behind the counter. “Roy,” She called his name softly, but he continued walking through the aisles over and over again searching for an entity that wasn’t there. “Roy!”, Michelle yelled, holding the phone up so Roy could see it. “I don’t know what you’ve been drinking today or what kind of drug you’ve done. But you need to leave my store before I call the police”. Roy stopped and looked at Michelle, beautiful as ever wearing a baby blue sundress with white flowers, white flat shoes, her short curly hair complementing her honey brown face. He looked around the store and back at Michelle, at the fearful expression on her face. Roy suddenly realized how ridiculous he must look and how he possibly chased away any customers that were in the shop.

“Michelle, I thought I saw somebody-” Roy stammered. “Get out”, Michelle repeated, this time the cordless phone to her ear. “Roy, get your drunk ass out of my store before I call the police”. Michelle’s delicate features were scrunched up in a scowl. Roy felt his face grow hot as he looked around, realizing that there weren’t anyone in the store but he and Michelle. Embarrassment washed over him as if someone poured a bucket of ice water on top of his head. “Michelle, I… I swear”, he stammered. “GET OUT BEFORE I CALL THE POLICE AND DON’T EVER COME IN HERE AGAIN”. Michelle shouted in hot anger. Roy lowered his head in shame and quickly walked out of the door.

Not only did Roy leave the store, but he left the town center carrying his tin can of coins and cash with him. He walked and walked trying to clear his head and asking himself over and over again if he was finally losing his mind. The alcohol was causing him to hallucinate, mixed in with the nightmares from events that happened twenty years ago was back to haunt him. His mind teeter tottering on the blurred lines between reality and fantasy. Roy walked and walked until he realized that he was walking in the direction of Mrs. Webster’s neighborhood. He didn’t intend to go this way, he was just walking trying to clear his head and forget the fact that he made himself look like psycho at Michelle’s flower shop. Roy stopped when he saw Mrs. Webster and her neighbor, a girl who had moved into the house next to her a few years ago, standing beside each other talking. He would have thought they were just making neighborly conversation, nothing serious if he didn’t see the police cars sitting near the edge of the woods. Roy took that as a sign that he needed to make a detour. The last thing he wanted to do was run into the Sheriff, who he’d known his entirely life and they never liked one another. Michael Ward and Roy were always in a beef, ever since they were in middle school and they got into that fight over a box of baseball cards, Mike accused Roy of stealing. In their sophomore year of high school, Roy and Mike got into a fist fight during lunch time, due to Mike throwing an apple at Roy’s head. When Roy confronted Michael in the hallway of their high school because Michael asked Roy’s ex girlfriend to the prom after they broke up a week before and Roy still had feelings for her. Even after high school, after he came home from the Army, Michael still harbored ill feelings towards Roy. Roy knew just by the way, Michael would threaten to arrest him if he kept loitering around the shops in town and “harassing” the citizens for money, even though Roy never asked anyone for anything. People just dropped coins in his can out of pity and sympathy. However, when Sheriff Ward drove into the town center, Roy would leave the area, knowing that the Sheriff had a long simmering chip on his shoulder.

Roy back peddled quickly, trying not to be heard or seen going the other way. Not only did he not want the Sheriff to see him, but he also didn’t feel like hearing one of Mrs.Webster’s many sermons. Roy backed up a hundred feet and turned to go down the next street, when he heard Mrs. Webster’s voice. “Roy! Is that you?! I thought that was you”, Mrs. Webster called out.