What is it?
By bintarab
Published: June 11, 2008
Updated: June 11, 2008

She swept into the coffeeshop like a whirlwind. "Sorry I'm late!"

"That's okay," he lied. He closed his journal, and his breath caught at the sight of her: red curly hair and brown eyes-- such an unusual combination.

"Have you been waiting long?"

He resisted the urge to check his watch. Actually, when she hadn't shown up an hour ago, he figured she wasn't coming at all. "I was killing time by writing…"

"Writing?"

Great, he thought. I should just wear a sign that says "GEEK HERE." "Yeah, a short story."

"Can I read it?"

"It's just a flash."

"A what?"

"A really short story. It has to be 350 words or less." He had no idea how he'd gotten into this conversation, but he couldn't think of a way to get out of it. It had taken all his courage to ask her out for coffee, and now he was blowing it!

"It's ok. You don't have to show me." She sounded hurt.

"No, it's not like that!" He opened the journal and showed her the page.

She frowned. "It's blank."

"I can't think of anything. It has to be on the theme, and this week's theme is RED."

"Oh, that's easy! Do Valentine's Day."

He laughed. "No, it has to be a horror story."

"Horror? You write horror stories?"

Perfect. Now she thinks I'm a geek AND a freak. He swallowed.

"I've got an idea for you." She looked over her shoulder and lowered her voice. "But I can't tell you-- I have to show you."

He blinked. Maybe he still had a chance…

***

Once they got inside her apartment, she rushed to lock the three bolts in the front door. "In the bedroom."

He didn't say anything to that. She'd probably have called him a scumbag if he'd been the one to suggest they go to her bedroom. She led the way down the hall and stepped aside to show him the aquarium atop the bureau.

At first he didn't see anything, but then…

"Hol-ee shit!" He jumped back and looked at her with wonder.

She smiled.