Joined: 07 February 2011
Arohi flipped the sign on the door of her gift shop to "closed" then stepped out onto the street to lock up for the evening. The late day sunlight gleamed gold but lacked any real warmth, and she shivered as a chill wind gusted up the busy street.
She fit her key into the lock and turned it until the deadbolt answered with a loud click. After dropping her keys back into her purse, she glanced one last time at the Halloween candle sculptures she'd arranged in the lighted window display an hour or so before.
Amid the orange, tinsel-strewn display stood three elegantly detailed black cats with glittery-green gemstone eyes and sleek, arched backs'some of the finest candle work she'd turned out in months.
A small smile tugged at her mouth. She left the shop and walked down Main Street, huddling deep into her leather blazer as traffic rushed the intersections in stops and starts, stirring up gales of cold wind.
She crossed with the light and took a deep breath, slipping her purse higher on her shoulder as she hopped up on the opposite curb and made her way toward home.
The hot-oil smell of funnel cake and corn dogs frying hit her the minute she rounded the corner. Shady, tree-lined Park Street had been closed off to traffic for Arborville's annual Halloween along the Avenue celebration. Booths lined both sides of the street, and hay bales had been arranged curbside for sitting on, and to house the massive pumpkin displays set up every few feet.
Arohi followed the foot traffic, cutting across the street when the crowds grew too thick. The amplified echo of someone speaking into a microphone drew her attention to her right, and as she continued up the block toward Comfrey Street, she noticed that a costume contest was going on in the pocket park between the barber shop and the Trinity Church.
Her gaze lingered on the announcer and the makeshift stage until a small swarm of kids in costumes came squealing up the sidewalk. She quickly stepped aside and watched them pour in to the park swinging pumpkin-shaped candy pails: a witch, Frankenstein, and a red devil.
Amused, she thought about sticking around, but someone stopped near her with a steaming tray of chili-cheese nachos and her stomach growled. She hadn't eaten anything since breakfast and knew if she didn't get home soon, she'd give into the temptation of carnival food.
Thinking about the left over chicken strips and potato salad she'd put in the fridge, she picked up the pace, following the block down to the intersection and rounding the corner onto Comfrey Street.
The thought of good food reminded her of her childhood and living at home with her parents, and a wave of nostalgia swept through her. Normally she spent Halloween in North Haversham with her mother and stepfather, and at least a dozen other relatives that brought way too much good food with them. But business had been slow this year, and her best friend of five years had moved upstate to take a better paying job. She just didn't feel up to the socializing. She'd been restless lately, a little bummed out. Instead of the usual routine, she planned to stay home, light a few candles and do a bit of chanting. Maybe take a rosewater bath then sit down with a cup of tea and her computer to play Mutant Street Wars in her bunny slippers.
She passed her neighbor's house, and at the edge of the driveway, she cut across the front lawn, passing beneath the tall oak that was nearly bald from shedding its leaves'leaves that shuffled and crunched beneath her boots.
She jaunted up the front steps, and stopped on the porch, pausing long enough to find the cord to switch on the stand-up plastic pumpkin she'd set by the door for decoration. Afterward, she turned her attention to the bundle of mail hung on the hooks of her letterbox.
The post lady had secured what looked to be a stack of postcard advertisements and store circulars in a large rubber band, and at the core of the folded over bundle it was a small 4x6 shipping box with a large green "perishable" label on it. Someone had also marked the box with several red ink stamps that marked the contents "fragile".
"Ooh, goody," she said to no one, and slipped the box out for better inspection. She didn't recognize the return address right away, but candle supply companies often sent her samplers, sometimes candles themselves, and sometimes scented wax chips or wicks to test out in her shop.
Once in the house, she flipped on the lights and tossed the mail in the basket on the side table. Glad to be home, she dropped her purse in the chair, kicked off her boots and slipped out of her jacket, leaving everything where it landed.
She'd turned to pick up the package when Scooter padded into the room, greeting her on sight with a string of staccato meows. The gray tabby leapt up onto the arm of the couch and flexed his toes on a well-worn spot. Arohi mimicked his meows for a second before she picked him up and snuggled him.
"How was your day, kitty-beast? Did you miss me?"
Scooter purred, rubbing his whiskers against her chin. Arohi gave him a smooch on top the head then carried the cat and the package through the house to the kitchen where she set both on the countertop.
Scooter meowed at her until she opened a pouch of kitty kibble into a dish for him. She then went to the fridge and took out the container of leftovers and popped them into the microwave.
While waiting for the timer, she left Scooter to his dinner, tucked the package under her arm and walked through the house, coiling her long, black hair into a knot at her nape of her neck.
In the bathroom, she set the box on the counter and slithered out of her jeans and panties. After pulling off her blouse and bra, she slipped into a cotton robe, and with a wave of her hand, set her bathwater running, and lit the myriad of white lily candles around the bathtub.
The timer went off in the other room but she ignored it, leaving the chicken and potato salad to cool off in the microwave. She took a pair of cuticle scissors from her vanity table and sliced through the shipping tape on top of the package. Inside, she dug through the foam peanuts and found a small burgundy candle and an invoice. She spread out the sheet and read over it quickly.
"We welcome you to try our candle making supplies. For best scent results, please use sample prior to Halloween."
She inspected the mini pillar candle, held it up and turned it in the light. Right away she saw it was handmade and of great quality. The color was remarkable. Someone had added a reflective shimmer to the wax, probably a finely ground gold glitter.
She sniffed it, and noticed the candle had a cherry-vanilla scent with a hint of currant'interesting. She sniffed again. Exotic. A sensual tremor ran through her. Unreal how a scent could do that!
She glanced at the bottom of the candle for a description seal, a label for the fragrance, and discovered there wasn't one. It must be custom, but then again'. She couldn't remember where she might've smelled that particular scent before, but it was remarkably familiar.
Mulling it over, she set the candle on a pillar tray, and once she'd turned off her bathwater, she fished around the bathroom drawer for the box of matches she kept there. The best way to test the quality of a candle, the wick, was to light it the old fashioned way.
She took out a match and struck it against the box, orange fire flaring on the head of the matchstick. Arohi laid it against the wick, and to her surprise, the flame flared high and threw off a shower of sparks like the hissing fuse of a firecracker.
Arohi flinched back from it, gasping in shock, but an unseen force seemed to lasso her and hold her in place. Her stomach lurched and her vision went suddenly dark as the sensation of being tugged through empty space surrounded her.
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lovely!! continue n add me to ur pm list!! :)
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This Bandini actor make his comeback to TV after 7 long years.
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