St. Patrick and the Dying Leprechaun

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The emerald green eyes of the leprechaun puddled with tears. His little lips quivered and his nose sniffled. “I don’t know what’s happening,” he said, “But I’m not the first to go like this.”

Patrick stroked his long gray beard. “What do you mean you’re not the first to go like this?” He asked the tiny creature.

“Ever since the humans have been noticing us a strange sickness has taken over. At least 20 across the whole island have died already. We get noticed. Then we get sick. Then we die. I’m going to die.” The leprechaun broke down into gut wrenching sobs. His bright orange beard was soaked with tears. “All we ever wanted was to bring good luck and happiness, maybe cause a little mischief, but now we can’t because the humans make us sick.”

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Patrick patted the back of the leprechaun. “Now now there,” he comforted,”I’m sure there is an answer to all of this trouble.” He sat for a moment consoling his distraught patient before standing and walking to his desk. “You say that whenever a human looks at a leprechaun, the leprechaun gets sick and dies. Now I suspect, since humans and leprechaun’s have both been cohabiting this land for some time, that it’s not the look that’s making you sick, but the disbelief. A hundred years ago a human look wouldn’t have sickened you. They believed back then.”

Taking a rest from his violent sobs the leprechaun looked at Patrick, “So what do we do?” With a big smile Patrick leaned over his desk. “We change the rules little one. Make it so that the disbelievers never see you.” Confusion and skepticism filled the tiny fey’s eyes.

“I can see you think I’m crazy, but I have been thinking on this problem for some time. You’re not he first leprechaun to come crying to me. Unfortunately they all died before I had a solution. Lucky for you I have one now and can not only cure you but change the fate of leprechauns everywhere.” With a satisfied smile Patrick leaned back in his great oak chair. The legs creaked with the weight shift.

“What is the cure?

“Flowers.” Patrick beamed. He stood and a swish of dust floated off the floor with him. “Come with  me little one. Let me show you what I mean.” The leprechaun stood and followed patrick through the iron doors and out into the expansive garden beyond.

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Patrick’s garden was filled with every sort of flower imaginable. There were roses, daffodils, dandelions, daisy, bluebells, and countless others all blooming and thriving wherever they pleased. As they walked through the mess of flowers Patrick reached into his brown robes and drew out a petite, crystal via. Inside was a golden red liquid. “Here drink this.” He said handing it down to the leprechaun. Without question the creature popped the cork off the top and swigged the fluid down.

“That tasted awful,” he blurted,”Like bitter wine or old fruit.”

Chuckling Patrick patted the mop of orange hair. “It has cured you as well as given you protection. I have many more such vials that I will give to you to disperse amongst the other leprechauns.” They had come to the end of the garden. There was no fence or hedge to signify the garden’s end. Instead it dropped off in the sky. Patrick stood at the edge looking down into the puffy clouds below. “From now on whenever a human looks at you little one you shall burst into a flower. They will only see you as a flower and nothing more. Then as soon as they’ve looked away you’ll return to your original form free to perform whatever mischief you please.”

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The leprechaun’s jaw hung slightly open. “You mean that if all the leprechauns take this juice they too will turn into flowers when a human sees them?

“That’s right. Beautiful flowers. And have no fear of being picked. The humans will find that they have a hard time picking you. I added a small aversion spell to that potion as an insurance that that would never happen.” Patrick answered.

A laugh bubbled up in the leprechaun’s chest and came bursting out. “I can’t believe it. we’re cured.” He cried. Bursting into a jig he danced back into the garden. Patrick followed also laughing.

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A little bit later the leprechaun was laden up with thousands of vials filled with the magical potion to cure the leprechauns. Patrick summoned a rainbow and watched as at the tiny creature skipped his way down back to earth. Smiling Patrick wave a withered hand. He enjoyed helping. Today had been a success. The leprechauns would be able to live in peace and it was all because he had found a cure.

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Dead Puppy

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There was something disconcerting about the way the light bounced off the pasty white head of the man. He had walked in ten minutes ago after a class and was sitting at the desk chatting with some of the other students about the bad coffee. I was pretending to read in the back corner. In reality I wasn’t taking my eyes off him. When someone makes you nervous you want to know everything about who they are.

I’d heard a few of the others refer to him once as the evil character from a child hood book series we were all familiar with. At the time the comment had made me laugh. But now as I was seeing the man for the first time I realized the reference wasn’t just for laughs. This man could very well be seeking to destroy my soul.

The topic had now changed from coffee to one up stories. These were my favorite to eaves drop. You were always guaranteed to hear at least one story that made you feel better about yourself. The more outrageous the story the more sad the person.

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“You’ve never known cold till you’re on watch at night in the middle of the fucking desert. Let me tell you, some nights my hands would turn blue. And I was the only one my sergeant trusted so I’d stand extra watches or just be out there with the other guy to make sure everything was ok. It was brutal.” Ken scratched his short beard as he leaned back into the bright computer screen.

“Yeah man, I feel you. When I was deployed we were so short people we had to stand double watches. Every 12 hours.” I didn’t know who’d just chimed in. He was new in the office. We’d probably never see him again after today.

The bald man laughed at the comments. It was a cold laugh. Cold like night time in the fucking desert. “I’ll tell you what’s cold, killing a puppy.” He said. The other two looked at him their bodies tensed to think of a better story then what was about to be told. “Once when we were on patrol we went overtime and had to stay the night out in the middle of the mountains. Talk about sketchy. I honestly thought we’d get ambushed and die. To make it worse we didn’t have anything to eat except some cliff bars and gatorades.”

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“Yeah we had to do that once. I was pretty terrified but now I’ve done not much scares me.” Ken chimed in.

“Well we didn’t have food, so we were just sitting around trying to get comfortable. I was on watch just pacing around to stay warm, when I hear this little yelp. Scared the shit out of me at first. So I went over to these bushes to see what it was. There was this little puppy tied to one of the branches. It must’ve been one of the village kids or something and they’d forgotten about it.”

“I remember there being dogs everywhere too. Stupid shits were always getting in the way. I’d just kick them.” The random man laughed at his fake joke. The bald one ignored him and continued.

“I picked up the little guy and brought him to the guys and was like hey I found dinner. They thought I was joking at first until I bashed it’s head in. Let me tell you, that puppy tasted delicious. I’m not saying I’d eat one here but if I had to I probably would.”

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There was a moment of silence as everyone who’d heard the story soaked it in. The bald man was laughing a smile stretched across his egg white face. I curled up into a tighter ball and sank my head down further into my book.

“Well I can’t say I’ve eaten a puppy, but I did eat a cat on a deployment once. Tasted like shit.” Ken was trying hard to not seem offended by the story. The random man interjected his two sense and soon the conversation had digressed to another topic. I continued to read my book no longer paying them any attention. The bald man had lost my interest. If he wanted to tell a group of people he’d just met he ate puppies instead of cliff bars then that was sign to stay clear. I didn’t have time for people who ate small animals to prove they were men.

One Night Stand

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This was the strangest funeral I had ever attended. The girl in the coffin was not a friend, not family, not even a co worker. We had met a few lonely nights ago at a little underground bar called The Nightcall. She was dressed in a flimsy blue dress and cherry pumps. With a cigarette in one hand and a Jack in the other she looked over at me and nodded. Taking the invitation I bought her a few drinks then we grabbed a cab back to her place.

To be honest I barely remember that night. I remember that she was really kinky and I was to drunk to really process all her little fantasies. All I really know is that the next day I woke up with a splitting headache and her standing over me with a mug of something hot. “I’m going to a party later.” she said as I rolled out of her bed and accepted the mug. “You can come if you want.” Slowly I sipped the brown sludge. Why is she inviting me to a party, I thought to myself. Doesn’t she know this is the last time we’ll see each other? Shrugging to myself I looked up at her. Watery blue eyes stared back. They looked dead. “Sure.” I replied. The girl nodded and walked out of the room.

I sat on her bed staring into space. My body felt like shit. A clock on the wall read 2:30pm. With a sigh I stood and started dressing. “Hey,” I yelled from her room,”Can I use your shower?” If I was going to go back out I might as well smell nice. She yelled a yes back.

After showering and dressing I made my way to her kitchen. It was a bare apartment. There was a table and chair, a couch in the living room and a small television. No pictures hung on the walls. There wasn’t even a cheap piece of artwork. “Like to keep it simple?” I asked trying to break the awkward silence. She nodded.

“So,” she said,”That party begins at 4. And we have to take the train. I’m also hungry so we should probably head out now.” I shrugged. Grabbing a coat she led me out.

We ate at a little hot dog stand before hopping on the light rail to the far side of town. It was a 30 minute ride. To long to sit next to a stranger you slept with and not speak. And yet not a word escaped between us the entire ride. Finally we reached our stop. A soft drizzle had begun outside. We got off the train and I followed the woman down a few blocks. The neighborhood was grungy and falling apart. A few people scurried by in the haze.

She stopped in front of a house that was three stories up and narrow. It was a brick home though the brick was no longer red. Instead it was black with mold. A little nervously I followed her inside. She was wearing a black dress tonight and purple lipstick. “So this is it?” I asked. I hoped she didn’t hear the edge in my voice. All I received in answer was a short nod. Shrugging I followed her up the stoop.

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Inside a dull thump of a stereo resonated through the brick. The hallway was empty save for a thick cloud of smoke hanging in the air. I could hear loud voices and laughter coming from a closed door to the right of us. She led me through the door and down a flight of stairs. A warm glow from several red and blue lamps greeted us. At the bottom was a large room filled with doped up people lounging on scrap sofas. “Hey!” someone yelled,”You made it!” Before I knew it I was swept into a haze of smoke, and smiles, and dreams. I don’t know what I took that night. A hot blonde pushed a few pills in my mouth with her tongue . Whatever they were they made me pass into oblivion. My date didn’t seem to interested in making sure I was ok. I remember seeing her with someone else across the room. They were making out. It didn’t matter. I had found a new hook up, a hook up with pills.

The rest of the afternoon and night passed disappeared in a blob of pulsing music and foggy thoughts. In the morning I woke up in an empty basement. A smell of sweat and urine stung my nose. Without the dim lights you could see the black mold and grime that blanketed the walls and floor. I was sprawled on one of the couches. The air was damp. “Hello?” I called. No answer. My head hurt as I stood up slowly. Unsure of what to do I went upstairs and began to look for the girl I came with. The house was empty. My shoes made an earie click on the hardwood floors. Like my first hook up’s apartment there were no decorations, no lived in feel. Finally I gave up. I had to piss. Finding the bathroom I went in. As I stood there, unloading all the smoke and fog from last night something caught the corner of my eye, a shoe. There was a woman’s shoe laying next to the bathtub. Zipping up my pants I approached the tub. A strange sensation began to bubble in my stomach. With a moist palm I hesitantly pulled the bath curtain back. My breath caught in my throat. Laying with her body twisted in an unnatural angle was the girl I’d come with. Her eyes were open, glazed, staring. Her purple mouth was cracked open. A white residue dusted her upper lip every so gently.

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The ambulance was there within 10 minutes. She was pronounced dead on scene. With some shock and pity I answered the questions and went through the paper work. It wasn’t until late that evening that I finally made it back to my home. Two days later I received the call. It was from the coroner. After exchanging a polite but rather awkward introduction he asked an even more awkward and strange question. “Well sir, it seems as if this young woman has no family or friends that can be found. Usually for these types we hold a small service just to lay the poor soul to rest. Since you’re the one that found her, we would like to possibly invite you to attend. I know it’s a little unorthodox but you are the only person we have in connection with her.” His voice was dry and crackely like paper.

“Sure,” I said,”I’ll come.” I hung up the phone. The next day I went to the strangest funeral I had ever attended. There was a priest, the coroner, and an alter boy. A janitor stood silently in the back ground, broom in one hand, the other wiped the corner of his eye. “Such a shame,” he muttered,”Such a shame to live such an empty life and to die such an empty death.” A chill crawled up my spine.

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Her hair was red and long. It floated like a shroud over her shoulders. A faint rosy blush kissed her cheeks, as if she were not dead but merely asleep. As I stood there, a feeling of tiredness swept over me. I didn’t even know her name. Turning I left the chapel. I spoke to no one. Hailing a cab I climbed in and returned home. Some people haunt you forever. You can’t say why or really understand who they were or their purpose in your life, but they haunt you. She haunts me to this day. Her red hair, her blue dress, her weary nod. The cold way she handed me the coffee mug. She’ll haunt me till death comes to my door and finally frees me from this empty life.