Buy Local

Embers glowed red as ash gray wood shifted in the wood burning stove. Horace fluffed his feathers enjoying the kitchen’s warmth. A large cast iron pot simmered complacently. From somewhere in the cozy home a violin was being played with more passion than skill.

The Ring camera chimed. Her startled owl hooted. Violin in hand, Dorie hurried to the back door. It opened and Dorie claimed her groceries from the porch steps. Immediately from the weight of the bags she knew something was amiss. Dorie had ordered fresh herbs, Motrin, and other supplies from Mandrake & Sons. In the sack was liver, lots of liver. Next she pulled out a package of diced cow heart and an ice cream cooler with a quart of blood.

“Not again,” Dorie said.

Horace turned his head 360 degrees to give her an I told you so look.

“Yes I know I know I just wanted to shop local. I wonder if this order is for one of those weird bodybuilders. For fate’s sake, if I have to go into town and park somebody’s getting turned into a toad.”

There was a flapping of leathery wings and in a grey spiral of smoke a man appeared on Dorie’s porch. Dressed in a track suit and Chuck Taylors, he was carrying a sack of groceries.

“Crises averted. You are Endora Weaver, recent ill fated customer of Mandrake’s.”

Shocked Dorie stood stock still. The stranger waited by the doorway with a smile playing on his lips.

“Who, who,” Horace said.

“Nice familiar. I got your order by mistake,” the stranger said. “You know you have to invite me in. Or you can chuck my offal at me from across the room.”

Pale and handsome with hair that reminded Dorie of steamy romance covers, he held up the bag. Dorie shook herself awake.

“Please come it. I was expecting a Neanderthal,” Dorie said then clamped her hand over her mouth. “I mean, I mean.”

The stranger chuckled as he set her groceries on the small kitchen table. “Well I’m not quite that old. And if it makes you feel more comfortable you are not what I excepted either. I hate to say it but I assumed all witches were old with warts and pointed hats.”

Together they repacked his groceries. “I only wear my pointed hats on formal engagements. How did you know I was a weird sister.”

He shook a bottle of eye of newt at her from her groceries. Dorie blushed.

“Where are my manners? Name’s Darren but my friends call me Dare. I’m new in town and this is the third time I’ve gotten the wrong order from the market. Last time was a disgruntled werewolf. I had to chase him around the block, but it’s important to buy local.”

Dare ran his pinkie along the body of her violin on the kitchen table. He gathered his bags and turned.

“Do you play?” Dorie blurted out. “I mean the violin.”

Dare raised an eyebrow. He enjoyed the bloom of pink on her throat and neck. “Yes I’m the walking stereotype of the moody vampire with a violin. I actually studied for a century or so Endora but my music lacked soul so I gave it up.”

“Please call me Dorie. Stay for tea or a glass of O positive and I could play for you. I learned during the pandemic so I’d appreciate any pointers.”

Dare gave her a toothy grin.

“Who who who,” the owl murmured before closing his eyes to sleep.