Bancho Church is a horror writer- at least that’s what he gets paid to do and that’s what he says he does for a living and on good days he’ll say to himself, ” I am a horror writer ” and mentally he gives himself a big kiss.
But when Bancho has days where he spends most of his time watching video clips on his computer and chatting on-line with his friends he doesn’t feel like a writer. On those days he wishes he had stuck with his original line of work- he used to be the top salesman for a company that sold pathology equipment.
When he had down days at Waxons he’d clock out and go to the bar around the corner and drink beer and eat peanuts until he had either picked his spirits up or drowned them in a sea of Dark Ale.
Now when he had down days with his writing he goes outside and does yard work.
So that is where Bancho was the day he saw the old lady waiting at the bus stop across the street from where he lives.
She was wearing a bright red coat to protect herself from the chilly fall air and she was wearing a hat decorated with birds and fruit to cover her almost shoulder length gray hair to- well- as near as Bancho could figure it out- she wore that for fun.
Bancho waved and the old lady slowly raised her arm waved back and then Bancho turned away from the street and started to rake leaves.
There were millions of them.
Millions and millions he was thinking over and over again because he wasn’t thinking about anything useful- like maybe the book he was working on- when he reached down to scoop up the pile of leaves at his feet to put them into the yard waste bin.
They crumbled almost to dust in his hands.
He dropped them into the open bin and started to rake up another pile- and as he did the dark wet leaves curled a little on the edges and started to break apart.
He kicked at the pile with his foot and looked up.
The old lady in the red coat raised her arm again to wave and this time when she waved she wiggled her fingers too.
He waved back.
Bancho moved the little pile of leaves around with his foot and some of them broke apart and the ones that didn’t almost did.
Bancho felt a cool blast of air make stroll by and he heard it make its way up into the tree’s branches around him and leaves- some red others gold and lots of still green leaves fell into yards and the street for as far as Bancho could see.
And he knew that if he were to walk to each and every one of those leaves and picked them up in small bunches in his hand or step on them they would crumbled to dust.
The old lady in the red coat with the birds on her hat shrugged.
” Well. ” Bancho thought to himself ” The leaves are dieing. That’s what they do in the fall. They fall from the trees and they die because-“
Bancho ground a fresh green leaf to a fine powder and he said out loud ” they get old.”
Bancho looked up and across the street and the Old Lady was now hatless. Her hat was now on her left hand and she was twirling it on one finger.
And then from down the street Bancho could hear the bus coming towards them.
It crawled to a stop and Bancho could see the Old Lady make her way to the back of the bus and she wasn’t moving like an old woman.
She bounced down the aisle and he could see her swing into a seat and he saw her, as the bus slid away waving to him- at least he thought it was her- he saw the red coat and she was actually waving her hat at him- but the woman he saw had long dark hair.
It couldn’t have been her, he thought as he reached for his rake.
What had he just seen, he asked himself A Vampire who feeds off of leaves to make herself young?
Bancho laughed at himself as he pulled his rake along the ground and when the sharp pain shot up from the middle of his back and he was forced, for a few minutes to support himself against his rake he tried to keep on laughing.
But he could not.