Sample – Calico Corner



Dina heard a chain slide back and the door opened, revealing a golden glow from within. The carpet was older, a little worn, but clean and earth-toned. The walls were a faux pine and the furniture appeared to be cobbled together from garage sales, but it was neat and tidy.

More surprising was the woman on the other side of the door. Dina supposed she was expecting a grandmother, a stooped and haggard old woman afraid of the stranger on her doorstep. Instead, Dina was greeted by a full-figured woman clutching a semi-sheer robe at the neck. The light from behind told Dina the woman was wearing nothing beneath the robe. She might have been closing in on forty, but her body was lush and full, a stark contrast to Dina’s slim frame.

“Please, come in.”

The way she gestured Dina inside, such a refined gesture in the most unexpected of places, gave Dina no option but to oblige out of politeness. She stepped inside, arms still tight around herself from the chill. The alluring stranger closed the door and leaned back against it.

“You must be frozen. It’s quite a night out there.”

“Tell me about it,” Dina said with that smirking grin. “I just feel bad for my friends. I’m all warm in here and they’re still in the van.”

“They’ll be attended to, I promise,” she said, moving away from the door and settling in a chair near Dina. Her eyes were gray-flecked and piercing, looking intently over Dina. “I love your hair,” she said finally.

“Oh, thanks. Nothing like a little color, right?”

“Yes,” the woman smiled. “That’s just right. How old are you?”

“Nineteen in two weeks. Why?”

“You look younger.”

“It’s the Korean in me. We don’t age at all until fifty-six, then one day it’s wrinkle city.”

“Aw, such a young pretty girl like you doesn’t have to worry about that for a long, long time.”

“Yeah, I guess.” The intensity of the woman’s gaze was graduating from unsettling to alarming. “Look, if I could use that phone…”

“Of course, I’m sorry. Forgive my manners, but your surprised me. I’ll call the sheriff. He’ll send someone right over and they can pick you up on the way back. How does that sound?”

“Great. Thank you.”

The woman’s smile held and she caught Dina with her gray eyes once more. She rose, her full breasts shifting noticeably beneath her robe as she moved. Dina felt her cheeks burn at the sight of this woman’s body, no matter how fleeting. She wasn’t doing much to hide the goods, though, Dina thought.

From an adjoining kitchen, Dina heard the red-haired woman speaking low into the phone, followed by a quick affirmation, then she was back with a cup and saucer in hand.

“I thought you might like some cocoa.”

“Ooh, I haven’t had cocoa since I was a little girl,” Dina squealed and eagerly took the cup and saucer.

“You’re still a pretty little girl,” the woman smiled.

“Yeah,” Dina replied slowly and stared down at the floor. Full-figured and sexy or not, the woman was throwing off some seriously weird vibes.

“Would you entertain a strange request?”

“Um. Sure. Maybe. I don’t know. What is it?”

The woman threw back her head and laughed.

“Nothing too strange, I think. I’d love to fix those pigtails for you, though.”

“Oh, yeah, the branches kept grabbing me. I must be a mess.”

“Not at all, sweetie, you’re precious. Let me fix it for you.”

Before Dina had much time to protest, the woman was up and standing behind Dina’s chair, deftly removing the bands that held Dina’s hair in place.

“There, that’s better.”

Dina’s eyes widened at the strangeness of the woman’s behavior, but the strokes of the hairbrush she ran through Dina’s pink-tipped hair was relaxing, if odd.

“I never had a baby of my own,” the woman said, voice breathy with memory. “My husband and I tried, but it just never worked out. Then he passed a few years ago, so…”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Well, you know what they say. When God closes a door he opens a window. That’s what Brother Graves says, anyway.”

“I guess that’s true.” It was getting harder for Dina to come up with noncommittal responses. This woman, though nice, was clearly disturbed. A little too much time in the middle of nowhere, if you asked Dina.

Dina winced, feeling a brush against the back of her neck. She could have sworn it was the woman’s stiff nipple, but that could be fantasy based on her relative nudity. Her hair was tugged, then she could feel the woman’s fingers wind her hair into pigtails.

“So pretty…” she whispered again.

“Thanks, again, but I should-”

Her words froze as she felt a band wrap around her throat.

‘Oh my god, she’s going to choke me!’ Dina screamed wordlessly, turning and twisting away from the woman behind her. Her hand flew instinctively to her throat, fingers finding a soft and frilly material there.

“What is this?”

“It’s okay, honey, Mommy’s here.”


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