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Fantasticoe 1997

The Lovers that Never Quarreled

Tara Shanahan

"What got you so hot and bothered, old Devil?" the elderly woman demanded.

The Devil looked up in surprise. He was not accustomed to being approached by little old ladies who were roaming around aimlessly in the woods. He looked at the woman and scratched his head; he was thinking hard. Then his eyes lit up. "You're Vivian, aren't you?"

"I am," said the woman.

"Ah, yes," the Devil said, sighing with reminiscence. "I made your husband take a mistress long ago. We were all young then."

Vivian smiled sourly, remembering.

"And I was busy pursuing my beautiful Anna," The Devil continued. "Didn't you ask what had me all worked up?"

Vivian nodded, looking shrewdly at him.

"Anna and Henry, that's what. Not only do they love each other, but they actually take the time to show it. It sickens me. They are so sick it makes my teeth hurt."

"What exactly do you hope to do about it?" asked Vivian. "I bet I could get them to almost kill each other."

The Devil laughed at Vivian's offer to help. For almost six months the Devil did his best to make the two quarrel, but, at last, irritated, by continued failure, he considered turning to Vivian for help. So he decided to make a deal with the lady. Vivian was a short lady standing about four feet tall with a noticeable curve to her spine. Her long, dirty gray hair fell beneath the small of her back. She was dressed in a black tattered dress and her toes peeked out from the bottom.

The Devil began to ponder the idea of the deal he must make with her. If she was successful, he must give her something in return.

"It appears you could use some new boots," said the Devil.

"Yes, I suppose I could use a new pair of boots, but you see I have very little money. I can't afford to spend it on boots. I must eat, too." Vivian stated.

The Devil continued, "I can get you some new boots after you succeed."

Vivian assured him of her confidence and sent him on his way.

While Anna was out picking pansies for her beloved husband, she came across this elderly woman. Anna being the kind and gentle woman she was stopped for a minute.

She said," Good day!"

"What is so good about it?" the woman replied. "My dear, you are so beautiful and good. Your husband should love you very much, but when you are out he sneaks off to visit his mistress. I see him every day mysteriously sneaking away off into the woods." the old women said. Anna eyes filled with tears. She could not imagine the idea of Henry in the arms of another woman.

The woman continued, "I do know how you can get him to only look at you again."

"How? I'll do anything to save my marriage," said Anna.

The woman asked, "Have you noticed the few grays on the top of his head?"

"Well, yes," answered Anna.

"You must remove the gray hairs without him knowing. This will remove any feelings he has for other women," explained the woman.

"How will I ever do that without him knowing?" asked Anna.

"First, place those beautiful pansies in a vase on the table. Then, cook a wonderful meal his favorite dish. Then, after dinner ask him to lay his head on your lap in front of the fire place. When he falls asleep, pull a razor from your pocket and remove the gray hairs." explained the woman.

Anna left in a hurry to get home to prepare dinner. After she left, Henry came walking through the same woods. Coincidently he comes across the same old lady. He noticed the woman was a little disturbed. He asked if he could help, but she just explained the problem. She went on to tell him of the beautiful young girl who was picking pansies earlier that day. She explained this girl was plotting to murder her husband. Henry decided the old lady must be ill and left her alone. When Henry arrived home, he could smell his favorite dish cooking. He also noticed the large bouquet of pansies on the dinner table. However, the idea of Anna killing him never crossed his mind. While eating dinner, he looked into the eyes of his beautiful young bride. After dinner, Anna told Henry to leave the dishes until later. She explained after his hard day he should rest. Henry laid his head on Anna's lap and pretended to be asleep. When Anna reached to grab the razor, Henry's eyes opened. Henry saw his beloved standing before him ready to kill him. Henry shouted, "Stop!" He darted to his feet and demanded and explanation. Anna in shock fell to the floor and began to cry. He grabbed her and asked, "Don't you love me anymore?" He knew instantly that she knew. He could see the pain in her eyes. The dark secret he had kept for so long must come out. Then, he told her the truth of affair he had been having with her sister. She couldn't speak. She just put her head on his shoulder and began to cry. Henry just sat quietly not saying a word. Then, she took the razor and slit her wrists. In a moment of rage, Henry followed in his wives actions and took his own life.

The Devil and Vivian secretly watched from the window. In great delight, the two fell in love while watching the young couple bleed to death. They snickered and giggled all the way home. And, they lived a dysfunctional life together.

Acknowledgments: I would like to take this time to thank Ann Dybsetter, Terry Heller, and the entire Creative Writing class for their wonderful ideas. If it wasn't for them, Fantasticoe would not be possible.

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Fantasticoe 1997