Sunrays crossed the hills and entered the row of windows; curtains billowed softly in the breeze as Carrie strolled into Mac’s Pizza Pub. The cooler air heralded autumn's return and Halloween. She made a beeline to one of her favorite bar stools and plopped down.
She chose the position with an inside view to the kitchen. The pizza ovens staged a show of the cooks plying their craft. Macs Pizza Pub, famous throughout several rural counties, was a friendly gathering place for country folks.
A tall silhouette shadowed the doorway with an offering in hand “Wanna try my new soup of the day?”
Mac didn’t wait for an answer. In an instant, he produced a ramekin of some kind of a green creamy soup speckled with chives and cheddar cheese.
“How did you know it was your day to take care of me?” She sniggered, picking up the teaspoon he’d laid there on the dinner napkin.
The soup was delicious, and she admired his creativity aloud. Her husband, Peter, was out of town, and the warm nurturing from the owner of Mac’s Pizza Pub filled the void a little. Mac always treated her like this.
They started talking about Carrie’s favorite subject – astrology. Mac wanted her to cast his horoscope. He wanted to know about the future, which is what most people asked about. A new love in his life, Mac was in a tailspin. He wanted to marry her, immediately.
“She’ll be in here in about twenty minutes,” he said glancing at the lighted Dr. Pepper clock. “You can meet her, and tell me what you think. She’s a nice girl from a nice family.”
Right on time, a willowy figured blonde passed by the row of windows. Flaxen wisps of her hair caught a snippet of the breeze. In no time flat, the astrology banter included Cherry’s astrology information, too.
On their way out, the twosome paused. His arms around Cherry’s waist, Mac excitedly made the stunning announcement about their marriage plans.
Carrie knew Mac was a little wild, but, still, she had always seen him as someone with his feet on the ground. They met three weeks ago, and already this?
Arm in arm, the lovebirds practically raced out the door. Carrie watched the autumn light contrast tall profiles in the doorway, soon eclipsed as the door shut. Following quickly behind, she headed home and dived into the astrology.
As an astrologer, she’d be so happy to find some good, stable connections between the two charts. Then she’d not be so worried about the dizzying, fast track marriage plans.
Yeah, and yeah. . . Carrie talked out loud in a singsong, happy voice. Everything was looking good so far. Connections explained. And they were hot. But towards the end, a grim and bothersome item popped up just when she had thought she had a happy conclusion.
From the astrology relationship book, the words bazaar violence leaped out of the last paragraph like a neon sign in the dark. Carrie’s mood slumped into disappointment. Shocked at what she had read - disappointment transitioned to fear. This was a new one that she’d never uncovered before, ever. More fodder for the incoming Halloween atmosphere. She shuddered. But it was more than that of anticipating the long shadows and Halloween atmosphere.
The passage was short and cryptic, but a chill coursed upward from the bottom of her spine, and raced the back of her neck. It ended with scalp hair standing at attention as if she seen and ghost.
That weird and creepy phrase, bazaar violence, dominated the evening.
Not wanting to believe it, she urgently double-checked. Bazaar violence, bazaar violence, she looked for aspects in the chart comparison that might dilute the spark of violence waiting to erupt.
“Astrology book – give me something else!” Carrie demanded into the thin night air. Not being the kind of book one reads from cover to cover, she checked all the references quickly. It was so.
Soon overcome with a sense of immediacy, Carrie knew she had to find them. She had to warn them to watch out for this bad alchemy. Feeling the strange urgency of a race against time, she flew down winding country roads to Mac’s Pizza Pub.
Mac and Cherry weren’t anywhere to be found, though.
Carrie searched. Inquired with mutual friends. Made numerous unanswered phone calls. Mac and Cherry had literally disappeared.
Weeks went by with the two lovebirds gone off into some lover’s hideaway. Autumn colors joined with bazaar imagery that would soon feel very much like Halloween. Carrie left messages at the pub with cooks, and bartenders, and everyone else she could think to talk to.
Finally, some news about the disappeared twosome arrived via bold letters and shocking front-page news headlines. The nice girl from the nice family was dead, and Mac was jailed for her murder.
Carrie talked to Mac in his prison cell.
“I never hit her. I’ve never hit a woman in my life. I loved her. We were high. I was just clowning around and put a pillow on her mouth, and she just went limp,” he said.
The autopsy showed that Cherry was only a few points away from alcohol poisoning when it happened. Cocaine spiked the test results, too.
A not-so-happy Halloween came along soon after. The usual crowd of partiers seemed to have already forgotten Mac’s imprisonment; maybe people were still in shock. Carrie imagined how she might have seen Mac and Cherry, statuesque, moving about in the costumed crowd.
Like before, they were nowhere to be seen, but this time it would be forever.