It seemed that Candy was more likely to meet people who were willing to talk to her at the graveyard. She had seen Dante Morganthe around town, but the sight of his sallow skin, preternatural eyes, and sharp fangs had made her cross the street to avoid him, especially when the sun was out and he seemed to be sizzling slightly. She recalled seeing his profile on SimCupid, and had fervently hoped he would not send her any messages, slim as those chances were. As vampiric as he was, Dante turned out to be apparently nice. She reminded herself of the mini-fiasco that was Garth, but Dante’s charm silenced that little voice of reason. She told herself she’d enjoy the attention while it lasted.
On arriving home, still feeling warm little flutters in her belly after having an actual conversation with someone who was not obviously disgusted by her, Candy found a strange light shining over her land.
She hurried to investigate, reminding herself that this was not a movie and no serial killer is going to jump out and kill her, gloating at his elaborate trap. Besides, movie serial killers went after the pretty, thin, and blonde girls. Well, she got one out of three covered.
Well, it wasn’t a serial killer. Candy stared, open-mouthed, at an actual alien craft. When she regained her wits, it was too late.
They didn’t keep her too long, however.
“Maybe they thought I was a cow and were disappointed,” she thought, half-delirious. She tried to avoid thinking of the matter, scared that if she did, she’d go insane. One step at a time, Candy. One thought at a time. She was exhausted, physically and mentally. She could panic tomorrow. Right now, she needed some rest. She walked to her tiny shack.
It didn’t take long for her to drop off. Maybe the aliens, and Dante, were nothing but a dream.
The mixture of exhaustion and strange dreams made it easy for Candy to convince herself that the weird light was just another kooky delusion her sleeping mind had cooked up.
One thing she did know was that she should not have gone to sleep grimy and covered with sweat after a night of digging – er, “specializing” (not to mention the fear sweat of the event that shall not be thought of).
Of course, this meant another stealthy trip to the gym.
A quick shower later, she found the gym packed. For a split second, she panicked, sure that she would be found out, but then realized that in this sort of crowd, no one was likely to notice her. A quick glance at the clock told her that she had enough time to check SimCupid quickly.
Alas, no messages. Not like she expected much, anyway.
She still had time, and decided to give herself a little treat, so she made her way to the nearby festival’s concession stand for some onion rings. After that, it was off to work.
Her phone rang as soon as she touched the door to her shack. Cautiously, she answered, wondering who would want to talk to her. The voice on the other end was friendly and familiar. It was Dante, asking after her day. She answered enthusiastically, telling him of the weird people who were all over the graveyard that night. He laughed, “Of course, they’re zombies. It’s a full moon tonight. Don’t worry, they’re harmless, as long as you don’t cuddle them or something.” Candy laughed, imagining herself in an embrace with one of those things. For once, she wasn’t the butt of an appearance joke, and it felt good.
After some small talk and ranting (Dante, unemployed, felt stuck in a rut and was feeling frustrated), she bid him goodnight and turned to study her shack.
She had just enough money to have a cheap toilet installed. Sure, sleeping in what was now officially an outhouse for real wasn’t the best of situations, but it definitely beat peeing in the bushes, or sneaking into public bathrooms for relief.
She thought of what had happened that day. She had gotten a hot shower, she hadn’t been kicked out of the gym for mooching off their facilities (yet), she had had some hot, crispy onion rings, she had installed a toilet in her little shelter. And best of all, Dante, whom she had half-convinced herself was a figment of her imagination, had called to ask about her day.
Today was definitely a good day.
Candy did not relish a day off. It just meant she wouldn’t get money that day. But no matter. She thought she’d spend it in the library reading more gardening books, and may she could work up the courage to ask Dante out to the Summer Festival, as friends of course.
As Leisure Day was tomorrow, Candy thought she would stop by to watch some of the preparation. Unbidden, hazy memories of aliens floated through her brain. She blinked. That’s it! She could reapply as a test subject at the lab! Her story might just make her interesting enough. And maybe, just maybe, they’d like her after getting to know her, and give her a raise, or even a promotion. Excited, she hailed a cab and headed towards the Bloom Institute.