tagText With AudioA Love for Every Creature

A Love for Every Creature


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Click Here to listen: .mp3 format or .ogg format. (13.5 min/mp3)

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"It's Halloween and I don't believe in witches or goblins or Dracula. I will not wear a costume or force myself to go to a party." Those are the words she told herself that morning. So if she didn't believe in witches, why was she in this creepy shop. The answer to that was in the pouch lying on the counter in front of her. It was a Love Potion. Drink it, and you will fall in love. That was the promise on the hand written label. That was all that was on the label.

She paid the price of love to the 'witch' and started for the door. "You'll recognize it when it happens." was the only remark as she tucked it into her pocket.

She went home, fed the cat and sat on the couch contemplating the potion. She turned on the tv and thumbed her way through 487 channels without finding anything. She was idly toying with the bottle when an ad caught her interest. She turned the tv up and listened.

"Looking for love? Real love. Not sex, but the everlasting kind. No date for Halloween? Come on down to the Annual Speed Dating for Halloween Event. No costume required, be yourself!"

Now this was serendipity at its finest. A love potion and a speed dating event. She popped open her internet and researched the event. This really was an annual event, every Halloween, and the site listed numerous testimonials from attendees, claiming they had found their one and only, their true love.

That's what she wanted, love, the kind with flowers and hearts, rings and commitment. Her last date had been what turned out to be a married man looking for a blow job in the parking lot of Starbucks. She had politely told him that if his wife knew him and wouldn't give him a blow job, why on earth would she wrap her lips around it! Imagine the nerve of some men.

That one had left a bad taste in her mouth, figuratively, for a long time and she had given up on dating. But she was lonely. She wanted someone to think about her before they thought about themselves. She wanted a soul mate. Someone she could curl up with, share a glass of wine with over dinner, watch a movie and not be made fun of when she cried at the end. Strong arms, stronger heart and well, a bit of sexual excitement would be nice too, but it was no longer at the top of the list.

She dressed as she normally would, jeans, blouse and sensible shoes. Her heart pounded as she uncapped the love potion. She brought the vial to her nose and sniffed. No scent at all. She read the directions one last time and did as she was told. She drank the liquid as quickly as she could as it must be foul tasting. No taste at all, she peered into the empty bottle, and decided she had just wasted a day's pay on a pretty flask of water. She actually managed a chuckle at her desperation and almost changed her mind about the speed dating. Almost, but not quite, if nothing else, it would give her something to do.

She walked into the venue, nervous and burst out laughing. While a costume was not required, everyone but her seemed to be dressed up. She caught a glimpse of a cape, assuming Dracula, a pointy witches hat and OMG! huge hobbit feet. Where did these people find these get ups? She blushed as the person doing the registering, dressed as who else, but Cupid asked her her name. He wrote her name on a tag and sent her off to the bar to wait, she was number 13. Oh, let it be a lucky number tonight.

She ordered a drink from the troll behind the bar. All of the drinks had mysterious Halloween appropriate names, and she picked the Witches Brew from the list. It came in a plain glass, but there was nothing plain about it. It glowed and appeared to have flames dancing on the surface of the liquid. The troll winked at her and assured her it was an optical illusion, to remain in the spirit of the season. "Drink up my pretty, it will warm you all over."

She sat at the bar, tentatively sipping the flaming drink. Instead of being hot, or even warm it was cool and delicious. She veritably gulped it down, pushed her empty glass toward the troll and asked for another.

She was on her third drink when she heard her number called, "Thirteen, table four please."

The rules were read out loud, "Ladies please be seated. This will be your table for the evening. This is a timed event, 5 minutes per date, then the men will move on to the next table. Take notes and if anyone finds a true connection, see Cupid and he will make sure you get a second date. Let us begin."

There was a shuffling of feet, and she thought she heard the fluttering of wings as well. She looked up from her drink as none other than Dracula sat at her table. He smiled a pointy toothed grin at her. They chatted, he worked at the blood bank, shift work at night.

The bell rang and Dracula stood up, bowed and moved along. Who should appear but a werewolf. He had so much hair glued to his face and body, she figured he would still be plucking come next Halloween. During their five minutes, he told her he wanted to have a litter of about 50 kids. She mentally crossed him off her list, but was polite and smiled for the duration.

"Ding!" A wizard.

"Ding!" The hobbit. She couldn't stop staring at his feet, they looked so real.

"Ding!" A cyclops? Now that was a costume worthy of the movies.

"Ding!" A beast. No, not a beast, The Beast, from that fairy tale. He was so tall, so big he hardly fit in the chair and it hurt her neck to look up at him. His voice was hypnotic as he spoke of how little he got out because of his size, she was under his spell, and then...

"Ding!" The beast forgotten as she started to giggle. She looked at the drink in her hand and wondered just exactly what was in this marvelous concoction. She was staring at the prettiest man she had ever seen. Perfection, well except for the pointy ears and that even standing on the chair, he could just peek over the edge of the table. He sighed as she giggled and said, "I was hoping this year that the women would be, well, shorter."

She shook her head, remembered her manners and looked down into his eyes. They actually glowed, and she told him so. "It' elven magic, we can't help it and we realize it can be a little distracting." He was expounding on the theories of the actual mechanics of the magic when... Ding!...the little man leaped up on the table, took her hand in both of his and brought it to his lips. He left a soft little kiss and wished her luck.

As the elf left along came a man. An actual man! Without costume, but he could have been wearing one. He was a crooked, twisted shell of a man. Both hands with gnarled fingers, a limp, a more than once broken nose but when she looked into his eyes, oh, was this what she was waiting for? She could feel the love potion coursing through her veins, she could actually taste the sweetness, like a heavenly nectar on her tongue. She shook her head, trying to clear it. It must be the Witches Brews she had been so liberally imbibing all evening long.

He marveled her with a voice that was not only sweet to her ears, but that caressed her skin, a soft kiss-like feel on her cheek. As he spoke, she jotted his number down on the scrap of paper from Cupid.

He spoke of his favorite books, his favorite movie, and the words were more like a song than a story. His voice fluid and mesmerizing. Her heart thudded loudly in her ears and she blushed, imagining he could hear it too. Her breath left her when the sound of the bell rang and with a smile he got up from his seat.

"Ding!" A troll. A dragon? A centaur, an ogre, even a rabbit, who claimed to be related to The Easter Bunny. The list went on, the sweet taste quickly faded from her mouth. At last the speed dating was over. She looked frantically around for Cupid. She needed to talk to the crooked man again...number 11.

She finally spied cupid, and stood in line waiting to talk to him. She was sad and worried when the crooked man was not in the line too, but then she realized that only women were in line. The women got to pick who they wanted a real date with. A date, with maybe flowers! Her favorite kind were carnations, no one ever thought to bring carnations.

At last she was standing in front of Cupid. He grinned at her. "So you have found a creature here tonight worthy of a second date?"

She blushed again, "Yes, I have, number 11."

Cupid smiled, a big toothy one, "It's about time for both of you. He will pick you up at 7:00 Friday night. Be prepared for fun and adventure! Don't dress up, just be yourself, casual and relaxed." He waved at her and she swore she heard him utter, "Don't fight the potion, relax and let it work."

She must have been imagining it though. No one knew she had drank a love potion before arriving. Did they?

She was smiling as she walked home, and then paused. A frown came over her face, how could number 11 pick her up for a date when no one had asked her where she lived. She must have missed a form or something. She rushed back to the building to find the doors locked, no cars in the parking lot, just darkness. She stamped her foot in frustration. All that for nothing!

She pouted all the way home, just barely short of tears. Damn it she was STOOPID! Not even bright enough to think the word spelled correctly. She chastised herself until she walked inside her apartment, then started yawning. Wow, that must have taken a mental toll on her, she was tired. She looked at the clock, it was only 20 minutes later than when she had left the house earlier. How in the hell did that happen? She laughed, the battery must be dead. She looked at the second hand watching it ticking off slowly.

She pulled out her cell phone....and the clock on the wall was right. She must have drank the potion, imagined the entire evening. She quickly flicked on her computer and searched for the speed dating site. No luck. She checked her history, it wasn't there either. What the hell was in that shit she drank.

She took mental stock of her body. She felt fine, no ill effects physically. But mentally, she was exhausted. Bath and then bed. A good romance novel and catch up on some sleep. Try to forget her potion induced day dream.

By Friday she was just glad to leave work and looked forward to a long weekend away from the usual routine. There was a new restaurant she wanted to try out, a book half finished on her night stand and a bottle of wine just begging to be uncorked. Those were the things she could look forward to these days, tangibles, who needed love anyway?

At 6:30 the thought of what if flitted briefly through her mind, then she decided that it was all in her imagination anyway, there could be no what ifs. She was dressed in her comfiest jeans and her favorite long sleeved turtle neck, the blue of the sweater made her eyes sparkle and dance with life.

As she was standing in the kitchen, peering into her cupboards, deciding on supper there was a soft knock at the door. "It must be one of the neighbors looking to borrow something." She lived in a building with a doorman, and no one ever got past him without prior permission. As the thought coursed through her, she could taste something familiar on her tongue, her blood started rushing and her heart started pounding. She was trying to recall the taste when...

She opened the door, and there was number 11, the crooked man! Her mouth flooded with the sweet taste of nectar and she stared wide eyed at him.

"Am I early? You look surprised, you did remember I was taking you on a date this evening didn't you?" his crooked mouth went from a smile to a sad frown.

She managed to stammer out a simple, "Yes." Although more words would have been difficult as she was concentrating on not drooling, her mouth was awash with potion. And she thought she might be having a heart attack!

The smile returned to his face and his eyes twinkled, literally twinkled. He pulled a bouquet of carnations from behind his back and with a flourish offered them to her. She laughed and told him to wait, she would slip on her shoes and get a jacket. She left him standing in the open door while she rushed to get ready. Who cares how he found her, the important thing was that he did, and she was feeling euphoric because of it. Although, she might be asleep and dreaming, because he brought her carnations. Carnations, no one ever thinks of carnations....she plopped them in a vase and hurried back to him.

He smiled and this time when he did, she didn't see the crookedness, just the kindness in that smile.

He held out his hand and when she put hers in his, there was a bright light and understanding. He was a magical creature, the speed dating event on Halloween was the only night of the year that they were destined to find love. The love potion was an invitation to the event. Only those seeking true love would be able to look beyond the physical and see the special inner qualities of the creatures. The potion only helped her to realize her love when she met him.

The light faded and he spoke, "I have been waiting for you for a hundred years. Do you know how many speed dates that is?" he laughed and squeezed her hand, "Are you ready for an adventure?"

She looked at her apartment door, the number 11 boldly displayed on the brass plate and laughed. Smiling she said, "I have been waiting my entire life for an adventure!"

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