Painted Hearts

The sun sat nestled beneath the horizon, but its morning light cast rays of gold through the pale blue sky. Harrison leaned against the railing in his tower while a salty breeze swept up to him from the sleeping town below and tousled his already messy hair. He glanced at the coast again and watched waves crash quietly against the beach for a while longer before returning down to his home for the day.

He guessed there to be another thirty minutes until sunrise when motion to his right caught his eye. He walked to that side of the balcony and watched in bewildered amusement as a pale blue Chevy limped along the road that led off the highway. The grassy fields on either side did little to hide the poor car as it chugged down the road. He could almost picture the driver silently urging it on until finally stopping in a billow of smoke. Harrison looked to the slowly rising sun and decided he could make it down to the newcomer and back before the day grew too much. He turned and was down the creaky lighthouse stairs a heartbeat or two later.

The grass swayed as he walked towards the dirt road where he had spotted the blue car. The next closest town was at least two hours south along the highway, so he found it odd the traveler hadn’t stopped there for the night. The sun was still climbing, now peaking just above the lazy waves, but he paused just out of sight to observe the driver as their door opened.

He expected a weary, exhausted traveler to get out of the smoking car. What he didn’t expect was the bright eyed blonde woman who hopped out with a toolbox tucked under one arm. She tied her shoulder length hair back and opened the hood, all the while whistling a country song he hadn’t heard in at least a decade. He cocked his head to the side and watched as she inspected the engine area.

The smoke slowly cleared and after a few more minutes she nodded to herself and stood. Harrison winced when the back of her head connected with the hood. Her curse filled the still morning air and he struggled to keep from laughing when she flipped the car off and slammed the hood. She stomped to the door and got in, all the while rubbing the back of her head. Even through the closed door he heard her groan about almost being out of gas. He smiled slightly at his luck and strolled over to introduce himself.

The woman got out of her car again and rummaged in the back for a gas can. She turned around as he stopped near her, and a startled gasp escaped her lips. He stopped a safe distance away and put on his most charming smile.

“It’s a bit early for a drive, isn’t it?”

Her startled expression melted into a glare as she gave him a once over with her bright eyes. “It’s a bit early for a walk in the middle of nowhere, isn’t it?” she shot back.

He motioned to the lighthouse, its guiding light arching in a circle overhead before sweeping out to brush the waves. “I live there. I saw your car break down and came over to see if you needed help, but it seems you’re doing quite well on your own.”

She hmphed and tucked the gas can under one arm, and her purse under the other. “Which way to the gas station?”

“I can walk you there?” he offered.

She studied him a moment longer before giving a terse nod. They fell into step towards town just as the sun broke over the horizon. He could tell she didn’t trust him. And why should she? He was a vampire after all.

Read more of this modern fantasy on Kindle Vella now!

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