by Wren Lee
The first day Stevie first came to town, a Wednesday, she had a black eye, a star belt buckle, and a guitar case. The rising waters of the lake receded and the gas prices went down by a whole dollar.
Sometimes, she plays at the bar, screaming into the microphone, strumming along with a bright red guitar. I don’t think she really knows how to play it, but the way she claws at the strings mixes with the angry tones in her voice in a harmonious sort of way. Like they were meant to go together.
It’s days where no one sees Stevie at all that make us the most… apprehensive. She’s a disaster magnet, in a way. All the terrible things happen to her and bypass the town. Or at least that’s what she told the baker. The truth of the matter is, that our town is constantly hammered by disaster. Floods, earthquakes, sickness are common occurrences. But whenever Stevie’s in town, everyone’s all right.
She says she’s only kind of lucky. That she had moved here because she had used up all the luck wherever she had last lived. No one’s really sure what she means by that. I think it’s just Stevie’s rambling.
Stevie herself, ignoring whatever supernatural power she may or might not have, is a unique sort of individual. She sits on the curb of the convenience store until early in the morning, feeding crows doritos and oreos and telling them all sorts of things. Apparently, she found an old cabin in the forest and well, now it’s her cabin. Her rock shows are filled with confusing and indecipherable messages, unusually ominous in manner. It feels almost as though she’s singing out an incantation.
Old woman Josie swears she saw shadows bend around Stevie, making way for her. Some of the kids ride around Stevie’s cabin on their bicycles, swearing up and down that it hadn’t existed before. But Stevie likes the kids. Sometimes, on Tuesdays, she makes a fire and has them over to roast s’mores. Crows perch themselves on the tall trees all around, illuminated by the glow. Who knows where they hide when Stevie isn’t around.
Whenever she comes into the shop, she winks and asks me for whatever surreal or unheard of subject she was studying that week. This week it was cryptozoology mixed in with a little astrology. I was certain we didn’t have any books on those subjects in stock. I had just sold the last one to the carpenter. But she found one and bought it, a grin on her face.
Her grin. There was something warm about it. Like a late autumn when you’re walking about, admiring the changing colours. Or Halloween night, watching the children around trick or treating and the fireworks in the sky. It wasn’t exactly off putting. But there was something wrong about it, in the right kind of way.
I’d like to think that she’s just a weird stranger whose, once she inevitably leaves, brief existence in town will be easily forgotten in the years to come. I don’t want her to be some ethereal presence here, unknown for whether she’s here for the worse or the better. I mean, what are the chances that there are two of us in this little town?