Penned by Anthony S. Darke
Leanne Miller was indeed proud of herself as she walked away leaving the body of the dead gypsy woman draped over the crystal ball in the parlor. The clack clack of her high heels on the sidewalk was the only sound on the rainy deserted street as she scurried away from the scene of the crime. That and her laughter.
Fortune teller, my ass, Leanne thought, triumphantly. Too bad the old witch couldn’t tell her own fortune. Ha! Ha!
Her long blonde hair fell seductively over the shoulders of her white leather coat as she strode along and as she passed a storefront window she stopped to admire herself.
Yeah, what a sight. Soooo hot. Legs men would die for. The face of a Paris fashion model. Boobs – real ones --- that made a man drool, and that mane of golden locks.
She was irresistible and she knew it. And she flaunted it to the max. The gypsy woman never knew what hit her. Literally! All she had to do was wait until the phony psychic turned her back and WHAM! Right over the back of the head with a statue. That diamond ring the old bag wore would be no use to her now. Eight carats it looked like! But she could wear it with one of her new outfits, like that 5k dollar gold dress that rich old coot Sydney had bought her. The world was full of suckers. All you had to do was know how to bleed them. By batting sexy sultry eyes, showing some leg or cleavage, or bashing in a skull or two in when needed.
Leanne crossed the street and stood there perplexed for a moment. Where had she parked her car? She thought she’d left it right here, under the No Parking Tow Zone sign.
Oh! Damn! They’d towed her car!
What a despicable thing to do! she thought. Tow a girl’s car late at night in a shady neighborhood. People had no morals anymore.
Well now she would have to walk. And a long walk it would be in these heels. Damn! Why hadn’t she bought an extra pair of shoes. Flat ones. She did. They were in the car!
She studied her options: stand there like a fool and wait for a taxi which would never come, walk through a bad neighborhood with a diamond ring in her purse and her blonde hair acting like a spotlight on her and her heels killing her feet or…
Leanne looked at the entrance to the graveyard. She could take a short cut through it and be on the other side of the neighborhood and be certain to catch a cab there. It’d only take about ten minutes. What should she do?
The rain started to fall harder. Her feet hurt.
Graveyard here I come.
She walked as fast as she could along the path. Graveyards weren’t her thing. Nothing like wearing a designer gown in a posh restaurant with men doting over her like slaves. But a girl has to sacrifice sometimes. That diamond ring in her purse was worth this. Hell, it was worth walking barefoot on glass.
As she got near the middle of the cemetery she noticed a man with a broom sweeping the ground by a mausoleum.
Strange, she thought. Kind of late for a caretaker to be working. Oh, well. She put her head down and kept walking.
“In a hurry?” the man said.
Leanne stopped. “What?”
She could see him more clearly now. He was wearing a black cloak with a hood on it. Creepy the sight of him was.
“Those with a guilty conscience often are,” he said.
“Guilty con… Who are you? What do you mean?”
He stopped his sweeping. “I understand about the ring. You had to have it.”
“What do you know about the ring? I mean, uh, what ring? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, but you do,” he insisted.
“What? Look, I’m going. I’m not standing here in the dark and rain talking to you.”
She sauntered off a few feet and then…
“There’s more. Much more,” he said.
“More?” she said. “What do you mean? More of what?”
“More of what you like.”
“How do you know what I like? Say, who the hell are you?”
“A dream catcher, you might say,” he answered.
“A what?? More like an old drunk who spends too much time with dead people,” Leanne chided him.
“The dead have no desires, only the living,“ he said. “And I know yours. If you don’t believe me I can show you.”
He looked up at the mausoleum.
“Up there,“ he said. “Come with me.”
Leanne looked at the dark foreboding structure.
“You want me to go up there alone with you? Are you freakin’ nuts?”
“It shall only take a moment and you will find what you’re searching for. An eternity with riches. Isn’t that it?”
Leanne thought for a moment. “Oh, I get it, you must be one of those sick fucks that rob the dead. What do you do, keep your stash hidden in there? Ok, I’ll go up there with you, but ---“
She whipped out a knife from inside her jacket and put it to the throat of the caretaker. “But if you try anything funny, buster, I’ll slit your throat from ear to ear. You got it?”
He nodded. “Of course. I have no interest in the earthly pleasures of the flesh.”
“Ok, let’s go,” she said.” Let’s get this over with. I don’t like this place and I want to soak in a hot bath. “
As they ascended the stairs of the mausoleum thunder rumbled loudly overhead.
The caretaker opened the door as it gave off a piercing squeak.
“Come in,” he said.
He lit a lantern and she could see a concrete tomb in the middle of the floor.
“In there,” he said.
“What’s in there?” she said.
“Open it,” she said.
He pulled back the heavy top of the tomb and stood back. “Look.”
Cautiously, Leanne leaned over and peered in.
She couldn’t believe her eyes.
The creepy sob was right!
Laid out all over the body of what was a woman dressed in strange clothing was a thick layer of everything that glittered and shone! Diamonds! Rubies! Sapphires! Pearls! And most of all --- gold! More gold than she had ever seen in one place at any time in her life!
“These can’t be real!” she said.
She stuck her hands inside the tomb and scooped up a handful of the gems. If there was one thing she knew after spending a lifetime pursing precious stones it was how to tell if they were real or not. She held them up to the lantern’s light
They were real alright!
“So you approve?” the caretaker said.
“Good,” he said. “Then…”
Leanne suddenly cried out in pain. She turned around to see the hand of the woman in the tomb grasping her wrist.
“What? Oh my god!”
The body arose from the tomb and Leanne screamed again when she saw the gypsy woman’s face.
“No! It can’t be you! I killed you! You’re dead! I made sure of it!”
She felt the caretakers’ hand rest upon her shoulder and turned her head to see the skeletal fingers which moments ago were flesh.
But this time Leanne could not scream.
The gypsy woman climbed out of her tomb.
“Have I met your bargain?” she said to the caretaker. “I delivered you a life for my life.”
“Indeed,” he replied. “And so young and beautiful. Bravo.”
Leanne’s eyes bulged with terror at the sight of the Death mask which spoke from under the black hood.
“You’re debt is paid,” he said to the gypsy woman.
He looked into Leanne’s eyes. “You are now bound by me for your greed. You cannot move nor speak. And within this tomb you shall remain forever with all the wealth you have pursued so recklessly in your life. I have given you what you have desired, an eternity of riches.”
He lifted her up and placed her in the tomb. Then slowly drew the concrete cover over her. The gypsy woman laughed sadistically.
“I’m sure she would scream… if she could,” she said cruelly.
Leanne’s terror filled eyes saw the last vestige of light…then…
“I’ll be going now,” the gypsy woman said to the caretaker. “I told you I was right. There’s a world full of suckers. All you have to do is know how to play them.”
She descended the steps of the mausoleum into the rainless night.
Leanne Miller is not your average gold digger. No. Blonde, leggy, beautiful, she can capture the heart of any man with a glance. And she’ll do anything to get the gold. But her greed finally gets the better of her as she discovers, to her horror, that all that glitters is anything but gold.