The pick danced on the rocks again, and a few sparks leaped from the white granite to die quickly in the cold autumn air.

Torrance could see Ice crystals left on the pointed tip of the Pick, as the northern wind came whistling through the Aspen trees further up the slope.

“Got to get deeper.  Not much dark left!  I can’t even use a shovel, yet!”

The little voice in his head said, “Dig faster. The hole doesn’t have to be real deep; you can pile rocks on top!”

Again, Torrance hefted the Pick, moving cold hardened fingers, to strike down even harder than before.

Schnick!  More rocks fled the scene.  Less soil.

“Why did I have to do it this night? Oh right! I did not, she did. Damn her!” Torrance asked himself, but not expecting an answer from her.

He was in a clearing with just a few Aspen trees at this altitude, but it was only a quarter of a mile from the fire trail. Starlight made easy navigation without any headlights, as a billion points of light lit his path for him to provide peace to the rest of Mankind.

In spite of the cold, Torrance felt the sweat of desperation pooling on his forehead to course into his eyes, while the cold penetrating and focusing on the sweat in the small of his back.

Vanessa was a vampire.


Not the type in the movies, with fangs and bat wings. Not at all!

Torrance proved she was living by making her give her last breath to him.

Instead, Vanessa fed on well-meaning men and then sucked the very life out of them.

They came to her in droves. Even after youth had left her, and the lines on her face told of years, men came to her.

They came to her full of strength and hope, and after a time, left with nothing but shattered dreams.

A man was only as strong as his belief in himself, the strength he had.

She sucked his belief in himself right out, leaving only a shell.

The town rumor mill said that more than one man had ended their lives after a run with Vanessa.

She liked to say she did not like pets, only men. But, in truth, a dog or cat would take the long way around her, never getting close to her path.

What did animals understand that men did not?

Torrance came to her, just like the others, younger than some, but just as eager.  He hoped for all of that womanhood for himself.

But, he was stronger and maybe, just a little smarter than the rest.

After a short time, he knew what she was. His little inner voice warned him of her evil, and how she would try to break him.

Soon, it came time for her to destroy him. He felt it.

She slyly built up to it, day by day for weeks. There were the sly smiles and touches here and there. She would trace his eyebrows and shoulders as if she were magically drawn to them.

Her method of destruction was slight cuts, but a thousand of them.  Just like the Chinese Water Torture, a drop on the forehead every few seconds for weeks.

Once, when he bought something for her to wear around her pretty neck she said, “I guess on your salary that is the best you could do!”

Or, another time,

“John Stanerster will likely be mayor one day, like his daddy. But, your father was the town drunk, right?”

This night, she had flown into a rage when he denied her, and stated flatly, “You are not a good woman. I will have no more to do with you.”

She leaped at him then, in a fit of anger, swinging fists and fingernails, kicking him wherever she could, with the language he only used with the boys when no lady was around.

“How dare you! You will never be a man, always a little sniveling. You are not man enough for me! Like your dear daddy, you will die in the gutter!”

Torrance decided it was time to follow the little voice in his head.

The little voice told him, “She has a soft throat. Grab it with both hands, thumbs on the larynx. Squeeze it till that horrible mouth of hers squawks no more. But, don’t stop. Keep squeezing for while longer! I will let you know when it is enough! She will plead, her eyes will bug and beg, but do not listen to the devil, keep squeezing!”

He followed the voice and it felt good, he felt liberated, he felt the hero.

So, here he was at 7000 feet or so, in the dark, in a bracing cold wind.  He was digging into the Rockies with everything he had, making sparks, and slowly moving rock and a little earth.

The little voice was back, “Just deep enough for her, she is tiny. Stones to cover her up and shut that horrible pretty mouth. Faster, faster, you have to finish it just for her! You have protected the world from this horrible woman.”

He felt strong. She was nothing anymore.

He rejoiced that ice crystals were forming on that pretty face of hers, some on her neck, most around her eyes.  Some part of him wanted her to be Frosty all over before he presented her with new clothes made of rock.

The silence of her mouth embraced him with renewed vigor and the brightening of those distant hills.

He swung yet again with everything he had.



“Damn rocks!”


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