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by Harmony Stalter

By Harmony StalterPublished 6 months ago 9 min read

I met Margarite for the first time at the Millhop Bar and Restaurant. Millhop is located is Ocklawaha, Florida, a small town on the outskirts of Ocala. It wasn’t a very big place, mainly only locals frequented it. Every now and then a passerby going from Daytona to Ocala would stop in. There was not much to look at. The booths were red, the tabletops were beige, the floor was a white and gray marbled linoleum. The bar took up the back wall, where there was an open window to the kitchen. The stark white tiles reflected the overhead fluorescent lights. The walls of the bar where the same boring beige as the tabletops with the same fluorescent lighting as the kitchen. I was a waitress. She came in with a group of friends, all men. She sat by the window. One man sat on her left, and the other two sat across from her in the back booth. It was almost midnight when they strolled in. She was the leader of the group. You noticed her long before you noticed any of them. She had the classic beauty you only seen in the movies from the 40s and 50s. Her raven colored hair was pinned to her head in an up-do. Her sky blue eyes shone against her opaque skin dabbed with a little bit of pink blush. Her crimson colored lips stood out. When she talked that is all you paid attention to. She was stunning, and I could see why these men flocked to her. As I walked to their booth to take their orders, she locked eyes with me. She smiled as I approached. My green eyes never left hers.

“Hello, and welcome to the Millhop Bar and Restaurant. May I take your drink orders while you look at these menus?” I asked. The man to her left answered first.

“I’ll take a beer. What do you have on tap?” he said without looking up from his menu.

“We have Bud, Bud Light, Michelob, and Yuengling,” I said.

“I’ll take a Yuengling,” he said.

”Okay, what can I get for you, ma’am,” I said. She glanced at the menu, then me.

“What is your name?” she asked.

“Sasha,” I said.

“Do you like your job, Sasha?” she asked.

“Yeah, I do,” I said.


“I get to meet new people every night, and I make decent tips on a good night. Other nights can be slow, but I don’t mind them,” I said. She never took her eyes off mine as she continued to ask questions. I was in a trance.

“Tell me, where would you go, if you would go anywhere but here?” she asked.

“I always wanted to backpack through Europe, see the Great Wall of China and the Sydney Opera House,” I said.

“What if I told you, I could make that happen for you. You could have all your heart desires,” she said. “Would you like that, Sasha?”

“Yes,” I heard myself say.

“Good, we will be back, and you will let us in after the place closes. I will give you everything you dreamed of,” she said. “Do you understand?

“Yes,” I said.

“Good, let’s order,” she said, breaking our locked gaze. I shifted uncomfortably. There was something about this encounter that made me nervous. I could not shake the feeling that she was bad news.

“I’ll have the prime rib dinner, rare, with corn on the cob and a loaded baked potato, and a Bud Light,” said the man with the shoulder-length blonde hair.

“For you, sir,” I asked.

“I’ll have the same, except make my drink a Yuengling as well, sweetheart,” said the African American man.

“Make that three of those orders,” said the man to Margarite’s left.

“I’ll have the tartar with a glass of your finest red wine,” said the stunning woman.

“I will get those drinks right out to you and put your orders in,” I said, gathering up the menus. I walked away on shaky legs to the kitchen. As soon as I passed through the doors, I grabbed onto the stainless-steel counter. I took a few deep breaths to calm my nerves.

“You okay,” ask Micah, the chef. He was a tall, with dirty blonde hair, and arms covered in tattoos. He was a biker in a former life before going to jail. He learned to cook in the kitchen as part of his job while locked up. When he got out he went to culinary school and ended up working here. On nights when we are slow, he likes to come up with new recipes for us to try. He knows they will never make it on the menu, but still loves to cook for the staff.

“Yeah,” I said. “Just a weird encounter with a group of customers. I’ll be fine.”

“Do you need me to remove them?” he asked.

“No, it’s fine,” I said. I put the order in and walked back out. I went to the bar to retrieve their drinks. As I walked back to their table, I averted my eyes. I didn’t want to be put into a trance again. I put their drinks in front of them and quickly walked away. I waited on two more tables before their food was ready. I had the food runner bring their food while I took the order of another table. When I saw they were almost finished, I went over to them.

“Can I get you all anything else?” I asked.

“No, thank you,” she said. I placed their bill on the table. She reached over and grabbed my hand. “You don’t have to be afraid of us. We will all take care of you.”

“I am not afraid,” I said, pulling my hand from hers. She smiled.

“Keep the change, sweetheart,” said the African American man. They got up and left the restaurant. I went about the rest of my night without another incident. I had all but forgotten about them as we were closing for the night.

“Are you going to be okay here by yourself for the next hour,” asked Micah.

“All good,” I said. “Have a good rest of your night and I will see you tomorrow.”

“All right, Sasha,” he said. “Good night, see you tomorrow.”

I was cleaning the last of the tables when there was a knock on the door.

“We are closed,” I shouted through the door. The knock happened again. My stomach went into a knot. They kept knocking. Finally, I went and looked out. There was nothing there. I shut the lights off and opened the door to leave. There they were, all four of them. She locked her eyes on mine. I backed slowly into the restaurant, they followed.

“I am here to take you away,” she said. “Are you ready for the journey of a lifetime?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Good,” she said, eyes glowing red, baring her fangs. My head turned to the right, exposing my neck to her. One strand of my red hair fell from behind me ear. She came close. I could feel her breath on my skin. The smell of raw meat was still prevalent. She sank her fangs into my neck. I felt the blood trickle down as my eyes rolled to the back of my head, and the world went dark. When I awoke, I was in a strange place. Margarite and her friends were sitting watching me. I backed away from them.

“Welcome back,” she said. “I was afraid we might have drained you too much for you to come back. It has been a while since we added a new companion.”

“What did you do to me?” I asked.

“We made you one of us, sweetheart,” said the one in the leather jacket.

“Where am I?” I asked. “I want to go home.”

“You can’t,” said Margarite, coming closer. “Once you become one of us, you can never go back to where you came from.”

“Get away from me,” I shouted. I curled into a ball and began crying as I came to the realization, they took my life from me. Never again would I see the people I loved. Never again, I would be able to hug my friends or family. The days of girls’ nights out, birthday parties, and attending weddings were gone. I wouldn’t be the matron of honor at my sister’s wedding. I needed to go home. I needed my family. I stood. “I am leaving. I didn’t ask for this, nor did I want it.” I walked toward the door.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” said the one in the white t-shirt. I pulled the door open, becoming blinded by the bright morning sun. My skin became hot. My skin turned red, then began to smoke before bursting into flames. The redhead quickly came and shut the door.

“He warned you,” the redhead said.

“You will never see the light of day again,” Margarite said. “We must always travel under cover of night. You will see cities you have never been to before. The world is yours for the taking. It is up to you to decide where you want to go next.”

“I want to go home,” I said.

“You can’t, but you can go to any place else in the world. We will teach you, our ways. You will learn to love your new life. It may take you a while to get used to it, but you will. You will have riches beyond your wildest imagination.”

“I want to see my family,” I said.

“You can’t,” she repeated. “Trust me when I tell you it is easier just to walk away. They will mourn for you, and they will search for you. They will then move on with their lives, knowing you will never be found. You must do the same. You must move on. There are no goodbyes in our lives. We must move away from the past and focus on the here and now and our fruitful future. It will be long, and you have an eternity to figure out what you want to do.”

I knew then I would be linked to Margarite for eternity.


About the Creator

Harmony Stalter

Writing has always been a hobby for me. However, it was not always something I thought I was any good at. After writing my first book, things changed. I obtained my MA in Professional Fiction Creative Writing from the University of Denver.

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