Rod was struck by lightning as a teen, kicking off a solitary life. He's unable to touch others in any way. Until the day an old-fashioned girl shows up in the graveyard when he's pruning trees. She's so very pretty and when she kisses him, she's fine. No shock. No pain. Rod has hope. See, he doesn't want to die a virgin and Ruth doesn't want to stay one forever. A ghostly erotic tale. A calorie-free Holloween treat for adults. ADULTS ONLY
He looked down and there she was. Bam! At the foot of the ladder. She seemed to move like graveyard mist. He shivered up on his perch and for a split second he was drowning in the warm coffee color of her eyes. She smiled and her kewpie doll mouth turned up in the sweetest smile. What would it be like to kiss her, Rod wondered. Dangerous. That is what. Don’t even think about it, he reminded himself. You cannot go around kissing anyone. No matter how pretty she is or how cute her mouth might be.
“About six inches should do. If you remove what’s dead and only prune back far enough to redirect the growth, the trees stay happy. No need to hurt them. You don’t want to hurt anything, do you?” There was a tone of knowing in her voice that Rod wasn’t too fond of.
“No ma’am, I sure don’t.” He used the pruning tool a bit more aggressively than need be. And his mouth was set in a tight, tense line. A family trait. His father used to say you could tell when Rodney was pissed because his mouth up and disappeared. “I wouldn’t want to hurt anything or anyone, if I could help it.”
Which is why I am a lonely, bitter young man.
He bit his tongue to still the nasty voice in his head. He repositioned the extended cutter and went a few branches up. “You’ll want to watch yourself, ma’am. Don’t want to kill you or anything,” he said.
She laughed at that, as if the thought of being dead amused her. But when Rod glanced down to make sure she was clear of him, she was way over by the Robinson headstone. Again, no crunching of leaves under her feet. And he’d be damned but that dress was still as white as fresh fallen snow, even at the hem where the fabric brushed the ground.
The wood hit the ground with a dull thud that made his bones ache for some reason. Goddamn, but she was pretty.
“So what’s your name, then?” he asked, moving to his next victim. The disfigured elm tree bent like a crooked arthritic man over the Henderson monument.
“Ruth. And yours?”
She was right there. So close to him all of the sudden, Rod should have been able to smell her or feel her breath. Instead he felt a buzzing of electricity that scared him. He had never felt that before. “My name is Rod.” He moved to the left but she moved with him. He shifted right and she kept up. It seemed she should play basketball. Maybe there was a team of girls in white dresses who moved with spooky speed.
“Nice to meet you, Rodney,” she said and leaned toward him as if to kiss him. Rod leaned back so fast he had to pinwheel his arms to keep his balance.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, ma’am—I mean, Ruth. You don’t want to be doing that.” He took two steps back real quick and noted the crunching of leaves and general noisiness of his own footsteps. A noise Ruth never seemed to make.
“But I do. You’re rather handsome, Rodney. You don’t find me fetching? I’m not appealing to you at all?”