Short Story
                                   Don’t Bother To Tell Her
                                                                           By Rose Titus


   Well, this is how it all happened.  Somehow, I still feel responsible.  But then again, not really.  It’s sad, it
really is.  And it’s unbelievable.

   But it’s all true, so here it is…

   It was another long night at the convenience store, late at night when it’s creepy to be working alone,
when it happened.  It was the kind of night when an armed robber could come in and you could probably
be shot or knifed if you didn’t hand over the money from the cash register fast enough.

   Yeah, it was that kind of night.  But that’s not what happened.  Something worse happened.

   It’s not always that I’m working alone.  It’s just on the night shift, when things get real quiet.  And creepy.  
During the day, Cindy and Nikki would both work with me.  But when I work alone at night, that’s when it’s
just real creepy just to be here.

   But hell, I need the job, so I don’t complain.  If I ever complain, I know what the guy who owns the store
will say – If I don’t like it, he can get someone else.

   At night it’s a different kind of customer that comes in, too.  They buy more liquor at night, and more junk
food and cigarettes, too.  Always they buy lottery tickets.  During the day, people come in and buy normal
stuff, like regular food and regular convenience store stuff, like coffee, donuts, and basic grocery type
items.  Cindy works behind the sandwich counter, and Nikki stocks the shelves and keeps this dump of a
store clean.  Cindy and I have some fun when we work together, though.  We joke around.  She likes to call
this dump the “Inconvenience Store” and make fun of the customers who come in to buy liquor and they’re
already drunk when they come in.

   And Nikki used to annoy the both of us.

   But she doesn’t anymore, because well, you know, because she’s dead.

   Like I said, I was working alone the night I saw it.

   I had to take the trash out and toss the cardboard boxes into the dumpster.  Usually there is just a stray
cat out there, or sometimes the homeless guy is out there going through the trash looking for food.  
Sometimes I give him a stale donut, but I’d get in trouble if the boss found out about me giving him food.  
Anyway, that’s when I saw it:  a demon.  It’s the only way I know how to describe it.  I’m no expert on that
stuff, but that’s what it looked like.  Yeah, it looked like one of the monsters in the horror comics that we
have on the magazine racks, the ones that kids look at all the time but their parents won’t let them have.  
The thing was in the back alley, where the dumpster is, and about to eat the homeless guy.

   I looked at it in the weak light that is behind the store and said, “Jesus Christ!”  That stopped it from
ripping apart the homeless guy.  It stopped and turned and looked at me.  Then I crossed myself like my
superstitious crazy old aunt taught me and it looked at me and suddenly turned into a human being – a
good looking guy kind of a human being.  The good looking guy who was a demon was wearing an
expensive looking leather jacket and new looking blue jeans.  Then it just walked away.  Hell, I expected
the thing to fly, but it didn’t.  The homeless guy got up and ran – fast.  I didn’t know the poor old homeless
guy could run, but he did.

   When I got to work the next morning, Cindy was there.  I told her everything.

   “What?  You serious?”

   “Yeah.  I’m telling the truth.  It was right out there in that creepy back alley where the dumpster is.  Go ask
the homeless guy next time you see him, if he ever comes back.”

   But I could tell she believed me, because her grandmother was from the old country where they believe
in all kinds of stuff.  We didn’t have much time to talk.  Customers started coming in.

   Later that afternoon Nikki came by.  She brought her latest boyfriend with her to show him off.  She wasn’
t working that day; she just wanted us to know she had a boyfriend.  She does this every time she has a
new boyfriend, which is like every couple of months.  She gets all excited over nothing and then gets
dumped.  And every couple of months the new boyfriend is “The One”.  It drives me and Cindy nuts.  Nikki
always cries that we’re jealous, but we’re just sick of her drama all the time.

   So anyway, Nikki came by the store, not to work, but to show us her new wonderful, totally awesome
boyfriend.  He walked in with her and I was in the state of shock when I saw him.  It was the shape-shifting
demon that I saw the night before.

   I looked at him.  He looked at me.

   He smirked, recognizing me.

   “This…  This is Chad!  Isn’t he wonderful!”

   “Uh… yeah, sure, wonderful, Nikki,” I said.  “We have worked to do.  Okay?”  I was scared.  Demon-
boyfriend kept smirking at me.

   Cindy looked at me funny, not knowing what was up, but she figured something was very wrong.

   “You!”  Nikki screamed.  “You’re jealous!  You’re jealous of our relationship!  Admit it!”

   “No, Nikki.  I’m not jealous of you.  I have to get stuff done, okay?  Please just go, and take what’s-his-
name with you.  Okay?”

   “Come on, Chad!  We have better things to do than put up with these jealous witches!”  She stormed out
with demon-boyfriend following along.  He turned and looked at me, giving one last creepy smirk before
stalking out.

   “What’s up?” Cindy asked.

   “Oh my God Cindy, that was him!  Remember I told you that the thing changed into a normal person?  
Remember?  That was him!”

   “Yeah?  Really?  Oh come on.  I just don’t know if I can believe this anymore.  He seemed like a nice
guy.   You been smoking something?”

   “No!  I swear!”

   Just then, as if on cue, the homeless guy charged in the front entrance – which he never did before.  He
usually hung out in the back alley behind the store where the dumpster is.

   “T-that was t-that thing!  Did you see it?  That guy!  It was that thing!” he stammered.

   “See?” I said.  “Told yah!”

   “I’m getting out of here,” said the homeless guy, “A man isn’t safe in his own alley these days with all
these strange creatures wandering around!”  Then he stopped, “Can I have my donut now, please?”

   Cindy gave him a donut and he shuffled slowly off mumbling about the deterioration of the neighborhood
and how a man isn’t safe in his own alley these days and how he needed to move to the air grate in front of
the store now so he could sleep in peace.

   “Okay, so her wonderful boyfriend is a monster,” Cindy said.  “So what are we gonna do now?  Should
we tell her?”

   “I dunno,” I said.  “Remember last time she had a boyfriend and he came back to the store alone later,
and hit on you?  She didn’t believe you then.  We tried to tell her but she just freaked out and said we were
jealous bitches who wanted to ruin her relationship.  Remember?”

   “Yeah, I know.  So, don’t bother to tell her.”

   So we just decided to not tell her anything about her boyfriend being from hell.  And yeah, so from that
time on, we just decided to keep what we knew to ourselves, and not say anything to her about her
monstrous boyfriend and how evil we knew him to be.  Sometimes at night, while I worked alone, I would
see his face in the window, in human form, leering at me from outside.  I would run and lock the door and
keep my cell phone close by in case I needed to call 911 – like a lot of good that would do.

   Early in the morning is when the newspapers come in – yeah, some people still buy newspapers and the
store sells newspapers! – When the newspapers came in one morning, there was Nikki’s face on the front
page, in the column down below.  It said:  Murder Victim Identified.

   There in the paragraphs was the sad tale of how Nicolina Kaplan, yeah we called her Nikki – I didn’t
know she had a fancy name like Nicolina! – was found dismembered and ripped to shreds and her
remains were found in a local dumpster.  Fortunately it wasn’t our dumpster.  We read the paper together
that morning before any customers came in for their usual coffee and lottery tickets and stuff, and we were
freaked out.  We just kind of coped the rest of the day, knowing what happened to Nikki and all.

   As for Chad the demon boyfriend, well, luckily for us he never came back.  The homeless guy finally
started to feel safe and eventually moved back into his alley again.

   We always wondered if we did the right thing by not telling her.  Sometimes I felt like I was somehow
responsible for what happened, like I could have prevented it all from happening.  But when I really think
about it, I realize she would never have listened to us.  She would love Chad no matter how evil he was.  
She was the type of girl who would love the wrong kind of guy until the end.

   And so she did.
About Rose Titus

Rose Titus works two jobs
to support her writing
habit.  She exists
somewhere in cold, dreary
New England, with two
manipulative cats and a
very out of date Macintosh
with which she creates
horror and fantasy fiction.  
She also has a restored
classic car to ride around
while in search of
adventure.

For travel she has stayed
for the night in an
allegedly haunted castle,
has taken a boat ride on
Loch Ness, and has
visited the fabled Bermuda
Triangle without getting
lost.

Her work has previously
appeared in Lost Worlds,
Lynx Eye, Bog Gob,
Mausoleum, Midnight
Times, Blood Moon Rising
Magazine, The Bugle,
Weird Terrain, Descend,
Wicked Wheels, The Dead
River Review, and other
literary magazines.  Her
novella Night Home has
been published with
Bathory Gate Press and is
available with Amazon,
Barnes and Noble .com
and Smashwords.

When she’s not writing or
working or messing
around with her old Buick,
she waits by her mailbox
for the next issue of
Fortean Times to arrive.
To read other short stories,
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