Sunday, February 17, 2013

Prompt: Astral Projection

Jenna walked up the hill from the beach, admiring the Mediterranean style of the sun-bleached buildings, with lace curtains drifting out of white-framed windows and heavy vine curtains tumbling from window planters and patio pots. She could easily imagine Vincent van Gogh and his rowdy friends laughing and stumbling their way home in the pre-dawn hours, after a night drinking and playing cards at the outdoor cafes in the center square. At the top of the hill, she turned to admire the view and surprised a young man who had been following close behind her.

“Pardonez moi, monsieur,” she murmured. He smiled and nodded as he brushed by. She took another long look at the brightly colored sailboats on the sparkling water before she headed into the square and chose a table at random for her lunch. The cafes’ tables were marked by painted lines on the cobblestones, but their menus were almost identical, as was the service. In fact, the wait staff all sat together at a couple of corner tables, drinking and smoking when they had a break in the flow of trays carried back and forth from their respective café kitchens.

Jenna smiled as a large German Shepherd approached her table and politely sat a few feet away from her. She held out her hand in greeting, and he came over to sniff and be petted.

“Bonjour, Loup,” Jenna said as she scratched his ears. Loup belonged to one of the wait staff, a beautiful young woman, and he made friends with Jenna the first time she ate in the square. He lifted his head at a whistle, and trotted back to the servers’ table.

Jenna smiled as her server brought over a huge tray of food for her. When she first started coming here, she had been taken aback by the sheer volume of food. He set down a carafe of local Mas de Valériole rosé and poured a glass for her. While she sipped it, he arranged a plate of fresh bread and sweet butter, with marinated, grilled vegetables, and a large bowl of paella, heaped with shrimp and steamed mussels. “Bon appetite, m’am’selle,” he said as he bowed and spun away, returning to his friends’ table.

Jenna picked up piece of bread and opened the crusty seam. Smearing it with butter, she dipped it into the paella as she pulled out a shrimp by the tail, expertly nipping the flesh at the base with her teeth. A bite of stew-soaked bread brought all the flavors together, and she closed her eyes, savoring each bite.

“Jenna? Jenna?” She heard from afar. She lifted her head and listened, then sighed when she heard her name again. She pulled a handful of euros from her pocket and quickly left enough on the table. Standing, she took one last quick sip of the wine, then walked to the side alley, out of sight. She pushed her back against the wall and stretched her arms down, reaching out with her fingers. She felt the energy crackle between them, and she watched as it spread up her arms. She leaned her head back against the wall and closed her eyes as the sparks enveloped her body. If anyone had walked into the alley at that moment, they would have seen her disappear.

“Jenna! Open this door! Do you have your headphones on? I’ve told you not to listen to music so loud that you cannot hear me when I call for you!”

Jenna lay on her bed, while the energy crackled and faded around her.

“Sorry, Mom. I must have fallen asleep with them on. I’m coming…”

Dogs in house:
Buddy (we are visiting)

February word count:

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