A hot date turns blood cold when things don't get exactly as you'd expect for this romance of a lifetime...
Boy Meets Ghoul by Rob Fields
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Christian Shaeffer was having lunch with his friends outside at Clancy’s, a popular fast-food place among North Ridgeway High School students. The four of them were on the football team, talking about whatever. Then the subject of Christian’s upcoming date came up. “Hey, how come you’re not telling us you got a date for Saturday night?” Eric Danvers asked. “How come we gotta hear about these things from Chelsea?” Christian groaned. “Why does my little sister always have to be such a pain?” “So about this date of yours . . .” Matthew Martinson inquired. Jeffrey “Moose” Keegan put his hands up to his pecs and pretended to squeeze. “Does she have tits?” he rumbled. Christian groaned again. “Man, Moose, you may be the biggest guy on our football team, but you got the dirtiest mind, too.” Moose grinned mischievously. “Hey, a girl’s gotta have tits, brother. That’s just the way us men are. The bigger, the better . . .” “You do realize you’re probably going to die alone, right?” Christian asked, half-serious. Moose reached out and playfully shoved Christian’s shoulder. “C’mon, bro! Quit holding out here! Who is she? What’s she like?” He grinned mischievously again. “And does she have tits?” When Christian realized his football brothers weren’t going to back off, he finally conceded. “Fine, you bastards . . . Her name is Chloe Anne Carmichael. I met her when we had our game with Strickfield High here a few weeks ago.” “Whoa, dude! You’re really going out with a chick from Strickfield?” Eric asked. “Isn’t that like . . . I don’t know . . . dating the enemy or something?” Christian pointed to him. “It ain’t no different than that cheerleader you’re seeing from Pendleton High.” Eric raised his hands up in front of him. “Okay, okay . . .” Christian continued. “So, we just beat Strickfield High and finished our showers. I was all set to get in my car and head out. Then I saw this other car with the hood up . . . and a girl underneath it. I went over to help her. Then she came out from under the hood and looked at me. I swear, she looks like she’s right out of the 50s! I mean she’s wearing a red-and-white polka-dot dress that goes down just past her knees. She’s even wearing those black-and-white shoes. You know . . . with the black across the middle.” He pointed to Matthew. “Your older sister has shoes like that.” “Yeah, she does. Except Bethany’s into the 60s,” Matthew shared. “Okay, go on.” Christian pointed quickly at Matthew. “And she looks exactly like Betty! From those Betty and Veronica comics your sister loves to read!” Moose shot up out of his seat. “Oh, come on! What, you think we’re stupid or something? There ain’t no girl who looks like she’s right outta –” But Christian shut him up when he brought up her picture on his smartphone and let everybody look at it for a moment. “Now do you believe me?” “Damn! She really does look like Betty,” Matthew agreed. “Wait’ll Bethany hears about this.” Moose leaned in. “This is just her face. Does she have tits?” Christian groaned. “Okay, Moose! Yes! Okay? She’s a girl, and girls have tits. Okay?” Moose grinned. “But are they big ones?” Christian gave him the finger, getting a laugh from everybody. Then he got back to the subject. “Anyway, she had a loose wire under the hood. I fixed it for her. Then we got to talking for a while. We got each other’s phone numbers. We started texting and video chatting. Now we got a date for Saturday night. I’m going to pick her up at her place. She lives in the woods with her family just outside Strickfield.” Then everybody just looked at Christian. Christian just looked at everybody in return. “What?!” “Man, you got your head up your ass or something?” Eric asked. “Don’t you know there are stories about those backwoods of Strickfield? You don’t want to be heading in there – especially at night.” Christian groaned. “Seriously, what’s there to be scared of in those woods? I mean, come on . . . Strickfield’s own mayor lives in those woods. He still makes it to work every day, right?” Matthew pointed at him. “But there have been stories about things that have happened in those woods. Stories about people dying out there . . . and even a few of them coming back to life. And then there are the stories about creatures lurking around in there. And even cannibals! There are just stories on top of stories.” Eric pointed to Christian’s smartphone. “You should just text her and cancel, or have her meet you somewhere.” Christian groaned again. “Come on, you guys! Really?! All those stories are just superstitious horseshit. I’m going on my date with Chloe Anne Carmichael on Saturday – end of discussion!” Almost nobody said much of anything after Christian’s declaration. Even when they finished their lunches and headed back to North Ridgeway High for their afternoon classes . . .
Christian was driving through the woods on Saturday night and following the directions that his smartphone’s GPS was giving him. Christian did have to admit these woods near Strickfield did look quite spooky and seemed to stretch on for miles and miles. Or maybe it was just the consistent fog that had a foreboding presence seemingly everywhere. Still, he was willing to suffer a few heebie jeebies to get to Chloe Anne Carmichael’s house. “Prepare to turn left on Township Road 34 in one quarter mile!” Christian gasped and pointed a shaky finger at his smartphone. Then he shook his head slowly. He couldn’t believe how he’d let his football brothers get to him. This wasn’t Halloween, for crying out loud! This was a date with a really hot girl who just happened to look like a hot classic female comic book character. Still, he kept his head on and made the turn when his GPS told him to. It wasn’t much longer after that when he had finally reached his destination. Christian just sat in the car when he saw the Carmichael farmhouse. There were barely any lights on inside, and the fog really seemed murky and dismal around the farmhouse and huge yard. He even saw some cars that had been gathered near the barn. He started to wonder if anyone was even home. He was almost wondering if maybe he should just turn the car around and head back to North Ridgeway. Suddenly, the porch room at the front entrance came ablaze with light. And then the door opened. Christian felt his spirits lift when he saw Chloe Anne Carmichael step outside. He got out of the car and went to meet her. “Chloe Anne, hi!” Christian said. “I hope I’m not late. It’s a bit foggy out here.” Christian thought Chloe Anne was truly breathtaking. She was wearing the very same red dress with white polka dots and those same shoes from the night he had first met her. She wore her blond hair down; the last time she wore it in a ponytail. For a brief moment, he remembered Moose talking about tits and noticed that Chloe Anne weren't too badly stacked. Chloe Anne pointed to the car. “Could you shut that off for a smiggen? My parents wanna meet you.” “Uh-oh . . .” Christian uttered jokingly. Chloe Anne smiled. “Oh, ain’t nothin’ weird. They just wanna know who I’m goin’ out with tonight.” She sighed. “They wanna know who they gotta shoot ifin you don’t bring me back home on time.” When Christian looked at her with wide eyes, she burst out laughing. “Ahm just kiddin’, silly. My parents still wanna meet ya, though.” Christian obeyed Chloe Anne and was soon in the living room where the rest of the Carmichael family was seated. Her parents were in recliners and a younger girl sat on the couch. Mr. Carmichael gestured to the couch. “Have a seat, son.” As soon as both he and Chloe Anne were seated, Mr. Carmichael spoke to Christian again. “Look, Ah don’t know what yer intentions are with my eldest daughter here. But Ahm gonna trust her decision on ya.” Christian quickly raised his hands up in front of him. “Sir, I just want to take Chloe Anne out on a date. I’ll have her back whenever you say she’s got to be back. Seriously, I really like her and just want to get to know her. That’s all.” Both parents studied him for a moment. Even the youngest daughter, Hannah, just gave him an odd look. Also, he didn’t want to let his football brothers get the best of him, but he could swear . . . that they were all a little pale. Even Chloe Anne . . . Again, he was not going to let the guys get to him about the backwoods of Strickfield legends. Mr. Carmichael seemed to consider Christian. “Okay! Again, Ah trust my baby girl here. Chloe Anne’s old enough to know what she’s doin’. She seems to be real into you too.” Then he said to Chloe Anne, “You sure he’s whatcha want, darlin’?” Chloe Anne smiled from ear to ear. “Oh, ah do. Ah do ah do ah do . . .” Mr. Carmichael clapped his hands together once. “Okay, then! You youngins have yourselves a good time tonight!” “Um, what time do you want me to have her back by, Sir?” Christian asked. Mr. Carmichael just looked at him and smiled. “Ah really do appreciate ya callin’ me Sir. Yes, I do.” Then he seemed to think. “Well . . . now Ahd say that be up to the botha ya. ’Cause Ah git the feelin’ your really gonna get to know my baby girl real well – real soon!” He waved them off. “Outcha go! Have fun!” Christian wondered what he might have gotten himself into, but he quickly drove that thought out of his head when he felt Chloe Anne taking his hand. “Let’s go, honey.” The two of them were about to leave the house. Then Chloe Anne stopped him. “Hey, ya know what? Ah almost forgot! Wait right here.” Chloe Anne turned and went into the kitchen. She returned with a large picnic basket. “Ah was thinkin’ we can have ourselves a little picnic, you an me. I even know this romantic little spot that’ll just set the mood. It ain’t far from here.” Christian smiled. “Let’s go.”
Christian couldn’t believe he was having a picnic dinner with Chloe Anne . . . in the heart of a swamp! Still, the fire circle that Chloe Anne set up and lit seemed to give it more of a romantic ambiance, even with the fog. The swamp was quiet for the most part. It didn’t even bother Christian that he hadn’t heard a single cricket chirping or even a bird fluttering. It was just the two of them with their picnic dinner and their conversation. The two of them hadn’t touched their food yet. Actually, they had been talking for a little while. Christian realized that he was really into Chloe Anne. He wasn’t caring so much that she was a backwoods girl. He even seemed to be mesmerized by her hazel eyes that glowed next to their fire. Then it happened! Chloe Anne suddenly leaned in and caught Christian with a peck on the lips. Then the peck turned into another . . . and another . . . and then into a full-blown make-out session. Chloe Anne was on top of him as they held each other. Christian had been with other girls in the past, but none of them were taking his breath away the way Chloe Anne Carmichael was. If anything, her body felt like a perfect fit in his arms. The two of them made out for quite a while, almost never stopping to catch a breath. Chloe Anne’s kisses were both hungry and needy. Christian wondered how far things would go with Chloe Anne. And then . . . Christian got his answer. He was still flat on his back when Chloe Anne stood up. To his surprise, she unzipped the back her dress and let it fall. He gasped to see that she was quite naked! For a brief moment, Moose came back into his mind again. Yes, Chloe Anne most certainly had tits! Chloe Anne knelt down and helped him out of his varsity jacket. “C’mon, honey. It ain’t like you didn’t wanna go this far with me.” “But . . . your parents . . .” he sputtered. “. . . ain’t gonna care one way or another,” she finished. Christian was powerless to resist Chloe Anne and allowed her to help get him naked with her. They were holding each other again before Chloe Anne took charge and initiated their intimacy. The two of them shared intimacy again and again. Chloe Anne just couldn’t seem to get enough. Her skin felt so soft, yet unbelievably cool – and they were next to the fire circle. The last thing Christian remembered before he fell asleep was holding Chloe Anne in his arms . . .
Christian woke up quickly and realized two things. The first was that it was morning. The second was that he was in an unfamiliar bedroom. Then he looked down to see Chloe Anne was sleeping soundly next to him and wearing only an oversized blouse, loosely buttoned. He wondered how the two of them had moved from the swamp and into . . . her bed? Suddenly, Christian felt his stomach growling like he’d never felt it growl before. He groaned and wrapped his arms around his midsection. Then Chloe Anne woke up. “Christian?” “We never ate your picnic last night,” he joked. “I’m just feeling really hungry.” Chloe Anne quickly moved over him and got out of bed. Then she grabbed his hand. “C’mon with me! Right now!” “Okay, okay . . .” He got up and let Chloe Anne escort him through the house and into the kitchen. Chloe Anne opened the refrigerator door and pulled something out . . . a human forearm and hand!!! “Eat this! Right now!” Christian shrieked. “What the fuck?!” He wondered what the joke was, but Chloe Anne didn’t look like she was joking. “Ah mean it, Christian. Y’all need to eat this right now!” “Well . . . gasp . . . we can go out for breakfast,” he stammered. Chloe Anne shook her head slowly. “We cain’t eat that shit! We means you too now, honey.” Christian’s stomach tightened so hard and made him groan in such agonizing pain that he actually found himself accepting her offering and biting deep into the forearm. He was surprised at how . . . delicious it really tasted. He kept eating hungrily. Then he saw Chloe Anne pulling out another forearm and hand and joining him. When he’d finished eating his portion, Chloe Anne immediately took his hand. She led him down into the cellar and to a walk-in refrigerator. She brought him inside and handed Christian a whole human leg. “Y’all gotta keep eatin’, honey,” she said. “You gotta eat until yer full, what with it bein’ yer first time an all.” As the two of them sat and continued to eat, Christian felt the need to ask, “What’s going on here, Chloe Anne? Why are we doing this?!” “Thought you’d never ask.” She took a last bite off the leg she was feasting on. “Yer just like me now.” She dropped the bones and took both of his hands in hers. “Yer with me now, Christian. Yer parta the family now.” When Christian’s unfinished leg had fallen to the floor, Chloe Anne quickly picked it up and handed it back to him. “Sorry, honey. Keep eatin’!” As much as Christian wanted to put what he was eating down, he found himself obeying Chloe Anne. He had gone through almost an entire human body before he was finally full. Chloe Anne herself didn’t have to eat nearly that much. Christian looked to her to finish her explanation. “Like Ah told ya, Christian, yer just like me now,” she told him. “Like Ah said, yer parta my family now.” Christian looked dumbfounded. Chloe Anne was patient. “Oh, Ah get it. You don’t know everythin’. Well, Ahm gonna teach ya all ya need to know.” “Are . . . are we . . . zombies?!” Christian choked out. Chloe Anne smirked a little and shook her head. “Close, honey. We’re like zombies in many ways, but . . . what we are . . . is ghouls. We gotta feed on humans to survive. Key word! Survive! See, ifin we don’t eat when we gotta eat, then we’re real zombies. As in you’ll waste away until you fall apart and there ain’t no goin’ back.” Christian just looked at Chloe Anne. Then he groaned as he got up and ran up the stairs. He turned to the back door and ran outside. Chloe Anne chased after him. They both ran away from the house. Much to his surprise, he was running faster than he’d ever ran in his life. What was more, Chloe Anne could run even faster than him and eventually tackled him near the edge of the swamp. “Get off me!” Christian shouted. Chloe Anne wouldn’t move. In fact, she grabbed his arms and pinned him down. “Now y’all listen to me, honey. You and me, we’re both ghouls. You belong with me now. Ah made you.” Christian went limp. “You . . . what?!” Then his eyes were opened wide when he saw how close her exposed cleavage was to his face. “You become a ghoul in one a two ways. One, like me . . . you’re born as one. That’s right, I been a ghoul since comin’ outta Mama. The second way . . . ?” Christian caught on fast. “When we had sex . . .” “Oh, I loved you real good,” she confirmed. “I coulda probably bit you, but it’s gotta be done in just the right place and makes a real mess. I ain’t real good at doin’ that, so it was easier for me to just love you good and turn you. Besides, ya know ya loved it.” Chloe Anne got off Christian and let him stand up. Then he groaned. “You fucked me . . . and turned me into a . . . a zombie?!” She laughed. “No! A ghoul!” Then she sighed patiently. “Daddy said it was gonna be tough teachin’ ya, but Ah gotta do it. ’Cause I made ya and yer just like me now.” Christian listened as Chloe Anne explained things. For one thing, ghouls didn’t shamble like zombies. They could walk and run. In fact, ghouls could be civilized and live almost-normal lives. The Carmichaels remained in isolation and only took living humans who dared to venture into the backwoods of Strickfield, which seemed quite plentiful. As far as the humans who already lived there, they were left alone because the wrong people might ask questions and possibly come in to investigate. Chloe Anne also explained that ghouls were like their vampire cousins in many ways. While vampires drank blood to sustain themselves, ghouls needed to eat humans. Chloe Anne removed her oversized blouse. Christian was again shocked to see her naked. Chloe Anne rolled her eyes. “We gotta take a bath and clean up after we ate good and done run out here, Christian. Now come on in with me.” Again, he obeyed her and got naked. Chloe Anne laughed a little when she saw that he clearly desired her again. “Well, okay, honey, we can play for a smiggen.” She picked up her blouse and pulled out few condoms. “Ya’ll better use these . . . unless you wanna make a little baby ghoulie with me.” Christian accepted the condoms from her and put one on before he went into the water with Chloe Anne.
They had finished cleaning up and having sex when they came out of the water. As soon as they finished putting on what clothes they had, they heard a loud gunshot. “Aw, foo!” Chloe Anne muttered. “I’m thinkin’ that Strickfield mayor done seen us. We better run, honey.” Another gunshot whizzed right past Christian, almost touching his nose. “Shit!!!” Christian turned and ran off. Chloe Anne knew she needed to go after him. It wasn’t too long after that the mayor of Strickfield, Patrick Gunter, stepped out of the shadows. He tightened his jaw and grunted. “God damn zombies on my property again . . .” He readied his rifle again and moved along.
Chloe Anne called out to Christian to stop, but he was too scared to listen to reason. Again, she proved to be his superior by catching up to him and tackling him. “Stop, Christian!” Christian finally stopped. He was really angry now. “Why?! Why, Chloe Anne? Why would you do this to me? Did I piss you off or something?” Christian wanted to heave in anger, but he realized he no longer breathed. His anger turned to sadness. “I was a really good football player at North Ridgeway High. I think I even had a good shot at a full ride to college. I had my whole life ahead of me.” He looked at her. “I suppose you’ve heard this before.” She shook her head. “Nope! Ah don’t go round makin’ other ghouls the way I made you. We’d have a real mess. An Daddy wouldn’t be none too happy.” “Then why me, Chloe Anne?” Chloe Anne just simply smiled, took firm hold of his face, and kissed his lips softly. Christian couldn’t help easing his arms around her and kissing her back. They kissed passionately for a long while. When they came apart, they looked into each other’s eyes. “Now ya understand, Christian?” Chloe Anne asked. “Y’all came to me when I needed help that night. Ya talked and kept talkin’ with me. Ya made me love ya, ya did. I told Daddy I wanted you an why. He gave me his blessin’. We did some lovin with each other, an I turned ya. Now yer with me forever an ever . . . like marriage. In fact, you an me . . . we’re married now.” She raised her finger. “Ghoul law!” “But . . . we don’t really know each other that well to be married,” Christian pointed out. Chloe Anne kissed his lips again. “We been man an wife twice now, honey. And it feels to me like you wanna be man an wife again. Face it, Christian . . . ya ain’t leavin’ me. Ain’t makin’ no threat here. You’ll stay here with me ’cause ya wanna.” Christian gave Chloe Anne that look that told her she was probably right. After all, how many of his past girlfriends had treated him the same way Chloe Anne had? True, they weren’t ghouls, but this particular ghoul had feelings and knew what she wanted out of life . . . or was it the afterlife? He would have many years to figure that one out, wouldn’t he? Suddenly, the two of them heard another gunshot. Christian felt the bullet go right the back of his head. He even saw it go through Chloe Anne. “It’s that dang mayor again!” Chloe Anne complained. She quickly grabbed hold of Christian’s hand. “We gotta run, honey. Snap out of it, dang t!” She only needed to slap the back of his head hard to bring him back to reality. Christian shrieked repeatedly, “Ican’tdothisIcan’tdothisIcan’tdothisIcan’tdothisIcan’tdothis!!” He ran away from Chloe Anne in a general direction. He heard another gunshot which completely closed out anything that Chloe Anne was yelling his way right then and there. “I’m getting the hell out of here and heading back home! I ain’t staying out here! The others were right! I never should have come out here!” He was so frightened that he couldn’t stop running. He even managed to lose Chloe Anne this time. He made it back to her farmhouse and found his car right where he’d left it. He jumped into the car to find the keys were still in the ignition. He fired up the motor and got the hell out of there as fast as he could – and without killing anybody along the way with his crazy driving.
Christian pulled in at his house and went to go inside. His mother was busy at the stove and cooking barbeque chicken – his favorite. The only problem was that he wasn’t really wanting it. He wanted it, yes, but his stomach was telling him a big fat hell no! After having a brief argument with his mom about the way he was dressed, he went straight up to his room and put on some fresh clothes. Then he went back out and went behind the garage. It was then when he smelled something sweet, like candy. It wasn’t long before he found that he had a visitor. At first, he thought Chloe Anne had finally caught up with him, but instead . . . “Moose? What’s up?” Christian asked. “Just in the neighborhood, man. Smelled your mom was cooking barbeque chicken again,” he replied in his growling voice. “Well, go on inside and go have some,” Christian invited. How could Moose smell his mom’s barbeque chicken when all he could smell was sweet candy? Moose was about to turn away to take him up on his offer, but then he remembered. “Hey, bro, how did that date with that Chloe Anne chick go? And I’m surprised you made it back from those fucking woods.” Before he could answer, he gave him a brotherly tap on his shoulder. “And does she have tits?” Christian really wasn’t sure how to answer him. The problem was that NO!! he hadn’t made it out of those backwoods. At least not as himself. He was a ghoul now – turned by Chloe Anne. He’d had incredible sex with that amazing girl! Now he was a ghoul just like her as a result of . . . What?! . . . some form of V.D. that she’d passed to him. Then he’d taken that bullet to the head . . . And that smell of sweet candy was really strong now . . . ! “Wait a minute! Moose! Do I look okay to you?!” Christian asked. Moose looked at him like he was crazy. “Well . . . You kinda look a little pale, but . . .” He made a Neanderthal grin and pointed right at Christian. “Oh ho ho! You fucked her, didn’t you?! You really fucked her! C’mon, bro. Tell me! Was she good? And does she have tits?” Then Moose felt a soft tapping on his shoulder. They both turned to see Chloe Anne Carmichael standing before them. She smiled simply and said to Moose, “Oh, Ah got me tits, sugah!” Chloe Anne leapt onto Moose and took a big bite out of his neck. She had her hand on his mouth to muffle his screams. When Moose fell onto his back, Christian knelt down beside Chloe Anne and began to eat with her. Moose was definitely big enough to satisfy the both of them. Christian’s parents never set foot outside or came out behind the garage.
That night, Chloe Anne came in through the front door holding Christian’s hand. “Oh, Mama . . . ? Daddy . . . ? We’re home!” she called out. “In here, kids,” Mrs. Carmichael called back. “Dinner’s ready!” The two of them found the rest of the family in the dining room. There was a naked couple tied to the table. “Aw, y’all didn’t hafta wait none for us,” Chloe Anne said softly. “We eat as a family, Chloe Anne,” Mr. Carmichael reminded her. Then he said to Christian. “That goes for you too, son, now that yer parta the family.” When Christian realized that Chloe Anne had easily found him, he knew there was no point in resisting her or what he now was. When he’d asked his new wife how she’d found him, she simply told him, “Why, silly, Ah coulda found ya any one a two ways. The easy way woulda been to look in yer wallet since ya left it behind. But Ahm a ghoul, honey, and yer my man. Ah made you, so naturally . . . Ah can smell you. Don’t matter none where you are in the world. And Ah know y’all could smell me comin’ for ya. Face it, honey, it’s you an me – together forever an ever to the end.” Christian realized that being with Chloe Anne wasn’t as bad as it seemed. He was part of a family that truly cared for its own. He’d been shot in the head and was still alive. Chloe Anne explained that he could have had his brains blown out, but he would have lived as long as he would have been fed or given human blood to help in the regeneration process. In the beginning he felt bad for the people he would have to eat in order to sustain himself. But he was a ghoul, and that was his new . . . afterlife now. Christian and Chloe Anne stayed on at the farm. He even took her last name. Over time, he would come to learn from the Carmichaels that nothing was more important than family . . . even if you are ghouls. As for the mayor of Strickfield, Patrick Gunter . . . he still didn’t like the idea of zombies coming onto his property.
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