Her heels’ clicking changed an octave, as the marble hallway came to an end. The doorman offered to flag a taxi, but she kept walking on. Each reassuring strike of her luxurious shoes against the jagged concrete became a mantra, telling her to calm herself and soothe the anger that was madly coursing through her veins. She could not believe him- him being the top partner at the firm, as well as her new ex- boyfriend. However, if she had her way (which of course she would) he would soon be a penniless nobody. Simply put, no one broke up with Leona Hensley. She was as cold as the environment around her, the New York winter, yet somehow even more so. The natural wave of her golden silky hair, the piercing blue eyes, pretty pink lips, glittering teeth, and button nose, all part of the tanned, toned and tall body would melt people’s insides. However, her selfish, vindictive, calculating, cutthroat, and coldhearted ways quickly froze their insides back again, and eventually the continuous, harsh coldness emanated from her would take its toll and make those insides crack and shatter into microscopic pieces. She was the constant reason behind heartbreak. She not only broke those hundreds of hearts, but also trampled them with her sky-high heels on the route to the next and more affluent one. None of them lived up to her ridiculously high standards, and she just would not accept inferiority to her standards. With that being said, she was awfully lonely. Leona just couldn’t and wouldn’t accept that, and the people around her noticed the chill around her dropped a few degrees.
She stopped in her place, the sounds around her vanishing, and looked out at the concrete jungle- her concrete jungle. She knew her love life in New York was over. That top partner was the last guy she ever would have dated; yet she was left with no other option. He was the last and only prosperous guy in New York she hadn’t dated, and she couldn’t be single- only poor simpletons were single. Unfortunately, she couldn’t just pack up and leave. Her everything was here, in the city. She had viciously fought tooth and nail for the opportunities that led her to her current life. Ever since Leona could remember, she used people for their more prosperous contacts; and always wanted to be a lawyer, for she was exceptional at arguing and getting what she wanted. She kept repeating the process, and eventually used those contacts to get into a prestigious law school. She knew exactly what she had to do in order to succeed, and would stop at no boundary; she didn’t even talk to her parents anymore. They were the ones who encouraged her disconcerting behavior; they had taught her in a do-as-I-say-not-what-I-do manner, saying that she should be nice and kind to others, but not following their beliefs themselves. She ended up becoming the youngest partner in a pretentious law firm at 28, the first ever in the history of law, and was winning cases left and right. She didn’t care if her client was guilty; if they wanted to be proven innocent, innocent they would be found. She was that good- that’s why she couldn’t leave New York. She was infamous for being a heartbreaker, but she couldn’t leave everything behind.
The bleak grey skies suggested bad weather was on its way, and Leona did not want to experience it. She looked around in exasperation for a shortcut that would bring her to the warmth and safety of her penthouse. Out of the corner of her eye, she spied an entrance to a little alleyway protected by a gate, except for a small opening just large enough for Leona’s small frame. It was set on a diagonal, and looked as if it would lead Leona right to the street opposite her penthouse. She was surprised that she had never noticed this part of her jungle before, and did not like the fact that she just learned something new on the well traveled walk home.
She slipped between the grimy wall and rusty fence with ease, and looked about her new surroundings, on the lookout for anything out of place. Everything looked fine- well, as fine as an alleyway could look. She continued walking, now at a faster pace, and her attention turned back to the day’s previous events.
A scuffling noise brought Leona back to the present. She looked around, and saw no one. She had noticed a few respectable looking people pass her earlier, but they were long gone. The exit was in sight, and Leona hurried along.
60 feet away from the exit, there was a deafening roar. Leona snapped her head up, previously engrossed in the beauty of her shoes. The trash bags and bins that lined the left of the alleyway were all suddenly on their sides, a rancid smelling waterfall overflowing and making a mess everywhere. Leona didn’t know what to make of it. A yowl and yelp followed immediately after, and so did a guttural cry. Leona’s gaze followed a small, emaciated dog with a long thick gash along its abdomen limp towards Leona’s entrance, leaving a trail of blood behind it. She turned her head back around, her expression changing from one of disgust to shock.
Standing right in front of her was a tiny, frail looking girl. She couldn’t have been more than four years old, though she was young as she was beautiful. She had pale porcelain skin, full red lips, big brown soulful eyes, a button nose, and unruly hair that looked as if it were on fire, even with the gray sky above it. She was too striking for a little girl; she looked far older than she was, but her youthfulness was reinforced by the tattered and worn teddy bear she clutched in her tiny left hand. Leona couldn’t help but stare, as she became even more bewildered.
The girl whispered something, unintelligible to Leona. For a second, Leona thought she uttered “Hensley, Leona” but decided it was absolutely impossible.
“Good day, I am Libby. Are you in need of any help?”
For her supposed age, she was uncharacteristically eloquent. Her smoky voice clearly enunciated the words, except for the fact that she pronounced her name “Live-d”. Leona was still transfixed. There was something different about her, something that separated her from the norm. Leona wanted to know what it was. Was it the vibrancy of her hair? The glint of red in her pupils? The fact that she was wearing all red and could pull it off without looking like a tomato? Was it that she seemed so mature and wise for her age? Was it that her eyes looked so innocent and pure, but her lips were curled in an impish smile? Or was it that she appeared so soon after the canine incident? Leona shook her head slightly.
“No.” she said curtly.
Leona was starting to get annoyed. She didn’t like wasting precious time, and it seemed that was exactly what Libby was doing. Libby didn’t get the message, or choose not to care.
“I vehemently dislike dogs.” she exclaimed, frowning in the direction that the stray dog scampered off to.
“Why should I- ” Leona’s tone changing from annoyed to one to sweet to stand after locking eyes and smiling at an attractive passerby, “care, sweetheart?” His gaze swept over her, but his gait didn’t change, nor did his stoic facial expression.
“Are you sure you’re in no need of assistance? I could help.” Libby’s eyes twinkled with mischief.
“In all actuality, I know the circumstances of your current situation. I believe I could provide help. You are in need of a bachelor, and I am in need of filling my monthly quota.”
Leona stared at Libby through slanted eyes.
“This is getting to be ridiculous.” Leona stepped around her and continued walking. After taking a few steps forward, she turned back around. “Bye Libby. Er- nice to meet you.” she said to air. Libby was already gone. Leona continued walking, briskly, as she still wanted to escape the feeling of Libby’s strange presence.
Leona arrived home exhausted, but safely. She was still feeling the strange presence, so she took extra measures to make sure all possible entrances to her house were secured. She got ready for bed, still trying to sort out the traumatic and dramatic events of the day. She still felt peculiar, but was too tired to care.
That night, she had a vivid dream. When she woke up, the strange feeling was still there, unlike her belief that the weirdness would dissipate after a sleep. The only thing she could remember was a quick flash of Libby, and then nothingness.
As the days passed, Leona became more desperate for a partner. The peculiar feelings persisted, and Leona’s security measures became extreme. The newest security systems were installed, and Leona still didn’t feel safe enough, so she would duck tape all her windows and doors each night, and take them down each morning. Each time a person walked into her office at the firm, she would duck beneath her desk, and hold conversations through it. She would stay in there for lunch, and call in from the shelter of her desk for meetings. Her coworkers couldn’t understand her behavior. The weather got progressively nicer, yet Leona would insist on a cab to the front of building, and that the driver would accompany her into the building. She would no longer go out at night, in fear of the unknown. However, Leona wasn’t restless. She got plenty of sleep each night, dreaming vividly. Libby stayed longer and longer in each dream, until Leona was sure that she dreamed only of Libby. She wasn’t infatuated with her, just somehow strangely terrified. It was months after their encounter, yet the dreams kept the memory fresh.
6 months after meeting Libby, Leona Hensley, once the most mentioned name, was hardly uttered. She was still a good lawyer, but just became too paranoid for others to stand. In addition to all the suffering she endured, she started seeing red. She didn’t care anymore, and thought it would go away on its own. On the 6th day of impaired vision, Libby woke up with a start. The clock read 6:66.
It’s impossible, thought Leona. That was before she noticed Libby in front of her.
“I’ve found you a bachelor.” she snarled through needle-like teeth. “I know you’re desperate enough for anything, but I’m a nice devil, and I took your stupid high standards into consideration. All I need is your soul.”
Leona stared blankly.
“IT’S A YES OR NO QUESTION!” Libby shouted, enraged.
Leona nodded meekly. The word “okay” quietly escaped her lips.
Leona enjoyed her new fiancé. She became healthy again, even somewhat happy. She was unbeatable in court again, and the wronged had no chance against her. Her name was on everyone’s lips again, and she enjoyed it. Her malicious manner was back, meaner than ever. However, that paranoia toward Libby still pursued. She still wasn’t over the last time she interacted with Libby. Leona played detective for a while, after wishing that she never let Libby have the rights to her soul. She vaguely recollected from their first meeting that Libby hated dogs. She was able to put the scenario together, that Libby had harmed the dog, and now knew why. She had deemed the declaration nonsense at the time, but now it was her only chance at escaping the life of terror Libby most likely had in mind for her. She became a volunteer at the local dog shelter.
She loved those dogs, probably more so because they could possibly be her protectors and saviors. However, there was this one dog… one with soulful brown eyes, a flaming red coat, twinkly eyes, and a nasty temper. Leona decided that she should surround herself with dogs all the time, just to be safe. Unfortunately, the same dog aforementioned attacked one of her favorite dogs she was going to adopt, it’s blood and organs all scattered about its cage. There was a note in the killer dog’s kennel, saying, “Be sure he gets you a nice present for the wedding.” Leona was devastated, yet she had no clue about what the note meant or more importantly, whom it was from.
Leona’s fiancé did get her something nice for the wedding. It was to be a grand and large event, and he thought that a beautiful and dainty necklace made of platinum and diamonds would be the perfect accessory for such and occasion.
As the number days to the wedding shortened, the necklace started becoming tarnished. Leona took no notice, as her she was so elated her dreams were finally coming true.
It was the day of the wedding. All the guests (excluding Leona’s parents) were present and smiling, and the groom hung-over and at the alter, and the bride beautiful and walking down the candle-lined aisle with her father-in-law. Halfway down the aisle, a group of dogs appeared out of nowhere. They ran about, biting guests, knocking down the bride and chairs down, and tipping over candles. After they were done ruining Leona’s wedding, they disappeared, vanishing into thin air. As a result of the ruckus, the carpet on the aisle caught on fire. The doors and windows were all heavily reinforced and locked, trapping the guests inside. The church went up in flames, killing all the guests and Leona’s soon to be husband, all right in front of her eyes. She was left unaffected. She looked down at her necklace, too sad to look at the destruction around her, and noticed her necklace was cracked from the pandemonium earlier. At that time, she was swept away, and she felt the temperature steadily rising and rising.