Short story: Valentine’s Card

“A heart on a card is traditional.” She offered almost apologetically.

“A picture of a stylised one is more generally expected and acceptable than an actual organ dripping on the floor. I only just cleaned that too!” I adopted a mock stern expression to hide the sheer panic bubbling behind my voice.

She advanced on me, carrying the card like a platter. The heart looked fresh, blood still dripping from the openings. I hoped it was a sheep’s heart from the local butcher or something and I wasn’t going to find the remains of a burglar at the bottom of the stairs again.

This is the problem with trying to integrate ethically-divergent entities from exo-valued dimensional spaces into the general populace. They don’t have the social contexts we’ve grown to assume, and adopt a frighteningly literal interpretation of events around them.

Take ‘Alyssa’, who had startled me in my own kitchen with what I assumed was a valentine’s offering. In less enlightened times she would have been banished or burned by ecclesiastical cohorts as a succubus of some description. The horns and tail are generally a good giveaway.

Ever since a small accident with a summoning circle, a backwards-played Cliff Richard single, and a chicken that died unexpectedly of a heart attack while the candles were still being lit, she’s been stuck here and we’ve been trying to pass her off as an au pair from Belgium.

Why Belgium? I panicked when the police came round to investigate the noise complaint. It seemed a good idea at the time, and pretending it was a BDSM session was an easier way of explaining her penchant for calling me Master than identifying her as a denizen of hell.

The local constabulary may look down their noses at kink, but it does stop them asking questions. I might even have saved their lives and possibly immortal souls into the bargain. I’m considerate like that you know.

I reached out and took her somewhat gory tribute from her. My smile softened at how pleased she looked. I was probably safe to sleep in my own bed tonight.

Probably.

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