Spirit by Dan Rhodes

My girlfriend awoke to find herself possessed by an evil spirit. The first thing I did was call an exorcist. He couldn’t make it until the evening, so we waited. She threw things at me, cursed my name, kept trying to strangle me, and wouldn’t let me kiss her. Really she was the same as ever, but at least she was no longer hellbent on bankrupting me and making me look inadequate in front of everyone. I started to prefer her this way. When the exorcist finally arrived, I sent him away. I told him it had been a false alarm.

From Anthology and a hundred other stories

[L] is for Love

Marika met Joe in a City bar where she was collecting empty glasses from the tables in exchange for a paycheque. She was in London only three months and her English was still something that needed improving. He didn’t mind the wrong expressions she used and he made an effort to correct her. She was learning a lot just by talking to him. So when Joe asked her to stay after work one day, she didn’t mind.

   They started dating. She was so happy that she found an Englishman for a boyfriend.  The envy and jealousy of her flatmates were obvious (at least that is what she liked to imagine). She lived in an overcrowded three bedroom house in Edgware. She liked some of the co-habitants, some not so much, some she never saw because they were always working. Joe made her life better. He persuaded his boss to give her a job in the office to file documents and enter data to spreadsheets so she didn’t have to work in a place where drunken men were making advances on her. It was a dull assignment but she didn’t argue. She was thrilled to be in the same building as him. Not that they had many chances to be actually together during the working hours. Joe was very busy.

   He suggested she moves in with him after two months. He was worried about the long travel from Edgware to City and dangers she may encounter. His flat in Waterloo was immaculate. Joe had a cleaning lady that came over twice a week but she felt she should do the chores herself. She was the lady of the house now – she would take care of her man. Joe agreed and suggested to her to stay at home; he earned enough.

   They were so happy.

L in the A to Z challenge.

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Indifference by Dan Rhodes

Not wanting the intensity of my love to drive Skylark away, I feigned indifference. I worried that this tactic wasn’t working; seeming bored in my company, she would keep looking at her watch as though impatient to go somewhere far better. Even so, we would always disinterestedly arrange to meet up again. When, besotted, I casually suggested we get married, she shrugged her shoulders and, yawning, said, ‘Whatever.’ I couldn’t believe my luck. The man asked us whether we were prepared to love and cherish one another forever. Skylark said she might as well, and I told him I supposed so.

From Anthropology and a hundred other stories