Lori R. Lopez

Lori R. Lopez is an offbeat hat-wearing speculative author, illustrator, poet, and songwriter residing in Southern California.  Her prose and verse have been published in a number of anthologies and magazines including California Screamin’ (the Foreword Poem), Dead Harvest, Impspired, The Sirens Call, The Horror Zine, Weirdbook, Spectral Realms, Space & Time, JOURN-E, Altered Realities, Bewildering Stories, Aphelion, Oddball Magazine, and several H.W.A. Poetry Showcases.  Book titles include The Dark Mister Snark, Leery Lane, An Ill Wind Blows, The Fairy Fly, and Darkverse:  The Shadow Hours (nominated for an Elgin Award).  Five of her poems have been nominated for Rhysling Awards.  A member of H.W.A., S.F.P.A., and L.C.S.N.A., Lori co-owns Fairy Fly Entertainment with two talented sons.  They’ve formed a Folk Band called The Fairyflies to release original music.

If Looks Could Kill

The man wore his hat low,
shading his thoughts,
keeping secrets in his eyes.
I passed him on my bike,
coasting, afraid to meet his scrutiny.
Tense, instinctively terrified,
praying he wouldn’t turn my way,
hear a sound or feel a breeze while
I sailed by the eerie Secondhand Store
nobody ever went in.
Until one day my front tire hit a bump
and I had to stop in front of him.
Our eyes met, the briefest stare-down.
He won.  I sped away fast,
clumsically, pedaling like mad in
a frantic burst of life-saving adrenaline!
Laughter drifted in my wake,
like peals of Death Knells; throbs of
malignant doom-bearing shockwaves
I had to outrace, I couldn’t allow to
reach me or I might be swallowed,
never seen again.  Somehow
I made it to my door, dropped my bike,
slammed wood and sank to more wood
far from the portal.
Keenly aware the fumes of black
roiling mirth gathered, accumulating
into a cloud of malice and bile, ill humor,
growing denser on my doorstep.
I couldn’t eat, couldn’t focus on News
or shows, a movie, a book.
That night I lay awake
bathed in sweat,
panicked he had followed me —
not in person but with those eyes,
colder than a serpent’s beaded orbs.
If looks could kill . . .
And his breath, lethal as any
noxious vapor . . .

The man comes in the night,
driving a Studebaker once two-tone:
Pearl-White and Robin-Egg Blue,
now faded to a dingy Bone.
I peer at him through a crack in the
curtains over a large window
that doesn’t seem like enough security
from his gaze or the creepy dismal
air of menace he exudes.
I fear for my life since catching his glance,
attracting the Boogeyman’s interest
that day a dozen years ago.
Could it really be so long?  As if
Time had stopped ticking forward and
was frozen, yet everything went on
by degrees, going through an endless
looping cycle of motions, the world
revolving around me . . .
and the man with eyes that could kill.

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