Welcome to my second post in the October Frights Blog Hop.
Today is an excerpt from FAVORS FOR THE DEAD. My main character Spookie Millane doesn't see dead people...
until they need her to do them a favor - which means finishing up
any business they ran out of time to get done.
The favors are normally benign until the night Carina Corona,
a witch, dead for almost two hundred & fifty years
visits her with a deadly request...
Without giving too much away, here's a scene from the night
Spookie and Carina meet.
Spookie also meets Mick that day. He can speak to and see the dead,
except for those who visit Spookie, and he's having dark visions about her future.
Mick inhaled, ready to darken the candles, when the high pitch noise of a dentist drill hit. It gnawed at the base of his neck and rang in his ears. His knees buckled and he grabbed his head.
“Mick!” Tula Mae ran to his side.
He twisted his crippled body toward Spookie. Blood seeped from her ears and nose. Tears of red spilled down her cheeks.
“Is he alright?” Spookie’s words came out slow and drawn out, her voice deep and thick. Ping-Pong ball size globs of blood rolled off her tongue, exploding into tiny pools as they hit the hardwood floor. Thin tributaries branched off from each puddle forming a ruddy stream that oozed right at him.
He concentrated on keeping his expression neutral. The vision wasn’t real. Spookie, on the other hand, was real as the pain rattling his teeth and spine.
“Something’s coming.” Mick steadied himself of the back of a wooden chair. “I think it’s here for you.
“Yes, and I’m sorry.” Spookie glanced at Tula Mae. “I didn’t expect this, not here.”
“I understand, dear. Some things are out of our control.” Tula Mae guided Mick back to the side of the room. “Here, let me help you, and let Spookie do her job.”
“No.” He jerked away from Tula Mae. “I know you can’t see it, but there's blood everywhere. It's a warning. I understand what it’s trying to tell me. I don’t think she’s safe here.”
Goose bumps rose on his sweat soaked skin as the temperature plummeted. A whistling wind swirled down the chimney. The candle’s flame hissed and vanished. Curtains blew and papers took flight. The crystal pendulums swayed, clinking together resembling church bells in the distance.
“Spookie, please listen to me. I’m trying to help you.” Mick pleaded, zigzagging toward her. “Justus, tell her.”
But it was too late.
Whatever presence chose to make its grand entrance had arrived.
Spookie gawked at Mick. His skin paled to a horrible ashen color. Beads of sweat covered his brow, yet his body trembled at the cold. His eyes reflected genuine dread as he begged her to listen to his ramblings of blood and the need for her to leave. Warmth stirred in her at his compassion and determination, as weird as it was, to help someone he’d just met, against something he couldn’t see.
“Mick, I’ll be fine. Please, don’t worry, I can explain."
“I’m looking for a Miss Spookie Millane.” A smoky voice interrupted.
“Yes, I’m Spookie.” A lucid outline of a feminine figure developed, glowing red with energy. Her head swiveled 360 degrees and took in the surroundings. The spirit hung suspended high near the ceiling, creating a daunting effect.
“Do you mind lowering to my level? I’m getting a crick in my neck.”
With a sudden but graceful swoop, the manifestation appeared inches from Spookie’s face. “Is this better?”
“Yes, yes. Thank you.” Spookie squinted against the brilliance of her radiance, not daring to ask her to back up.
“I’m Carina Corona.”
“The Berkshire Witch?”
“You’ve heard of me? I’m flattered.” Carina made herself comfortable atop the couch, her long legs dangling off the back.
“Most everyone in New England knows of the Berkshire Witch.” Spookie hesitated. “But you’ve been dead for almost two hundred and fifty years. What could you possibly need from me?"
Something shattered. Spookie jumped. Mick stood next to Tula Mae, his arms waving to get her attention. A glass of water lay broken at his feet. “Spookie. The corner,” Mick shouted. “The thing that was in the woods.”
A massive shape with ragged edges and a muddy color rose up behind Carina. It possessed no light, only a dark abyss. “What’s that doing here?” Spookie demanded. “Is it with you? Its been following me around.”
“Yes, he’s a harmless Roamer,” Carina said. “Their energy hasn’t formed into souls yet. They have to work for it. I sent it to evaluate you. I need exactly the right person.”
“Harmless? Every time it appears, I face plant the floor.”
“Spookie, you’re mistaken. It isn’t my Roamer doing that to you. It’s him.” Carina’s arm aimed toward the wall.
“Mick?” Spookie dismissed her. “Come on, I just met him. It’s impossible.”
“What’s impossible?” Mick’s color returned. He stood tall and resolute. “I know someone else is here, but I can’t see it. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes,” Spookie nodded. “Carina, could you please ask it to leave?”
With a flick of her wrist, the Roamer collapsed into a wisp of smoke and evaporated.
“Thank you.” Spookie straightened her black skirt. “Now, what can I do for you?”
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