Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday – The Storm

stormy night

It’s been a long time! Finally, I am back to participating in the Weekend Writing Warriors where many awesome authors come together to share 8 to 10 sentences of a current work-in-progress, or recently published story. I’ve missed being a part of this and plan to make it a regular habit in the coming weeks.:-)

Today’s selection comes from my WIP paranormal romance currently titled Love Spell. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments because I love to read them and it helps me make decisions on the course of the story.

**

The rain poured down harder, filling their ears with its fury and soaking them almost instantly. Somehow, with persistence, Mari slipped from Juniper’s grasp and began running toward Sarah’s house.

“Mari!”

She didn’t stop until she was at the door, pounding on it with all her strength. As Sarah’s father, Jacob, opened the door the smell of death poured out around her so foul that she covered her mouth, struggling to catch her breath.

“What are you doing out in the storm, Child? You’re soaked.”

Jacob ushered her inside. Mari glanced over her shoulder to see Juniper standing alongside a tree in a flash of lightning, her wet hair plastered against her face. Chills racked Mari’s body with a desperate sense of foreboding.

**

Look for more next week! In the meantime, head over to http://www.wewriwa.com to sample stories from the other participating authors.

Thanks for stopping by!

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Nettle the Nymph

Nymph woman in a magical forest

Morning sunlight glistened off the cool water as Nettle frolicked and played more than she bathed. This was her favorite time of day when swimming with the fish and jumping with the frogs was more important than duty and responsibility. She floated on her back letting her long, dark hair cascade around her as she squinted up into the bright blue sky.

A doe and her fawns leaped into the brush, bringing Nettle’s attention back to the forest around her. She looked around, sensing the presence but not seeing him right away. Finally, her gaze settled on the tall, lean form in the distance walking casually along the path as he whistled a tune she’d never heard before. Curious, she swam to the water’s edge and quickly dressed.

The birds chirped their warnings but Nettle paid no heed. It was rare she came so close to a human and she wouldn’t let this opportunity slip from her grasp. When she wanted, she could move amongst the trees unnoticed. It was certainly one of the more advantageous perks of being a woodland nymph.

As she moved closer, she got a better look at him. The sunlight highlighted his short golden brown hair. He couldn’t have been older than seventeen. There was still youth in his features which looked almost unnatural with the hints of a beard attempting to grow. She smiled as she watched him pause and admire a pair of birds singing in a nearby tree.

“Nnneeeetttttllleeee,” whispered the wind, “Your father is looking for you.”

Nettle sighed. Father had returned much sooner than she’d hoped. That meant the arrangements had gone well and in two weeks time her hand would be promised to a god, a fact that should have excited her but actually left her with an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach.

“Nnneeettttlllleeee,” whispered the wind, “Leave the boy and return to your father.”

Nettle jumped down from the branch in which she’d been perched and gave the human one last look. She tipped her head from one side to the next trying to decide what it was she found so compelling about him. Just as she was about to run back to her father, the boy turned his head and looked straight at her. His bright blue eyes reminded her of the water in which she’d splashed and for a moment, she felt as though she were drowning. Neither of them moved.

“I thought humans couldn’t see me?” Nettle whispered to a group of rabbits grazing nearby. The rabbits looked up and twitched their noses but offered no speculation. Nettle was caught between wanting to interact with the human and the need to flee. As if fate had decided for her, the boy began walking toward her but stumbled, twisted his ankle, and fell to the forest floor. He cried out in pain sending a flurry of birds skyward.

Nettle heard the wind’s warning caressing her cheeks as it wrapped around her. “Let the boy be and return to your father.”

But he was hurt and she couldn’t turn her back on him now. She approached him slowly. He sat massaging his ankle, looking up at her with a mixture of anticipation and fear in his eyes.

“Is it bad?” Nettle asked, sitting down beside him and pulling her legs underneath her.

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Let me see.” She put her hand over his ankle and closed her eyes, concentrating a moment on the feel of muscle and bone beneath his skin. The boy didn’t flinch. After a moment, she was done.

He looked at her with wide eyes. “How did you do that?”

She shrugged. “My name is Nettle. What’s yours?”

“Adam.”

“You must be far from home, Adam.”

He looked away and she could feel the flush of heat through him. She understood. He had meant to get as far away from home as he could.

“It isn’t safe here after dark,” she told him.

“I’m only passing through.”

“No matter,” she said jumping to her feet and stretching out a hand to help him up, “Tag. You’re it!”

He blinked his eyes and looked dumbfounded for a moment. She half expected him to protest at playing kid games but even if he thought it, he pushed those beliefs aside and took off running after her.

Nettle ran fast but she’d underestimated the speed at which the human would catch her. She squealed as his arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her close. They spun around and fell into a bed of leaves giggling.

When finally they’d come to a rest, Nettle looked up into his eyes. She only had a fraction of a second to process his intentions before it happened. His lips covered hers and she closed her eyes, knowing she should push him away, but feeling so hopelessly pulled into him that she knew it would take more strength than she had to do so.

Adam sat up and looked out over the expanse of trees that surrounded them. Slowly, she gathered her senses as she joined him, taking his hand in hers.

“Nnnneeetttllleeee…” the wind whispered, “Your father grows impatient.”

“I must go,” she told Adam.

“Wait. Will I see you again?”

She shook her head. “In two weeks I will marry.”

His face twisted into a frown. They’d only just met but somehow she felt as though she’d known him forever and without words she felt his pain, a different sort that she couldn’t make go away with a touch.

“Come,” she said putting out her hand, “And I will make sure you pass safely through the forest.”

**

Maybe Nettle will choose to run away with her new friend?😉

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me.:-) Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Mesmerized by the Mermaid

 

mermaid

As a kid, I’d been enamored by mermaids so much (thanks, in part to the movie Splash starring Tom Hanks, and in part due to my love of swimming) that I’d used every birthday wish to become one. It’s only fitting, having just celebrated another birthday earlier this week that I let M stand for Mermaid! Incidentally, I have yet to sprout fins but if I do, you can bet I’ll be blogging about it!

“I thought I might find you here.” Adam handed his brother a cup so hot that steamed poured into the chilly morning air. Mark took it and mumbled his thanks. He held the cup close for warmth. He couldn’t remember how long he’d been sitting on the pier overlooking the ocean but the fact that the sun had broken into the sky was a pretty good indication that it was longer than he’d intended.

“I was hoping maybe you’d snuck off with that blond you were talking to last night,” Adam continued as he settled in next to his brother, “But I guess I should have known better.”

“What are you doing here, Adam?”

“I thought you could use something to warm you up.”

Mark shifted, feeling the stiffness in his back and legs from sitting so long. He was getting too old for this but he refused to admit it, least of all to Adam.

“We came to the beach to have a good time,” Adam said.

“You seemed to accomplish that last night.”

Mark could feel the tension from his brother. There was silence while Adam searched for an explanation but they both knew there was no point. Mark had liked Renee. She’d been good for Adam. Seeing him with someone else broke him in inexplicable ways.

“Renee and I broke up a week ago,” Adam said softly.

“I know.”

“Anyway, that isn’t what I came out here for.”

“I know why you’re here and you can save your breath. I’m still going through with it.”

“Mark, it was fun when we were kids but we’re too old for that shit now. Come on. One of these days you’re going to get yourself hurt. Stop playing pretend and join the rest of us. Have a good time for once.”

“It isn’t pretend. You remember the stories Dad told us when we were kids?”

“Stories,” Adam said, “That’s all they were, told by a drunk.”

“I saw it. And so did you. Why do you waste so much energy denying it?”

Adam let out a slow breath and looked out over the rolling waves. Mark studied his brother’s face, looking for some sign of the boy who used to believe as passionately as he did. Where did that boy go? What happened to summers by the beach when they’d devise plans and expeditions to track down the creatures of the sea?

“Doing this isn’t going to bring back Mom,” Adam said finally. He pushed up to stand a moment longer, teetering at the edge of the pier as if he might jump in.

“Go back to your new girlfriend or play thing, whatever she is,” Mark said, “and go back to your parties and your drinks. Become the man you hated for so long.”

“Mark…”

“Save it, Adam. It’s done.”

“The others are asking about you. What am I supposed to tell them?”

“Tell them whatever you want.”

“And the blond?”

Mark said nothing because they both already knew the answer. As far as Mark was concerned, the blond didn’t exist.

Adam shook his head as he shoved his hands deep in the pockets of his leather jacket and walked away, leaving Mark alone with the coffee he’d never drink, and the fantasies about what lay beneath the water’s surface. In the distance Mark watched dolphins jumping and playing and envied their freedom.

Maybe Adam was right? Maybe he was getting too old to hang on to stories told by a drunken old fisherman about alluring creatures who were half human and half fish?

Except he couldn’t shake the image from his mind of the girl in the water who had once saved his life when he wasn’t more than five. Adam had seen it too even if he refused to admit it. And ever since that day, Mark had been plagued by dreams of her calling to him, begging him to return. It made sense to no one, not even himself, but he couldn’t escape the pull of the tide as he sat on the pier and waited.

Too many years had passed. He wasn’t a boy any longer. Slowly, he stretched his legs and placed the coffee cup to one side before getting up and splashing down into the calf deep water and wading over to the small boat.

His hands shook with anticipation as he made his way out into the depths of the ocean. If things went as planned, he would not return.

As he squinted toward the shoreline he thought he saw Adam waving but he brushed it off as imagination. There were some rifts that could never be repaired, even between brothers. The coffee cup sat abandoned on the edge of the pier and for a moment, he wished he’d taken it with him as a reminder of the life he couldn’t live.

He cut the engine and dove into the ocean before second thoughts took over. The icy cold water cut through his flesh and stole his breath away. He dove down again, forcing his limbs to carry him deeper, ignoring the burning in his chest when he ran out of air. His ears threatened to explode and his body resisted his movements.

But finally, he saw her. She smiled and waved to him, beckoning him closer, long dark hair swirling around her head.

Her arms pulled him into an embrace and dreams blurred into reality.

They were together, at last.

**

I can’t tell you what this year’s  birthday wish was because if I did, it might not come true… Yes, I still believe in wishes! Rest assured it has more to do with getting my stories into the hands of readers who will love them than condemning myself to an aquatic life. More realistic? Maybe.😉

**

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me.:-) Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Lured by La Sayona

beautiful girl ghost, witch bride in a white dress holding a bla

According to Wikipedia, La Sayona is a legend from Venezuela, represented by the vengeful spirit of a woman who shows up only to men who have love affairs outside their marriage.

Technically, perhaps it should have been filed under S but I’m using creative license once again, this time with the alphabet.

** Warning ** This story contains adult themes. If you are under 18 or sensitive to stories of this nature, please don’t continue. Thanks!

Craig replaced the phone in the receiver and glanced at his watch.

“Shit,” he mumbled under his breath. He’d been so busy, he completely forgot to pick up a gift for his wife, Lea’s birthday. He was trying to decide how he could make a quick stop and still make it to the bakery to pick up the cake when Jenny walked in and handed him a stack of files.

“You feeling okay?” she said.

Craig sat back in his chair and took in the sight of her. She was wearing his favorite skirt again, the one that almost showed a hint of the lacy garter he knew he’d find underneath it. He tugged at his tie and wondered if she was wearing the matching black panties.

“I’m fine,” he said, “Just feeling a bit tired.”

“Oh, I almost forgot,” she said. She disappeared a moment and came back holding a small box wrapped in elegant silver paper with matching bow, “You’ll need this.”

He reached over the desk but instead of taking the gift, he grabbed her wrist and held it tight. He watched the look in her eyes darken and he wondered if he had enough time to lean her over his desk and do all the things he knew she liked. The scent of her perfume was making him heady with lust.

“You’re my lifesaver, Jenny.”

“I do what I can, Mr. Larson. You asked me to pick this up a week ago, remember?”

He’d completely forgotten, of course. When it came to Lea’s birthday, nothing stuck. When it came to the feel of Jenny’s smooth skin under his fingertips, however, he remembered every little detail. He inhaled deeply and closed his eyes.

“Craig,” he corrected. He hated it when she called him Mr. Larson.

“I hope she likes it.” Jenny tugged her arm free and smoothed her palms over her thighs. She looked a little shaken, like he’d had an effect on her and wanted to hide it. His fingertips itched with the need to tangle his hands in her hair as he kissed her breathless. He pushed up from his chair and crossed the short distance to reach her. She looked up at him with wide, brown eyes.

“Mr. Larson, I don’t think we should…”

He didn’t give her the chance to finish. He needed the taste of her on his tongue, his hands filled with her shapely bottom. She didn’t resist as he nudged her back until her legs hit the desk. As she sat on the edge, he was already freeing buttons on his shirt with one hand and gliding his palm over her thigh with the other, determined to find out what lay out of his sight.

“Mr. Larson, your wife is expecting you…”

“She won’t mind if I’m a couple minutes late.”

“But it’s her birthday.”

He pushed her hair over to expose her neck as he kissed and nibbled his way from her ear to her shoulder. When it came to Jenny, he had a hunger that would never be sated. She made little sounds as he reached around and unclasped her bra, eager to taste her nipple. He was so drunk on her that at first, he couldn’t understand why her palms were pressing against his chest. Finally, he stepped back, acknowledging her desire to stop.

“What’s wrong?”

“This isn’t very romantic.”

“That’s not what you said last time.”

“I’m sorry, I should have never…”

“Never what?”

“That weekend you took me on the business trip, you told me you were leaving your wife.”

“I am.”

“When, Craig? That was six months ago. We can’t keep screwing in the supply closet like animals. It isn’t right.”

“Well, I can’t leave her tonight,” he said feeling the irritation rise. Why were woman so damned demanding? “It’s her god damned birthday.”

Jenny had a look on her face like he’d slapped her but she pulled it together and started readjusting her clothes. So that was it then? He thought she would last a little longer than the last one before getting all needy on him. He’d given her a generous raise, enough that she’d gone and bought herself a brand new car. What more did she want?

He snatched the gift off his desk and his jacket from the back of his chair.

“Craig, wait. We need to talk.”

“There is nothing to talk about, Jenny. You made your feelings clear enough. I need to get home to my wife.”

“Craig… I’m pregnant.”

He stopped. He could feel the weight of her stare on his back. How could she even be sure it was his? He had a pretty good idea he wasn’t the only man in her life. Typical bitch resorting to manipulation to get what she wanted.

“Clear out your desk, Jenny. You’re fired.”

He heard her gasp but he didn’t stand there long enough to listen to her cry. He hurried out to the elevator, punching the buttons until the doors finally opened, welcoming him into their serenity. He tried to calm his breathing as he hit the button for the lobby. He didn’t even notice he wasn’t alone until the sound of her voice caught him off guard.

“Tough day?”

He turned around to the most stunning woman he’d ever seen. She could have stepped right off the runway of a New York fashion show. His gaze traveled the length of her body, reveling at her low cut blouse and long, lean legs. He was pretty sure he’d never seen her in the building before and he’d worked here long enough to catalog all the women worth knowing.

“You could say that. I fired my secretary.”

“So hard to find good help these days,” she said with a smile. The sound of her voice and the look in her eyes drew him in. He found himself smiling at her despite his earlier agitation.

“I don’t suppose you’re in the market for a new job?” he teased.

“You can’t afford me.”

“I could probably make a few cuts in the budget to accomodate your, um, high demands.”

She laughed and the sound of it filled his ears and made him hard. He hoped he wasn’t reading her wrong. She reached forward and hit the emergency stop button before the elevator had a chance to settle on the main floor.

“My employer makes certain I am well compensated for my special skills,” she said plucking the gift from his hand and holding it up, “You look like you have somewhere you need to be.”

“Nowhere special. It can wait.” He inhaled sharply as she stepped so close their noses nearly touched.

“Do you like to play?” she whispered in his ear.

“Baby, I’ll play with you any day.”

His cell phone vibrated in his pocket. Much to his dismay, the woman reached to grab and answer it before he could stop her.

“What the hell?” he said, trying to get his phone back. It was probably Lea wondering when he’d be home from work. She was having her parents over for dinner and probably felt the need to remind him to pick up the cake because she knew he’d forget.

He heard Lea’s on the other hand asking who was speaking and wondering where was Craig?

“I’m so sorry,” the woman said, “but your husband has been in an accident.”

“Shit. Give me the damn phone,” Craig yelled. “I am okay, Lea. I’ll be home soon, Honey.”

Whether she’d heard him or not, he wasn’t sure. The stranger disconnected the call, never taking her eyes off Craig.

“What the hell is wrong with you? That was my wife.” He snatched the phone and the gift and hit the elevator buttons, trying to make it start moving again. The elevator wouldn’t budge.

“She will miss you. As will your pregnant mistress. Those two will have a lot to talk about at your funeral.”

“How do you know…?”

The woman smiled before nudging him aside to activate the elevator again. At her touch, it came to life instantly except, instead of going down, it started moving up.

“I’m getting the hell out of this elevator,” Craig said poised at the door to leap at the first chance.

“What’s wrong? Don’t you like my games, Mr. Larson?”

“Psychotic bitch.”

“That isn’t very nice.”

The elevator came to an abrupt stop and Craig readied himself to exit. He couldn’t stand another moment being next to her. But instead of the doors opening, the elevator began freefalling. He grabbed the side.

“Goodbye, Mr. Larson. It’s been a pleasure.”

She smiled and gave him a little wave as he looked at her in terror, unable to form the words to speak.

Just before the elevator crashed, she vanished.

**

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me.:-) Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Kidnapped by the Kasha

Demonic eyes
According to Wikipedia, the Kasha is a Japanese yokai that steals the corpses of those who have died as a result of accumulating evil deeds. According to a site dedicated to yokai, they are a type of monster cat and live among humans disguised as ordinary house cats or strays.

Think of that next time you pet your cat!

Karen juggled three heavy shopping bags as she settled on a shortcut between two buildings as a faster route home. She cursed under her breath as she looked up at the darkening sky. The weather man hadn’t said anything about the possibility of rain in the forecast but it would be just her luck to get caught in a downpour while she was forced to carry groceries home on foot.

The car would have been fixed by now if it weren’t for the fact that her sister had fallen ill. Having no one else to turn to, she’d ended up on Karen’s doorstep and although she hadn’t seen her sister in years, she didn’t have the heart to turn her away. What little extra money Karen had was currently being poured into an endless stream of medical costs for a woman who she felt she barely knew.

“How do I get myself into these situations?” Karen mumbled as she hurried along the cobbled path, glancing warily at the sky as she moved. One of the bags threatened to topple but she managed to get it back under control. She should have turned Kiera away. If the roles had been reversed, she had no doubt Kiera would have done exactly that for her.

The first thick drops of rain began hitting the top of her head and splashing the brown paper bags in her arms. She groaned and broke into a run. She was so close to home. Couldn’t the rain hold out just another five minutes?

Karen tripped and stumbled, sending one of the bags to the ground scattering its contents. Apples rolled down the alleyway. She put down the other bags as she tried to gather her groceries together although it was a hopeless cause because the bag had torn down the center and the other two were already overly packed. Rain poured harder.

Something small and black stepped out from behind a garbage bin. Its green eyes glowed in the dim light.

“What are you doing out in the rain?” Karen said as she stooped down to pet the cat. It was so thin she could feel its bones as she stroked the wet, matted fur. “You must be a stray.”

The cat meowed and Karen looked back at her bags.

“I think I might have something for you,” she said. She dug through one of the bags searching for the deli cheese and opened it to give a couple of slices to the cat. It ate the offered food gratefully and rubbed against her legs and she stood up to gather what she could and make it the rest of the way home. She shouldn’t have been surprised when she reached her house and turned around to find the cat waiting expectantly.

“You followed me home? Oh no, Kitty, you can’t live here. My sister isn’t much of a cat person.”

The cat meowed but didn’t budge. Thankfully the rain had eased up a bit but Karen’s clothes had already soaked through and her groceries were in a dreadful state. She unlocked the door and sighed as the cat bolted past her legs and rushed into the house.

“Well, it is my house,” she mumbled under her breath, “If Kiera doesn’t like it, she can go somewhere else.”

“Is that you, sister?” Kiera called out.

“Yes, I am back.”

“You were gone so long,” Kiera whined.

“I could barely manage the groceries as it was and then it started to rain.”

“I’m so hungry,” Kiera complained, ignoring the fact that Karen would have much preferred to change out of wet clothes and maybe soak in a hot bath before being forced to play nurse again.

“I’ll make you a sandwich,” Karen said with a sigh.

In the kitchen, she found the cat on the window sill licking its fur. It looked up at her as she walked in the room and jumped down, meowing.

“You’re going to have be quieter than that if you expect to live here without that sister of mine making a fuss about it. Hush. I will give you some milk and tuna.”

Karen gave the cat its meal before putting together a sandwich for Kiera. The cat paused from eating to follow her as she took the plate to her sister’s bedroom.

“Oh no, Kitty. You stay here.”

Karen pushed open the door and made sure it closed behind her before the cat could sneak into Kiera’s room. She helped prop up her sister and offered her the tray of food.

“Who were you talking to?” Kiera asked.

“No one.”

“Don’t lie to me, sister. I may be sick but I am not stupid and you were never a very good liar. Remember when we were kids?”

“Barely.”

“It does seem quite a long while ago, doesn’t it?”

“So many years I’d convinced myself you were merely a figment of my imagination.”

“You choose now to be cruel?”

“I have taken you in, haven’t I? Very few would in my position.”

Kiera made a sound but chose not to comment. Perhaps in her frail state, she finally saw her own actions for what they were? Karen didn’t want to ruminate on the reasons for too long. It would mean drudging up a lot of emotions she’d long buried. Instead, she went over to the window to allow some air into the room.

“Karen, when I’ve passed, you will see to it that I have a proper burial, won’t you?”

“Of course,” Karen said feeling the heat rise to her face. Kiera was right, she’d never been a very good liar. It wasn’t bitterness for the past that kept her from granting Kiera’s last wishes, but rather her dwindling savings account that would hinder how much she could do.

When she turned back to her sister, her eyes had closed. Her chest rose and fell in ragged breaths. Karen was not a doctor but she knew her sister’s condition was getting worse at a rapid rate. She considered calling a friend to help transport her sister to the hospital but she knew Kiera would refuse. They’d already had that argument.

Her sister’s health continued to deteriorate over the course of the night while the cat paced outside the bedroom. A couple of times, Karen tried to shoo it outside as she frantically called for help but the cat refused to move. The doctor, who was kind enough to make a house visit in the middle of the night, told Karen there was nothing left to do for her and she would likely not make it through the night.

Karen sat her sister’s bedside, rocking back and forth in the old rocking chair she’d inherited from their mother and tried to come to terms with the end. Before long, her eyes had grown heavy and she’d drifted into sleep, dreaming of the time when they were children, before adulthood stool their innocence and Kiera stole the man who should have been her husband. At some point, the cat managed to creep into the room and rested in Karen’s lap as she gently petted it. Karen considered scooping him up and throwing him out but he offered comfort she was reluctant to give up.

When Karen opened her eyes to sunshine and birds singing in the trees outside, at first she’d forgotten why she’d fallen asleep in the rocking chair in her guest room. Then it came to her and she bolted upright, guilty that she’d fallen asleep instead of staying at her sister’s side to her last breath. She stopped short when she realized the bed was empty.

“Kiera?”

Frantically, she searched through the house, moving from room to room looking for her sister. There was no sign of her anywhere. And there was no sign of the cat who had occupied the room with her.

Dumbfounded, she tried to come up with an explanation for the strange turn of events but nothing made sense or explained the trail of blood from the bedroom out the front door. Her sister had simply vanished.

**

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me.:-) Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Jengu

Water fairy walking into the moon

According to Wikipedia, the Jengu is a water spirit in the traditional beliefs of the Sawa ethnic groups of Cameroon, particularly the Duala, Bakwei, and related Sawa peoples.

Obviously, I’ve taken huge liberties for the sake of my fictional piece.

The rowboat slid to a rest in the middle of the lake. Ben balanced the oars to one side and leaned back to reach the cooler and pull out a beer. He opened it but didn’t take a sip right away. Instead, he absorbed the sounds of nature as he watched the sun drip lower toward the horizon.

This was exactly what he needed. Taking a deep breath, he crossed his ankles and let the smooth cold beverage go down.

Today marked the anniversary of one month since his life had changed. One day everything had been normal and the next, he had come home from work to find a note from Sarah. She didn’t have the decency to tell him to his face that she didn’t want to be with him. She’d simply packed her bags and disappeared, scribbling a halfhearted note in her wake. It wasn’t until two days later when speaking with a mutual friend that Ben found out she had already shacked up with some guy from work. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to put two and two together.

Maybe he should have seen the signs but he’d been too busy planning their future to notice their present slipping through his fingers. He searched his memory for hints or clues. Had she been spending more late nights at the office? He didn’t think so. Did she sneak away in the evening when she’d claimed to be getting her hair done or going to the gym? If she did, she was damn good at fooling him. How could she have fallen out of love with him and in love with someone else so easily?

He dropped the empty beer can in the boat and dug his hand in his pocket, pulling out the diamond ring he’d picked out for her. The ring sparkled as it caught the late afternoon sun while he turned it between his fingers.

In only four weeks, he felt as though he’d aged a decade. Numbness filled him to the core and he walked as a shadow in his own life. Every once in a while, he encountered someone who would ask how Sarah was doing. At first, he told people they were no longer together but he had grown tired of feeling sorry for himself. Losing her had become an affliction he suffered. Now on the rare occasion when someone asked, he simply said she was doing fine and left it at that.

As Ben brooded over the broken fragments of his life and finished off another beer, the sun disappeared below the horizon. He didn’t even notice the dark clouds that gathered to the north. He didn’t acknowledge how much his boat had silently drifted on the smooth water’s edge. Occasionally he noticed a fish rise to the surface to snatch one of the insects skidding across the top. He closed his eyes and relaxed to the song of wind rustling the expanse of trees that surrounded the lake.

He was alone and that’s all that mattered. His body shook. The tears caught him off guard and he wiped his eyes with the backs of his hands before reaching around to grab another beer. Rain splattered down but he didn’t feel it. He opened his palm to the ring he’d been holding so tightly it left an indentation in his skin. With a deep breath, he pulled back his arm and tossed it as far out into the water as he could manage, hardly distinguishing the impact now that the rain poured down harder. He ran his fingers through his wet hair.

He could have sold the ring and got back some of what he’d paid for it but it wouldn’t have given him the same emotional satisfaction. Sarah had taken his heart and ripped it pieces. Money would never put it back together again.

But he’d outstayed his time on the lake. He grabbed the oars, suddenly seized by panic as he realized how far off shore he had drifted. The wind had picked up and the sun had given way to darkness. He had to strain to see through the driving rain. Which way had he come? Suddenly, he wasn’t certain. Although he’d spent so many summers on this lake, he felt disoriented.

Clutching the side of the boat, he tried to get his bearings. His thoughts scattered and for a moment he wondered if he hadn’t been brought to this junction in life by fate. Shaking off the chill that settled deep inside, he grabbed the oars and began rowing furiously, simply hoping that luck would bring him to land.

Lightning struck down, hitting him as he rowed. He collapsed, closing his eyes as he fell overboard and hit the water with a splash. Defeated by fate, he gave in and allowed his heavy body to sink. He thought of Sarah and the way she would laugh when he told her a joke and then he thought of nothing at all.

He felt fingers wrap around his waist pulling him and when he opened his eyes, he caught sight of the twinkle of diamond on the river floor. He thought he saw the face of a woman with long dark hair floating around her face. “Jengu”, he thought, “spirit of the lake come to claim me”. He gave in to darkness.

When he opened his eyes, he gasped for air. The storm had passed and in the east the first hint of dawn stretched over the horizon in brilliant oranges and yellows. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been unconscious or how he’d gone from sinking to the bottom of the river to waking on the shore but he had the unnerving sensation of not being alone. He rolled over to his side and caught sight of the ring partly buried in the grass a few feet from where he lay.

A soft breeze stroked his hair as he sat up. It seemed to wrap around him in an embrace, whispering his name, encouraging him to grasp life. He reached for the ring and sat watching as the sun emerged. A new day had dawned.

“Are you alright?”

He turned to see a young woman with auburn hair walking toward him walking a dog. The dog reached him first, covering him with kisses. When he looked up to see her worried face peering down at him with the backdrop of sunlight illuminating the world behind her, he felt a strange sensation fill him.

Hope.

**

Last year, I only made it up to letter I in the challenge. Yay, as of this post, I have exceeded my 2015 accomplishment. If I make it halfway through the alphabet, I will feel successful!

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me.:-) Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Isabelle’s Imp

Gargoyle Statue

“If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call.” Mr. and Mrs. Henderson exchanged a wary glance before giving me a wave and hurrying to their car. I shrugged my shoulders and closed the heavy oak door, being certain to slide the dead bolt in place as they had instructed me to do. I took a deep breath and checked my phone. No texts from Evan. Annoyed, I tossed the phone onto the kitchen table and decided to raid the fridge.

Babysitting had its perks, especially when the parents insisted on going out after the kids were already tucked into bed for the night. I hadn’t worked for the Henderson’s before but I’d heard rumors that their kids were a handful and I should be prepared for the worst.

I shrugged my shoulders and grabbed a tub of rocky road ice cream and searched the cupboards until I found a bowl. How hard could it be to watch kids who were already sleeping? I laughed a little to myself before scooping out a more than generous portion of ice cream and putting the tub back in the freezer. I went back to the fridge hoping the Henderson’s had the decency to stock chocolate fudge, or at the very least butterscotch syrup. After the argument I’d had with Evan, I needed an indulgence to take my mind off things.

Kicking the fridge door closed, I stuck the spoon in my mouth which was covered in more chocolate syrup than ice cream. I grimaced, coughed and ran to the sink to spit.

“What the …”

Giggling interrupted my thoughts and I spun around expecting to see one of the Henderson children but there was no one there.

“Jason? Jenna?”

I sighed and looked back at the mess I’d made. That chocolate syrup must have been seriously out of date, I decided as I tossed the contents of my bowl in the sink and rinsed everything down the drain. So much for my ice cream indulgence.

I grabbed a packet of potato chips and headed off to the living room to see if the Henderson’s had any good cable stations. If I couldn’t drown my sorrows in ice cream then I might as well get lost in something sappy on the television for the next couple hours instead. I stopped at the table to grab my phone but it wasn’t there.

“I could have sworn I’d left it there,” I mumbled to myself, now completely confused.

Giggling.

I spun around to catch them but again, no one was there. Enough was enough. It was time to pay these little rugrats a visit and let them know who was in charge tonight. I had never been one for practical jokes and I sure wasn’t going to stand for it from two kids under ten who were supposed to be sleeping.

I opened Jenna’s bedroom door first and peeked inside. The nightlight illuminated the room enough that I could see the little girl curled up in her toddler bed with one thumb in her mouth. I stood over her debating whether I should call her out on the pretend sleeping act but if it was an act, she was so good at it, she had me fooled.

Fine, I decided, it must have been Jason so I headed over to his room next and opened his door quickly, hoping to catch him off guard. But to my confusion, I found the same scenario in his room. He looked much too peaceful to be pretending.

Putting aside the strangeness of this place, I headed back downstairs. That’s when I caught sight of something scrambling across the hall at the bottom of the steps making its way from the kitchen area to the living room leaving a trail of potato chip crumbs in its wake.

“Hey!” I shouted, probably a little louder than I needed to.

I didn’t remember the Henderson’s telling me they had a pet, but then why would they? I was only here to watch the kids. I skipped down the steps and turned the corner to the living room, not sure what I would find there. The TV was on, the sound blasting, the empty potato chip bag discarded in the corner, but there was no sign of whatever I’d seen hustling to get in there.

Clicking the off button on the remote, I felt goosebumps cover my arms. I know I hadn’t turned on the TV and since I’d just confirmed both of the kids were sleeping, then who did that leave? What kind of pet used the TV remote?

If that weren’t creepy enough, I then spotted my cell phone as the screen flashed with an incoming text message on the other side of the living room window. I looked all around me.

“Who is there?” I said in barely more than a whisper.

The only sound was the tick tock of the grandfather clock in the entry way and a faint giggling that seemed to come from the coat closet. I swallowed hard and walked over to the window, unlocked it and retrieved my phone. Apparently, I’d been having a conversation with Evan, unbeknownst to me, while I’d been checking on the children. Scanning our messages history, I was going to have a heck of a lot of explaining to do. My skin crawled as I scrolled through my contacts for Kate’s number. I remembered her once talking about babysitting for the Henderson’s.

“Hey, Isabelle, what’s going on?”

“Kate,” I said trying not to let my voice come out as shaky as I felt.

“Is everything okay?”

“I’m babysitting for the Henderson’s.”

“Oh,” she said and then there was only silence.

“Do the Henderson’s have a pet or something?”

I heard Kate take a deep breath, which was only making me feel more nervous about the whole situation. I wanted to bail but I couldn’t just get up and leave with two children alone upstairs, no matter how crazy this house seemed.

“Not so much a pet,” Kate said at last, “More like an imp.”

“An imp?”

“Yeah, I mean, maybe not. I never really saw it myself but Mary said she did once when she was sitting for the Henderson’s. It’s why they only ever go out at night after the kids are tucked in bed. They say it’s safer that way. I’ve been told if you think the imp is bad, you should see the kids.”

“I see,” I said, but I really didn’t see at all. I’d read a couple stories with imps but never thought such a thing actually existed “Am I in danger?”

“Probably not.”

“That is not very reassuring.”

“Stay on his good side and you’ll be fine.”

“Right…” Hopefully all those potato chips went some ways toward appeasing him.

I hung up the phone feeling more uneasy than I’d started. I heard the giggling from the coat closet again. With a deep breath, I moved toward it, not sure I had the guts to face this thing but if this babysitting gig was going to work out, we were going to have to come to some sort of understanding.

**

Writing this story has inspired a new book! Currently brainstorming and outlining. Eager to start writing!

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me.:-) Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Headless Horseman

 

Illustration of a headless horseman with moon in background

Branches raked her arms and shins and hair flew around her face in disheveled strands, a far contrast to the neatly pulled back ponytail she’d started with. Hayley gasped for breath, pausing a moment to get a sense of where she was. She’d run much deeper into the woods than she’d ever gone before and around her skeleton trees pierced the dark, cloudy sky. The soft crunch of leaves reminded her that her pursuer was not far behind. She searched frantically but there were no obvious hiding places. How much more could she run before ultimately she succumbed to fate?

The horse snorted. An owl screeched, searching for prey. Hayley fought to get her breathing under control as she watched the full moon appear from behind its shield of thick clouds to momentarily illuminate the path before it was again swallowed into darkness. Fearing she’d already hesitated too long, she began running again.

She tripped and stumbled but managed to put out her hands to catch herself just before she hit the ground. The earth shook with the gallop of the horse which, no doubt, knew exactly where to find her. No matter how far or how fast she fled, she couldn’t escape it. The rain began to fall in thick sheets, soaking through her clothes almost immediately.

There was nowhere left to turn. Hayley covered her head with her arms as she braced for the impact as her body shook and her teeth chattered. When she dared to look up from the ground to gauge the horseman’s distance, he had vanished.

Trembling, she managed to stand on legs exhausted by running. She wrapped her arms around herself as much for comfort as warmth as she began walking as she sobbed with the rain. How could she have been so stupid?

As a child, she’d heard about the Legend of Sleepy Hollow but she’d never thought of it as much more than a children’s story meant to entertain or scare. Nathan had warned her not to go out that night but he’d also pulled her hair and hid behind drapes to jump out and scare her, too. Even though she’d looked in his eyes and saw fear, she’d brushed it off as little more than foolish play. It was simply another trick to scare her which had only made her want to prove even more that she couldn’t be scared.

Eventually someone would notice she had been gone too long and they would come looking for her but would it be too late? She glanced nervously over her shoulder, thinking she had heard the breaking of a branch over the deafening sound of the pouring rain. The horseman had vanished for now but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t return. Thunder punctuated her fear.

Hayley picked up her pace as panic filled her. In a flash of lightning, over her shoulder she’d glimpsed the horse in the distance as it rose up on hind legs while its rider held a sword pointed toward the sky.

She started running again but the path had turned to mud which slowed her steps even more. She didn’t have to look behind her again to know she’d been spotted. The sound of horse hooves hitting the ground filled her ears as her legs threatened to give out.

It isn’t possible.

A headless horseman is just a story.

She kept repeating the words in her head but believing them didn’t make the larger than life image fade away. He was on her in an instant. She screamed in defeat.

“Hayley!”

The voice cut through the rain and the pounding of the blood in her ears and at first she thought it only her imagination. Then she cleared the water from her eyes, unable to comprehend what she was seeing.

“Nathan?” she said sinking down to her knees and gasping for air.

**

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me.:-) Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Guidance from the Gamayan

Silhouette of birds on sunrise

According to Wikipedia, the gamayan is a prophetic bird of Russian folklore. It is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge and is usually depicted as a bird with a woman’s head. And according to Epika, it is a talking bird who foretells the future and reads fortunes.

Interesting… Although, I couldn’t get a grasp on how or why this bird may appear, I’ve used my own imagination to come up with the following little story.

Gillian kicked off her shoes and stretched out in the chaise lawn chair. Sunglasses in place, she sipped the fresh lemonade and yawned as a light breeze caressed her body and dried away the late afternoon sweat. It had been a long day and she was more than happy to close her eyes and put it behind her.

The cell phone next to her chair started to buzz but she snatched it from the table and turned it off without even looking at the caller ID. Whoever it was could leave a message and she’d deal with it later but as far as she was concerned, it was five o’clock on a Friday afternoon and the problems at the office no longer concerned her.

Of course, it could have been Darren. She picked up the phone again and considered the possibility. It felt cool in her palm despite the day’s heat. Finally, she tossed the phone back on the table and leaned back in her chair. She hadn’t been dating Darren for very long and although he was very good looking and knew all the right things to say, there was still something about him that put her a little on edge. Her friends encouraged the match, insisting that he was one of the better guys Gillian had gone out with, and maybe that was true, but there was still something about him that made her uneasy. She’d blamed it on the stress from work affecting her personal life for far too long.

She sighed and adjusted the straps on her tank top which had fallen down off one shoulder. This moment of peace was exactly what she needed. Her job had started to consume her life and shadow everything else she cared about.

She watched a group of birds gathering in a nearby tree as they chirped and played before stretching wings and taking off into the sky. She wondered what it would feel like to have that much freedom.

Before she could get too deep in her thoughts, a rustling from behind her chair caught her attention. At first she paid no attention. There was a fair bit of wildlife around her home but as the noise persisted, she became wary. She pulled off her glasses as she sat upright and swiveled around to get some idea of what was going on behind her, grabbing the phone, just in case. A strange sensation came over her, like she was being watched.

“Is someone there?” she called out as she powered on her phone. She waited for a response that didn’t come. Finally, she shook her head and sat back down, realizing that she was so unaccustomed to spending time alone that she let imagination get the better of her.

Glancing down at the screen, she noticed the missed call had been from Darren. He also sent a text message asking if she was available to get together for a drink later this evening. Although she’d made a promise to herself to spend the evening alone until she finally made the decision she’d been putting off too long, she hit reply and let him know she could be at the bar in an hour.

Maybe she was going about it all wrong.

As she opened the sliding glass door to go inside to shower, the rustling sound behind her caught her attention again. She turned around, dropped her glass and shrieked. The glass shattered and lemonade soaked her clothes but she barely registered it. Her focus was on the over sized bird perched on the deck railing. Not only was it unlike any bird she’d seen before but it had the head of a woman. She blinked a few times to try to clear her eyes but it was still there.

“Gillian, don’t be afraid.”

Gillian grasped the door handle behind her and gave it a tug but it wouldn’t open. She reached into her pocket for the cell phone she’d just put there. The bird creature stretched out her wings.

“You seek a glimpse into the future,” she said as she settled back down, “And I am here to offer you that.”

“Wh… wh… what are you talking about?”

“Come, sit, enjoy the warmth of the dying sun on your face with me as we have a little chat.”

Gillian didn’t move.

“Come on, don’t be silly. I won’t hurt you.”

Skirting the mess of broken glass on the deck, Gillian’s feet advanced toward the lawn chair where only moments ago she’d been absorbed in her own silent awe. Never in her wildest dreams had she thought human-birds were a part of that though.

“What are you?” she managed to say as she attempted to get comfortable, finding this would be an impossible task under the circumstances.

“I’m a gamayan,” she said as she perched on the table next to the chair. She was almost too big for it. The little table threatened to topple as she fought to get her balance. Eventually, she managed to settle and Gillian found it difficult to take her eyes off this strange creature. Beautiful and majestic, but how could she be real?

“I’ve never heard of such a thing,” Gillian said, as though this asserted that the creature couldn’t possibly exist, despite the fact that she sat right beside her.

“Few meet us.”

“Why are you here now?”

“Because you are caught at impasse, unable to choose the road that will lead to your true happiness in life. Even worse, you are likely to make a mistake that will take away your future entirely.”

“How?” Gillian said. Her mind was racing in a million different directions and she struggled to form coherent thoughts in the presence of this unusual creature.

“That man,” the gamayan said indicating the phone that Gillian hadn’t realized she’d been clutching in her right hand, “is not who you think he is.”

“Darren? I’ve only gone out with him a couple of times.”

“You are planning to meet him tonight. If you go, your life will end.”

“That’s a bit melodramatic,” Gillian said feeling her blood turn cold. She’d always thought there was something a little off about Darren, despite her friends insistence that he was perfect. Maybe she’d been right all along?

“You sense it, too,” the bird observed.

Gillian nodded slightly but her body had gone numb. She’d felt it from the first moment she met him. It was part of the reason she’d been so reluctant to answer his call.

“And tomorrow you shall receive an important notice about your career, one that may be easy to overlook. I suggest you keep your eyes, ears, and heart open, however, because your life is about to change.”

Gillian blinked out the sun that seemed to sink low enough in the sky that it was coming straight at her face. She reached up to her head for her sunglasses but they weren’t there. When she turned back to the bird to ask for more details, it was gone.

She sank into the chair and closed her eyes. Why did it seem late afternoon always made her feel so sleepy?

When she opened her eyes again, darkness had fallen and the cell phone sat on the table next to her buzzing for her attention. She reached over to grab it, noticing that it was Darren calling.

“Damn it!” she said before answering. She’d completely forgotten that she’d agreed to meet him for drinks. Judging by the time on her phone, she was thirty minutes late and he was probably wondering what happened to her. “Darren, I’m so sorry. I – uh – must have fallen asleep.”

She looked around, suddenly remembering the visitor she had had and the warnings not to go out with Darren.

“I was worried something maybe happened. I could come over to your place if you like?”

“Oh, actually, I just remembered something I needed to finish. Can I take a rain check on that?”

“Of course,” Darren said, but she didn’t miss the disappointment in his voice.

“Great, I will call you tomorrow and Darren, I’m so sorry again to leave you waiting.”

She disconnected the call and sat staring at the glass of lemonade on the table next to her chair, the same one she’d shattered earlier. She sniffed at her clothes which had the slightly sticky feel of spilled drink and lemon scent.

Had her conversation with the gamayan been only a dream?

**

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me.:-) Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Finding a Fairy

Trap for fairies

“You’re never going to catch one like that, Frankie.”

Sylvia snatched the bird cage out of her sister’s hands and started tying a rope to the top loop. She pulled it snug and sat back on her heels as she considered her work.

“I don’t know, Sylvia. Are you sure you want to do that?”

“How else are we going to prove they exist, huh? We need to actually catch one. That’s the whole point. Geez, Frankie.”

Frankie sighed and rested her elbows on her knees and her chin in her hands as she watched Sylvia put the final touches on the trap, which included a trail of M&M candies along the ground. She didn’t think Sylvia believed they were really going to catch a fairy. She doubted Sylvia even believed they existed so why were they putting so much time into it, and wasting good candy too?

“I’m hungry. Let’s go see if dinner is ready.”

“The sun is setting, Frankie.”

“So?”

“So, we don’t have much longer to get this thing perfect.”

“Right,” Frankie said with a sigh. She kicked at the grass that was tickling her feet. She’d abandoned her shoes earlier that afternoon in favor of wading in the stream and hadn’t bothered putting them back on since. She preferred the feel of earth below her feet.

“The fairies come out at sunset,” Sylvia said, as if she’d been the expert all along. She stood up and put her hands on her hips as she surveyed the woods around them. Frankie followed her gaze, wondering what they would do if they ever did catch a fairy? She suspected Sylvia’s intentions were not so friendly and the idea of it left an uneasiness in the pit of her stomach.

“I’m the one who saw one before,” Frankie said.

“Yeah, well, maybe you didn’t.”

“Are you calling me a liar?”

“We’re going to catch one and prove it to Jenny,” Sylvia said ignoring her comment.

“Who cares what Jenny thinks?”

“No one. That’s not the point.”

“After we catch one and prove they exist,” Frankie said carefully, “We’ll let it go, right?”

Sylvia gave her sister a hard stare and even though she didn’t say the words, Frankie knew the truth. If they did manage to catch one, the fairy was going to end up worse off than that frog Melanie kept talking about dissecting in Biology class.

When Sylvia turned her back, Frankie whispered under her breath a silent plea to any that might be listening to stay away. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught movement in the branches of a nearby tree. Slowly, she turned her head, careful not to make any sudden movements, and she took in the sight of an unmistakable bright sparkle of a fairy sliding playfully down a leaf. Frankie opened her mouth to call out to Sylvia but remembered the frog and thought better of it. The fairy slid all the way down to the bottom branch and then hit the ground with a silent plop.

Mesmerized, Frankie sank down to her hands and knees as she crawled toward her. She was certain it was the same one she’d seen the other night splashing in the bird bath, the same night she’d made the mistake of running into Sylvia’s room to drag her big sister to the window to watch. She should have known better. By the time she’d convinced Sylvia to pull away from her phone, the fairy had vanished.

The fairy looked up and smiled, not the least bit startled by being discovered.

She wants me to see her.

“What are you doing?”

Frankie bolted upright and turned to face Sylvia.

“Nothing. Honest.”

“Nothing, huh? You’re acting mighty suspicious over nothing. What are you hiding behind your back? Cough it up, Frankie.”

Sylvia attempted to push past but Frankie held her ground, determined not to let the fairy fall to whatever fate Sylvia had in store for it. Unfortunately, Sylvia had size and strength on her side and eventually, she managed to shove Frankie aside. Frankie scrambled to her feet and made a flying leap at Sylvia’s back, but she realized too late that the fairy had gone.

“What has gotten into you?” Sylvia said, spinning until Frankie detached and hit the ground.

“Come on, we’re going to be late for dinner,” Sylvia said.

Frankie glanced back at the tree and saw the fairy peek around the trunk to wave goodbye. She smiled. Fairies were smarter creatures than she’d given them credit for. She waved back and then jumped to her feet to follow Sylvia down the narrow path that led out of the woods and back to their house.

She knew as she washed her hands and took her seat at the table that she would need a plan to sneak out of the house later when everyone else was asleep.

**

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me.:-) Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.