#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 That chocolate syrup must have been seriously out of date, I decided as I tossed the contents of my bowl in the sink and rinsed everything down the drain.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.

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#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.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Escaping the Eddimu

White ghost appears in the forest's mistAccording to Wikipedia, the eddimu were a type of utukku in Sumerian religion. They were envisioned as the ghosts of those who were not buried properly and were considered vengeful toward the living.

White shapes gathered under the moonlight. They floated effortlessly between the trees, reflecting the light as they moved. Arms outstretched, they hovered closer. They had no eyes but yet they seemed to see.

Maggie drew back from the window and yanked the heavy drapes closed. As usual, the old, drafty house was cold. No matter how much she turned up the heat or how many logs she added to the fireplace, she knew she would never feel warm here. It had been that way since Ethan died, only lately, it had been getting worse.

The ringing of the phone caught her off guard and made her stumble into an end table. With a stifled moan, she grabbed the receiver and brought it up to her mouth, breathless, she managed to hold back the string of curse words she’d wished to say.

“You’re never going to believe what he did this time.”

“What’s going on?” Maggie said, sinking into a rocking chair and eyeing the closed drapes warily. She listened to her friend, Kate, ramble about something completely unimportant while she contemplated how long those things would be out there tonight.

“Did you hear a word I said?” Kate asked, bringing Maggie out of her head and back to the conversation.

“Oh, of course I did.”

Kate made a sound that Maggie knew most likely meant she didn’t believe her but regardless, she continued to drone on. The latest boyfriend took up a lot of Kate’s time and energy and like or not, Maggie was going to get dragged into the saga.

“I’m sure he’ll come around,” Maggie said trying to offer support even though truly, she wasn’t sure of anything, least of all whether Kate’s recent romantic interest would finally see her friend for the brilliant person she clearly thought she was.

“Forget him,” Kate said suddenly, “What we need is a girl’s night out.”

Maggie sat straighter in her chair, “No! – I mean – it’s just that I’ve not been feeling very well lately and I’ve been so busy at work that -”

“Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, enough with the excuses already. Every time I suggest we get you out of that big, dreary house you have a dozen of them. I’m sorry but it’s time.”

“I’m not ready.”

“You’ll never be ready.”

“Some people don’t move on as quickly as you do, Kate.”

“That isn’t fair and you know it.”

“I’m sorry,” Maggie said resting her head back and letting the chair lull her gently back and forth, “You’re right.”

“I miss him, too.”

“Yeah, I know you do. I shouldn’t have said that.”

“But Maggie, you can’t sit around waiting for some magic moment when life finally feels normal again because I hate to break it to you but it’s never going to feel normal. You have to keep moving forward anyway. Ethan would have hated for you to sit around moping and feeling sorry for yourself all the time.”

“I don’t feel sorry for myself. Work really has been very busy. And things have been – weird lately.”

“Weird? How?”

Maggie sighed and wished she hadn’t said anything. Now that the hint of it was out there, it would be unlikely for Kate to simply drop it without more of an explanation and Maggie had never been a very good liar.

“I don’t want to talk about it on the phone.”

“Good, then you have absolutely no excuse why you can’t join me for a girl’s night out tomorrow. I’ll meet you for drinks after work at the usual spot.”

“I haven’t been back there since -”

“Don’t worry, it hasn’t changed,” Kate said cutting her off, “Six thirty sound good?”

“I can’t.”

Kate gave her an exaggerated sigh over the phone and Maggie cringed at the thoughts that must be running through her friend’s head.

“Give me one good reason.”

Maggie took a deep breath and decided there was no reason not to just come out with the blunt truth. Kate needed to know.

“Because Ethan is back.”

There was silence on the other end of the receiver and Maggie started to think she’d lost the call. She leaned forward and rested her elbows on her knees listening intently to confirm the faint sound of Kate’s breathing on the other end.

“Our Ethan?”

“Yes.”

“That isn’t funny.”

“It isn’t a joke.”

“Maggie, he isn’t coming back,” Kate said softly, patronizing, almost as though she were talking to a child.

Maggie gritted her teeth and tried to calm the racing of her heart. Of all the people who might believe such a crazy idea, it should have been Kate. Maggie wanted to scream at her for playing ignorant. She glanced toward the window again and for a split second, she was certain that the heavy material swayed as though someone had been watching her and dropped the drapes just in time to conceal his identity.

“You don’t have to believe me, Kate, but it’s true and I’m not going anywhere until I figure out what he is trying to tell me.”

“Goodness, Maggie, I had no idea how much all this affected you. I shouldn’t have left you alone so long.”

“I’m not crazy, Kate. You know that better than most.”

“If you’re referring to -”

“You know exactly what I’m referring to. Stop pretending like you didn’t see it too.”

“I don’t know what we saw, Maggie. Honest.”

“Never mind that,” Maggie said with a sigh, “Let’s have lunch on Saturday. Here, at my house. I have something I want you to see.”

Maggie could feel the hesitation. She knew that Kate hated the house and was probably debating suggesting an alternative location at the risk of making Maggie change her mind about getting together at all. Finally, she conceded.

“Fine. Saturday but I expect you to tell me everything.”

“Of course,” Maggie agreed.

“And I want you to promise me that after you do, you will get help.”

“I’m not crazy.”

“Promise me.”

“Fine. I promise. You will see for yourself though. I’m not crazy.”

After she hung up the phone, Maggie continued to sit in the rocking chair staring at the drapes, willing them to move. She didn’t dare get up and look out the window again. The chime of the clock in the hall alerted her to the fact that it was already eleven o’clock.

Only an hour until she faced him. She silently said a prayer that he’d be in a better mood than last night…

**

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.