All Hallows’ Eve Silent Night
by S. Peters-Davis
“I gotta make a quick trip to the restroom. Can I use the flashlight?” I asked, glancing at Rory as he tilted his head. “Oops.” We’d made a pact not to talk, experience the night of stargazing with each other in silence.
Rory handed me the flashlight. “Remember, no talking when you come out. Sasha, confirm.”
“Got it.” I nodded and then rushed into the dimly lit park restroom. Rory and I had come to the Haggerset Lake Park for the last four years to stargaze on Halloween, ever since we’d graduated high school. We loved our creep-night, the one night we dropped whatever we were doing and wherever we were to come back to each other.
A rustle outside, like something massive falling on the ground, startled me. I hurried with my business and ran out to check on Rory. He stood waiting for me. I slid the light beam his way, and he smiled, pointing toward the ground.
I didn’t say a word at the blanket and cooler strewn over the dewy grass, assuming he’d tripped over something. We picked up the stuff and headed away from the tree line to the beach by the lake—the perfect place to lay for an open view of the star-ridden sky.
We spread the blanket and sat. I dropped the flashlight beside me, and then pulled the wine and glasses from the cooler. Rory grabbed my hand, so I looked at him. He shook his head. I set the bottle next to me, thinking we’d open it later.
He stretched out on the blanket and patted the spot next to him. The moon cast enough light to see his shadowed face and body. I flipped to my backside, sliding close to him. His hand found mine and our fingers intertwined.
An electrical spark charged through me, like what happened whenever Rory touched me. I missed him during the long months we’d attended separate colleges, and this would be our last semester apart.
His breath sucked in as he pointed upward. A falling star streaked across the sky.
I gasped but remained silent as per our pact. An owl hooted in a tree on top of the hill. Crickets set a rhythm, adding to the croaking bullfrogs all around us. I adored the sounds and smells of the night, just like Rory had admitted the first time we’d done this.
He squeezed my fingers, raised my hand to his warm moist lips, and kissed my palm. His tongue slithered up and down my wrist, making me giggle. Then his lips attached to my skin, and he sucked. My whole insides melted and fluttered at the same time. I panted, wanting more.
His body slid over mine, his moist lips kissing, nipping, and sucking over my neck. Every cell in my body responded, zinging sparks spiked through my veins. His tongue slathered my skin. My eyelids closed on automatic.
“Sasha!” Rory? His voice came from on top of the hill.
I opened my eyes wide and pushed against the body on top of me that looked just like Rory. He covered my mouth with his hand, and with his other, held both of mine above my head. The skin on his face shimmered and blurred as he leaned over me, close to my face. A thin forked tongue slithered from his mouth, licking my face.
“Sasha, are you there?” Rory shouted again from a distance.
I bucked but to no avail. The thing’s skin turned to scales, and its eyes glowed amber with narrowed pupils like a snake. Fins grew along its forearms.
I fought hard, struggling to free a hand and bucking to throw him off. My hand came free, and I reached for the wine bottle.
Footfalls pounded down the hill. The monster glanced up. I wrapped my fingers around the neck of the wine bottle and swung. The monster’s head snapped sideways, and his body dropped off of me.
Rory stood over us. “My gods, what the hell is that thing? It attacked me, and I woke up in the middle of the woods, afraid of what it had done to you.” He gave me a hand up.
A rancid odor burst through the air, and the creature’s body sizzled, like brats on a grill.
We stepped back as it turned into bright embers and then dust. Rory pulled me into his arms as the night breeze carried the smoky particles over the water.
“That thing looked just like you. It licked me.” I yanked the bottom of my T-shirt up to wipe my face and neck.
“You couldn’t tell it wasn’t me?”
“It never kissed me on the lips.” And I couldn’t help but wonder what it had planned on doing with me. “What do you think its end game was with me?”
Rory took a knee and extracted a small box from his shirt pocket. “Not this.” He turned, so the moonlight shone on the box, and then he flipped it open. A diamond sparkled. His gaze melded into mine as he asked, “Sasha, monster-slayer of All Hallow’s Eve, will you marry me?” He grinned, and then added, “Before some scary creature sweeps you off your feet?”
Excerpt #3 (word count 434)
“I think I just saw Max’s mom outside, an older woman in a white pantsuit. Is that his mom?”
Kyle’s eyes widened, and then his brows folded inward as he shook his head. “His mom died about five years ago. There’s no adult here right now.”
Prickles chased up my arms and down my spine. Once in a while, a spirit appeared so full of life, like right now, it seemed a living person. Kyle continued to study me as if I’d lost my mind.
He stepped closer, and I thought he was going to put his arm around me. Instead, he lifted a picture frame off from a table. “This is Max’s mom.”
“Oh, she’s stunning.” And the woman I saw, wearing the same clothing. I quickly moved closer to the row of windows. “What a beautiful room. My mother would love this room for an office.” The moon had risen and cast a path of light across the water. “What a view.” The crystal against my sternum vibrated. Gloria shimmered into view, sobbing.
“He’s gone. Martin. He’s gone.” Her sad eyes searched mine. “Where could he have gone? We’ve never been apart.”
I looked at Kyle. He stood on the other side of me and would surely hear me. When I turned back to Gloria, she had vanished. What were the possibilities that Martin would step into the light without Gloria? He never left her side. Besides, they were both about getting justice before leaving the earth plane. He was all about protecting her. It didn’t make sense after all of these years of being stuck here that he would simply disappear.
“Bri.” Kyle grabbed my hand.
I glanced at him, sensing he’d been trying to get my attention before now. “Yes. Sorry.” The words came out a little breathy. The urgency of Martin missing overwhelmed me with questions. “I gotta go.” I pulled my hand from Kyle’s grasp and rushed from the room.