On October 31, Phantasm will make its way into the world. It's not my normal genre, but I'm told it's an intriguing story. Here's a sample ...
It was late in the evening when Mario stood up to leave. They had both dozed off, but she'd woken first, startled by a cool, feathery touch at the back of her neck. She'd squirmed away and rubbed her nape, but the chill remained.
When she woke fully, the mirror above the television held her attention. She blinked once, twice, sure that the smoky figure in the glass belonged to Dwayne. The lower half of his face moved as if he wanted to say something. What that was, she didn't know.
As she watched, he turned to mist and she couldn't tell if he was angry or sad. A weight sat in the region of her stomach because she knew what to expect. He'd never appeared to her this early in the evening, but without a doubt, he had a reason. Dwayne's hand lifted and though he had all but disappeared, the goosebumps creeping over Josette turned her bones to ice.
Beside her, Mario shifted and sat up. "I'm sorry, I guess I'm more tired than I think."
Josette ran both hands over her arms, trying to warm herself. "Don't worry about it. I woke just before you did."
He stood and pulled her up to stand before him. "I hope you'll be able to sleep through the night. You were restless today."
"I hope so too."
With one finger, he stroked her cheek. "If anything happens, or if you need me, call me. No matter what time of night it is."
She didn't hint in any way that she found his words disturbing, but nodded to satisfy him.
His head dipped, and she closed her eyes. Although the last thing she wanted was for him to kiss her, something inside her yearned for his touch.
He brushed her cheek with his lips, then her mouth and finally, kissed her other cheek before hugging her. She opened her eyes and there in the mirror Dwayne hovered to one side, watching them.
He'd never done that before. Blinking hard, she peeled her eyes back but he'd disappeared.
Mario stepped away, gripping her arms. "Sleep well, Jo-Jo."
"I will," she said, before pulling her lip between her teeth to stop it from trembling.
Mario watched her, as if he suspected she was hiding something from him, but didn't comment on his way to the front door and out of the house.
As soon as he closed the gate and drove off, Josette's shoulders slumped. She stood in the doorway, determined that whatever happened tonight, she'd stay calm. She'd gone through this ritual many times. One more time wouldn't kill her. That thought chilled her because it occurred to her that she didn't know what Dwayne wanted.