New Floor: Monday Blog Post

My new office floor.

Newest News:

Now that the book festival and fair are over, hubby began his long awaited project, replacing the carpet in our office with vinyl flooring. We started last Friday and were finished by Saturday afternoon. All except, that is, for the transition pieces leading from the office to the hall and from the office into the closet. Those he finished on Sunday. I still have a lot of files to bring back into the room, hopefully not back to the daybed. That would be nice to take a nap on.

A fellow author invited me to write a horror story for a book bundle. I’ve signed up to do it but it won’t be published until October 2019. That gives me plenty of time to work it out as horror isn’t my usual strong-point. However, I have decided on the main character name, Agnes Ditchweed, that it will be a SciFi horror taking place on another planet and that’s about it. If you don’t want to wait that long, I have my collection, Halloween Tales, on Amazon to help satisfy your Halloween reading. Go to my website tab Books for links to major retailers.



Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or $150 in Paypal cash? Drop by and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Spooktacular Authors Halloween Giveaway. This ends after Halloween! Get it now!

Shout Out:

Today’s shout out is to Claudette Melanson. An award winning author, Claudette writes horror. You can find her book, Rising Tide: Dark Innocence, on permafree at Enjoy!

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, for my next engagements.

My next public appearance will be at the Pine Fall Festival October 14th and 15th. On both days, I’ll be in the Community Hall with a few other authors selling and signing books with the antique dealers. On Saturday besides crafters, is the annual chili cook-off. Saturday hours are 9am – 5pm and the chili cook-off starts at 11am. Be there at 11am. The chili usually runs out by noon. Buy a ticket, taste the chili, vote for your fav top three! My hubby is usually there with his version. Sunday the hours are 9am – 4pm. Lots of crafters will be there and the weather is lovely in October. Come on by and say hello.

NEW! In November the Payson library is having it first ever mini-comicon. SciFi and Fantasy fans, get ready to head to central Arizona. There’ll be costumes, SciFi and Fantasy panels. I’m excited! I’ll post the date as soon as I have it.

On December 9th I’ll be at the Mesa Book Festival. Get full details at I’ll be in a booth with my author friend Marsha Ward. Between the two of us, we have a large number of genre’s covered. Come get your Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. The festival runs from 2pm – 8pm.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Ragged Weeping: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Misery by fuuuran via

Misery by fuuuran via

I woke again to ragged weeping and groaned. I had to get up at five and drive an hour and a half to work. Every night this week the weeping had woken me. I got up, threw on my robe and opened the bedroom door. Just like every other night, it sounded as if it was coming from my left, down the hall toward the stairs. I sighed and padded barefoot along the polished wood floors.

My best friend Mandy thought it was a ghost when I told her about it two days ago.

I snorted. “There’re no such things as ghosts.”

“Seriously, Bridget, haven’t you ever watched Ghost Finders on TV? They find ghosts all the time.”

Mandy believed everything she saw on the internet or saw ragged weeping. “I’ll figure it out.” I wish I felt as confident at two in the morning as I had at lunch in broad daylight. The sound quieted. I stared around the hall, faint moonlight coming in the window at the end. I went back to my bedroom and got the mini-flashlight and the wooden bat I kept handy by the bed. I opened every door on the hallway. Spare room, closets, bathroom, guest room, all were quiet. Downstairs I did the same, opened every door, listening, shining the light inside. No ghosts revealed themselves.

In the kitchen I listened to the appliances. There was just quiet humming, no ragged weeping sounds. I turned on the kitchen light and started the water in the kettle for a cup of tea. Some chamomile would help me get back to sleep. Two-fifteen in the morning, I sighed as I checked the clock over the door to the dining room. The house was so quiet I could hear the gas feeding the flame on the stove.

Maybe the noise was coming from the basement, the water heater or furnace or something. I shoved myself to my feet and opened the basement door. As basements in old houses go, this one was pretty clean and not too scary. In the daylight, anyway. I went down the creaky wooden stairs and walked around. The washer and dryer were silent. The water heater was quiet under its insulated blanket. The furnace made no noise but I noticed the fuel oil gage read a quarter full. I made a mental note to have the furnace guy come and do a service and to get the oil delivery guy to fill the tank before September.

I stopped at the end wall. Built-in rough wooden shelves stretched across three-quarters of the wall and held a variety of things I didn’t know what to do with and some things left over from the previous residents. I stared at the contents of the shelves. I should just have a yard sale and get rid of this stuff. The sound of weeping made me jump. What the hell! Where is that coming from? I backed away from the wall, swallowing hard. There was nothing on the other side of the wall. That was an end wall, just dirt on the other side. The weeping grew louder. I could see a furnace duct running along the ceiling right over the shelves. That’s why I could hear it up in my bedroom. The duct work carried the sound.

The kettle in the kitchen started screaming. I ran up the stairs, turned it off and dialed 911. It was going to be tough to explain.

Long past time for me to get up the police finished demolishing the shelves and uncovered a secret door. I watched from the steps. The cops didn’t want me in the way. I didn’t want to get too close.

Four officers in SWAT gear opened the door and went into the room I could only just glimpse. The men called out and others went in. “Clear, Clear, Clear,” I could hear them calling out. The officer in charge listened to the comms in his ear. He turned to a sergeant nearby. “Call an ambulance. Someone’s alive in there.”

I went back up to the kitchen and made a cup of Earl Grey tea. I was going to need the caffeine. An hour later they brought the stretcher up the stairs, through to kitchen and out the back door. I saw a woman, hair wild around a pasty-white, emaciated face, covered with a blanket. The lieutenant came up after the stretcher.

“What, who?” I babbled incoherently.

He sighed. “Strangest thing I’ve ever seen. She was a research assistant and lover, thirty years ago, to a Doctor Spark. He convinced her to stay with him in the secret room where they were doing experiments. There’s enough LSD down there to stone New York City. There are crates and crates of MRE’s. They’re tapped into the house electricity and water and sanitation.”

“Why did they do it?”

“She wasn’t clear. But the doc died, probably three years ago.” He looked at her. How long have you been here?”

I shrugged. “A year. But the weeping didn’t start until a week ago.”

“A psychiatrist is going to have to figure this out but people don’t do well all alone. She broke, I’m thinking.”

I could hear a buzzing in his ear. “Roger that,” he said. “They’re bringing the body up now.”

I nodded and moved to the far side of the kitchen, my hands wrapped around my tea mug. The medics pulled the gurney up the stairs and through the kitchen. The body seemed small under the sheet. Desiccated, I assumed. My phone rang. “Bridget, you all right? You’re not here yet.”

“I’m fine but I’m not going to be in today. You will not believe what’s happened here. I’ll tell you tomorrow.”

Mandy tried to get more details but I told her I was busy and hung up. No, this was going to be very hard to believe.


Thank You for reading!

983 Words

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Melt at your own Risk

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via

“No,” Roxanna shouted at her daughter. “Never, ever, give in. No melting.”

Little Pam gave her mother an eye roll.

“No! Oh, it seems fun at the beginning but then, it’s harder and harder to pull away.” Roxanna grasped her daughter’s shoulders with both hands and looked her eye to eye.

At twelve, Pam was in full parental defiance mode. Melting was delicious. All of the edges blurred. Her muscles relaxed and everything became soft and flowy. “I can control it.”

“You can’t.” Roxanna gave her daughter a little shake. “You’ve just started coming into your powers. It’s unfortunate that melting was the first one. You should have had more time to learn the proper techniques and controls. Melting is easy. It feels good. But the danger is that you go too far and won’t be able to or perhaps won’t want to come back. Is that what you want? For me to keep you in a jar on the mantle?”

That got Pam’s attention. Spending her life in a jar sounded horrible. “No. I’ll hold off melting.” The girl scuffed her sneakered toe into the carpet.

Roxanna clapped her daughter on the shoulders with a sigh. “Good. Soon your other powers will develop and we’ll work with those. Be patient.”

Pam nodded and left for her room. She flopped on the bed. Being a witch had seemed so exciting. Her mother was a powerful witch. Pam had been eager to get her own powers. Now it seemed as though everything was a no. ‘No, you can’t melt.’ ‘Be careful, that power needs years of practice.’ ‘Stop, that’s dangerous.’ Pam flung her arms out across the bed.

Especially today. It was All Hallows Eve and the witches party was tonight. Pam wanted to show off her melting to her friends. Now it would be another year before she could be a full participant.

By the time it was full dark everyone was assembled. The bonfire was blazing, and the dancing had started. Despite the chill in the air, many of the witches danced naked. Pam thought nothing of it. She’d been attending the coven gatherings since she was a baby.


Pam turned to see her two best friends, Agatha, and Emily, running to greet her.

“Look!” Agatha opened her hand. Dancing on her palm was a tiny flame. “It came to me over the weekend. Mom helped me learn to control it.” The girl raised her index finger and the flame move to its tip. “See! Isn’t this the greatest?” Agatha and Emily grinned and giggled.

Pam’s heart sank and a red wash of jealousy coursed through her. Her face grew hot. “I can melt. That’s my first power.”

“Melt?” Emily’s eyes grew big. “No one in my family can melt.”

“My mom can and now, so can I.”

“Show us,” Agatha demanded.

Pam looked around the clearing. Her mother danced in the circle. Her long red hair swung with abandon, glinting in the firelight. “My mom says it’s dangerous. I may never come back.”

Agatha, always competitive with Pam, snorted. “You can’t do it, can you?”

“I can, too!” Pam checked her mother again. Roxanna danced with her friends. “Well, just a little melting won’t hurt.” She let herself relax. Pam could feel her edges soften. The warmth of the change accelerated the process. Her mother was right, she thought. This does feel good.

Dimly she could hear Agatha and Emily gasp. “You can melt,” Emily exclaimed.

Pam didn’t nod. That would pull her out of the melt. Just a little more so Agatha would know she could really do it. Her body continued to soften. Pam could feel herself flowing. The moon began to pull at her and a low thrumming echoed in her mind. Just a little more. This was so peaceful and the thrumming, first loud, then soft, relaxed her. She could feel it ebbing and flowing within her.

She could barely hear Emily screaming for her to stop. A little more. How far can I go? She could no longer see when Agatha dragged Roxanna to the remains of Pam’s body. Roxanna held her hands over Pam’s soggy clothing and began to chant. Several witches joined her, adding their power to hers.

Agatha and Emily held each other and sobbed.

After an hour, the witches gave up. Roxanna, pale and shaking, lay sobbing on the cold ground. One of the witches covered her with her clothes. Pam was gone, soaked into the ground. The witches went home. Roxanna and a handful of friends built a fence around the spot where Pam had melted. No one would walk on it. Roxanna hoped that the child would reform and come back.

Three witches stayed behind as two friends led Roxanna away. “Think the girl will come back?”

“Nope. She’s part of the earth now. Glad my family doesn’t have melting in our lineage. I’ve heard of this happening. The melters never come back.”

The three stood around the fence. “Melt at your own risk, I guess,” the third witch said.

They all nodded.


The End

847 Words

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Flash Fiction Friday Post: Dark Carnival

State Fair

State Fair 2011 by Randy Cockrell

Gabi Rickson rubbed her eye as she flipped the switch in the trailer turning off the carnival music. If she never heard carnival music again it would be fine by her. If she never stepped foot in another carnival trailer, that would be fine, too. Next town, Gabi promised herself as she turned out the flashing neon lights; she’d get a waitressing job in a diner or something and get away from this creepy carnival.

After a month with the carnival, she was trusted to shut up the game trailer for the night. She stepped out of the back door and locked it. Gabi shared a camper with the carnie owner’s daughter, Brianne. The bed over the cab was hers, along with the tiny storage cubby. Not that she had much—a couple of changes of clothes, her e-reader, and the electronic notebook that served as her computer when a free WiFi hotspot presented itself.

At the camper, she went inside. It shifted with her weight on the step. The light was on over the stove, meaning that Brianne was out. Gabi felt relieved. Brianne and the rest of the carnies had some sort of weird vibe. Kind of like the vibe she got from her mother’s boyfriend and the reason she’d left home. The carnie vibe, though, was something else. They seemed okay during the day, friendly enough. After dark was another thing. Gabi eyed the door. She wanted nothing better than to lock the damn thing but it wasn’t her camper and Brianne needed to get in.

She changed into the tee-shirt she slept in and splashed her face in the tiny bathroom sink. Thank goodness the camper had a toilet and shower. It would have sucked to use the port-a-pots and outside wash stations some of the carnies had to use. After she climbed up into her bed, she read a chapter on her e-reader and turned out the lights. The game trailer had to open at ten, just seven hours away.

Gabi woke, heart pounding, the camper rocking violently. She scrambled down the ladder and bolted out of the camper door, barefoot and trembling. With the dirt and small stones cutting into her feet, she saw three men rocking the camper.

Brianne grabbed her hand. “Come on! Run!”

Blinking with confusion, Gabi followed, her hand still in Brianne’s. “What’s going on? Where are we going?”

“Hurry!” The owner’s daughter dragged her past the carnie’s campers and led the nineteen-year-old at a run up the ramp of the carnival’s only tractor trailer, through a person-sized door. She dropped Gabi’s hand and slammed the door shut.

Gabi stood gasping as Brianne stood, back against the door. “What is going on?”

“It’s time.”

“Time for what?” Gabi shook her head. This wasn’t making any sense.

Brianne stood up. “Time for you to serve your purpose.” She took Gabi’s hands in hers. “Time for you to pay us back.”

Gabi tried to pull her hands from Brianna’s. “Pay you back? I do my work.”

Brianna’s grip tightened. “Of course. But we need more than that, sweet girl.”

Gabi yanked her hands, but the carnie’s grip couldn’t be broken. She didn’t like the way Brianna stared. “Let go of me!” she cried out. Panic flooded through her.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart.” Brianna smiled and licked her lips. “This won’t hurt. Not too much, anyway.”

“Let go!” Gabi shouted as her elbows were grabbed by two men, one on each side. Brianna let go of her wrists as the two men lifted Gabi from her feet. She recognized them from around the carnival but hadn’t really met them. “Let me go!” she screamed again as they carried her to the front of the trailer.

The inside was lit by purple rope lights mounted along the corners where wall met roof. The sides were lined with the carnie people, dressed in black robes, hands tucked into wide sleeves. Gabi tried to kick the legs of the men who held her, but her bare feet were weak weapons. They ignored her. At the front of the trailer was a platform that ran the width of the trailer and a table, draped in white, on it. The white material glowed purple in the light from the ropes. They lifted her higher and before she could react, two other men grabbed her feet and bound them in three turns of rope before she was placed on the white cloth. Her hands were raised over her head and tied to the corners of the table. She thrashed, her long blonde hair spilling across the table and over her face. Tears flowed with fear and frustration.

Brianne, now dressed in a black robe with silver embroidery at wrist hems and down the middle front of the robe, gently pulled Gabi’s hair back from her face and with a black cloth, wiped her eyes. “Shh, sweet girl. There’s no need to fear. You’ve been judged worthy.”

“Worthy?” Gabi tugged at her feet, they were secured, as were her hands. “What are you doing?”

“We need to feed. You’ve been chosen.”

Gabi shook her head so hard the hair flew again. “You can’t. You can’t!”

The people in the room began to chant. Brianne lifted Gabi’s head and placed a padded brace under her neck and smoothed all of Gabi’s hair to her left shoulder. “So beautiful, dear girl. You’ll feed us for quite some time.”

Gabi screamed as Brianne leaned over her neck and bit. Fear and pain flooded through her then warmth and a feeling of bliss.

The missing girl posters appeared a week later, but the carnival had moved on. A year later the body of a woman, apparent age 72 was found in the parking lot of an abandoned drive-in theater.

Gabi’s mother searched for her daughter the rest of her life.


The End

977 Words

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: The Magician

Magic, Magician

The Magician by BlowYourMindDesign: Robgrafix via


Warning: This story has elements of child abuse in it.

The Magician

The show started at eleven but ten minutes early the music started. It was the maniacally cheerful, chirpy music designed specifically to pull children in. The stage was in the dirt median between the highway and the strip mall parking lot. The music did its job. Kids and their parents gathered in front of the stage. Even before lunch, the kids were dancing with impatience already overloaded on the candy canes and hot chocolate offered free in every shop in the mall for the Christmas season kick-off.

At eleven on the dot the magician bounded up the steps at the back of the mobile stage. Taller than average, the thin, elderly man wore a porkpie hat, black dress shirt and pants, black plastic rimmed glasses and an eggplant colored jacket with matching tie that glittered in the sunlight.

He was jovial – greeting the audience with enthusiasm and a big grin. Under the clear blue sky he dazzled the people with sleight of hand and amazing tricks. The children stood slack-jawed, remains of candy canes forgotten in their sticky hands.

The Magician made birds appear and disappear, cut ropes reattach themselves, and pulled butterflies out of his hat. Silk flowers were pulled from behind the ear of a little girl who squealed with delight. For his last trick he brought a boy of about eight and his parents up on stage. He whispered the magic word in each of their ears. When he clapped his hands, bubbles fell from the stage ceiling. The family raised their faces to the falling bubbles with glee. The audience applauded and many dropped tips in the basket at the front of the stage.

At one in the morning the magician opened his hotel room door at a knock. There stood the parents with their son between them. “We came.” The father’s face was blank, eyes staring.

The mother guided her son through the door. “Here he is.” Her face was neutral.

The boy, in the same trance as his parents, stepped inside the room without turning around.

The magician waved, spoke the magic word and the parents turned and left. Their son never twitched. The man shut the door and moved around to face the child. “What’s your name?”

“Jimmy.” The child’s eyes looked into the Magician’s.

“A good name, Jimmy. We’re going to have a lot of fun, son. A lot of fun.”

The boy, still staring, nodded.

The Magician waved his hand in front of Jimmy’s face and said the magic word. “Let’s get some sleep, Jimmy. We have to leave early in the morning.”

The boy went to the queen sized bed without undressing, clambered up and put his head on the bedspread covered pillow and closed his eyes. He was asleep immediately. They were gone by six in the morning.

The parents called the police at eight to report their son missing from his bedroom. They described their son; the pajama’s he was wearing, provided a picture. They begged for his safe return on national television. The search went on for years.

The Magician and Jimmy traveled the country. No one recognized the boy. When he grew older the magician released the spell and abandoned Jimmy in a big city.

At the next show, last act, the magician called a young family up on stage and whispered the magic word in each of their ears.



The End

565 Words

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Flash Fiction Friday: Poltergeist

Energy ball 001 by ISOStock via

Energy ball 001 by ISOStock via

“How do you do that?” my friend, Linda, asked from the front passenger seat.

“Do what?” I tapped my fingers on the wheel.

“Hit every red stop light? No wonder you’re always late.”

She didn’t know the half of it. “Just lucky, I guess.”

That morning was typical. The toaster burned the bread. The electric kettle wouldn’t boil water. The car starter just turned over until I got out, fiddled with the cable and knocked on the engine block three times. Bad cable you may say but I’ve replaced that cable five times in the last six months.

Anything electrical or electronic is a challenge. At home that night I lit a few candles and an oil lamp and sat down to read. I was half a chapter into the book when I could smell the ozone and hear the zz zz zz. “Come on out, don’t be shy,” I called as I marked my place and set the book on the coffee table.

They did, just like the night a year ago when my great-aunt, Emily, came over to see what I was talking about. We sat in the living room, the lights on, chatting about her bridge club when the lights went out with a huge crackle. Then we saw the little balls of sparks flew out of the kitchen and race around the room, dancing up and down the walls where hidden electrical lines were buried. At the end they drifted to me, circling my head, making the hair on my arms stand up. They raced up and down my body and when I raised my hands, palms up, several settled in each palm, sparkling like fireworks.

After they drifted away and disappeared Aunt Emily took a breath. “Poltergeist, that’s interesting. Can you control them?”

The thought hadn’t occurred to me but from that point on that’s how I spent my evenings, learning to control my little electrical poltergeist. I’m getting pretty good. Most nights I let them come out when they want to. Some nights though, I call them. It was tough at first. I had no idea how to start. It turns out it’s a feeling, a need or desire. Once I mastered that, I began working on sending them to different parts of the room. Their reward is that I call them to me and let them swarm. Cuddle time, I call it. It doesn’t hurt, I feel energized, actually.

Recently I’ve been working on getting them to do actual work. They’ll turn on my lamp for me now when I ask. A week ago I was home, practicing with the poltergeist, when I heard the back door open. A shot of adrenaline surged through me. The little balls of sparks flew around the room in what I could only call a panic. “Who is it?” I rose from my chair.

Something glass hit the floor of the kitchen. The poltergeist shot toward the kitchen door and hovered there. I crept to the door jam and peeked around the corner. The light from the sparking dimly lit the room. A guy was standing in the middle of the floor, glass shards sparkled at his feet. The light from his flashlight hit me in the face. “Get in here,” he growled.

He had a knit balaclava over his head but his eyes were visible. They were wide. I can just imagine what I looked like with balls of sparks flying all around my head. He waved me into the kitchen with the hand that held a bag. “The lights were off. I didn’t think anyone was home. Sit in that chair.”

I slowly moved to the chair next to the kitchen table, pulled it out and sat down. The poltergeist were still with me.

“What is that?” He pointed the flashlight at the balls of sparks. Fear tinged his voice.

“I have poltergeist.”

He took two steps toward me, glass crunched under his feet. “Don’t be smart.” He batted at one that flew close to him.

“It’s true.” I stared him down. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

“Shut up.” He raised his flashlight and pointed it at me. “Where’s your cash.”

“My purse is on the cupboard,” I pointed to my right.

He crunched across the floor and dumped it on the counter. He ignored everything but the wallet. After he opened it he dug out my cash. “Seriously, twelve bucks?”

“Sorry, didn’t know you were coming.”

“Don’t be wise.” He pulled my credit card out of my wallet and turned to me. “This all you got?”

“Yeah. How many do I need?”

A few of the poltergeist swarmed over the credit card the guy was still holding up. That was going to ruin the magnetic strip on the card but I wasn’t going to tell him. He jerked his hand away and batted at the sparks with the flashlight.

More of the poltergeist flew over and swarmed the flashlight which went out. The guy batted furiously at the sparks. That caused all the rest of them to swarm him, up and down, round and round. I could see him in their light, whirling around and around, swearing. He began to choke and grab at his chest. The flashlight fell to the floor with a crash and rolled under the table. The would-be robber sank to the floor, groaning and gasping for breath.

I got up and went to my landline and dialed 911. “I have a robber in my house. It looks like he’s having a heart attack.”

Ten minutes later, the cops, then the ambulance were at the front door. I’d turned the lights on and encouraged the poltergeist to disappear. The cops took a statement; the EMT’s took the body. Heart attack, they told the cops.

After they left, I swept up the broken and crushed glass. The poltergeist came back out to play. I can think of several ways my friends could be useful.


The End

996 Words

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Flash Fiction Friday: Day Ghosts

Red Sky by Randy Cockrell

Red Sky by Randy Cockrell

The summer sun still spread its fingers of light down my street. I hesitated in the doorway of my apartment building. I needed to get to work but I wanted to wait until the sun was gone from the sky.

The building super moved past me with a barrel of trash for the dumpster. He eyed me as he passed. I nodded. He viewed me with suspicion because I wanted the basement apartment on the north side of the building. “No one wants that apartment, why do you want it?”

I shrugged. “I work nights. I like it dark while I sleep during the day.”

He eyed me then too. “OK, but don’t come back in a month looking for a place on the top floor.”

I promised. I’d never ask for a place on the top floor. I love October. The days are noticeably shorter. I have more time to move around the city without sunlight. I know, most people want to be out in the sun. Not me. And before you ask, no, I’m not a vampire. Those are a myth. My problem is ghosts.

The sun’s last rays lingered but I had to go. I stepped out into the street and looked both ways. I didn’t see anything but I never do when I take this chance. I was nineteen when it first happened. I was leaving the college library after an all afternoon session. All I could think about was getting to the student union and filling a tray with a burger and fries. I was half a block from the Union when a cold shudder swept through me. I stopped dead on the sidewalk and felt as though I was going to vomit. I pushed hair out of my face with a shaky hand. I didn’t have time to be sick. I swallowed and looked around. There were a lot of kids but no one was paying any attention to me. I started on my way and was overcome again with that feeling of ice and doom. I made it to a bush, just loosing its yellowed leaves to the recent frost before I hurled into it. A couple of passing girls giggled. I blushed.

I turned around and headed for my dorm room. Hungry or not, I needed to lie down. I had three more attacks before I made it inside to rest. My mom called me three days later. “Have you been feeling all right, sweetie?”

“Yeah, I must have some bug.” My voice was weak, days of chills and vomiting had taken a toll.

The line was silent for a moment. “When do you get sick?”

“Outside, every time I try to go to class or to the cafeteria, I just lose it.”

She didn’t say anything. I thought the connection had been lost. “Mom?”

“Um, I need to tell you something.”


“You remember your grandmother Winston? Never went out in the daylight?”

“Yeah? Kinda strange. Only went to night mass, that kind of thing.”

“Well, she was cursed.”

I had to digest that information for a minute. “Cursed, like a gypsy curse? There’s no such thing.”

“There is. Look. I’ll drive up. It’ll be dinner time when I get there. You stay inside and rest. I’ll come and get you.”

I felt better by the time she came. It was dark when we left the dorm. She took me to a nice place and I tore into a medium rare steak, baked potato and green beans. Over dessert I opened the discussion. “So tell me about the curse.”

She sipped Pinot Noir. “She was about your age and told me when you were a baby. I never paid any attention to her activities, it all seemed normal to me. She did everything after sunset. I thought that’s what everyone did. As a teen she’d made fun of some old woman on Main Street. The woman glared at her and said, “Laugh now, young one. See how you like living in the dark. This is for you and your’s every other generation for three generations.” Then she spit on the sidewalk at your grandmother’s feet.”

I resisted the urge to lick the inside of the crème brulee cup. “Seriously, Mom?”

“I know. But the symptoms you’re experiencing are the same as hers. Ghosts, she told me, can’t be seen well in the light. They were attracted to her and swarmed her. At night, they left her alone.”

My fingers flipped the licked clean spoon over and over on the white tablecloth. “You expect me to believe that? I can’t go out during the day because I’m being swarmed by ghosts?”

She nodded.

It’s been six years. Mom was right. I can’t see them, but they’re there and if a ray of sun is around, they’ll swarm me. I haven’t told my fiancé yet. I’m not sure how to do that. I round a corner and step into the last of the sunshine. I’m washed in cold air and it feels as though I’ve been punched in the stomach. What’s left of my late lunch comes up as I hurl against the wall of the building next to me. The sun drops behind the horizon and the cold disappears. I dig a tissue out of my pocket and wipe my mouth. A wino on a nearby bench asks if I’m OK.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Must have been bad food.”

“Gotta watch that, Miss. Those diners, they don’t care, just keep serving the old stuff up.”

“Thanks,” I tell him and wobble away.

No, I’m not sure how my fiancé is going to take this at all.

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