Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Trick or Treat

 Years ago I wrote a short story for another blog I was on. I'd practically forgotten about it. It's not a romance and if you have a squeamish stomach you may not want to read it. I loved stepping away from romance to write something scary. I hope you enjoy it.


Trick or Treat

 

Tonight was the night.  After this moment, he would have it all. He'd waited so long for this moment, and nothing was going to stand in his way.

Dressed as Count Dracula, Alex stepped up to the front door, drew in a deep breath to calm his nerves, and rang the bell. Cindy Lou Beckam was going to be the one, and the anticipation was nearly killing him. Of all the girls in Roddem High, she was the only one he thought worthy. It didn't hurt that she was new to the school and didn't have a single friend. It made it so much easier to talk to her to win her over. He imagined it wasn't easy coming to a new school, let alone in your final year.  And being shy certainly didn't help her to make new friends.

Cindy Lou Beckam. She was perfect.  With her sweet angelic face, long blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a body that cried out to be touched. And, she was a virgin-or so he'd been told. It almost seemed like she'd been handed to him when he'd needed someone so badly.

His pulse began to hammer as the doorknob turned and the door swung open.  The instant he caught sight of her, his throat went dry.  Dressed in a flowing white gown, fluffy white wings at her back and a gold, sparkling halo on her head, she was every bit the angel she dressed as. She couldn't have picked a better costume.

"Hi."

"Hi."

"You look good as Dracula."

She smiled at him, and his heart began to pound wildly. "Thanks. You look incredible as an angel."

Again, she smiled and sent his pulse soaring. "Aw, thanks. I have to admit, I'm a little nervous going to this party tonight."

"There's really no need to be nervous. You're going to have a blast." He held his hand out to her, and when she took it, he thought about what was in store for them both. 

"I've never had alcohol before," she informed him, stepping out into the warm night, shutting the door behind her.

"You don't have to drink if you don't want to." Leading her to his beat-up Accord, he held the passenger door for her.  He closed his eyes and drew in her perfume. He didn't know what it was, but it sure smelled pretty. Rounding the car, he climbed behind the wheel and inserted the keys into the ignition. "This is going to be so much fun. I'm glad you agreed to be my date."

"No one's ever asked me to a Halloween party before."

"Seriously? Wow. Well, I'm glad I'm your first." In so many ways.

"My parents are very strict. I had to sneak my costume into the house when they weren't home. I was so nervous today, and I thought they would never leave for church."

He put the car in drive . "Church, on Halloween? "

"They go every year to pray for the souls that are misguided by this Pagan holiday."

He glanced her way, saw how stiffly she sat in her seat. "I don't know how you do it, living like that. I think it would drive me nuts."

"It’s all I’ve ever known,” she stated softly, smoothing her gown. “I have to be home by ten before they get home from church.”

“Sure, no problem.” He took the corner, headed down the street. “It must have been hard growing up that way and seeing all of the other kids going out, dressed in costumes, and getting candy.”

“I often wished I could be them for even one day.”

She sounded so sad. “I bet. Well, tonight, you can make up for all those years you weren’t allowed to have fun.” He pulled up to the curb, squeezed between two parked cars, and turned the engine off. “And here we are.”

“Wow, it looks busy.”

“I think Seth said he expected fifty people.” He leaned over, planted a kiss on her cheek. When she dipped her head down shyly, he smiled. She was so cute.

“That’s a lot of people. I don’t know if I can do this.”

He took her hand in his, turned her to face him and smiled. “I promise I won’t let you out of my sight.” This time he kissed her lips and though she felt stiff, he enjoyed the embrace nonetheless. “Ready?”

“No.” She giggled.

He kissed her again then slid from the vehicle. Taking a few deep breaths as he walked around the car, he opened her door and held out his hand. She hesitated a moment before taking it. 

“Trust me, this will be great.” Linking his fingers with hers, he closed the car door then led her up the walk to the house.  He was so nervous, so excited he thought he might burst. Not bothering to ring the bell, he opened the door, and the noise rushed at them like a blast of wind.  The loud drumbeat of ACDC’s "Back in Black" was just what he needed to calm his nerves. The place was packed. People dressed in various costumes, some in masks, some not, from devils to witches and everything in between.

It looked like everyone was here.

“Wow!”

He clasped her hand a little tighter as he led her through the crowd. Spotting his best friend across the room while making his way forward. “Davy, how’s it hanging, man?”

Dressed in a Grim Reaper costume, Davy waved a hand at his knees. “Down to my knees. So this is Cindy Lou.”

Alex felt her tense and wrapped his arm around her waist. “One and only.”

“Pleased to meet you.” He held his black-gloved hand out to her.

Cautiously, she took his hand and nodded. “Nice to meet you.”

“Sweet. Well, help yourself to whatever. There’s plenty of it to go around.”

“His parents allow this?” she asked as Alex led her through the room, saying hi to everyone they passed by.

“They always go on vacation at the end of October. They won’t be back until mid-November. This looks good.” Scooping a plastic cup from the table, Alex grabbed the spoon in the huge vat filled with some orange liquid and filled the glass. He handed it to Cindy with a smile. “Try it.”

Hesitantly, she took the cup and lifted it to her lips. She took a sip, her eyes watered, and she began to cough. “Wow!”

“I know. Davy knows how to mix his liquor.” He poured himself a glass, then, taking her free hand in his, led her through the house.

“I’m not sure I belong here.”

“Nonsense. Hey, Tina. You’ll love her, she’s a riot,” Alex explained as he led Cindy through the crowd to Tina, who was sitting on the sofa, dressed in a French maid's costume and looking damn sexy. “I want you to meet someone special. Tina, this is Cindy Lou.”

Getting to her feet, Tina flashed a killer smile, her red lips plump and glossy. “Cindy Lou. You’re all I hear about from this guy.” Tina slapped a hand on Alex’s chest. “Nice to meet you finally.”

“Um…nice to meet you too. I…uh, like your costume.”

Why, this old thing.” Tina ruffled her frilly skirt, which barely reached mid-calf. “Yours is cool. I like the fluffy wings.”

“Thanks.” Cindy sipped from her cup, glancing around the room. “I can’t believe how many people are here.”

“I know. Crazy, huh? Davy knows how to give a party. “

“That he does,” Alex agreed. “Well, I want to show Cindy Lou around. Catch you later, Tina.”

“You know it. Nice to meet you.”

They wandered through the crowd with Alex waving and saying hi to those around him.

“That skirt was awfully short.”

“If she wore anything longer, I’d worry the world was coming to an end. You’re not drinking your drink?” He placed his hand beneath the cup and urged it to her lips. She took a sip, her eyes watered.

“I don’t recognize anyone here, well, the ones without masks at least.”

“Davy knows a lot of people outside the school. Hey, there’s Davy’s big brother. You have to meet him. He’s the coolest person in the world.” Alex tugged her through the crowd. “Steve, this is Cindy Lou.”

Dressed as the Devil complete with pitchfork, Steve, ran his gaze over Cindy Lou, smirking. “Well, I guess you’re not a figment of Alex’s overactive imagination after all. Nice to finally meet you, Cindy.”

“Nice to meet you too,” she stammered, then took a sip from her cup.

“We should probably get into a fight or something?

Cindy’s eyes shot wide. “What? No, no I don’t want to fight with you. Why would I—”

“Relax.” Steve touched her arm, smiled. “I only meant you being an angel, me the Devil. Good and evil….”

“Oh,"  She laughed. “Right.” She blew out a long breath, drank from her cup. “Um…I’m not feeling so good, Alex. I think I need to go home.”

He wrapped his arm around her waist, held her tight to his side. “The night is still young. I’ll find a bed for you to lie down in.” He winked at Steve, ushering Cindy forward.  “Davy’s room is in the basement.  I think that would be the best place to rest. Quiet,” he explained when she gave him a look.

“Oh…okay.” She stumbled a little as she took the first step.

“Careful now.” He set his cup on the steps, took hers and placed it beside his. He couldn’t believe how easy this was going to be.

“I really think it would be best if you took me home.” Her words slurred as she swayed down the steps.

“All you need is a little rest, and you’ll be good to go. Here we go.”

“It’s so dark.”

“Yeah, I don’t know where the light switch is.” But he did know where Davy’s room was by heart. Leading her forward, he pushed the bedroom door open, ushered her to the bed. He set her down, then leaned in and kissed her lips. “You lay down and I’ll be right back. “

“I don’t want to be alone.”

He kissed her again, smiled. “I’ll be right back. I just want to let Davy know where I am. I’ll be right back,” he reassured her before hurrying from the room. He took the stairs by twos, grabbing their drink cups on the way up. He found Davy in the kitchen flirting with a blonde in a skin-tight leather dress and legs that seemed to go on forever. “She’s in your room,” he whispered as he leaned in to Davy’s ear.

“Perfect. I’ll go let the others know.  Go change into your robe and then bring her to us.”

“This is incredible! I can’t believe it’s finally happening!” Full of excitement, Davy ran up the stairs to the room Davy had designated for their robes.  He pulled off his costume, and completely naked, slipped the black robe over his head. He drew in a few deep breaths before racing back downstairs. The main floor was empty, and it made his pulse soar. Everyone was ready. It was up to him now.

Hurrying to Davy’s bedroom, he flicked on the bedroom light, only to find the room empty.  He heard something behind him, and turning, saw only a glimpse of black before the pain exploded in his head.

Alex woke to the soft sounds of chanting and the feel of cold steel beneath his naked body.  Opening his eyes, blinking through the blur, he saw a mass of black all around him. “Wha…what’s going on?”

“Oh come on, Alex, you know perfectly well what’s going on.”

Cindy Lou stepped into his vision, not as the angel he’d seen her as moments earlier, but this time, dressed in a blood-red robe.  She smiled down at him, and he felt a cold chill slide over him.

“Tonight is the night we make a pact with Satan and call him to join us.”

Alex tried to move, but found his arms and legs tied down by a stiff rope that scraped his naked body as he struggled.  “But…I’m not supposed to be here like this.” She was supposed to be in his place. That was the deal he’d made with Davy, priest of their coven.  For Alex to be accepted into the circle of black magic, he had to provide a sacrifice. It had all been planned weeks ago. Alex had even written up his pact with Satan.  Cindy Lou was a virgin, the perfect sacrifice to use to call his lord and master, to initiate his position in the coven. Then why was he the one tied to the slab?

“Yeah, about that.” She leaned over him so closely he felt her hot breath on his face when she spoke. “Davy, my lover and trusted partner, contacted me several months ago to say he had the perfect sacrifice. A virgin who was willing to join the group, who was willing to do anything to be accepted.  How could I resist?”

“But…you’re the virgin.”

She laughed as she straightened. “Oh sweetie, I haven’t been a virgin for too many years to count. You are my first, though, in one way. You’re the first of five sacrifices I need to call upon my master.” She pulled a lighter from her robe. “Boys, line him with the candles.”

“No, no, Davy. Stop. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. I’m supposed to be the one performing the ritual to call Satan. I’m supposed to be initiated tonight,” he pleaded while one by one, the people he trusted set black candles all around his body.

“Sorry, Alex, but this is how it’s supposed to go. Do you seriously think I would have a nobody, a rookie, call upon our master?” Davy laughed as he placed a candle at Alex’s head.

He’d been duped, played the fool, lied to by his closest friends. “I’ll scream!”

“No one will hear you down here. You know that, Alex. That’s why we set it up in my cellar.” Davy patted his head.  “But if it makes you feel better, go ahead and scream.

Flicking the lighter, Cindy Lou began chanting as she lit each candle.

“Please, I beg you. Don’t do this.”

“Don’t worry, Alex, it’ll be over before you know it.” She tucked the lighter in her robe pocket, then lifted the ritual silver dagger.  The flickering candlelight glinted on the blade. “I call upon your name, Satan, the Lord of this Earth, the God of the Abyss! I call upon Satan to be witness to the first of five virgins I give to you as my offering!”

“No, no, please, stop.” He winced when the blade came down over his chest, then screamed as the pentagram was cut into his skin. “Please, please stop,” he begged as he bled, the pain nearly causing him to blackout.

“Sshh, it’ll be over soon.” Taking a black quill, she dipped the tip in the blood on his chest, then signed the parchment at his side. “I sign unto you, a virgin soul, as my offering. Oh mighty master of the dark world, grant me the power to call you to me.” Setting the pen down, she lifted the dagger once more, and, holding it over her head, smiled.

“No, no, please, please don’t do this.”

In the name of Satan, I take this life.”

His screams echoed in the darkroom when the knife plunged deep into his heart.

 

 

 


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

I'm baaaaaack

 Sooo, it's been a long time since I've been on my blog. I've been struggling with my depression and those who suffer know when you're depressed you don't want to do anything, including promoting my books. On top of my own depression, my daughter has been struggling with her own depression and has relied on me quite a bit.

So to get myself back into gear, I'm going to post blurbs and excerpts of my books involving ghosts as well as personal experiences of spirits and others.  So if you like a good ghost story, and love hearing about the paranormal, come visit me in October.  

These are the books I'll be sharing. Discovery in Passion. Secrets of the Dead Lost Souls bk 1 And teasers of my upcoming release, Innocence of the Dead Lost Souls bk 2. As well as parts of my Darkness series. 

Go to my website for a glimpse. www.shielastewart.com

Until then, stay safe.


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Technical difficulties

I'm so sorry for the delay. I'm having some trouble with the blog and I hope to resolve it soon.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Short Blurb


Terror in Cognito

What would you do if one minute you were walking along, minding your own business, and the next being chased by a madman? In the blink of an eye, Amy Gallagher is thrust into a world where she is being hunted by some sort of animal type man out for the kill. What she doesn’t understand is how she got there.

She finds herself living two lives, and she has no idea which is real.
Is the kind-hearted Reese Webber, who has taken her in, real, or is the mad man chasing her in the dark forest real? Or has she completely lost her mind?

Terror Incognito

Chapter 1:

He sat near the back, in the shadow, slowly sipping his Bloody Mary. The club was full, and the music was loud. Horny men crowded around the dance floor, eager to get from one of the women bouncing their half-naked bodies on the stage. They flounced about on the stage, their ample breasts bouncing as they danced. He watched intently as the brunette currently showing off her assets twirled around the tall metal pole in the centre of the dance floor. She wrapped her legs around the pole, flipping her head back, her long black hair snapping her buttocks like a whip. She spun around the pole, making love to it in sharp erotic motion. Her grand finale had all the men cheering. She stood near the edge of the stage, her hands on her hips, then began swaying in a slow snake-like motion. The tassels attached her to breasts began to twirl in a hypnotic dance.
            She was no different than any other woman he’d seen tonight. Bored, he quickly finished off his drink and just as he stood up, the music began to play. It wasn’t hard as the previous beat. No, this tune was slow, erotic, hypnotizing. He paused as the curtain opened and as she stepped into view, his breath caught. She hadn’t even made a single move yet, but he couldn’t seem to take his eyes off of her. She was stunning.
Dressed like a prep school student, complete with a short plaid skirt and white shirt and tie, she glided along the stage. The white stalking on her legs reached all the way up her thighs. Peeking out from under the skirt were garters holding them in place. The high heels, she wore made her legs even sexier. She had the face of an angel.
Taking his seat, he watched as the red-headed temptress danced around the stage. She had moved, there was no doubt about that. The way she moved her hips was mesmerizing. Turning her backside to the crowd, she slowly bent at the waist, touching her toes. The view made the men whistle and cheer. The red thong she wore beneath the skirt left little to the imagination. Slowly she ran her hands up and along her long legs and as she straightened, she grabbed the skirt and in one yank, pulled it off. And the men went wild.
He waved the waitress off when she came to his table, not allowing her even one syllable. He wasn’t interested in another drink. He sucked in a breath as the beauty on the stage yanked her shirt open. The tiny swatches over her breast that he supposed could be considered a bra was the same fire engine red as her thong. The way she touched herself, the things she did as she moved to the music aroused him to the point that he throbbed.  He wished he was close enough to smell her scent.
She twirled on the pole, using it in a manner that told the viewer she was skilled at what she did. As she slid to the floor, she rolled about, touching her breasts, her chest, her legs and finally dipping between her legs. She sat up, legs spread out to either side in a split manoeuvre that made him drool. With little effort, she drew her torso down until her breasts touched the platform beneath her. Reaching around her back, she unclasped her bra. As she sat up, she tossed it into the crowd. Men fought over it and for a moment he thought a brawl would erupt. She smiled and winked as she slid her way to the edge of the stage. Slowly, lifting her hips up, she planted her hands on the floor and smiled at the crowd. Her ample breasts jiggled as she moved her hips. One of the men reached out and grabbed her breasts and in a move that was nearly as fast as a blink, she balled her hand into a fist and slammed it into his face. She stood up, spun around and walked to the pole. From the crowd, a tall chubby bearded man pushed his way to the stage and as he approached it he jumped up. The crowd stilled. He marched up to the woman, grabbing her by the arm, and pulled her to the back. They slipped behind the curtain and out of sight.
He waited half an hour before giving up and leaving the bar. Chances were she wasn’t returning. He left a tip, then slipped out of the bar.

***
Slamming the back door, Amy stepped into the dark night. “Goddamn fucking bastard! I need to pay my goddamn bills you asshole!” She kicked the door and swore some more when her toes stung from the connection to the hard metal door. “Suspend me for a week! Fucker!” Slinging her purse over her shoulder, she stomped down the dark alley. The heels of her shoes crunched the gravel beneath her feet. How dare he punish her for protecting herself. The guy had grabbed her tit. HE’D grabbed her! The rules were no grabbing. They were allowed to slip money into their strings, but no grabbing. And yet she was in the wrong. All she’d done was smack the guy. And now she was suspended, without pay, for a fucking week. And her goddamn hand hurt.
Clenching her jaw, Amy marched through the quiet, empty dark alley. The sound of crunching behind her caused her to pause. A quick glance behind her reassured her that no one was following her. Blowing it off, she crossed the street and entered the next alley. There were only three blocks to go before she reached her apartment. Her home, which she wasn’t sure how much longer she would have. Especially if she couldn’t make this month's rent, and it was doubtful now that she would be a week short of wages.
“Fucker!”
She hated her boss. Larry was slime from his head to his toes. She was sure his soul was slimy, too. It was impossible for someone as horrible as Larry to not have a tainted soul. Amy turned again to the sound of gravel crunching behind her.
“Stop being paranoid.” She turned back and froze.
“Boo!”
Stumbling back, nearly falling on her ass, her heart pounded. Before her stood a gnarly yellow-toothed, scraggly haired… thing. He was hideous, beyond hideous. Was he a man, or was he a beast? She couldn’t be sure. He had fangs, long, sharp fangs as yellow as the sun. His mouth was wide and dripping with saliva. She could smell it and it made her sick. It was a rancid aroma of bile and blood.
His face, good god, his face was hideous. There were slashes over his face, one starting from his left eyebrow over the eye and along his sunken cheekbone. His deep yellow animal-like eyes seem to pierce into her as he stared at her. Swallowing her fear, she turned to run. Her breath ragged, she raced down the alley and came to a sharp halt. Before her were trees. Tall, leafy trees. She turned around and gravel crunched beneath her feet. Confused, she looked around and all she saw was more trees. It was a forest. How the hell was there a forest on the street? All of the lights were gone. It was pure darkness.

“Do you know what I would do in this situation?” He stepped closer and she sucked in a breath. “I would run.”
She didn’t have to be told twice. Spinning around, she started off on a hard run. The heels of her shoes sinking into the soft parts of the ground, her ankles twisting. Losing her stability, she wobbled and ended up falling flat on her knees.
“Fuck!” Her knees burned like fire, and as she got to her feet, she saw the blood trickling down her knees.
“Those aren’t the best footwear to have on in this area. Might want to lose them.”
She screamed! Getting up, she ran, pushing branches out of her way. Thistles and branches sliced her ankles, but she ignored the pain. She had no idea where she was or how the hell she’d gotten here. Better question. How was she going to find a way out?
She came to a sharp halt and screamed when he jumped down in front of her.
“You’re in my territory now, little one.”
What did he mean by his territory?
 “Mmm, aren’t you a tasty morsel.”
She jumped back when his hand, clawed with nails so long they curled at the ends, reached out to her.
“I’m going to enjoy sinking my teeth into you.”
“Wha…what the hhhell are you?” she stammered, still inching backwards trying to escape.
I am your worst nightmare.” He laughed, a sound so loud, so animal like it nearly howled.
“No!” She had to get away, she had to get help. She had no idea what was happening, only that she needed to run.
“That’s right, run little one. I so love a chase.”
She lost a shoe when she spun around. There was no time to stop to pick it up, so she kicked the other off. The rocks and branches cut into her flesh. The ground squished between her toes?
Listening, she couldn’t hear him behind her, so she slowed her pace.
She needed to breathe, just to catch her breath if even for a moment.
“Boo!”
She screamed and the sound sent dozens of birds scattering from their sleeping spots in the trees. Before she could turn to run, his clawed hand lashed out and grabbed her arm.
“I’ve got you now, little one.”
“No, no, let me go, let me go!” She fought, her hands lashing out to his hideous face, her nails scraping away his gnarled flesh, peeling it from the bone. She wanted to hurl.
“Feisty one, aren’t you. I like it.” He smiled and that grotesque mouth spread wide, saliva dripping. “Want to know what else I like?”
“No, no please, just let me go.” She struggled to break free, but the more she tried, the tighter his grip grew.
“No can do. I like to peel the skin from my victims while they’re still alive. The thrill of hearing them scream makes the morsels so much tastier.”
The words he said reverberated in her mind and sunk in her belly like a hard rock. He was going to kill her. But there was no damn way she was going to make it easy for him. Pretending she was about to faint, Amy let her body go lax, then just as he loosened his grip, she kicked out and hit him directly in the crotch with her foot. He released her, grabbing his genitals.
“Yes!” she shouted in victory and though her foot throbbed like a bitch, she took off running. Don’t look back, just keep going forward.
“Do you think you can get away from me that easily?” he shouted at her as she ran. “This is my territory, remember.”
She stumbled, righting herself before she fell. Something was rushing in her head or was it in the air. Water, was that running water? She could smell it, freshwater, like a river or lake. She turned to see if he was still behind her and felt the ground give out beneath her.
Screaming, she fell, her hands scrambling to grab hold of anything. Her nails broke off, ripping flesh as she slid down the embankment. Catching on a branch, she hung on, panting. She didn’t dare look down, and looking up was pure darkness. She could hear the rushing water below her. It was a river, or lake or something. And from the sounds of it, it was far below her. If she let go now and fell, would she live to walk away?
“Well hello there,” he said as he leaned over the edge, smiling down at her. “You seem to be in a bit of a pickle.”
She was stuck. Now, what should she do? Looking down, she saw just how far below the rushing water was. If she let go now and fell, she wouldn’t walk away. Or would she?
“I wouldn’t chance it. See those rocks below, very jagged. They’d cut through you like a knife through butter. Although it would make my life easier to scrape the bits and pieces off the rocks and satisfy my hunger, it’s not as much fun.” He held his hand out to her. “Allow me to help you up.”
Amy looked up at his gnarled face, his clawed hand, then back down to the jagged ground below her. Closing her eyes, she let go.
“I’ve got you now.”
She screamed, the sound piercing the night.

Chapter 2




Amy woke to something cold on her face. Forcing her eyes open, she saw a face hovering over her. Seeing the gnarled face of the monster that had chased her, Amy bolted straight up and scrambled to the head of the bed.
“It’s all right. I won’t hurt you.”
She blinked and the gnarled face before her, changed into a thing of beauty. He had a round face, sculpted cheekbones and eyes as blue as the sky. He was far from the monster that had chased her. Her pounding heart slowed down as she relaxed. “Who are you?”
“Reese Webber. How do you feel?”
“Confused.” She inched back down onto the bed, but kept her guard up. “Where am I?”
“My house. I found you unconscious on the ground and decided to take you to my home. You have colour in your face now. That’s a good sign.”
She touched her cheek. If he’d found her unconscious on the ground why hadn’t he taken her to the hospital instead of his home? The biggest question was why had she been lying unconscious on the ground?
“I had my doctor take a look at you. Aside from a lump on your head, you’ll be fine.”
She felt her head, winced when she touched the tender spot. “Why didn’t you take me to the hospital?”
“My place was closer and I have a doctor on staff. I figured if it was anything serious we could take you then. You had a steady pulse, and seemed perfectly fine other than the lump on your head. Plus, I couldn’t find any I.D. on you and didn’t feel right just dropping you off at the hospital. My guess is you were robbed and knocked unconscious.”
She never carried a purse. She’d learned a long time ago to keep her money, I.D. and keys in her bra.  She didn't have to search to know they weren't there.
There d been a sound, behind her. Crunching gravel.
“I was being chased by…”  she rubbed her head. “There was someone, in the alley.”
“Did you see who it was?”
“No.”
“You should report it. I could take you to the police if you like.”
“No! That’s fine. I should go.”
He stood, allowing her to climb from the bed. “You’re more than welcome to stay until you feel more stable.”
She stood and the room swayed. “I’m okay. Really. Thank you so much for your hospitality.” She’d never known anyone in her life as kind as him. Most of the people she knew were slime. Either drug addicts, alcoholics or bikers. None of them would have helped her out in her time of need.
“You are very welcome. I don’t even know your name.”
“Amy Gallagher.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Amy. I’ll have my driver escort you home.”
“Huh? Driver.” She paused in the doorway.
“I have a driver who takes me around. He can take you to your home.”
A driver? He had to be rich. Stepping out of the room, she got a look at her surroundings. Rich was an understatement. The winding staircase looked like it was made of marble. Standing at the top you could look down at the grand living room. Sweet God, it was huge and gorgeous. She didn’t know much about designer furniture, but from the looks of it, the pieces in the living room had to be worth a good penny. There was a fireplace with a fire roaring. It was decorated with black marble stones that went all the way up to the ceiling. Placed on the hardwood floor was some sort of oriental looking rug. She imagined the rest of the house was elegant and rich as well.
“This place is incredible!” And as soon as it came out, she realized how foolish she sounded.
“Thank you. If you stay for breakfast, I could show you around.”
She headed down the winding stairway.“Breakfast? What time is it?”
“Nearly seven.”
“Holy shi—I mean, wow. How long have I been here?” It was after three when she’d left the club.”
“I found you shortly before four am.”
She stopped at the foot of the stairs. “I’ve been out all this time?”
“Yes, but like I said, you’re pulse and heart rate were stable and my doctor kept a close eye on you.”
Still…. It seemed odd. “Okay, well, I better get going.” The whole situation seemed weird and the sooner she left the better. It wasn’t that she didn’t appreciate his help, she did. It was just… weird.
“I’ll call my driver. Just give me a moment.”
She waited in the foyer while he went down the hall to make the call.

Chapter 3


He led her out the door and she couldn’t help but gawk at her surroundings. Three houses could probably fit in the yard in front of her. Acres of lush green lawn with brightly coloured flowers adorned the property.
“This is awesome!”
“Thank you.”
 “You must be loaded.” Well, that was just rude. She silently cursed herself.
He smiled. “Yes, I am.”
He had more than just money. “It shows. So what do you do then, for a living?”
“I’m an artist. I paint.”
“Not houses I gather. You any good? Scratch that. Stupid question, you wouldn’t be rich if you weren’t good. I tend to put my foot in my mouth when I speak so I’ll just shut up now.”
“We all tend to do that at times. Here we are then.” He took her hand and led her down the steps to the car.
 “You’re coming along?”
“Of course.” He opened the door and waited until she climbed in to close the door.
She pinched herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. “You drive in this every day?” She asked after he sat in his seat. She couldn’t imagine it, being picked up, a driver waiting to help you into the car, then be taken wherever you need to go. That would be the life.
“Whenever I need to go out.  What is your address?”
She recited it, feeling even cheaper now. Her entire apartment couldn’t be much bigger than the bedroom she’d been in.
“Why were you walking so late at night?”
 “I don’t own a car.” Couldn’t afford one even if she knew how to drive, which she didn’t.
“It isn’t safe for a young woman to be wandering that neighborhood so late at night.”
“Yeah, well what can you do? I had to get home from work somehow.”
“You work in that area?”
"Yeah. "
“And what is it you do there so late at night?”
The tone in his voice had her back straightening. “I don’t sell my body if that’s what you’re thinking. I work at a club, as a waitress,” she spouted, deciding to leave out the fact that the club was a strip joint and she was a dancer.
“There are other means of transportation.”
“Sure, if you can afford it.”
“And you can’t?”
She felt ashamed and held her head down. “No. Hey, what were you doing in that area so late at night?”
He shifted in his seat. “I had some business in the area.”
 “Yeah, I bet.” He just didn’t look the type to need a hooker. He was too classy, too gorgeous. A man with such a dreamy face and his wealth could have any woman he wanted. Still…. “Whatever bud, it’s your choice.”
His brow wrinkled. “What do you mean by that?”
“Nothing. Look, what you do in your spare time is your business.”
“I wasn’t there to solicit sexual favors if that’s what you meant.”
“Look, I’m sorry, okay. I didn’t mean anything by it.” Turning to the window, Amy watched as the beautiful scenery began to turn into run-down houses, vacant land and garbage piled up on the streets.  She’d give anything to not have to come back to this crappy, dangerous area. “That’s my place.” She pointed at the shabby run-down building to the left. When the car pulled up to the curb, she couldn’t get out fast enough. When he followed her, she stopped. “Look, thanks for everything.” She waited, expecting him to go back to the car.
She suddenly remembered she didn’t have her keys. “Damn it.”
“Problem?”
“Yes, I don’t have my keys… I must have lost them.” Now, what was she going to do? She knew perfectly well Lou, the caretaker of her building wouldn’t let her in. He had a strong policy of not letting people in when they forgot their keys. If you wanted a new key, he would charge you to make a new one, and she was broke. Damn it, now what was she supposed to do?
“You don’t have a spare?”
“Nope, and I can’t get one right now. Shit.” She supposed she could go back to work and sleep on one of the sofas in the lounge area. And if Larry caught her, she would be in a load of trouble. “Damn it.”
“Is there somewhere else to go?”
“No.” She sighed, had a look around. She’d tried shimmying up the pipes once, only to have fallen flat on her butt, bruising more than her ego.
“Then you’ll come stay with me.” He turned back to his car, signalled the driver to open the door.
“No. I couldn’t stay with you.”
“Why not?”
“I don’t even know you.”
“You know my name, what I do for a living. I assure you. Amy, I’m not some deranged man looking to do you harm.”
Funny how he should say that when in her delusion—or whatever it had been—she had been hunted by a deranged man. But Reese was nothing like that animal, and for some odd reason, she actually felt safe near him. “Maybe.”
“Maybe what?”
“Maybe I could stay with you. For now, just until I can talk to the caretaker and have him let me in.” Amy wasn’t too sure how she was going to do that, but she’d figure it out. She always did.
Smiling, Reese held his hand out to the car. “After you, then.”
She was being an idiot, going home with a complete stranger. But what else was she supposed to do? “Just for now.”
“Of course,” he said as she slipped into the car.

Trick or Treat

 Years ago I wrote a short story for another blog I was on. I'd practically forgotten about it. It's not a romance and if you have a...