So revisiting my collection to promo it made me realize just how behind I am. Yes it's barely August but it takes quite a bit of brain power to dredge out all the things I find unsettling, creepy, and just plain weird and craft them into coherent stories. I like to make sure I have some that are deliciously wicked and some that are darkly sad. 31 days worth because at the end of the day, this is my homage to the highest of high holy days, Halloween.
The good news is, I have about three stories outlined. Only 29 more to go...sigh.
Here's an excerpt from the book (Day 21 to be precise) to give you an idea of just what I'm talking about and what you should be anticipating.
Into the Realm of Mystery and Night
It’s just a dream.
Lark sat up suddenly in her bed, heart racing and breathing heavily. She could feel sweat cooling and becoming sticky on her skin. She’d had that dream again, and it left her feeling empty and frightened. Her eyes were still clasped tightly, for fear that the residual effects of the dream would cause her to see things that didn’t exist in the shadows of her darkened room. If she didn’t find a way to get a handle on what her brain projected while she was asleep, she was going to go insane. Tears prickled at the corners of her eyes, and she knew she was going to lose it if she didn’t get up and out of her bed.
Flinging her damp covers off, she reached blindly in the dark for the lamp by her bed. Lark thought she’d left the blinds open when she went to sleep, but they were closed and the room was pitch black. The cool ceramic of her lamp under her fingers eased some of her anxiety, and she turned the switch, hoping to flood the room with blessed light. The soft click of the knob echoed through the room, but there was no light to answer its call. Frowning, she figured that the bulb would go out just when she needed it most.
She knew that sitting in the dark room wasn’t going to make anything better and stumbled through her bedroom to the door. Fear hadn’t quite abandoned her as she’d woken from the dream, and she could feel it lurking just at her shoulder as she navigated her dark hallway. Her fingers found the switch for the hall light, and she sobbed with frustration when the room stayed cloaked in darkness as she flipped it frantically. Why would the power have to be out now? she thought as she headed toward her bathroom. Unfortunately, that room didn’t provide her with a reprieve, and she fumbled toward the sink.
The cool feel of water being splashed on her face eased some of her worry, but now that panic had nestled back inside of her, making itself cozy and comfy, she couldn’t shake the sense that something was wrong. Breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth, she tried to center herself and will away the gloom of worry that was hanging over her head. Splashing more cold water on her face, she looked into the mirror and let out a little shriek when the lights suddenly came on. Her reflection was worn and tired, and she could see the toll her nightmares were starting to take on her. She tried to force a wobbly smile to her face, but her reflection wasn’t cooperating and instead stared back at her with a grimace of worry and concern.
Lark didn’t know how long she stared at herself, but that feeling, the one that haunted her when she needed blessed sleep, rose up and sunk its teeth into every nerve in her body. It, that thing that stalked her, was in her house, and she knew if she turned from looking in her mirror it would be there waiting for her. She watched as tears rolled down her face that was a mask of fear, and just when she was ready to turn away, accept defeat, her reflection said, “You’re still dreaming.”
Lark lay in her bed, hearing the sounds of night and the low moan of her house trying to settle itself, and tried to scream but nothing came out. Her body was frozen but her mind was yelling that she needed to get up, she needed to protect herself because whatever was stalking her was there, just outside her room, and if she wasn’t ready it would get her. She could feel her heart beating rapidly and tears rolled down her face, and as she listened to “it” get closer, she prayed that she was still dreaming.