In celebration of the upcoming All Hallow's Eve, I thought I'd share an excerpt from my newest paranormal novella The Color of Water. Set on the North Carolina coast, it's the story of Samantha who loses her dad at sea and finds herself trying to protect her mom from a supernatural beast most everyone else believes is a real human. Enjoy~
~from Chapter 8~
On the sidewalk in front of us, a man leaned on an iron fence, half hidden in a bougainvillea vine. I smelled him before I could really see him, a weird mix of pipe smoke and alcohol and something salty like seaweed. The silky voice told me who it was before he leaned forward into the light of a nearby house.
“Pardon me, miss. Didn’t mean to frighten you,” he said, reaching out two nut brown hands to Karla. As Teach caught her hands in his own, I saw a tattoo on his forearm in the moonlight – a blue demon stabbing a heart across his rippling muscle. He gently steadied Karla, ignoring me.
“It’s fine,” Karla said. “I should watch where I’m going.”
Teach stood there, holding onto Karla’s hands, staring deep into her eyes like a lover. No one was allowed to look at my mom like that, not while I was standing there.
“Do you mind taking your paws off my mother?” I said, forgetting any warning Matt might have given me.
“I’m only trying to help,” he said, releasing her finally. “Perhaps I can make it up to you?”
“No really, its fine,” insisted Karla, trying to move past him. He caught her by the shoulders, holding her close to him.
“Can I see you again?” he begged in an urgent whisper.
“Let her go, you creep!” I yelled.
“A little something to remember me by,” he purred in her ear, a chunky gold bracelet emerging from his jacket pocket draped across his thick fingers. I was sure it was the exact same bracelet I pitched in the ocean weeks ago. He moved to lay it over her wrist. Without thinking, I snatched it away.
“Run Karla!” I yelled as I pushed my mom’s shoulder. She took off toward home as Teach turned his eyes to me. Even in the dim moonlight, I could see his crazy eyes, aqua blue like some stormy Caribbean Sea.
“Give it back, Samantha,” he said like a parent to a naughty child, patient but annoyed.
“How do you know my name?” I stalled.
“I know many things about you. I know you foolishly meddle in things you know nothing about, for instance,” he said, moving toward me, his eyes locked on mine. His words stung me.
“What is this thing?” I said, holding up the chain. If it wasn’t Louise’s bracelet, it was just like it. “Do you give it all the women you plan to kill?”
Teach laughed, a low chuckle, still coming toward me as I backed away, stumbling over the cracked sidewalk into the street.
“You might say that,” he admitted. “But I don’t give it to anyone who doesn’t welcome it.”
“Who welcomes death?”
“You’re young. I wouldn’t expect you to understand. Now give it to me,” his tone growing more insistent. I held the bracelet behind my back.
“Not until you promise to leave my mother alone,” I said, my voice quivering like a leaf in the wind. The energy radiating off Teach now burned my skin, like standing too close to an open fire.
“I don’t make bargains with little girls. What’s mine is mine,” he snarled, his skin tightening over his skull and then evaporating to reveal the bones underneath. His blue eyes burned like coals in the darkness, inhuman and unnatural. The heat felt like it would scorch my eyebrows off. I fell as he swung at me, screaming.