I’m doing a thing where a flash fiction challenge is helping me write another passion project, and this is the … third? probably third … story born of the weekly prompts.
The prompt for this week: “I saw it on the internet…”
I started what will hopefully be a thirteen-book paranormal cozy mystery series with ParaDice Point. You don’t need to have read that story to follow this one, but you can. I wouldn’t mind.
Here it is.
“We are ever striving after what is forbidden, and coveting what is denied us.”
“My phone says we’re right on top of it. I saw it on Insta; it’s real. We just have to find it, and we can have it.” She stumbled into a pothole and her friend snatched at her sleeve to stop her, but ended up being pulled down herself. The two scrabbled back onto their feet laughing.
“Last time we go scavenger hunting after ladies’ night,” her friend said. She wiped her dirty phone screen on her university sweatshirt and checked for scratches, then shoved it into her back pocket.
They made their way down the alley with exaggerated care, turned right at the corner, and stopped facing a metal door that was as wide as it was tall. After they shared a look, the second reached out, wrapped her fingers around the handle, and pulled. The door didn’t budge. She let her hand drop to her side.
The other squinted at her phone, then back up at the door. “Knock three times.” Her friend did as she was told and the door swung open on well-oiled hinges without a sound. “You’re the one who wants it so bad. You go in first.”
“Scared?” her friend asked with a smirk.
She shrugged, stepped back, and watched as the girl she had shared secrets with since third grade walked into the darkness. She waited a beat, then called out, “Alaina?”
She stepped forward and something glinted in the corner of her eye. She turned slowly and came face-to-face with a mannequin stuffed into a corner she hadn’t noticed before. She gasped, then laughed and held out a hand to finger the mannequin’s shimmery halter top. “How…?”
Her eyes were on the outfit she had been eyeing only hours earlier on a girl she knew only in passing from an intro to accounting class she needed for her degree. She didn’t see the mannequin’s arm slide through the air and stretch, taffy-like, around her back.
She didn’t see the head elongate and twist, nor its jaw drop open and fangs slide slowly down from the dark, open maw. As it turned into a monster, all she could think about was what shoes she would pair with the high-waist jeans and what necklace would best accentuate her bust in the low, swinging top.
It wasn’t until the light from her friend’s phone caught the glistening liquid as it dripped from one of the fangs poised above her head that she registered what was happening. She didn’t have a chance to scream before she was gone.
The story continues later this year with my supernatural cozy mystery series starring Amara and Rylan Gray.