Halloween Flash Fiction Event: Amber Belldene
Thank you for joining us for this Halloween Flash Fiction Event story from Amber Belldene. What’s a Halloween story without an empty grave and an appearance from “the big guy down under”, right?? LOL!! The image is a stock photo from a DeviantART artist who specifically allows it to be used on outside websites, with credit and links posted. Big thanks, to both the author and the artist, for sharing. Now… on to the story…
Marta’s stilettos sank into the damp soil. Who wears heels like that to the graveyard?
The sad answer—far too many of my clients.
I was beginning to hate my PI work. All the bimbos with their perfectly set platinum hair, crimson lips and painted on beauty marks. They sashayed into my office like we were in some kind of black-and-white movie—The Maltese Vampire or some shit—clearly expecting me to be a private dick with a white knight complex.
Some days the only reason I hauled myself into the office was to see one more astonished look when a new client got a load of me. My door read Sam Spiedo, Private Investigator, only because the guy who painted it couldn’t fit Samantha across the glass windowpane. I liked the confusion, mostly because I always got tickled when somebody called me a private dick. Mine was so private it was nonexistent.
Marta had come in an hour ago, just after sundown, her breasts pushed up and heaving, the back of her manicured hand pressed to her forehead. “They’ve taken my brother!” she cried, in a breathy voice.
Great. This again. I took my fedora off and she got a look at my face.
“Oh.” She dropped her hand to grip her hip and spoke in a normal tone. “Where’s Sam Spiedo?”
“You’re looking at her.”
She crossed her arms over an impressive bosom, only I wasn’t the sort to be impressed by a bosom, no matter how much my recent cock-ups in the romance department might make me wish I was. The last guy had asked me every single day what I would be willing to trade for my soul. Hashtag superfreak.
Still, even I could tell Marta was a knockout, with cheekbones anybody would envy. She glanced at the name painted on the door. “I thought–”
“Yeah, everybody does. Who took your brother?”
That was never a good sign. I shot up from my chair and grabbed my duffel, doing a quick inventory. Wooden stake, check. Pistol with silver bullets, check.
There was no time to sugar coat the question. “How long’s he been dead?” If it was one night, we were dealing with a wolf. If it was three, a vampire. Nasty suckers.
“Four years today.”
I dropped the duffel and it landed with a clank. I’d never heard of a corpse gone missing after that long. It would be a mess—bones attached by stringy sinew, no good to vampire, were, or even a peckish zombie.
Fast forward through one car ride on rain-slicked streets, the city bright with light reflected off wet surfaces, and we were at the graveyard. The drizzle had let up, but my boots still slapped and squelched in the wet, grassy mud and Marta sank four inches every time she took a step.
We rounded a tree and an astonishing sight greeted me. A cube of earth, perfectly intact, like a giant slice of chocolate cake, sat next to the hole it had been excavated from. Was there some new grave-digging machine that could extract a massive chunk of soil in one piece?
Warily, I crept to the edge of the hole. Inside, a coffin lay open and empty. Marta’s dear departed brother was definitely gone.
All at once I caught the licorice scent of wormwood. Crap. Absinthe aftershave was my ex’s trademark. Was Louis here? I’d told the superfreak to take a hike two months ago, and I was sure he’d split town. We’d met in court, where he was defending a serial killer or something. The dude looked delectable in a suit, but inside, he was even more hollow than your average lawyer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a habit of hanging out in cemeteries just for fun.
A man-sized shadow skittered out from behind the towering, rectangular hunk of dirt.
“August?” Marta said.
It had to be her brother—he had the same million-dollar cheekbones. And since they were covered in bronzed, healthy flesh, he’d clearly undergone some sort of supernatural transformation. He barely spared a glance for Marta, though, before his eyes settled on me and his very handsome features spread into a menacing smile, one I knew all too well.
Yep. The voice of Louis in the body of a blond Adonis. I’d seen some strange things, but this took the cake. No. It was the long, red pointy tail that snaked out from behind him which won the grand prize for what-the-fuckery.
The tail slithered toward me. I backed away, but it darted forward and circled my waist.
“Yes, it’s me, darling. But call me Lucifer. I told you I wouldn’t let you go without possessing your soul.”
Well, hell. I was definitely charging Marta extra for this crap.
About The Author
I grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when I could pull myself away from a book. As a child, I hid my Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on me when I preach these days.
I’m an Episcopal Priest with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies. I believe stories are the best way to explore human truths. Some people think it’s strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to me, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. I write paranormal, historical and contemporary romance and live with my husband and two children in San Francisco.
You can meet & greet with Amber in February, as she is one of the Featured Authors at Coastal Magic, an urban fantasy and paranormal romance convention in Daytona Beach, FL.
About The Artist
Image: Grave Texture 1
Artist Page: Goombanomics http://www.deviantart.com/art/Grave-Texture-1-260899700