Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event with Cat Johnson
Coastal Magic Featured Author Cat Johnson shares a bit of a cautionary tale, while introducing us to one of the characters in her very popular Hot SEALs series. (You all read this, I’ll be checking the batteries in my flashlight!)
by Cat Johnson
Ali’s heart raced as she struggled in the dark to hit the button to unlock the door of her parked car.
It was late. A smart woman would have moved her car closer once she’d found out she’d have to stay late after closing.
The area surrounding the bank where she worked was fine during business hours. But this late at night? Not so much.
Leaving her car parked in the poorly lit lot down the block had been stupid. She only hoped she didn’t pay for that mistake with her life.
Hopefully, she was overreacting. Being paranoid because she was scared and alone. She hadn’t seen or heard anything to make her think anyone was after her.
Even so, she felt the hair on the back of her neck standing on end.
Finally, her hand connected with the button and she heard the locks disengage.
Once she was inside, she’d lock the doors, fire up the engine and put some distance between herself and this scary lot.
She clutched her cell in one hand as she reached for the door handle with the other.
The loud male voice had her pulse speeding to the point she felt the world sway around her. She didn’t dare look to see where he was. She didn’t answer either.
What would she have said? Stay away or I’ll stab you with my car key? That was about all she could threaten.
Sure, she could call 9-1-1 but by the time the police arrived, she’d be…Ali didn’t even want to consider what she could be by then.
Shaking, her hand slipped off the door handle the first time she tried to yank it open. The second attempt was successful and she slid into the car and slammed the door with all her might, rocking the vehicle as she did.
Blindly she slapped at the buttons on the door, not sure which opened the windows and which engaged the locks. She hated this car and all its buttons. She hated the darkness more. Tomorrow, she was buying a flashlight…if she got out of this alive.
She heard the locks slide into place and dared to look for the man, while at the same time trying to shove the key into the ignition. She saw a figure emerge from the shadows, moving closer.
Panicked, she poked the key at the steering column, desperately hoping to get it into the ignition.
Why was the ignition behind the steering wheel where she couldn’t see it? Why were cars so dark? Why had she been so stupid to think it was all right to walk to her car alone?
Movement above caught her eye.
“What the hell?” She watched in amazement as what could only be one of the stone gargoyles that adorned the roof of the bank building took flight. Wings flapping, it swooped low directly at the shadowy figure on the ground.
Ali didn’t know how, or why but she wasn’t about to stick around to find out. She threw the car into reverse and peeled out of the spot. While shifting into drive, she caught a glimpse of her rescuer. This time the sight of him confused her even more.
The ringing phone startled Ali out of her haunted slumber.
Gasping, it took her a second to realize she was safe in her own bed.
It had been a nightmare.
Of course, it had been. How silly of her to be frightened. Gargoyles didn’t come to life and rescue damsels in distress. Even so, the rest of the dream had scared her enough that she was definitely buying a flashlight and she was never walking to her car alone in the dark.
Ali grabbed for the phone on the nightstand, hit the button to answer and pressed it to her ear with still shaking hands. “Hello?”
“Hey. Were you still asleep?” her friend and coworker Darci asked.
“Yeah.” Ali ran her hand over her face. “What time is it?”
“Not late. Nine. But you’re usually up so early I’m surprised.”
“Yeah, I didn’t sleep all that well. I had the craziest dream.”
“Some guy was after me in the parking lot near work, but one of the stone gargoyles that’s on the roof of the bank came to life and chased him away.”
“The gargoyle came to life? That is frightening. Those things are pretty ugly.”
Ali let out a laugh. “I know, but the gargoyle was the one part that didn’t frighten me. It felt more like he was a guardian angel than something to be afraid of. After it came to life and chased away the guy, it morphed into a man, but with wings so he could fly.”
A very naked man with a broad, muscular back and ice blue eyes that she felt piercing into her soul as he soared higher before dipping back down to come to rest on his rooftop perch once again.
Ali had sensed that there he would stay. Watching. Protecting her. Her winged guardian.
“Well, if I was to analyze this, I’d say it means you need a man. Why don’t you get on MatchmakersDotCom?” Darci asked for probably the tenth time.
Darci sighed. “Fine. You’re still coming to my barbecue today, right?”
“Yes, of course.”
Ali didn’t like the sound of that. “Why? You better not be fixing me up with your brother or any of his SEAL friends.”
“Relax, I’m not. Can you get here by one?”
“Fine. See you at one.” Ali didn’t believe her friend’s denial, but she agreed anyway.
This Fourth of July barbecue had the definitely feeling of a set up, but since Ali was dreaming about gargoyles turning into men, maybe meeting a real man wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Read more about Ali in Night with a SEAL (Hot SEALs #1) by Cat Johnson
Cat’s story reminds us of the traditional role of gargoyles, as protectors and groundskeepers. I’ve seen these “winged guardians” on many buildings (old and new), in many towns. For a chance to win an audiobook download of Night With A Seal (Hot SEALs, #1) from Cat, let me know if you’ve seen gargoyles on buildings where YOU live. Would/do you have any watching over your own house? Cat will be hanging out and talking with readers as one of the Featured Authors at the 2016 Coastal Magic Convention, we’d love to see you there!
All giveaways this week last from their posting date, through November 1st. Winners will be chosen and notified by email on Monday, November 2nd. All giveaways will be fulfilled by the author. You can find the kickoff post for this year’s Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event HERE, for a listing of all of this week’s participating authors, many including giveaways. Good Luck, everyone!!