Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event with Dianna Love
Today we get to meet a character from Dianna Love‘s bestselling Belador series. It’s a secret, though… can YOU figure out who it is before the reveal at the end? NO PEEKING!
HAUNTED MEMORIES: From the Belador world
by New York Times bestseller Dianna Love
I stared up at the menacing gargoyle carved into the corner of a mausoleum in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery and questioned my IQ level. My last visit to a cemetery at night had left emotional scars that stayed with me for years.
Agreeing to a stupid bet with Vivian, my manipulative older sister, cost me a few intelligence points. At nineteen, I shouldn’t allow emotions to get the best of me.
Neither should I be terrified of cemeteries, but that fear had been earned honestly.
“What are you waiting on, Chelsea? Put the sack over your head.”
I glared at Vivian and her smarmy boyfriend, Sonny.
Vivian ragged on me for having no boyfriend, but hers was no prize. Her pack of eight friends that ranged from nineteen to twenty-three was present to witness my humiliation. Not a friendly face among them.
One of the girls started clucking like a chicken.
Another one called out, “Just admit you’re afraid and accept defeat.”
I couldn’t. I’d never live it down after betting my sister the use of her new car, a badass corvette, for a month. It would kill her to hand the keys over, which was how she’d sucked me in.
Of course, if I lost, I’d have to clean her apartment weekly for a month.
Swallowing, I took a breath. As a child, I’d gotten lost during a night tour in a New Orleans cemetery. When I thought I saw a ghost, I’d raced away screaming bloody murder.
This was a mistake.
“Never mind. You can’t do it,” Vivian snapped, dismissing me.
Oh, hell no. I lifted the black bag and yanked it down over my head.
That brought on the jeering and laughter.
Someone tied my wrists in front of me. My heart jumped around like it wanted to get out and run a hundred yard dash.
A strap dropped across the back of my neck. Then the camera for filming my terror was placed in my hands.
Sonny’s nasally voice ordered, “Hold this straight out. Keep the strap taut and it will film you plus a couple feet on each side. It’s my dad’s so don’t bang it against anything.”
I murmured, “I’ll try not to, but I have to run into things to find my way.”
“Bang up your knuckles, twit. Not the camera.”
Sonny and Vivian were a perfect, coldblooded pair.
My breathing picked up. I fought the urge to panic. Not in front of this bunch or I’d lose before I got started. Sure, I was scared, but I wanted to see Vivian hand over the keys to her precious car.
I’d been in this cemetery before, but in daylight. All those rumors about spirits showing up at night couldn’t be true. Right?
Icy fingers wrapped around my upper arm. Vivian whispered, “Feel free to cry or scream at any time to end this. I’ll send Sonny for you.”
That terrified me more than potential ghosts. “I’m doing this.”
I sounded confident. Amazing what I could do when working on a high dose of emotionally driven insanity.
I started forward and had made twenty steps when my hands bumped into something hard. Ouch. A headstone or a statue?
Laughter erupted far behind me and Sonny shouted, “Careful, twit.”
If not for fear of retribution, I’d scar up his camera just so he’d have to explain to his dad. I kept walking, turning left then right after each obstacle to hopefully continue toward a new guy in the group, Ed, who waited at the other end.
Something brushed across my arm and I jerked, but managed not to scream. Heart pounding, I stood still. Wind stirred and this time I recognized the next brief touch as a leafy branch.
Breathe. Okay, I had this. Just back away slowly and walk around it. But as I went to take a step, the air turned chilly and thick fingers gently cupped my upper arm. I couldn’t squeeze out a sound.
A smooth voice that sounded like Morgan Freeman playing the role of an old Southern man chided, “Don’t worry none. I’m not gonna hurt ya. I don’t like those idiots bein’ mean to you.”
My heartbeat hammered faster, but he hadn’t sounded dangerous. Would Vivian even care if someone attacked me in here?
“Come on now. We gonna get you to the end where you can show them you got grit.”
Sounded good, but could I trust him? “Who are you?”
“Just someone who don’t like mean people.”
While I made up my mind on the old guy, he tugged me forward, then gently pulled me side-to-side, guiding me in what seemed like the right direction as he gave encouragement. “You doin’ good.”
“Thank you.” I debated calling this off right now, but what if he was just a Good Samaritan? Plus, the camera had to be filming him.
Something about his voice soothed my fears. Still, this was too risky. I prepared for defeat when I heard Ed call out, “This way, Chelsea.”
The old guy said, “See? You’re almost through. Keep goin’ ten steps and you’ll be done.”
He released my arm. I said, “Wait. What’s your name?”
“I’m called Grady.”
“Do you live here?”
“I stay near Grady Hospital. You go on now, and don’t let that nasty sister of yours mess with you again.”
“I won’t. Thank you.”
I kept walking forward until Ed said, “Whoa, hot shot.”
He pulled the sack off my head. I looked around for Grady while Ed texted the group that I’d won the bet. While we waited for everyone to arrive, Ed replayed the video.
I stared at each frame, right to the end when Ed stepped up next to me on the same side where Grady had walked.
There was no one on camera except me, carrying on a one-sided conversation.
Ed shocked me by brushing a strand of hair behind my ear. “Good job, Chelsea, but who were you talking to?”
So… I know Dianna has sent her fans here to try to guess the surprise character in this story… did you figure it out?? Here’s an extra little bit about Grady:
Grady is a Nightstalker in the Belador series. Nightstalkers are ghouls that will trade intel (ghoul informants) about the supernatural world for a handshake with a powerful being. That quick handshake allows the Nightstalker to take corporeal form for ten minutes. Grady is special because he once had an extra long handshake and can occasionally turn solid for brief periods on his own.
Now… for a chance to win an ebook (for amazon, nook or ibooks) of WITCHLOCK (book 6 in the Belador series) plus a set of signed Belador cover cards and swag snail-mailed to you (international)… talk to me about scary places and haunted houses. Do you like them? The “real” ones, or the ones set up for holiday festivities. Do you like to be scared? Don’t forget, you can come hang out with Dianna, and a slew of other awesome Featured Authors, at the (totally NOT scary) 2016 Coastal Magic Convention!
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!!