CMCon17 Halloween Flash Fiction with Tawdra Kandle
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Here’s the image that inspired her story…
Dried leaves skittered across the stone steps of the mausoleum. The sky was cloudy tonight, but as Nell and I approached the edge of the cemetery, there was just enough moonlight to read the name chiseled over the two heavy doors with their brass pulls. Dead vines teased the top of the word, but I could see enough to make it out.
Next to me, Nell shivered. It was much cooler up here than what we were used to in Florida. I draped one arm around her shoulders and drew her closer to my side.
“Hover.” She murmured the name, squinting in the darkness. “That’s the one, then?”
I nodded. “I think so. I don’t see any other bone mansions around here with that name.”
“We’re a long way from San Francisco.” Her pale blue eyes roamed over the overgrown grass of the old burial yard. “How did the talisman end up in Virginia?”
“After those five men tried to open the dimensional door for the aliens—who turned out to be demons—they all had mental breaks. Our guy was brought back here to his hometown. As far as we know, they put the necklace in his coffin when he died.”
“Lovely.” Nell shrugged. “Well, let’s get started. The sooner we get this, the sooner we can get out of here.” She glanced over her shoulder. “There’s . . . unrest here.”
“No shit,” I muttered under my breath. Nell didn’t pay attention to me; she’d already closed her eyes and lifted her hands. I knew the hands were more for her own focus than anything else, as all the power came from her mind.
At first, nothing happened beyond the wind picking up a little. And then there was a low groaning, and ever so slowly, the huge doors began to scrape and creak open. As soon as they did, the odor of decay poured out, making me gag.
Nell wasn’t affected at all. She dropped her hands back to her sides and climbed the steps, leaving me to follow behind her.
“Rafe, do you have your flashlight? I don’t think it’s likely that there’ll be electric lighting in here.”
“Got it.” I clicked on the button and pointed the light into the pitch black of the burial chamber. Shelves lined both sides, and caskets had been slid onto each one. I hesitated, not sure which would be the most likely to be the one we needed, but Nell moved unerringly to the top coffin on the right.
“This one? You sure?”
She cast me a wry look. “We’ve got to start somewhere, and I think it’s most likely to be one of the more recent ones, which means a top shelf. If you let me climb on your shoulders, I should be able to open it up and see inside.”
I obliged, kneeling so that she could toss one jean-covered leg over my neck. Rising, I grasped her thighs, eliciting a soft hiss from Nell when my fingers strayed too far off course. Well, who could blame a guy for taking advantage of his hot girlfriend in this position?
“Almost got it open.” She sounded strained and breathless, and I was just opening my mouth to tease her about that when a small noise behind us made me freeze. An icy-cold hand closed around my arm, and a low voice growled near my ear, sending a chill of dread down my spine.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing with my coffin?”