Authors: Courtney Shockey
Tags: #Halloween novella
Copyright© 2015 by Courtney Shockey
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
Cover Design by: Cover Me, Darling
Formatting by: Athena Interior Book Design & Cover Me, Darling
Edited by: Grammar Inspection Task Force
My husband and kids keep me going. I live and breathe for you. You’re my everything and I thank you for letting me take time out to write.
My family means the world to me. I couldn’t do it without every one of you either standing behind me, or standing beside me. I can’t name everyone because that would be a book in itself so just know I love you all and appreciate you!
Friends are important to have in your life whether they’re encouraging you or letting you know how badly you suck. Again, way too many people to name and I will forget at least a dozen. Lol! Just know I couldn’t do this without you.
To my writing friends that said yes to helping me: THANK YOU! I literally couldn’t have done anything without your help. Imy Santiago is such an amazing woman and we will see your name in shining lights one day. Thank you for calming me down and letting me know exactly how much went into this. JoAnna Grace is such a blessing! She gave me the push I needed to start doing this. You’re amazing! A giant, squishy hug to Kimberly Blalock for throwing so much knowledge at me that I went on overload. My friend Amber Ross and I traveled this road together and held each other up more than once. We did it! To John Tucker for taking the time to be a beta; you helped me more than you know. Thank you. I know I’m forgetting people. You know me!
Thank you to all the groups and pages that have me as a member. Marisa with Cover Me Darling is to die for! She will give you what you want when you don’t even know yourself. Misty and April have been so helpful and I love you girls! To the reader; THANK YOU. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did and I look forward to reading what you think.
Last but definitely not least, to my editors at Grammar Inspection Task Force; my ass would be in a world of hurt without you two. Your notes, comments, and suggestions helped me so much. I laughed, cried, and maybe threw things, but I thank you for making my writing better. I hope I make you proud.
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Session 41 with Emily Frost: Arms crossed as she walks in and head staring at the floor. Parents inform me of frequent tantrums and less verbal connection throughout the week. Session lasts fifteen minutes before Emily withdraws and calls for her mother. Session ended.
I rub my eyes as I look over my notes.
As soon as I add a little more, I'll get out of here.
I put my pen to paper and scribble thoughts as they come.
After months of sessions, there is no progression or breakthrough. Emily still will not reveal her personal thoughts or emotions. I feel a connection to this child, but I'm unsure as to why.
The words blur so I glance at the clock adorning my office wall.
Six in the evening and I’m still here.
I sigh and lean my head back with my hand over my eyes deep in thought. The sound of ticking from the wall clock increases.
My eyes shoot open and search for the different noise now filling my ears. There's nothing beyond the lamp light of my desk. My eyes see only inky black darkness until something moves from the corner. Two big eyes are reflecting back at me.
I awake with my heart pounding in my chest and fear clogging my throat. I sit up and look around my office.
Just a dream. It was just a dream.
I rub my hand over my chest to calm the muscle still pounding erratically.
Fresh air. I need to get out of here.
My rolling briefcase is already stuffed with patient files, but I manage to quickly fit Emily’s in. Before I turn off all the lights, I take a last glance around then leave the building for the weekend.
The speakers in my car play an upbeat song and I hum along while sitting in traffic. My favorite bookstore attracts my vision and I alter my course to the parking lot. Snagging a front row spot, I smile as I see books on display through the windows. The door chimes and I’m greeted by happy cashiers. I wave to the familiar faces as I stride to the best section in this place. The fantasy section.
My hands skim the spines as I take in all the titles. Various authors flitter through my sight, but I’m only here for one book. The latest installment of my favorite series. My eyes catch the majestic display and I swipe the book.
Finally! Three months of waiting better pay off.
On the way to the counter, I pass by the children’s section and see a cover picture that throws me back to my childhood. My dad sitting beside me on the pink covers of my bed with the same book propped open. While he reads a story of pigs and a wolf, I giggle watching his animated facial features and listening to his terse voice change with each character.
“Is that all, ma’am?” the cashier asks at the counter.
I nod and hand over the book.
Later that evening, I walk through the door and hear the scraping paws of my German shepherd, Max, as he runs to greet me.
“Hey there, Max. Did you miss me?”
His response is to lick my face, hands, and hair as I chuckle. “Good boy. I brought take-out because I am not cooking tonight. I have too many files to go through this weekend.”
We finish our dinner and I call my boyfriend, Coby, as I organize patient files on my desk. “Hey, baby. How goes it?”
“Hello, beautiful. I finalized on the Parker Street house this afternoon. I already know I’m awesome, but you can go ahead and remind me,” he fishes.
I laugh while shaking my head. “You’re something, all right. I have a ton of work to do this weekend. It is not going to be fun.”
“Can you pencil me in for tomorrow? I’d like to set a formal date with my lady, if you don’t mind.”
I pause for effect then respond, “I might be able to rearrange some things for my man.”
We laugh and talk for a few more minutes, then hang up. “Time to get to work, Max.”
He curls up on my feet and quickly starts snoring.
That’s my cue to get busy
My hands are shaking as I lie on my bed. The covers move over my head with each breath and I shut my eyes tightly. My heart pounds in my ears, pulsing throughout my body. But it isn’t loud enough to shut out the sound of small feet hitting the floor in my room. Or the chilling giggles.
“Just leave me alone!” I plead for the hundredth time.
Every time the nightlight goes out, they come out to play. Grotesque little creatures with the small bodies of children and horrid faces that haunt my dreams. Each creature wears a different face, but the thick, black tongues and jagged
stained teeth are all the same. Their sharp claws cut through my toys like knives through flesh. The dark is their playground.
Tears trail down my face. I pray that the morning will come quickly or that my mom would check on me.
I wake up with a start and look around.
I'm not in my childhood bedroom. I am not a child anymore. My pillowcase isn’t light pink and my room doesn't have toys strewn everywhere.
I breathe in a sigh of relief after I finish reassuring myself and wipe the sweat from my brow. The nightmare left me shaken and cold. Max is lying on the floor next to my bed looking up at me.
“Bad dream again, Max. They’re becoming frequent and with more detail,” I say as I lean over the bed to rub his head. He licks my hand and jumps on my bed as I continue to analyze my newest dream. Thinking aloud is both soothing and productive.
“When did they come back? A few months ago, maybe?” I scratch Max’s back as he lays his head on my side. “It has been more than a few months. They never really went away. I would have the nightmares on occasion. But it seems as though they’ve been increasing more and more within the span of half a year. Why are they coming back and what do they mean?”
I idly scratch his back and belly for a few more minutes while I continue my self-analysis. A yawn holds me in place and I stretch my limbs generously before we roll out of bed to begin our day. He goes outside while I shower and make a pot of coffee. I quickly get his breakfast out and he eats while I drink my coffee and flip through the channels. My phone beeps and I check my messages.
Coby lets me know he’s on his way to pick me up after breakfast and wants to spend the day together at the beach. I reply with a smile and look down at Max.
“Well, looks like we’ll be gone for a while. Does the beach sound fun?”