Shattering glass. Plodding footsteps. IV poles crashed to the floor. Glass shards tinkled, punctuated by low-pitched groaning from the rear elevator, the exit Hoffman had claimed to seal.
“Dear God, help us.” Alexis reached for her gun.
“What are you doing? Guns are forbidden on this floor, and…Oh, my God!” Ms. Grese cupped her hands over her mouth. Her authoritarian demeanor vanished, replaced by horror-stricken pallor. “Where are the officers?”
“You think our visitors give a shit?” Alexis scuttled toward the door, feeling vulnerable. The vest didn’t protect her face or hands, but the intruders wouldn’t care about that either. She shoved Ms. Grese ahead of her, pushing with her mind, Yeron beside her. “Run!” she hollered.
As the creatures poured through the ward, a stench crawled down her throat, the stink of things many days dead. Moaning drowned out the sound of Ms. Grese’s cries, a continual chant of “hungry.”
Skeletal figures in tattered rags skirted around Mark, who fired at any who got too close. Their tendons flashed gray against cold cobwebs of rib and knuckle. The flesh that quivered through widened skin tears had the sheen of rotting meat. The skin resembled cracked leather. Weeds sprouted on some of the figures’ necks and hair, the way they did in her nightmares. They made their way to the desk, where two nurses sat. The two women jumped up, both screaming. One of them opened fire with a Glock.
The armed woman was her mother.
My best birthday memory? Let’s talk about my husband Mike. He was very creative and knew how to make birthdays special for me. Each birthday and Christmas, he surprised me with jewelry but not necessarily in a box. When we were engaged, he gave me a microwave oven for Christmas, and when I opened it, I found a wedding ring inside. That was when he proposed to me.
By my 45th birthday, my fascination with Mylar balloons was getting underway but I hadn’t yet purchased a helium tank. A store down our street filled my balloons for me. My count had gotten up to thirty, but Mike had a great sense of humor and drove me to the store with the deflated balloons in his car. We went inside and got them filled. Outside again, Mike told me to get into the backseat. One by one, he floated each balloon into the car until I was buried under a mound of Mylar balloons. I remember hearing him say, “I hope the cops don’t catch me driving with all these balloons.”
Sitting under all those balloons was like being surrounded by soft air cushions. The balloons left room to breathe, and Mylar balloons are forgiving when it comes to retaining helium. That said, Mike later told me that when I spoke, I sounded like a disembodied voice. He pulled up to the house, and one by one, we fished the balloons out…and there on the front seat was my birthday gift – a silver necklace. We still laugh over the memory of my 45th birthday.
I enjoyed all my childhood birthdays, but my ninth one provided the granddaddy of embarrassments. My father, God rest his soul, used to smoke Lucky Strike cigarettes, and he often fell asleep on the couch while watching television. Around suppertime, my mother and I were in the kitchen when Dad came running in the kitchen for a bucket of water. He had fallen asleep with a cigarette in his mouth. The water put out the flames, but the fire left a gaping hole in the sofa cushion. My mother dumped the cushion out on the porch, where it continued to smolder and stink for the next two days. People would drive by, and I imagined them laughing and pointing at our house. Thankfully, my father didn’t get hurt, but he never lived that one down. Because we couldn’t yet afford a new sofa, my mother turned the cushion over and continued using what we had. As the years passed, my mother and I had a lot of laughs over it. I’m happy to say shortly after the event, my father quit smoking, and he lived almost to be ninety.
Barbara will award one randomly drawn commenter at every stop a backlist eBook – it could be City of Brotherly Death, Twilight Healer, or one of her Night to Dawn magazines, and one randomly drawn commenter on the tour will receive a $15.00 gift certificate to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, winner's choice.
February 11: Andi's Book Reviews
February 18: It's Raining Books
February 25: Black Velvet Seductions Readers Blog
March 4: Long and Short Reviews
March 11: Christine Young Romance Writer
March 18: Janna Shay's Fair Play
March 25: Camille Picott, Author
April 8: Writers and Authors
April 15: Cabin Goddess
April 22: Welcome to My World of Dreams
April 29: Sharing Links and Wisdom
Author Bio and Links:
Barbara lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she works full time as a respiratory therapist. When she’s not working with her patients, she’s enjoying a fright flick or working on horror and science fiction tales. Her short stories have appeared in numerous small press magazines. She’s published Night to Dawn magazine since 2004.
Other books by Barbara include Twilight Healer and City of Brotherly Death. She’s also coauthored Alien Worlds and Starship Invasions with Tom Johnson. She enjoys bringing her medical background to the printed page, and then blending it with supernatural horror. She maintains a presence on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and The Writers Coffeehouse forum. Look for the photos with the Mylar balloons, and you'll find her.
To contact her, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit her at: