Oh, the Places We Will Go
by Mychael Black
I see writers talk about their home offices a lot. Sometimes those offices are rooms, sometimes they are corners of rooms. Mine…is my dining room table. Smack dab in the middle of my dining room and, thus, in the center of the usual family chaos. There are times when I’ll run away to the local community college (where my daughter and roommate/best friend go to class), and write in the cafeteria until one of them are done. But that’s only one or two days out of the week due to their funky schedules. Other times, I’ll hightail it to Barnes & Noble or Panera Bread. Both have good food, drinks, and plenty of places to park my butt so I can work.
I dream of one day having a real office here at home, though. A room with a door (and a lock). Some place where I can sit for hours and just type until my fingers fall off.
Right now, that place is a round table that inevitable becomes loaded down with papers, mail, schoolwork from the kids, glasses, and dishes from dinner. As I sit here now, I’m looking at my son (who is finishing his homework), my wallet, a stack of papers and opened mail, a calendar, my sunglasses, a couple Pringles cans, a couple glasses, a plate, two print books (James Rollins’ Innocent Blood and Alyx Shaw’s The Recalling of John Arrowsmith), and an empty bottle of Mountain Dew. All that, and my laptop. I have…a little spot on the edge.
Thank the gods for headphones.
Now onto what y’all really came here for… *winks*
Two hundred years ago, Noah Cunningham watched in horror as his secret lover’s new wife, Mary Bishop, dripped blood on his door step and cursed him. Doomed to spend eternity as a wraith to the outside world, Noah has only his dog, Elsa, and a journal to keep him from going insane.
Sam Locke should have died. His wife, Mary, had certainly intended it. The vampiric witch turned him, then left him for dead. Sam’s determination to warn his lover Noah kept him going, but Mary found Noah first. Now, two centuries and many failed relationships later, Sam is still pining over his love. When he stumbles onto a rain-soaked Border Collie, he takes the dog home. She becomes the catalyst that leads him to the one place he didn’t know still existed…and the one person he never thought he’d see again.
Coming April 1st, 2014, from Loose Id!
My dearest Noah,
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you. Father has chosen my bride, though you will not be pleased. We are to be married soon. You will always own my heart, though we can never meet again, nor speak of our love.
Noah Cunningham crumpled the month-old, battered paper in his fist and stared into the hearth fire. He no longer knew how many times he had read the letter, and Samuel’s words echoed in his mind a week after the marriage. Noah had known this time would come, but he had not prepared himself for it. His beloved Samuel. Noah tossed the missive into the flames and watched it burn. It had been one week, but it felt like a lifetime.
The word itself tasted like ash in Noah’s mouth. Had Samuel married a decent woman, perhaps the pain would have been bearable. There had been two possibilities for a bride, however, and Samuel’s letter had confirmed Noah’s fears. The new Mrs. Samuel Locke was a shrew who despised Noah’s very existence. Mary Bishop hated Noah, and Noah bore no lover for her either.
Thunder shook the timber and stone house to its foundation. Noah did his best to ignore the storm raging outside his home. The weather seemed fitting for his current mood. Wind battered the windows and rain pelted the roof. When the front door blew open, his dog, Elsa, whined. Noah reached down to pet her and then he stood. He started to turn, but froze when he heard scratching, like claws on wood. His heart in his throat, he faced the front of the house. Apprehension crawled up his spine as he approached the entry hall, cautious.
A robed, hooded figure rose from where it had been crouched before Noah’s door. Wind whipped the cloak on the figure’s back, but the hood did not move. Rain drenched the poor sod, but whoever it was did not seem to care.
“Who are you?” Noah shouted over the tempest raging outside.
Lightning flashed, illuminating a woman’s face. Noah stared into Mary Bishop’s crazed eyes. The woman seemed to look right through him.
“You stole him from me.”
Despite the truth being quite the opposite, Noah had no desire to argue over it. “Samuel is no longer mine.”
Mary flung off the cloak. Rust-colored stains covered her pale robe. Bile rose in Noah’s throat. He shook his head and began backing away. Disbelief morphed into pure terror when Mary sneered, revealing elongated canines. Noah had heard of such creatures, but he had never encountered one. Seeing one of the undead, here on his doorstep, sent a fresh rush fear through Noah.
“If I could not have him, even as his wife,” Mary spat. “No one will have him.”
Noah opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came out. He could not tear his gaze from what he knew to be blood–Samuel’s blood. Mary drew a knife, its blade still bearing evidence of Samuel’s murder. She lifted the weapon and slit her other palm. Horrified, Noah stumbled backward. Mary’s cursed blood dripped onto his threshold.
“Forever will you remain unseen, untouched,” she hissed. “As I was to my husband, so shall you be to the world for all eternity.”
Thunder cracked and Mary vanished into the stormy night. Shocked, Noah could only stare in abject horror at the blood on his threshold. Elsa howled from the sitting room, but it took a moment before Noah could find the energy to move. He inched toward the door and stared beyond it, into the stormy night. Mary was gone.
Noah grabbed his rifle and whistled to Elsa. The dog joined him and together they skirted the puddle of blood and headed down the front steps. The woods beyond his house were unnaturally still, even with the wind blowing. Lightning lit up the sky and rain lashed through the trees, soaking Noah and Elsa to the bone. Noah ran down the road to the Locke family’s home. He pounded on the door.
“Samuel!” Swallowing back fresh fear, Noah slammed his fist against the door again. “Samuel!”
When he didn’t get an answer, Noah stepped back and kicked the wooden door open. The top hinge snapped, leaving the door to hang loose. Noah stormed into the house. He went from room to room, shouting Samuel’s name. He found no trace of Samuel, nor any blood. The house felt still, empty, like not even a rodent dared to breathe. There had been blood on Mary and her knife, but Noah saw none in the house.
Fury and fear renewed, Noah rushed to the nearest farmhouse. Surely the Anders heard or saw something. A light burned inside and Noah banged on the door.
“Jacob Anders! Elizabeth! Anyone!”
The door opened and Noah opened his mouth to explain that Samuel was missing, but then he realized Jacob Anders, a man he considered a good friend, was looking everywhere–except at him. Before Noah could say another word, Jacob stepped back inside and shut the door. Freezing rain had nothing on the ice that crept through Noah’s veins. He walked backward, never taking his eyes off of the farmhouse. Then he aimed his rifle upward and shot.
The farmhouse door jerked open once again.
“Who is out there?” Jacob stepped out the door and scanned the area, going right over Noah and Elsa like he didn’t even see them.
“Forever will you remain unseen…”
“No…” Noah shook his head, Mary’s words returning to him. “Mary, what have you done?”
Call me Katherine or Mychael–I’ll answer to both. I’m a mother, student, author by trade, and editor by compulsion. I’ve been in the publishing business for several years, namely as a writer but also as an editor on occasion. It never fails, though. I always end up editing eventually.
I’m a proud bibliophile, to which my poor sagging bookcases can attest. I read all the time, namely fantasy and romance.
When not writing or reading or editing, I…eat. Maybe sleep. Or watch Spongebob. Yes. I am a self-proclaimed, thirty-something year old Spongebob Squarepants addict. Much to my partner’s dismay. It’s fun.
If you’re curious about what I write (and who wouldn’t be?!), then you can find me below: