Episode 2 by Chanta Rand
Sarah stared at the old Victorian as its steep rooflines loomed eerily in the waning daylight. It resembled the type of dollhouse she’d always wanted but, as the only girl raised with a herd of four older brothers, never had the chance to play with. Elaborate, white gingerbread trim stretched across the faded boards. Back in the day, the home probably boasted a vibrant blue shade of siding. But right now, it was in desperate need of a paint job. Scarlet shutters adorned the windows, looking like gigantic eyes peering from a dull gray face. Oddly, that was what it felt like now—as if the house were watching her. And now, apparently, it was calling her name.
A rumble of thunder shook the air, making her jump. Seconds later, a frigid drizzle began. Damn. The only thing she hated worse than cold weather was cold, wet weather. Her first instinct would have been to flee to the safety of the dry house. But there was no fucking way she wanted to go in there now.
She clutched her keys between her forefinger and middle finger, the way she was taught to do in self-defense class. She took one deep breath and two steps forward. If a burglar was waiting in there, she’d be ready for his ass. She’d gouge both of his eyes out with these keys if she had to. But if a ghost awaited her… Well, that was another story altogether.
When she was twelve years old, she’d heard stories of one of her ancestors being…interesting. During one of the few sleepovers her absentee mother had allowed her to have, her older brother, Mac, had indulged the girls with a chilling story about a poor inventor who loved his wife so much that when she died, he found a way to bring her back to life in his dilapidated laboratory. When the townspeople found out, they accused the man of being a warlock. They dragged him from his home and burned him alive in the town square. His wife waited day after day for him to come home, but he never did. Eventually, she died again of a broken heart, and forever roamed the halls of their house, searching for her beloved husband.
Of course, it was pure bull. Sarah knew that now. But when she’d been a pre-teen begging for a horror story, this one had scared her shitless. Add to the fact that over the years, Mac continued to insist the old warlock was really their great-great grandfather, and things really jumped up a few notches on the weirdness meter.
“Sarah, don’t be afraid.”
She gulped, still tasting the garlic chicken she’d had for dinner, and wished she had some of that now. She would scare whatever it was away with just one clove.
Wait a minute.
Garlic was for vampires, wasn’t it?
How did she know a vampire wasn’t hiding in there waiting to drain her blood?
Or a werewolf?
The light drizzle’s tempo increased to a steady rain. This was ridiculous. She couldn’t stand here forever. If she didn’t get out of the elements soon, she would catch a cold. She squared her shoulders.
“I’m not twelve anymore,” she said aloud. “I’m a thirty-three year-old, reasonably attractive woman. I have a Master’s Degree in Education. I stick to a gluten-free diet. I’m responsible!” She glowered in the direction of the open door. “Let’s do this.”