Isn't that the freakiest pumpkin ever? I love it. It kind of cracks me up, but inspires my semi-evil maniacal laugh at the same time. Muahaha! Muahahahahahaahaha!
In honor of our official scariest holiday of the year, and one of my favorites, I thought I'd share one of the more freaky and intense scenes from my WIP. Enjoy!
Here is a rough bit of background info so you can understand what's going on, since this happens in chapter 4.
Sixteen-year-old Parker spends every night trapped in the dreams of the last person he made eye contact with that day, and it's killing him. He sees what they see, feels what they feel, but he's awake and his body can't take many more nights without real sleep. Mia is his only chance at a normal life because for some reason, he can sleep inside her dreams. (p.s. Finn is his best friend)
The woman at the checkout counter had pale green eyes. They looked sad even as she smiled and told me to have a nice day. Her nametag said Agnes and she’d decorated it with stickers of small blue flowers.
I’d never messed up by meeting the wrong person’s eyes twice in one day—then again, I’d never considered Finn to be the wrong person before. Did it really matter whose dreams I watched if they weren’t Mia’s? I frowned as I loaded the groceries Mom asked me to pick up in the back of my car. Probably not.
Agnes's dream started slow, the room smelled of cleaning supplies and I could hear children’s voices coming from a room down the hall. The TV was showing a game show, but Agnes never turned to watch it. She kept dusting the same tables over again, even though the room was spotless.
This dream was different. The detail was clear, which usually indicated a memory, but there were little items that overlapped. The same coasters were filling five separate places on the oak end table. The game show had different contestants every time I looked at it—-but each was as clear as the last. This dream was several memories overlapping each other.
The front door opened and a thick man with a shirt and tie came in the living room. The emotion coming from Agnes shifted so suddenly I felt dizzy. Pure fear filled my body from my toes to my eyebrows. The sounds of the children down the hall silenced and I heard a door shut.
“Hi, dear.” Agnes smiled and hid the feather duster behind her back. From my position, I could see the feathers twitching as her hands trembled.
He grunted and plopped into the recliner closest to the TV.
She handed him the remote and put the feather duster in the closet. Within seconds she was back with a beer from the fridge.
He grabbed it and nodded without even a glance in her direction. “What’s for dinner?”
“Meat loaf.” She answered and backed toward the kitchen. “It will be ready in a few minutes.”
Her fear was still there, but she seemed a little more confident. I slumped onto the carpet and leaned against the wood paneling on the wall. She might feel better, but I didn't. There was no question that he’d hit her before. It was impossible to miss the signs. She never turned her back on him.
Agnes set the table and called for the kids to come to the kitchen. Two blonde children came down the hall. The little boy was quieter than any child I’d ever seen. He couldn’t have been more than five-years-old. His sister was maybe a year or two older, and she kept moving back and forth in front of her brother. It took me a moment to realize she was placing herself between her brother and her dad.
The kids sat at the table and Agnes brought a plate to her husband in his recliner. The family ate in silence, everyone at the table stared at their plates. Agnes reached over to refill the milk in her son’s cup. He lifted it, but lost his grip.
The glass fell to the table as if in slow motion. Panic shot through the room like a lightning bolt. The little girl was back from the kitchen with a towel before I could blink.
Agnes hurried to clean it up, but the moment her husband glanced back at her, she sent the kids to their room. I could hear soft sniffles coming down the hallway as she continued to wipe up the mess with shaking fingers.
“I’m sorry, Ray.”
He sighed and pushed pause on his DVR remote. When he stood, I stepped in his way. I didn’t want to see this. Please, no.
But Ray was an aspect of the dream, and I was just a Watcher. He walked right through me and I felt nothing. I knelt on the floor, wishing I’d met the eyes of anyone but this poor woman.
“All I ask is that things be clean.” His voice rumbled low and her fear spiked as she backed away from him. He grabbed her shoulder and shoved her against the wall.
She shrank down to the floor.
“I know. It was an accident. I’m so sorry.”
He reached under her chin and lifted her to her feet. “Don’t you want me to be happy?”
She nodded, as choking sounds came from her throat and he threw her back to the ground. Everything ached and I felt the will to fight seep out of my body, the same way it had fled from Agnes.
“Don’t do it again.” He walked back to his recliner and pushed play on his remote.
Agnes whispered, “I won’t,” and wiped her tears from her cheeks as she got unsteadily to her feet. There was a gash on the top of her ear that was bleeding and I could see the print of her husband’s hand against her throat. She pulled her thin brown hair out of its bun and tried to arrange it to hide her neck and ear before she took the plates down the hall to her kids’ bedroom.
As the dream faded, I clenched my hands against my forehead. I couldn’t cope with this anymore. People had dark, disturbing secrets and every time I invaded their minds it drained a little piece of me. I could feel the darkness from other people’s nightmares squirming into my brain. How long before it changed who I was—-my idea of what was normal?