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Thank you!


Storm clouds got caught on the mountains.

I saw 'em when I walked through Dad's garden toward the field. The color of a black eye, three days old, swirling and swirling. Little waves crossed the reflecting pool, and the late roses shivered.

Parker shivered too. Out by the end of the pasture, she crossed her arms tight and ducked her head. But she didn't move; she stood there against the fence, watching I don't know what. The meadow laying down? The trees waving at the sky?

"You cold?" I asked.
~ ~ ~



My chest tightened and the photo blurred through a veil of unshed tears. My hands shook as I willed myself not to cry.

“What is that?” a voice asked.

I screamed and jumped, almost losing my hold on the frame. I spun around, my heart racing and just like that, my fear switched to fury.

“What are you doing here?” I lurched to my feet, backing away from Rider who was as transparent as he’d been the last time I saw him. “I thought I told you, this is my cave! And how dare you sneak up on me like that?”

I groaned and rubbed a hand over my face. Leave it to me to chastise a hallucination for sneaking up on me.

“I’m not really going crazy,” I whispered to myself. “It’s just stress and this is how it’s manifesting itself.” I was so full of crap and I knew it. When I first saw him last week, I hadn’t been stressing.

“You still don’t believe I am real?” he asked.

I peeked at him through my fingers. Even though he was transparent, I could still see a lot of detail. Once again, he wore animal-skin leggings, though this time he had on moccasins. His chest was bare and smooth, dark hair pulled into a tail hung past his shoulders. But his face was still as cloudy as before. I couldn’t make out any of his features. Was that some kind of symbolic thing? My warped mind’s way of telling me I didn’t yet know what I wanted?

“How could you be real?” I asked. Before he could answer, I held up my hands. “I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to repeat that dreamwalking theory you came up with last time. But I’m not sure I buy it.”

If I was smart, I’d take it as an easy out. I mean, I didn’t want to be crazy, but what he claimed was just too impossible.
~ ~ ~



His expression’s hard to read. The sun’s gone now, and the only light in the truck comes from the dashboard. His voice though is quiet. “Hey.”

“Hey,” I say back.

He stares so long, I think he’s going to ask me what happened, and I sink further into the seat. I can’t go there, can’t think about it. Not without crying.

Instead he says, “Where do you want to go?”

“Anywhere. Just not home.”

He puts the truck in gear and the wheels kick into motion. “Have you ate yet?”


“At all?”


“Geez,” he says, tone teasing. “How the hell do you survive?”
“Honesty?” My voice cracks at the edges, and I breathe deep against the sudden upsurge of pain.

“I have no idea.”

His hand slides across the seat and finds mine, covers my cold fingers with his stubby ones. My hand warms up, then my arm, then the rest of me in bits and pieces, soothing out the chill. It’s like drinking hot chocolate through my skin instead of my throat.

Or maybe it’s the truck’s heater kicking in.
~ ~ ~



“Did you check out her expression? If I didn’t know any better I’d say she saw a ghost.”

A pained expression flashed across Dylan's face. He smacked his forehead. “Please don’t tell me this is what I think it is, because knowing one person who sees the dead is more than enough for me right now.”

“Ssh,” I said, grabbing his elbow. “Don’t tell the whole world.”

Dylan rubbed his arm. “Wow, all that rescuing is giving you muscles, Steph.” He smiled his one dimple grin. So adorable. How could I stay mad at him?

“Right.” I continued down the hallway to class, squeezing pass others. “As if that will help me right now.”

Seriously, too bad it didn’t.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 24th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)
Ooh, great teasers!
Feb. 24th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
Teasers are my favorite part of Grapemo!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Jeannine Garsee

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