I can’t believe the summer is half over. I’m not ready to think about school and cool autumn days. I want to stay in this season. Where the sun stays awake until ten PM. Where the only schedule is the one you make for yourself. Plus, I’m running a race in October, which means once fall is here, that race is intimately real.

Anyway, it’s time for picture flash fiction. An interesting image (so very un-summerish). It feels like a conspiracy to hurry this time along. I won’t play along, damn it. But, I do have a story. It’s actually going to be the opener for my next Threshold book, which, if the stars are in alignment and I make the appropriate sacrifices, will be out sometime in October. I know… trust me, I know.

Okay… here’s the image and here’s the story….

08-2016 BenchGirl


“This can’t actually be happening to me.”

Piper Collins carded her hand through her hair as she stared at the bus schedule posted beside the solitary bench, half of the information lost to weather and graffiti. But one section was crystal clear—nothing ran on Sunday.

She groaned as she looked skyward, sinking down onto the worn wooden slats. A few birds chirped in a nearby tree, the distant drone of cars on the interstate drifting along the breeze. She looked up the street, not surprised to find the road as deserted as it had been for the past twenty minutes it’d taken her to walk to the damn stop in the first place.

“Way to go, Piper. You just got played by your ex, girl.”

She should’ve known the jackass didn’t want to meet with her to return the last few items she’d been trying to get back for six months. But, she’d chosen to give the bastard the benefit of the doubt. They’d met at an old coffee shop they’d once frequented together. He’d seemed sincere, at first, offering her a box of some of her belongings. Of course, he’d forgotten a few. The ones that really mattered, so he’d offered to drive her to his loft in the warehouse district.

She’d gone along, never considering that he was merely trying to get back in her pants. That she’d have to toss his ass across the room and bolt before he resorted to a more violent form of persuasion. But worst of all, she’d nearly exposed herself. Revealed her true nature to a guy who couldn’t be trusted. And all because she was naive. Chose to see the best in people. The fact he’d cheated on her—and flaunted the fact when she’d caught his ass in bed with her supposed best friend—should have been a pretty clear warning that trust wasn’t high on his priority list. Yet, here she was, in a derelict part of town, wearing her favourite boots, with the heels that were far too high to be sensible. At least for hiking it the distance she’d have to.

She glanced at her hands. Her skin still held a faint blue tinge to it, though most folks would probably just chalk it up to the cool autumn weather. She needed to rein it in. Push it deep beneath the surface before someone got curious. Hell, she worked for an organization that hunted creatures it didn’t understand. And she was pretty damn sure she wasn’t something most people understood.

She sighed and leaned back against the bench. Releasing control of her power was easy. Regaining that control—it wasn’t always as simple as she hoped, especially when her heart was still racing inside her chest. Her adrenaline making her hyperaware. Even now, she sensed the restless spirits gathering in the abandoned hospital across the street, the otherworldly energy glowing like a beacon beyond the broken glass and boarded up windows.

She pulled out her cell, cursing at the red bar up in the corner and the intermittent signal. Just her luck the damn thing would die in the middle of her call. Better she walk a bit farther and wait until she knew the line wouldn’t simply get dropped.

The old bench creaked as she pushed to her feet. A gust of wind swirled around her, lifting her hair off her shoulders. Maybe she needed to take some time off. Spend some time in the country, surrounded by nature. Revitalize her soul. She smiled at the thought, crossing to the other side of the street, when the hairs on the back of her neck prickled.

She paused, taking a moment to scan the area. Nothing moved around her other than the odd eddy of dust that whirled along the edge of the road before settling. She glanced to her left. A shadow crossed one of the broken windows, the distant echo of footsteps just reaching her.

Piper frowned. Who would be wandering around a deserted hospital? Especially one occupied by as many restless spirits as she sensed inhabited this one did? She sighed. Just another amateur who thought hunting spirits involved nothing more than a Ouija board and a video camera. God, if they only knew the kind of power the human soul contained. The damage they could do…

She pushed down the uneasy feeling, taking another step when a wall of dark energy slammed into her, leaving a wake of goose bumps along her flesh. She turned toward the hospital, inhaling roughly at the sense of evil radiating from the structure. It stained the air, slowly spreading outwards—not stopping until it reached the edge of the property. Piper took an involuntary step back, still staring at one of the doors sitting slightly ajar, when a scream echoed in the space between this plane and the veil. As if the dark energy had simply swallowed the sound.

Dread soured her stomach. Something was wrong.

Fear gnawed at her conscience as she moved toward the rusted gate leading to the back section of the hospital. The hinges squeaked as she shoved it open, the bottom rail dragging across the stone. She drew a deep breath then crossed the threshold, fisting her hands in an effort to stop from trying to wipe the feel of the evil off her skin. It lingered, like an oily film slowly covering her flesh.

Another scream echoed inside her mind, and she raced toward the doorway, no longer worrying about how the energy made her feel. She slipped through the small space, searching the room before heading for a hallway on the far side. Grunts and snarls resonated around her, the metallic scent of blood slowly saturating the air. She followed the noise, weaving her way through a maze of rooms and paths before stopping at a doorway. Bile crested her throat as she stared at the creature feeding on a woman.

The creature turned, exposing a set of jagged teeth as it snarled at her, its greyish form covered in blood. It turned, part of its body shifting into a fine mist before solidifying again. Long claws clicked on the floor as it took a few steps toward her.

She held her ground, allowing her power to cover her skin, lighting up the shadows with its blue glow. The creature stopped, shrieking in seeming pain before coiling in on itself and disappearing through one of the walls.

Piper darted over to the woman, crouching beside her. Long gashes marred her torso, a pool of blood collection beneath her. Piper reached for her neck, detecting a slight pulse beneath her fingertips. She palmed the woman’s chest, channeling her energy, but even as she increased her power, the woman’s soul slowly slipped away until nothing but an empty shell remained.

Pain ricocheted through her heart, the loss roiling her stomach. She looked at where the entity had disappeared, wondering what the hell she’d actually seen. Were there more of the creatures roaming about, or had her heightened senses played tricks on her? Made her see more than what had really been there?

Uncertainty welled in her chest. One thing was certain. She needed to report the incident which meant her troubles were just beginning.


That’s it for me. Please check out the other ladies joining in this week. If you’d like to read the bit that comes after, you can go here… otherwise…

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman


  1. I am hooked. On my wish list. I look forward to reading the finished story – October right? 😀 Thank you for sharing the opening. Can’t wait.

    1. Ah thanks, honey. And yes. I’m just finishing up my second angel book, Michael, then I’ll be finishing the rest of this. I’ve been jumping around lately, lol. Writing some of this then that. But October it is…

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