Teaser Tuesday

I waited. For hours. For days. The sun never sank down but I could feel every nightfall. I could feel the cold, the darkness reaching for me, the slow drawl of my name. It fell on me hard like rain. That voice. I knew that voice. Or maybe it knew me.

But I didn’t.

I didn’t know me. I didn’t know where I was or what I’d done but I knew it was terrible. I could tell by the way my blood stalled in my veins and the way my chest cracked open with every breath. I’d done something terrible and something terrible had been done to me.


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Teaser Tuesday

I stood in the backyard, toes barely grazing where the grass grew over the floor of the garage. My mom was back at work and my uncle was inside fixing the washer or the kitchen sink or something else that probably wasn’t really broken.

He could never sit still doing nothing and after a week at home, I realized I couldn’t either. I took a few steps into the shade of the garage, examining my sculpture but not quite ready to touch it yet. After eight weeks of being frozen it looked strange and ugly and I hated it.

The summer breeze ignited the dust revealing the rust underneath. I could tell it had rained, the humid air stripping the metal until it looked like it was rotting. I reached for a sunflower petal, wanting to move, to grip the metal, to twist it and bend it, giving my hands something to do besides cradle my prescribed medication or a glass of water or the television remote because my mom wouldn’t let me do anything more. I wanted to fix it. I wanted to finish it even though I knew it wouldn’t matter.

My grandmother was right. Despite Roman waking up and despite not seeing the shadows since I’d found him in the real world something was still attacking me from the inside. I was still sick and weak and I was still in danger.

It’s not over.

It’s not.

Her words played over and over in my head as I grabbed the hammer and started swinging. It clipped the edge of a flower, igniting a small spark. I kept swinging, knocking stems to the ground, petals hanging limp before finally shaking off. Pieces scattered at my feet, hitting the ground like bells, landing against my empty worktable, scraping down the walls.

I dropped the hammer, trying to twist off the ladybugs and the fireflies, some of the metal already brittle and snapping off in my hand. I kept twisting, sharp ends biting into my palm.

It burned but I couldn’t stop. I snapped off leaves and tore down vines, a thorn ripping through my thumbnail. I bit down on it, switching hands, scraping everything clean down to the base.

“Bryn?” He said my name and that’s when I finally felt the sting. “Bryn. Bryn, stop. Bryn, breathe.”

I stared down at my hands, my skin dark with blood, flakes of it already thick and drying beneath my fingernails. I looked up and saw my dad holding my arms back. He freed one hand, tearing off the hem of his shirt before wrapping both of my palms.

The kitchen door opened into the garage, my uncle almost tripping down the steps when he saw us.

“She’s hurt herself,” my dad said, never taking his eyes off my hands.

My uncle disappeared back inside and I heard kitchen drawers opening and crashing closed on the other side of the door. Blood trickled down my wrists and onto my forearms and my dad gripped my fists, holding them tight. My cheek scraped the pocket of his denim jacket, traces of sawdust and cigarettes pinching my eyes closed. And I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to cry. I didn’t mean to collapse in his arms. But I did and he caught me. We stood there, my face buried in his chest, the smell of him igniting new tears, and he just held me.


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Free Chapter Friday

I could still see it, lithe and bristling like some kind of animal. There were no raised haunches or bared teeth. It didn’t growl or groan or say my name. But it knew me. It wanted me.

Roman had told me to run but then I’d blinked. I’d blinked and I was dry and I was alone. And Roman was still back there.

I sat up in bed and for a minute I just stayed there. I could feel the light pouring in from the window. I could hear the warble of water from a faucet, the clinking of drawer handles as my mom shuffled around the kitchen. I heard my grandmother flipping the channels on the TV. A car driving by outside. Doors opening and falling closed. The real world so loud that I couldn’t think.

Because Roman could be hurt. He could be…Stop it. Stop.

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Teaser Tuesday

Bryn was watching the clock as we waited for the far-off ding of the elevator and my dad to appear in the doorway with some more awful takeout. I watched it too, not daring to stare at the television for fear that my gaze would drift in her direction, betraying the wounds you could only see if you were staring straight through me.

She said something about rain clouds clustering outside and then she sniffled. “I wish you could just…” She stopped.

I wasn’t sure how many days I’d been awake, how long she’d been waiting for me to say something. But she was desperate. I could see it.

I was desperate too. Every day I was plagued by new sensations, feeling returning to me in pieces, and all those pieces wanted to do was touch her. I just wanted to touch her.

I swallowed, opened my mouth. Air. I took another breath, holding onto it.

“Roman?” she whispered.

“Br—” I stopped. Don’t say her name. Don’t let her love you.

It was burning there in her eyes, the kind of love that turns your insides into glass and the person you love into stone. Every word, every sigh, every pathetic sound I made had the potential to break her or keep her safe but when it came to the two of us, I couldn’t figure out how to do one without the other.

She stared down at me, still waiting. But instead of speaking the rest of her name I fumbled over my own, muddled and one syllable instead of two. When I finished I closed my eyes, cheeks flushed.

“Roman,” she whispered back.

And when I opened my eyes again Bryn was smiling and for one second I lost control and I couldn’t help but smile too.


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Free Chapter Saturday

I felt her in the doorway; long shadow spilling into the closet.

“Roman,” I breathed.


She sunk down next to me and I handed her the coin. It glinted in her palm, finger pressed to the plastic case.

“My name is Roman,” I said.

She looked at me, wide-eyed. “You remember?”

“My name. I saw it and I knew.”

She traced the case with her thumbnail. “Roman.” Her lips curled into a smile. ”I like it. It’s…”


She looked at me. “It’s strong.”

Strong. Am I strong?

“Anything else?” she asked.

I shook my head. “No, not yet, and I’ve looked through everything in this house.”

She slipped the coin back into the box and rose to her feet. “Then maybe we should start looking somewhere else.”

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