#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Lured by La Sayona

beautiful girl ghost, witch bride in a white dress holding a bla

According to Wikipedia, La Sayona is a legend from Venezuela, represented by the vengeful spirit of a woman who shows up only to men who have love affairs outside their marriage.

Technically, perhaps it should have been filed under S but I’m using creative license once again, this time with the alphabet.

** Warning ** This story contains adult themes. If you are under 18 or sensitive to stories of this nature, please don’t continue. Thanks!

Craig replaced the phone in the receiver and glanced at his watch.

“Shit,” he mumbled under his breath. He’d been so busy, he completely forgot to pick up a gift for his wife, Lea’s birthday. He was trying to decide how he could make a quick stop and still make it to the bakery to pick up the cake when Jenny walked in and handed him a stack of files.

“You feeling okay?” she said.

Craig sat back in his chair and took in the sight of her. She was wearing his favorite skirt again, the one that almost showed a hint of the lacy garter he knew he’d find underneath it. He tugged at his tie and wondered if she was wearing the matching black panties.

“I’m fine,” he said, “Just feeling a bit tired.”

“Oh, I almost forgot,” she said. She disappeared a moment and came back holding a small box wrapped in elegant silver paper with matching bow, “You’ll need this.”

He reached over the desk but instead of taking the gift, he grabbed her wrist and held it tight. He watched the look in her eyes darken and he wondered if he had enough time to lean her over his desk and do all the things he knew she liked. The scent of her perfume was making him heady with lust.

“You’re my lifesaver, Jenny.”

“I do what I can, Mr. Larson. You asked me to pick this up a week ago, remember?”

He’d completely forgotten, of course. When it came to Lea’s birthday, nothing stuck. When it came to the feel of Jenny’s smooth skin under his fingertips, however, he remembered every little detail. He inhaled deeply and closed his eyes.

“Craig,” he corrected. He hated it when she called him Mr. Larson.

“I hope she likes it.” Jenny tugged her arm free and smoothed her palms over her thighs. She looked a little shaken, like he’d had an effect on her and wanted to hide it. His fingertips itched with the need to tangle his hands in her hair as he kissed her breathless. He pushed up from his chair and crossed the short distance to reach her. She looked up at him with wide, brown eyes.

“Mr. Larson, I don’t think we should…”

He didn’t give her the chance to finish. He needed the taste of her on his tongue, his hands filled with her shapely bottom. She didn’t resist as he nudged her back until her legs hit the desk. As she sat on the edge, he was already freeing buttons on his shirt with one hand and gliding his palm over her thigh with the other, determined to find out what lay out of his sight.

“Mr. Larson, your wife is expecting you…”

“She won’t mind if I’m a couple minutes late.”

“But it’s her birthday.”

He pushed her hair over to expose her neck as he kissed and nibbled his way from her ear to her shoulder. When it came to Jenny, he had a hunger that would never be sated. She made little sounds as he reached around and unclasped her bra, eager to taste her nipple. He was so drunk on her that at first, he couldn’t understand why her palms were pressing against his chest. Finally, he stepped back, acknowledging her desire to stop.

“What’s wrong?”

“This isn’t very romantic.”

“That’s not what you said last time.”

“I’m sorry, I should have never…”

“Never what?”

“That weekend you took me on the business trip, you told me you were leaving your wife.”

“I am.”

“When, Craig? That was six months ago. We can’t keep screwing in the supply closet like animals. It isn’t right.”

“Well, I can’t leave her tonight,” he said feeling the irritation rise. Why were woman so damned demanding? “It’s her god damned birthday.”

Jenny had a look on her face like he’d slapped her but she pulled it together and started readjusting her clothes. So that was it then? He thought she would last a little longer than the last one before getting all needy on him. He’d given her a generous raise, enough that she’d gone and bought herself a brand new car. What more did she want?

He snatched the gift off his desk and his jacket from the back of his chair.

“Craig, wait. We need to talk.”

“There is nothing to talk about, Jenny. You made your feelings clear enough. I need to get home to my wife.”

“Craig… I’m pregnant.”

He stopped. He could feel the weight of her stare on his back. How could she even be sure it was his? He had a pretty good idea he wasn’t the only man in her life. Typical bitch resorting to manipulation to get what she wanted.

“Clear out your desk, Jenny. You’re fired.”

He heard her gasp but he didn’t stand there long enough to listen to her cry. He hurried out to the elevator, punching the buttons until the doors finally opened, welcoming him into their serenity. He tried to calm his breathing as he hit the button for the lobby. He didn’t even notice he wasn’t alone until the sound of her voice caught him off guard.

“Tough day?”

He turned around to the most stunning woman he’d ever seen. She could have stepped right off the runway of a New York fashion show. His gaze traveled the length of her body, reveling at her low cut blouse and long, lean legs. He was pretty sure he’d never seen her in the building before and he’d worked here long enough to catalog all the women worth knowing.

“You could say that. I fired my secretary.”

“So hard to find good help these days,” she said with a smile. The sound of her voice and the look in her eyes drew him in. He found himself smiling at her despite his earlier agitation.

“I don’t suppose you’re in the market for a new job?” he teased.

“You can’t afford me.”

“I could probably make a few cuts in the budget to accomodate your, um, high demands.”

She laughed and the sound of it filled his ears and made him hard. He hoped he wasn’t reading her wrong. She reached forward and hit the emergency stop button before the elevator had a chance to settle on the main floor.

“My employer makes certain I am well compensated for my special skills,” she said plucking the gift from his hand and holding it up, “You look like you have somewhere you need to be.”

“Nowhere special. It can wait.” He inhaled sharply as she stepped so close their noses nearly touched.

“Do you like to play?” she whispered in his ear.

“Baby, I’ll play with you any day.”

His cell phone vibrated in his pocket. Much to his dismay, the woman reached to grab and answer it before he could stop her.

“What the hell?” he said, trying to get his phone back. It was probably Lea wondering when he’d be home from work. She was having her parents over for dinner and probably felt the need to remind him to pick up the cake because she knew he’d forget.

He heard Lea’s on the other hand asking who was speaking and wondering where was Craig?

“I’m so sorry,” the woman said, “but your husband has been in an accident.”

“Shit. Give me the damn phone,” Craig yelled. “I am okay, Lea. I’ll be home soon, Honey.”

Whether she’d heard him or not, he wasn’t sure. The stranger disconnected the call, never taking her eyes off Craig.

“What the hell is wrong with you? That was my wife.” He snatched the phone and the gift and hit the elevator buttons, trying to make it start moving again. The elevator wouldn’t budge.

“She will miss you. As will your pregnant mistress. Those two will have a lot to talk about at your funeral.”

“How do you know…?”

The woman smiled before nudging him aside to activate the elevator again. At her touch, it came to life instantly except, instead of going down, it started moving up.

“I’m getting the hell out of this elevator,” Craig said poised at the door to leap at the first chance.

“What’s wrong? Don’t you like my games, Mr. Larson?”

“Psychotic bitch.”

“That isn’t very nice.”

The elevator came to an abrupt stop and Craig readied himself to exit. He couldn’t stand another moment being next to her. But instead of the doors opening, the elevator began freefalling. He grabbed the side.

“Goodbye, Mr. Larson. It’s been a pleasure.”

She smiled and gave him a little wave as he looked at her in terror, unable to form the words to speak.

Just before the elevator crashed, she vanished.

**

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me. 🙂 Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

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#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Jengu

Water fairy walking into the moon

According to Wikipedia, the Jengu is a water spirit in the traditional beliefs of the Sawa ethnic groups of Cameroon, particularly the Duala, Bakwei, and related Sawa peoples.

Obviously, I’ve taken huge liberties for the sake of my fictional piece.

The rowboat slid to a rest in the middle of the lake. Ben balanced the oars to one side and leaned back to reach the cooler and pull out a beer. He opened it but didn’t take a sip right away. Instead, he absorbed the sounds of nature as he watched the sun drip lower toward the horizon.

This was exactly what he needed. Taking a deep breath, he crossed his ankles and let the smooth cold beverage go down.

Today marked the anniversary of one month since his life had changed. One day everything had been normal and the next, he had come home from work to find a note from Sarah. She didn’t have the decency to tell him to his face that she didn’t want to be with him. She’d simply packed her bags and disappeared, scribbling a halfhearted note in her wake. It wasn’t until two days later when speaking with a mutual friend that Ben found out she had already shacked up with some guy from work. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to put two and two together.

Maybe he should have seen the signs but he’d been too busy planning their future to notice their present slipping through his fingers. He searched his memory for hints or clues. Had she been spending more late nights at the office? He didn’t think so. Did she sneak away in the evening when she’d claimed to be getting her hair done or going to the gym? If she did, she was damn good at fooling him. How could she have fallen out of love with him and in love with someone else so easily?

He dropped the empty beer can in the boat and dug his hand in his pocket, pulling out the diamond ring he’d picked out for her. The ring sparkled as it caught the late afternoon sun while he turned it between his fingers.

In only four weeks, he felt as though he’d aged a decade. Numbness filled him to the core and he walked as a shadow in his own life. Every once in a while, he encountered someone who would ask how Sarah was doing. At first, he told people they were no longer together but he had grown tired of feeling sorry for himself. Losing her had become an affliction he suffered. Now on the rare occasion when someone asked, he simply said she was doing fine and left it at that.

As Ben brooded over the broken fragments of his life and finished off another beer, the sun disappeared below the horizon. He didn’t even notice the dark clouds that gathered to the north. He didn’t acknowledge how much his boat had silently drifted on the smooth water’s edge. Occasionally he noticed a fish rise to the surface to snatch one of the insects skidding across the top. He closed his eyes and relaxed to the song of wind rustling the expanse of trees that surrounded the lake.

He was alone and that’s all that mattered. His body shook. The tears caught him off guard and he wiped his eyes with the backs of his hands before reaching around to grab another beer. Rain splattered down but he didn’t feel it. He opened his palm to the ring he’d been holding so tightly it left an indentation in his skin. With a deep breath, he pulled back his arm and tossed it as far out into the water as he could manage, hardly distinguishing the impact now that the rain poured down harder. He ran his fingers through his wet hair.

He could have sold the ring and got back some of what he’d paid for it but it wouldn’t have given him the same emotional satisfaction. Sarah had taken his heart and ripped it pieces. Money would never put it back together again.

But he’d outstayed his time on the lake. He grabbed the oars, suddenly seized by panic as he realized how far off shore he had drifted. The wind had picked up and the sun had given way to darkness. He had to strain to see through the driving rain. Which way had he come? Suddenly, he wasn’t certain. Although he’d spent so many summers on this lake, he felt disoriented.

Clutching the side of the boat, he tried to get his bearings. His thoughts scattered and for a moment he wondered if he hadn’t been brought to this junction in life by fate. Shaking off the chill that settled deep inside, he grabbed the oars and began rowing furiously, simply hoping that luck would bring him to land.

Lightning struck down, hitting him as he rowed. He collapsed, closing his eyes as he fell overboard and hit the water with a splash. Defeated by fate, he gave in and allowed his heavy body to sink. He thought of Sarah and the way she would laugh when he told her a joke and then he thought of nothing at all.

He felt fingers wrap around his waist pulling him and when he opened his eyes, he caught sight of the twinkle of diamond on the river floor. He thought he saw the face of a woman with long dark hair floating around her face. “Jengu”, he thought, “spirit of the lake come to claim me”. He gave in to darkness.

When he opened his eyes, he gasped for air. The storm had passed and in the east the first hint of dawn stretched over the horizon in brilliant oranges and yellows. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been unconscious or how he’d gone from sinking to the bottom of the river to waking on the shore but he had the unnerving sensation of not being alone. He rolled over to his side and caught sight of the ring partly buried in the grass a few feet from where he lay.

A soft breeze stroked his hair as he sat up. It seemed to wrap around him in an embrace, whispering his name, encouraging him to grasp life. He reached for the ring and sat watching as the sun emerged. A new day had dawned.

“Are you alright?”

He turned to see a young woman with auburn hair walking toward him walking a dog. The dog reached him first, covering him with kisses. When he looked up to see her worried face peering down at him with the backdrop of sunlight illuminating the world behind her, he felt a strange sensation fill him.

Hope.

**

Last year, I only made it up to letter I in the challenge. Yay, as of this post, I have exceeded my 2015 accomplishment. If I make it halfway through the alphabet, I will feel successful!

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me. 🙂 Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Isabelle’s Imp

Gargoyle Statue

“If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call.” Mr. and Mrs. Henderson exchanged a wary glance before giving me a wave and hurrying to their car. I shrugged my shoulders and closed the heavy oak door, being certain to slide the dead bolt in place as they had instructed me to do. I took a deep breath and checked my phone. No texts from Evan. Annoyed, I tossed the phone onto the kitchen table and decided to raid the fridge.

Babysitting had its perks, especially when the parents insisted on going out after the kids were already tucked into bed for the night. I hadn’t worked for the Henderson’s before but I’d heard rumors that their kids were a handful and I should be prepared for the worst.

I shrugged my shoulders and grabbed a tub of rocky road ice cream and searched the cupboards until I found a bowl. How hard could it be to watch kids who were already sleeping? I laughed a little to myself before scooping out a more than generous portion of ice cream and putting the tub back in the freezer. I went back to the fridge hoping the Henderson’s had the decency to stock chocolate fudge, or at the very least butterscotch syrup. After the argument I’d had with Evan, I needed an indulgence to take my mind off things.

Kicking the fridge door closed, I stuck the spoon in my mouth which was covered in more chocolate syrup than ice cream. I grimaced, coughed and ran to the sink to spit.

“What the …”

Giggling interrupted my thoughts and I spun around expecting to see one of the Henderson children but there was no one there.

“Jason? Jenna?”

I sighed and looked back at the mess I’d made. That chocolate syrup must have been seriously out of date, I decided as I tossed the contents of my bowl in the sink and rinsed everything down the drain. So much for my ice cream indulgence.

I grabbed a packet of potato chips and headed off to the living room to see if the Henderson’s had any good cable stations. If I couldn’t drown my sorrows in ice cream then I might as well get lost in something sappy on the television for the next couple hours instead. I stopped at the table to grab my phone but it wasn’t there.

“I could have sworn I’d left it there,” I mumbled to myself, now completely confused.

Giggling.

I spun around to catch them but again, no one was there. Enough was enough. It was time to pay these little rugrats a visit and let them know who was in charge tonight. I had never been one for practical jokes and I sure wasn’t going to stand for it from two kids under ten who were supposed to be sleeping.

I opened Jenna’s bedroom door first and peeked inside. The nightlight illuminated the room enough that I could see the little girl curled up in her toddler bed with one thumb in her mouth. I stood over her debating whether I should call her out on the pretend sleeping act but if it was an act, she was so good at it, she had me fooled.

Fine, I decided, it must have been Jason so I headed over to his room next and opened his door quickly, hoping to catch him off guard. But to my confusion, I found the same scenario in his room. He looked much too peaceful to be pretending.

Putting aside the strangeness of this place, I headed back downstairs. That’s when I caught sight of something scrambling across the hall at the bottom of the steps making its way from the kitchen area to the living room leaving a trail of potato chip crumbs in its wake.

“Hey!” I shouted, probably a little louder than I needed to.

I didn’t remember the Henderson’s telling me they had a pet, but then why would they? I was only here to watch the kids. I skipped down the steps and turned the corner to the living room, not sure what I would find there. The TV was on, the sound blasting, the empty potato chip bag discarded in the corner, but there was no sign of whatever I’d seen hustling to get in there.

Clicking the off button on the remote, I felt goosebumps cover my arms. I know I hadn’t turned on the TV and since I’d just confirmed both of the kids were sleeping, then who did that leave? What kind of pet used the TV remote?

If that weren’t creepy enough, I then spotted my cell phone as the screen flashed with an incoming text message on the other side of the living room window. I looked all around me.

“Who is there?” I said in barely more than a whisper.

The only sound was the tick tock of the grandfather clock in the entry way and a faint giggling that seemed to come from the coat closet. I swallowed hard and walked over to the window, unlocked it and retrieved my phone. Apparently, I’d been having a conversation with Evan, unbeknownst to me, while I’d been checking on the children. Scanning our messages history, I was going to have a heck of a lot of explaining to do. My skin crawled as I scrolled through my contacts for Kate’s number. I remembered her once talking about babysitting for the Henderson’s.

“Hey, Isabelle, what’s going on?”

“Kate,” I said trying not to let my voice come out as shaky as I felt.

“Is everything okay?”

“I’m babysitting for the Henderson’s.”

“Oh,” she said and then there was only silence.

“Do the Henderson’s have a pet or something?”

I heard Kate take a deep breath, which was only making me feel more nervous about the whole situation. I wanted to bail but I couldn’t just get up and leave with two children alone upstairs, no matter how crazy this house seemed.

“Not so much a pet,” Kate said at last, “More like an imp.”

“An imp?”

“Yeah, I mean, maybe not. I never really saw it myself but Mary said she did once when she was sitting for the Henderson’s. It’s why they only ever go out at night after the kids are tucked in bed. They say it’s safer that way. I’ve been told if you think the imp is bad, you should see the kids.”

“I see,” I said, but I really didn’t see at all. I’d read a couple stories with imps but never thought such a thing actually existed “Am I in danger?”

“Probably not.”

“That is not very reassuring.”

“Stay on his good side and you’ll be fine.”

“Right…” Hopefully all those potato chips went some ways toward appeasing him.

I hung up the phone feeling more uneasy than I’d started. I heard the giggling from the coat closet again. With a deep breath, I moved toward it, not sure I had the guts to face this thing but if this babysitting gig was going to work out, we were going to have to come to some sort of understanding.

**

Writing this story has inspired a new book! Currently brainstorming and outlining. Eager to start writing!

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me. 🙂 Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Headless Horseman

 

Illustration of a headless horseman with moon in background

Branches raked her arms and shins and hair flew around her face in disheveled strands, a far contrast to the neatly pulled back ponytail she’d started with. Hayley gasped for breath, pausing a moment to get a sense of where she was. She’d run much deeper into the woods than she’d ever gone before and around her skeleton trees pierced the dark, cloudy sky. The soft crunch of leaves reminded her that her pursuer was not far behind. She searched frantically but there were no obvious hiding places. How much more could she run before ultimately she succumbed to fate?

The horse snorted. An owl screeched, searching for prey. Hayley fought to get her breathing under control as she watched the full moon appear from behind its shield of thick clouds to momentarily illuminate the path before it was again swallowed into darkness. Fearing she’d already hesitated too long, she began running again.

She tripped and stumbled but managed to put out her hands to catch herself just before she hit the ground. The earth shook with the gallop of the horse which, no doubt, knew exactly where to find her. No matter how far or how fast she fled, she couldn’t escape it. The rain began to fall in thick sheets, soaking through her clothes almost immediately.

There was nowhere left to turn. Hayley covered her head with her arms as she braced for the impact as her body shook and her teeth chattered. When she dared to look up from the ground to gauge the horseman’s distance, he had vanished.

Trembling, she managed to stand on legs exhausted by running. She wrapped her arms around herself as much for comfort as warmth as she began walking as she sobbed with the rain. How could she have been so stupid?

As a child, she’d heard about the Legend of Sleepy Hollow but she’d never thought of it as much more than a children’s story meant to entertain or scare. Nathan had warned her not to go out that night but he’d also pulled her hair and hid behind drapes to jump out and scare her, too. Even though she’d looked in his eyes and saw fear, she’d brushed it off as little more than foolish play. It was simply another trick to scare her which had only made her want to prove even more that she couldn’t be scared.

Eventually someone would notice she had been gone too long and they would come looking for her but would it be too late? She glanced nervously over her shoulder, thinking she had heard the breaking of a branch over the deafening sound of the pouring rain. The horseman had vanished for now but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t return. Thunder punctuated her fear.

Hayley picked up her pace as panic filled her. In a flash of lightning, over her shoulder she’d glimpsed the horse in the distance as it rose up on hind legs while its rider held a sword pointed toward the sky.

She started running again but the path had turned to mud which slowed her steps even more. She didn’t have to look behind her again to know she’d been spotted. The sound of horse hooves hitting the ground filled her ears as her legs threatened to give out.

It isn’t possible.

A headless horseman is just a story.

She kept repeating the words in her head but believing them didn’t make the larger than life image fade away. He was on her in an instant. She screamed in defeat.

“Hayley!”

The voice cut through the rain and the pounding of the blood in her ears and at first she thought it only her imagination. Then she cleared the water from her eyes, unable to comprehend what she was seeing.

“Nathan?” she said sinking down to her knees and gasping for air.

**

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me. 🙂 Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – The Bannik in the Bathhouse

Comp_76055124

According to Wikipedia, the bannik is the bathhouse spirit in Slavic mythology. It was believed, among other things, they had the ability to predict the future. If they caress you, it means good luck, but if they scratch your back, trouble lay ahead.

“Stop it,” Abigail giggled.

Jeremy had her pinned against the wall and proceeded to cover her in kisses despite her protests.

“I can’t wait any longer,” he complained, caressing the long silk strands of her blond hair and letting it tangle around his fingers as he planted feather light kisses against her neck.

Abigail gave him a gentle push, forcing him to let her go free. He collapsed onto the bed and propped up on one elbow as he looked at her. The look in his eyes was pure lust and fire and she wanted desperately to crawl after him and give in.

“It’s been a long, tiring day and I want to get cleaned up.”

“I’ve missed you.”

“I won’t be long. Promise.”

Abigail dug through her suitcase looking for her toiletries bag and a fresh change of clothes, something that would entice Jeremy when she returned. She wasn’t surprised at all when Jeremy came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. He was nothing if not persistent.

“I could come with you.”

“Not this time.”

“Seriously,” he said, “You shouldn’t go alone. It’s dark out there and we’re in a secluded area.”

“I can take care of myself. You know that. You, stay here and keep yourself occupied. Just, whatever you do, don’t fall asleep because I have plans for you when I get back.”

“I’m counting on it,” Jeremy said letting her slip from his grasp.

Abigail gave him a wink and grabbed the key to the bathhouse. When they’d made the reservations for their romantic getaway at the odd bed and breakfast, she had thought the idea of having a separate bathhouse to be quaint, but now that it was dark and she was tired, she was starting to wish they’d settled for the Holiday Inn instead. This place had history, though, and it was close enough to some great hiking spots she and Jeremy wanted to explore, if they ever managed to get out of the room, that was. She also had a pretty good idea this was the weekend Jeremy finally expected to propose.

The bathhouse was much nicer than Abigail had expected. The area was lit almost entirely by scented candles and as soon as she entered the steamy room, she relaxed. Everything about this weekend was going to be perfect. She let the thick terry cotton robe slip from her shoulders and drop to the floor and stepped into the bath. The quiet was such a contrast to the usual noise that surrounded their little apartment in the city. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, already feeling the tightness across her shoulders ease.

The thud of something hitting the floor brought her attention away from her daydreams and back to the bathhouse.

“Is someone there? Jeremy?”

It must have been her imagination, she thought, or perhaps a bottle of moisturizer slipped off a shelf. She let her thoughts trail back to Jeremy waiting for her back at the room and smiled. She would make sure it was a night they would not soon forget. Already her stomach felt jittery as she contemplated it.

Her smile quickly faded when she caught a glimpse of a shadow forming in the steam. She sat up abruptly, holding her arms over her chest.

“Who is there?” she called out. “Jeremy, it isn’t funny to scare me.”

Retracing her steps, she tried to remember locking the bathhouse behind her. She was almost certain she had but would it have been enough to stop someone determined enough from opening it?

“This bathhouse is occupied,” she said.

The form in the steam wavered and returned but didn’t respond. It was close enough now that she could almost reach out and touch it. She leaned forward, convinced that her imagination was getting the better of her and she was seeing something that wasn’t really there.

Abigail reached over and grabbed her robe as she stood up and quickly slipped into it. A strange feeling came over her, a foreboding of the future, as she stepped out of the bath, and in her vision she saw Jeremy standing over her, covered in blood and shouting words she couldn’t comprehend. On shaky legs, she made her way back to the changing area and went for her bag but it wasn’t where she had dropped it.

Frantic, she began searching the small room, convinced now that someone had come in and stolen in while she was preoccupied.

“Of all the things,” she said out loud, “who would want to steal my clothes?”

The figure of a small man with long hair and a long beard materialized out of the steam. Abigail screamed and stepped back, feeling for the doorknob just as the creature’s claws reached out to strike her back.

Danger.

She struggled to unlock the door, flung it open, and ran back toward the room.

“Abigail? What’s wrong?”

Jeremy caught her in his arms before her legs gave way.

“The bathhouse. There was a … man …”

Jeremy sighed and held her tight. “I warned you not to go there alone, Abi. Didn’t you ever hear of the bannik?”

“No,” she said trying to regain composure. She needed to report the incident before another one of the guests suffered the same.

“Trouble lies ahead.”

**

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me. 🙂 Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.