From the Author
Under Loch and Cay by Jenny Peterson
"So, this you-know-what ... did you ...?" Rachel's best friend Kendra bared her teeth, hissed, then mimed being staked through the heart. The kid behind her in the cafeteria line frowned.
"Totally subtle, Kendra."
Kendra shrugged and slid her caf card. "Rachel, my love, you have some sort of black ickiness down one leg of your jeans and you smell a bit of eu de monster. Now who's being subtle?"
Rachel looked down at her jeans and sighed. There had been a time when she didn't have to worry about walking around with demon blood on her clothing. Apparently that time had passed. She followed Kendra to an empty table and plopped into a chair.
Kendra prodded the sides of her neck--it had turned into a new habit in the last six months--before turning to Rachel. "Seriously, is our wendigo dearly departed?"
"Dead and gone, though it took me twice as long to track and kill the thing than I thought it would. It was past the Carolina border by the time I cornered it. Bastard made me late for Ancient Civilizations."
Arach War by Lena Brown
"Yes, about that," Athena said, her eyes on the spiders, "I'm wondering if Hades sent a legion of spiders."
Art laughed. "To scare a timid goddess? I don't think so. Now get your butt over here."
"Listen! To! Me! Look!" Athena turned the glasses around to show her sister the mob of spiders surrounding her.
"Wow. You weren't kidding," Art said flatly. "You either belly-crawl out of the trees or you make a run for it and shake them off as you go."
"Seriously? That's your answer? Not coming to my rescue?"
"By the time I got there, who knows what might happen," Art said. "But you're going to see a lot of webs and spiders tonight. They use them as decorations! See?" Art spun her compact around to show off the frat house. Webs covered almost every surface, spotted by large plastic spiders. Except ...
"Wait! Go back! That one moved!" Athena yelled, but it was too late. Art had dropped the compact, leaving it on its side, a perfect angle to see the tarantulas, dozens of them, crawling out from under the furniture.
Through a Glass Darkly by Heather Dearly
Another trick of the trade is replacing the corn meal or flour I usually use to make my Vévé--a symbol used for summoning (rhymes with pray-pray)--with dustless chalk on days with strong Texas winds. I also opt for the weight of extra large cinnamon bears, which I acquire from the local Tractor Supply checkout aisle.
"A spirit with a sweet tooth?" His expression changed from worried to curious.
"You wanna meet him? I can come with." I stifled a sniffle and smiled.
"Are you dead, too?"
"No, but it's okay, because I help people like you all the time."
My face grew numb as the temperature dropped below freezing when a brilliant, blinding light appeared in the middle of the road. I suddenly looked as pallid and putrid as the dead child--my skin shifting from smooth and dark to withering and light--but the kid didn't notice. I offered him my hand, and felt the brush of his unearthly fingers against my palm.
Mermania by Kelly Parra
When I moved to the sink, I cocked my head. Music, a soft whisper of melody that seemed to float outside on the evening air. I scanned the yard through the small window. Where was it coming from? I slipped into my mud boots, stepped out the back door and into the cool, starry night.
My hesitation dropped away like a veil, opening my mind to the most beautiful music.
I followed the soothing sound down the hill, and through a hillside of trees. Twigs and autumn leaves crunched beneath my boots. The night misted with fog but it didn't matter that my hair dampened or that my thin T-shirt stuck to my skin. The moon was nearly full.
The hike from atop Chapel Hill to the bottom was a long one. But time didn't seem to matter. The melody pulled me toward the lake and toward a rocky cove.
And there I set eyes on him. A boy a little older than my age of sixteen. In the water to his waist, playing a flute. Oddly, he wore no shirt, and his alabaster skin glowed under the moonlight. The flute was rocky with coral and shells. A smile seemed to touch his eyes.
Midnight Troll by Mari Hestekin
It was dark--really dark--on that street. I chose the car for that reason, thinking I could rest undetected, but being trapped never occurred to me. My skin crawled, just like it had all those nights in the doorways, just like it did in my dreams and I had that creepy feeling like something was watching me, something was not right.
SQWAK! The door I rested against just moments before ripped open and a thick voice yelled "Where is she!?" It sounded like the speaker was yelling through a mouthful of pudding. Gross. Whoever that pudding mouth was, he was looking for me. My heart began to thud.
"No!" another voice yelled. I felt the car rumble as it shook, more struggling and the sound of something loud skidding across the ground. I reached down when it thunked against my shoe and found a heavy length of chain. It would have to serve as my protection.
Spectral Media by Aaron Smith
She sat down on the edge of Dan's unmade bed. Her face twisted and reddened, about to flood with tears. Dan stood and stared at her.
She hesitated, blinked a few times, refused to let the crying start, finally spoke.
"My whole life is falling apart."
Dan sighed. "Don't exaggerate. What happened? Did some guy turn you down for once? Did you lose your four hundred dollar purse?"
Alicia stood up, took a step forward, and slapped Dan across the face. Then she cried. Her whole body shook as she sat back down on the bed. Dan rubbed his cheek for a second, looked around for a tissue that didn't exist, grabbed a shirt that he thought might be clean, and handed it to her.
"Dan, please don't talk to me like that. You're the only one I have left. I can't go anywhere else. They're all against me now."