Good morning, everyone! Happy Thursday the 12th, one day before Friday the 13th. Anyone going to celebrate the 13th with a horror movie marathon, or perhaps by going to see Joss Whedon’s new movie, The Cabin in the Woods? Me, I’m holding out for The Avengers. *g*
I have a new five-story collection available at Amazon and Smashwords, and soon to be available at Barnes & Noble and the iBookstore. TALES FROM THE SHADOWS collects five of my dark fantasy stories set in the Pacific Northwest city of Moretown Bay. This week’s story is “Changeling,” the lead story in the collection. Enjoy!
Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed
Published by Thunder Valley Press
Cover art Copyright © Bblood|Dreamstime.com
Cover and layout Copyright © 2012 Thunder Valley Press
The changeling reclined on her narrow bed in the squalid little room, rumpled sheets testifying to a busy night already spent on her back. Features flowed across her face, flesh moving like liquid to thin her lips, widen her brows, sharpen her chin and the delicate shells of her ears.
“This what you want, sugar?” she asked. Her waist narrowed, lean muscle flattening her naked belly. Her breasts shrank from the porn queen size they’d been when Rory picked her up on the street to something he could cup in his hand. “This what you’re after?”
Most normals couldn’t watch a changeling shift. Couldn’t witness human features rearrange themselves and know, deep in the gut, it wasn’t an illusion. The wrongness of it hurt the eyes, made the stomach heave and the pavement tilt underfoot. Rory didn’t have a choice. He had to watch.
The changeling hadn’t turned on the overhead light when she let Rory in her room. Enough watery streetlight filtered through the sheets of rain beating against the window for Rory to see her try to become what he wanted. What he’d told her was his fantasy.
A half-full World’s Best Mom mug sat on the bedside table next to an overflowing ashtray. Lipstick smears circled the rim. In the dim light, the lipstick looked black. Judging by the boozy smell, the mug hadn’t seen coffee in a long time.
“You got a kid?” he asked. No toys littered the room, but that didn’t mean anything. Not every mother was the world’s best.
She saw him looking at the mug and laughed. “Goodwill, sugar. Got it cheap. Someone’s momma didn’t want it no more.” She took a drink. “You want some? I got a clean glass and a bottle in the closet. Five bucks extra.”
The place stank of sweat and cigarettes and sex. “No.” A drink wasn’t what he was after. He leaned one shoulder against the wall at the foot of her bed. Unzipped his coat. She didn’t have a kid. He couldn’t stay if she had a kid. He allowed himself to hope. Maybe she’d be the one.
(read the rest of the story here)