Welcome to FROST HARROW, my new modern (1990s) gothic horror series! If you’d like to support this and my other work, go to www.CushingHorrors.com and become my patron! You may also enjoy the Scribe Award-Winning MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE – In print, for kindle, and for all e-book formats. And check out my retro-horror-comedy classic CANOE COPS VS. THE MUMMY as well as my other books. Now… On with the show!
THIRTY-ONE – DREAM LOVER
Grant missed the phone when he’d gone about two miles down the road.
“Shit!” he cursed, realizing that he could have just called to check on Ivy. He hadn’t yet gotten used to the conveniences of his new wealth.
Still, something inside him said that a call wouldn’t be enough. Something told him that he had to see personally if Ivy was all right.
He hoped Ruby or someone would find the phone and hold it for him. If not, a new one didn’t cost that much. As the sole heir to the Winslow estate, Grant felt confident he could afford it. And, somehow, he thought it more important to see Ivy than to rescue his phone.
He flicked on the radio and pressed on through the driving rain. Lightning flashed around him. On WFST, Matthew Sweet whined the strains of Sick of Myself. Grant sang along with the tune as he drove.
Lightning flashed again. Much nearer this time. Almost next to the jeep.
The music on the radio changed. The lightning must have shorted it over to an oldies station. First the station played Beyond the Sea, then Dream Lover, then Don’t Dream of Anybody But Me. Grant wondered if it was Bobby Darin’s birthday.
After Mack the Knife and Guys and Dolls, Grant reached over to change the channel. You could have too much of even a good thing. He pushed the button, but the channel wouldn’t change. He tried to turn the radio off—but couldn’t. The volume control didn’t work either.
“Damn lightning!” Grant cursed. He’d have to get someone to look at the radio tomorrow. Sometimes there were disadvantages to owning an older car: no airbags, no anti-lock brakes, marginal gas mileage, goofy old radios. Still, the jeep had been through a lot with Grant. He’d developed a great fondness for the vehicle. He’d even shipped it home from overseas rather than selling it.
He sighed. He could think of worse things than being trapped in a car with endless Bobby Darin tunes. He’d been in far more uncomfortable situations during his stint with Greenpeace. Of course, the songs did remind him of Ivy.
Grant wondered why he felt so worried about her. Though she said she didn’t feel well, she’d seemed mostly all right when he’d seen her that morning. Sure, she looked tired, but so did everyone else. Grant couldn’t think of anyone he’d run into lately who’d been sleeping well, including himself.
An itch had been growing in Grant for most of the day. Ivy had felt so good in his arms that morning in the cemetery—even if the circumstances could have been better. It had taken a lot of willpower to resist calling her during the day. But he’d promised her he wouldn’t rush things. Grant remained determined to keep his promise, though his hormones urged otherwise.
No, he was just tired. That was all. He needed a few days of good, uninterrupted sleep.
He chuckled to himself. Maybe the government was running one of their HARP or HARM testing programs again. Grant didn’t completely buy into the all the government conspiracies floating around, but still… Working with Greenpeace had taught him it doesn’t take a whole lot of grey-suited lunatics to mess with peoples’ minds or lives. It hadn’t taken many to plant a bomb on a Greenpeace ship just to keep protesters away from a French nuclear testing ground.
The wind outside the jeep howled, and the rain fell harder. Grant was having trouble making out details on the street in front of him now.
Was that something in the road up ahead?
Suddenly, Grant realized it was a person—a woman dressed in only a pale yellow nightgown. She wandered on the road, apparently oblivious both to nature’s fury and the speeding car.
It was Ivy!
She turned toward the jeep, stopped, smiled, and raised her arms in a welcoming gesture. The headlights made her eyes blaze a bright red.
Grant thought he heard her say, Come to me!
He turned the wheel hard and swerved for the shoulder.
His tires hit the mud, and the jeep spun toward the ditch at the side of the road. Grant realized, too late, that the jeep’s old seatbelt hadn’t buckled properly; he’d caught the corner of his shirt tail in it.
As the vehicle lurched forward, the buckle came undone.
The last thought that went through Grant’s mind before his head hit the steering wheel was: Damn beer!
TO BE CONTINUED…