“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
-Jack Kerouac, On The Road
This is a sample from the first chapter of the short story I released for Halloween. It’s a fun free read w/a tip of the hat to Voodoo via a fallen Seraph who dated Papa Legba and a slightly twisted look at the traditional forces of good & evil—God and Lucifer. Lucifer’s half-human son Deverell is featured on the cover. The e-book is available for free download on All Romance Ebooks (PDF, ePub, Mobi), iBooks, and NookBook.
Written content Copyright ©2016 Jennifer Fales All Rights Reserved
When Ada Marcus was alive, she told people that she sometimes saw two stately figures coming from the smog-stained walls of the overpass at night. Most of them just called her crazy. The fact she was awake at that hour was no wonder—regardless of earmuffs and box fans, the grand old dame never managed to sleep well once the cars started rolling through.
The woman didn’t know what she even saw, at first. They weren’t people, exactly—they were more and less than that, ominous beings consumed by extraordinary wanderlust. She was never sure if they were dead or alive but figured, since they seemed inordinately restless, that it was somewhere in between. Eventually, she came up with a name for them.
Those dirty Drifters.
Of course, there was only one person, her granddaughter Hazel, who knew the senior citizen well enough not to think she was crazy. Hazel figured she was fibbing—telling cautionary tales out of desperation. She knew Ada wanted her discontented little Hazel to settle down with a local boy across town just as she had done, not restlessly dive into the gaping maw of a great big, boundless world.
The legend of the Drifters disappeared after Ada died, becoming one more forgotten bedtime story. Right up until the eve of her twenty-first birthday, quite close to Halloween, when Hazel’s mother somewhat impolitely asked her to clean Ada’s sprawling Victorian. Her mom had decided to keep the place as a rental property, and the most recent tenants, who were seemingly reliable with decent credit scores, had flown the coop two days prior. The poor little doves thought the neighborhood too dicey and loud for an upwardly mobile young couple—all in all, not surprising.
It probably was.
As for Hazel, she saw something that surprised her. It was right at a quarter to one, just as she was cleaning several fingerprint smudges from one side of the glass in the canted bay window overlooking the street. Two individuals—a pale young man, in a black suit and tie, with and an elegant dark-skinned woman in a white dress and matching silk headscarf—stepped out of a dirty concrete wall together. They did it as if it were nothing unusual and strolled across the intersection, heading in the direction of the house.
Hazel immediately recognized them as Drifters, and Gran had been partially right about them. They were strange, yes, with an air of magic, but they looked nice, not filthy, and she didn’t think they meant any harm. Not after the male made eye contact with her. Something about the look they shared suggested he knew her. Although that seemed impossible, her body still tingled at the thought, from the top of her tumbledown chestnut hair all the way down to her toes.
Being an adventurous soul, she took his glance as permission to follow. Grabbing her green velvet jacket and worn brown boots—despite the fact Gran would have said don’t do it had she still been around—Hazel reset the alarm and locked the front door. Confident all was well with the house, she shoved its old brass key in her pocket, slipping down the steps and onto the sidewalk behind them…