October Author of the Month
Tilby NoirTilby Noir has been a member of the Quincy Writers' Guild since 2014. She is a mythology enthusiast with a habit of submerging herself in worlds of her own creation. Aside from world-building and prose scribbling, Ms. Noir also enjoys fantasy/sci-fi TV and naps. Her first anthology, Faerie Lights and Night Frights Volume One, was released in 2015. She is a contributing author with The Ed Greenwood Group and Stitched Smile Publications, LLC.
An excerpt from her
upcoming short story
Incident at Cistern Park
“Sure you don’t want a ride?” Jerry asked, locking the rear entrance of Spinner’s Club, the only bar in Fulton.
Amy shook her head. “I’ll be fine, Jer. It’s only a couple of blocks. The walk will do me good.”
Jerry squinted his eyes in a fatherly look of concern. He’d known Amy long before she started waiting tables for him. “You can never tell these days. Lots of creeps out there.”
“I know all the creeps around here, and they wouldn’t dare mess with me,” Amy laughed, brandishing a toned bicep for emphasis. Aside from self-defense classes, Amy also took kickboxing classes twice a week. She was confident she could handle any creep who happened along.
Jerry chuckled. “Alright, girly. Have it your way. See you tomorrow night.”
She waved as Jerry turned his rusty pickup truck around in the parking lot and rumbled down the darkened street. Amy took a deep breath, smiling at the feel of the crisp fall air in her lungs. It was so refreshing after being stuck in that dank bar for the past seven hours.
Spinner’s Club lay on the far side of town between an abandoned furniture factory and a country road stretching to nowhere. The narrow street curved around a large recreational area known as Cistern Park, complete with duck pond and a Frisbee golf course. On the other side of the park was the historic downtown, and Amy’s apartment.
Amy didn’t even consider staying on the well-lit street, not when she could slip through the park and be home in half the time. She knew the trails well enough to manage with just the flashlight app on her cell phone.
The park was pleasant at night. Leaves rustled in the light breeze and insects chirped merrily. Here and there, a bush would shake as Amy’s presence disturbed a night foraging squirrel or rabbit. The serene surface of the pond seemed to glow under the stars. It was peaceful, just the sort of night when Amy liked to take her time and enjoy the walk.
Amy turned at the soft lapping sound as she passed the pond, its ripples glinting in the moonlight. She looked around for the source of the disturbance, expecting to see a duck or beaver scurry away.
But it was a man.
Tall and muscular, long black hair dripped down his back as he leaned against a shoreline bench, shirtless and looking like he just stepped off the cover of a cheesy romance. Amy stopped to stare, letting her eyes linger on the hard planes of his chiseled torso, following each line jealously as water rivulets rolled into the waistband of low slung trousers. A blush rose to her cheeks at the deliciously naughty thoughts which popped into her head at the thought of where else those drops might lead.
Clearing her throat, Amy looked away. What had come over her, staring at a stranger the same way the old codgers stared at her when they’d had a few too many drinks?
She couldn’t seem to help herself, though. A man hadn’t looked this attractive in a long time.
“A little late for a stroll, is it not?”
A wide smile spread across Amy’s face from the unusually formal way he spoke, and the shivers his voice sent up her spine.
“A little late for a swim, too,” she teased.
The man smiled, revealing a gleaming white line of perfect teeth. “Never too late for a swim.”
Amy blushed again, involuntarily thinking of nude late night swimming. God, what was wrong with her? She felt like she was fifteen years old again, all girlish and giggly and excited by the mere presence of a man.
She shook her head, trying to force her wayward brain back to reality. “What’s your name?”
“You may call me whatever you like.”
“That’s silly. You have to have a name.”
“I shall reveal it, for a kiss.”
Amy didn’t hesitate. She let her purse drop from her shoulder and stepped closer to the man. Up close, he was even more handsome. Strong jaw, large hands, full lips. She wanted to taste those perfect lips. Even his eyes were amazing. Round, with thick lashes and a lovely golden glint that made Amy think of pennies in a fountain.
She reached up and ran a hand through his long black curls, her hand becoming entangled in the thick mass. She pulled her hand free, frowning when her fingers came away wrapped in slimy weeds. She looked to him again, a question already on her lips. He was close, too close. She could smell his breath, musty and moist. This close, his teeth didn’t look so perfect, but too large for his mouth, and sharp. Amy took a step back.
“Where are you going? You’ve not had your kiss yet,” he said, reaching out to caress her cheek.
Amy recoiled from the feel of his clammy hand on her skin. His fingers were sticky, leaving a shiny trail down her cheek. Amy made a whimper of disgust and pushed away from him. The man lunged, clamping his strong jaw into her shoulder and wrapping taut arms around her waist. Amy screamed and twisted, pain stabbing at her brain as he gnawed at her flesh. His face was no longer handsome and perfect, but elongated and contorted, his skin blackened. His eyes became larger and shimmery gold, his hair a mane down an equine back.
Amy wrenched her shoulder from the monster’s mouth, twisting her body away. She tried to run, but her feet tangled in a mass of reeds and she fell. Black hooves stomped into the mud, and Amy screamed again. She felt teeth rip into her calf and her mind went into pure panic. She scrambled in the grass, clawing at the mud bank, struggling to reach the trail, to escape. She could feel her fingernails tearing away as she dug her hands deeper and deeper into the mud, but the pain barely registered over the sheer agony emanating from her shoulder and calf.
The ground pulled away from her and Amy felt herself sliding backward. Water lapped at her legs, her hips, her waist. Clawing frantically at silt and reeds, Amy was still screaming when water rushed down her throat.