Wednesday, October 6, 2010

YAFF MUSE: In Dreams

YAFF Muse is a weekly blog series featuring some YA Fiction Fanatics members. In this series, we'll post original short stories created from an image meant to inspire our Muse. Hope you enjoy! And don't forget to check out the other YAFFers participating in this series (links below).

Photo Credit:

This story is stand alone, but has recurring characters introduced in The Lake of Swans.

In Dreams

The high-pitched screech of my pager wakes me, and before I know it, Mom and I are rushing down to the station - me still in blue polka-dot boxers and a stained Micky Mouse t-shirt from '05.

Ten kids in six months, and every time, I'm too late.

I know she won't be there, but I glance to the detective's desk. It's been almost a month since she died, and even though she used to cross herself to ward me off, I miss her in a weird way.

"Come along, Darla." Mom stands in the midst of the sea of other empty desks, a hand at her hip, garishly manicured nails tapping in irritation. "Darla," she hisses, her bright red lips twist into a sneer

"Sorry, Mom," I say, catching up with her in two long strides. At least I don't have to walk through the usual mind-chatter.

When we reach Chief Blackstone's office, my skin erupts in goose bumps. "Wait."

"What?" Her hand pauses on the doorknob and she looks over her shoulder at me.

"There's someone else in his office."

"Of course there is, Darla. Why do you think we're here?" She begins to turn the handle.

"I don't know who, or what he has in there, but I'm not going." My feet fuse to the floor, arms cross in front of me.

Like a coiled snake she lunges at me, orange claws dig into the flesh above my elbows. "You're going in, Missy." She drags me forward and I struggle to hold my ground.

The door opens.

"Is everything alright out here?" the Chief asks, smoothing the edges of his mustache.

I get a flash of where he's been and try to close out the vision of naked bodies grinding on poles. But the image persists and as my eyes meet his, a slow crimson spreads across his cheeks.

"We're ready for you Ms. Holiday," he says, opening the door wider, revealing the toe end of a sneaker. "I'm afraid we don't have much time, I'd like to get started."

The taste of blood coats my mouth and I realize I've been biting my lower lip. "Who's in there?" I ask, still refusing to budge.

The Chiefs gray eyebrows shoot up and he chuckles.

"Please forgive my daughter.' Mom's grip on my arm tightens.

"Why don't you come in and meet him?" he suggests.

The decision is made for me when the owner of the shoe steps out of the office. A guy around my age, 16 or maybe a little older, with caramel skin and dark dreads tied loose at the nape of his neck. Untangling myself from Mom, I wrap my arms tight around my torso, wishing she'd allowed me time to change.

"Hi," he says, green eyes glinting with excitement, he stretches out a hand.

I"m temped to take it, to shove off the warning bells my senses sent out when he was still behind the door. But like a snuff film, dark images flicker in my mind.

Fresh blood spilled across delicate white tiles, a girl about twelve with her throat slit like a gruesome smile beneath her chin. The scent of death hangs thick in the air and I'm no longer in the station. There are no doors in this room, no windows, but knowing my body did not come with me, I shift through the walls.

The brick cabin stands alone in a white wasteland, my feet grow cold but they shouldn't. This is only a vision.

I close my eyes tight and will my consciousness to go back to my body, back to the station. And as I feel myself lift into the air with the promise of home, I peek, catching movement in a tree that has popped up next to the cabin. Where a lifeless body swings from a noose.

"Darla!" Mom's screams reach my ears and I open my eyes.

"It's not what you think," the boy says.

My hand moves to my nose and comes away bloody. I scoot away from Mom and the rest of them, my spine pressing against the cool metal of a desk.

"What happened?" I ask.

"This here," the Chief clasps the boy on the shoulder. "He works up images to trap 'em." He hands me a white cotton handkerchief. "But he needs you to find 'em first. You see?"

"That's what you saw. it's not real," the boy says, holding out a white business card.

What's in his head if he can conjure up such horrible images to tempt a witch? And how did he pull me into it?

I take the card, and just like mine in black letters it reads:


(c) 2010, MB

Don't forget to check out my fellow YAFFer's stories based on the same photo:


  1. Cool, lady!! I love the whole mystery surrounding the characters and how the boy turns out to be someone to help not hurt. I'd love to read the story this goes with.

  2. Thanks Traci. I think you've read the story. I put the link at the top, but I think I'm going to underline it to make it more of an obvious link. Anyway you can see it here:

  3. Awesome!!!! I love the twist and the questions and you BETTER WRITE THE WHOLE THING. I'd love to see the whole story. :)

  4. Min, I loved this! And I like how you incoroparted stuff from the other Muse story in here. So I'm hping this gets to turned into something full length. Have I mentioned that I love the name Julian.

  5. I guess I'll have to go and read the other muse. Interesting story. I could definitely see it deepened and made longer. :)

  6. Fascinating. Will have to come back and read the rest of the tale tomorrow. Well written.