MOONLIGHT SLANTED ACROSS THE floor, a gentle breeze lifting the gossamer curtain. Shadows moved across the wall. The sleeper moaned and turned, muttering, the bedding shifting to the floor.
Down the hall, a few mumbled words as if in reply, and then silence again. The house sighed and creaked as it settled for the night. A dog barked at shadows down the street—a melancholy sound—joined by another bored canine farther away. An owl hooted in the tree outside the window, its heart-shaped face turning to survey the night before it swooped soundlessly into another dimension.
The sounds belonged to another world, because the sleepers didn’t hear. Somebody heard, though, crouched in the swirling mist, careful not to disturb the shadows on the wall. Breath rasped in the still of the night, power in the plume.
This is a place that is not a place,
at a time that is not a time.
Please, release me from the dark,
and let me rest in the light.
The clock in the hall ticked down the minutes to midnight. Something scratched at the glass in the window frames, the breeze sighing around the corners, piling dead leaves into a doorway.
The mask hanging against the landing wall fell from its hook and clattered down the stairs. Within moments, they were at the top of the stairs, three wispy white figures illuminated by the moonlight.
“Something is about to happen,” one of them said, a hand to her throat.
“A big change is coming,” another agreed, grasping for a hand to hold on to.
“We have to prepare,” the third one added, turning into the circle of protection.
A Convenient Marriage is now available for pre-order and will be released on October 13.