TITLE: Of Oak and Dragons
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
When I was six years old, I found a human skull. A grownup would have shuddered and mentally filed the experience under the heading of a Real Bad Day. The kicker for me was the knife jutting from the empty eye socket. Finding something like that would give anyone years of bad dreams.
So I shouldn’t have been surprised when after several months of peace my screaming woke me again. Fifteen years after finding the bony skull, the nightmare was like the oh-surely-he’s-dead-now monster rising from a premature grave in a horror flick.
It was the cold hour before dawn. Ignoring my shaking hands, I straightened the bedspread, took one look at the rumpled result, groaned and pulled the sheets flat and straightened the blankets.
My whispering OCD nagged me to plump the pillows, but I resisted and headed for the shower, ignoring my racing heart and the disheartening realization that my wake up call from hell had returned.
Fifteen minutes later, I walked from the bathroom with towel-wrapped hair and wearing a tattered blue robe. It had been with me since junior high, witness to many episodes of teen-age angst and fallen movie heroes. And many mornings when I preferred to wake less abruptly, say with a jackhammer in my ear. I heard the rattle of cups and a chair drawn across the kitchen floor.
Eva sat at the table with her hands wrapped around a steaming cup of coffee, a newspaper spread on the table and an unopened bottle of my caffeinated drug of choice.