TITLE: THE BODY THIEF
GENRE: YA Paranormal
I never should have left the house.
So stupid. So incredibly stupid. I scolded myself for the thousandth time and looked at the clock. The minutes pressed forward. I squeezed the railing beneath me until my knuckles smarted and took a deep, calming breath. One more, just to make sure my voice would stay steady when I spoke.
“Do you think it’ll happen here?” My voice sounded almost completely normal. Not scared.
Jai glanced in my direction. He let out a soft puff of air and then, “Jesus, Callie. It’s not going to be you. Stop looking like you’re going to puke.” So much for trying to act normal. I should know by now he’d be able to see through any act of bravery I attempted to wear. This whole dumb night had been my idea. I don’t even know why now. I wanted to show him, and myself, that I wasn’t going to hide like a scared little baby waiting for the big bad to pick me off.
Yep, super brave. That’s me. Sitting out in the open, scared enough to pee myself, but I was still doing it. Facing it. Whatever it was.
One more hour. Anyone could do that. Then the city-mandated curfew would kick in and we’d all be shuffled to the exits and sent on our way. It wasn’t late, but the sky had already faded into pitch-black and the crowds grew thin. I sat on a metal railing, hidden from view behind a food truck with my best friend and eight-year-old cousin beside me. I haven’t been outside on this night in five months. Not since they put together the connection between the new moon and the girls who had died. Eleven of them so far. Each and every one matched a simple description: brown hair, pale skin, and sixteen years old.
Hell, it could be me. What was I doing out here?
I fiddled with the ring around my thumb.
Neon colored flyers plastered the walls and scattered the ground promising rewards, begging for information. At least once a day, I found a poster containing a black and white picture slapped on a wall throughout Ojai, California. The girls always looked sad. Every one of them. Almost like they knew what was to become of them.
I really should go home. Lay in bed with the blankets pulled over my head. Maybe a book, or a movie, or anything that took my mind off of tonight. I stiffened and lifted my chin. No. I was out and I was going to enjoy myself damn it.
The Peddler’s Fair weekend used to be the busiest weekend in Ojai, but now only a few of the brave straggle between the tents lining the street. Strung light’s flicker in the street’s puddles. Food wrappers littered the ground, and some of the tent’s owners began to disassemble. I used to love the fair. I loved the food and the games and the people.