Ella hears voices…and they’re determined to keep her single.
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Comedy with Ghosts and a Vampire
Ella’s always heard voices and because of them, she ends up institutionalized at a young age. Everyone calls her crazy and she believes she is too until the night she meets a vampire and for the first time in her life, the voices shut up.
Zane just wants to enjoy his usual blood buffet, instead he runs into a wisp of a woman who makes him feel emotions he thought long dead. Rescuing her from the insane asylum, he brings her home, determined to seduce and feed from her, a plan that is foiled by ghostly voices determined to keep Ella untouched. But not even poltergeists can stand in the way of a vampire in love.
The damned voices woke her out of a sound sleep.
“Run! He’s gonna eat you.”
“Evil. Evil. Evil. . .”
“Stupid girl. Move before he makes you his next victim.”
A new voice also joined her regular cacophony with just one simple word repeated over and over, in a soothing tone. “Sleep.”
Lying atop the mattress, the springs digging into her back, Ella rolled her eyes. Stupid voices. Couldn’t they make up their minds? She had been sleeping, but now that they had her conscious, forget slumber. As one, they told her to look and see what frightened them. They drew her attention to a shadow that moved through the ward.
She sighed. Great, another product of my warped mind. Treating them like the child that called wolf, she ignored their cries to flee, because after all, this wouldn’t be the first time her friends in the attic of her mind made her see things and then laughed when she reacted.
Slowly, the ghostly shape flowed from bed to bed, dipping down low and then rising again to move onto the next bed and its sleeping occupant. Ella found herself watching in fascination, ignoring the fevered pitch of the voices screaming at her to hide. This is the most realistic hallucination I’ve ever experienced. Maybe I’m still sleeping. That or she’d finally taken another dip around the bend into la-la land.
The shadow finally reached her bedside, and startled, Ella realized that she stared at someone quite real, although perhaps not human. For the first time in her twenty five years of life, the loud chatter in her head abruptly stopped, some mid sentence, and she felt oddly enough…alone. Empty. How unexpected and new.
The command not spoken aloud, echoed in her currently vacant mind, but Ella had finally learned after many painful years of mistakes to ignore the commands of the voices that constantly tried to guide her. “No, thanks.”
More insistently. “Your eyes are getting heavy. Your body is tired. Heavy. Time for you to sleep.”
“Nah. I’m good.” she said instead of closing her eyes.
“Why are you not obeying?” How disgruntled the apparition seemed. How realistic. Usually her voices stuck to speaking in her mind. She’d never had one manifest itself before.
“Who are you?” She cocked her head to one side in curiosity. The figure, dressed she noticed in a dark cloak that blended with the night, drew back and did not answer.
“Are you real?” Or not? With the drugs she took, who knew. Perhaps she saw her first ghost. Only one way to find out. Ella reached a hand out and her fingertips briefly touched the silky edge of the cape.
Scrambling to a seated position, her sudden motion saw the stranger step back, his cloak swirling around his legs. The darkness of the ward made the face hidden within the shadowed hood indistinct, but she drew in a sharp breath when she saw a pair of eyes flare red for a second.
“What are you?” she breathed. A part of her wondered that she didn’t tremble in fright, or scream for help. Surely anything that could cow the voices that had been her companions for so long was something she should fear, yet this change in her monotonous life intrigued her. Finally, something new.
She found herself strangely drawn to the stranger and wished she could see his face. Discover if he were young or old. She desperately wanted to see if he was the savior she’d dreamed would one day arrive to sweep her out of a world she did not belong in. That prophecy of long ago, lived out in realistic color via a nightly dream. A promise that one day this nightmare would end, a fantasy not yet fulfilled, but hoped for. A mirage of her mind that she clung to tenaciously because it was all she had. Its vague promise was what had kept her sane for all the years of her incarceration because she’d long ago learned, she could not escape on her own.
Finally, the stranger spoke, his voice low and cutely disgruntled. “Why is it you don’t sleep?”
“Why should I?” she answered back pertly.
“Because I said so.”
“And do people always do as you say?”
“Must be nice.” If only she possessed that ability then maybe she could get her loquacious friends to shut up. The refreshing silence in her head was so relaxing.
“It is nice, when they listen. Which, you are not.”
“Why should I? I’m not tired.”
“You should be. It’s night. Humans sleep at night.”
“I know. And I was until you arrived and woke me.”
“I did no such thing. I was quite silent.”
“Oh, it wasn’t you. Well it was, but not entirely.” How to explain his presence set off an alarm system in her mind? Hmm, perhaps she should keep that tidbit to herself. No need for him to think of her as crazy. Then again, he probably already assumed she was given her current residence.
“I need to leave.” He swirled abruptly, and panic suffused her.
“No, please wait. Don’t go.” Ella hopped out of bed, the short white gown of the institution barely covering her knees. She almost collided with him when he turned back towards her.
“Foolish girl. Do you seek to die? Count yourself lucky that I am feeling merciful this eve.”
Ella tilted her head and tried to read his expression, but the gloom in the ward only allowed for brief glimpses of hard planes. “Die? That’s a little drastic don’t you think. Just so you know, I don’t intend to tell anyone about your visit.”
He snorted. “Do you really think anyone would believe you if did?”
Ella smiled mischievously. “I guess not. After all I am nuts. For all I know perhaps you’re not really here.”
“Oh, I’m here unfortunately,” he grumbled. “Why do you not fear me like a normal human should?”
“I’m not normal of course,” she retorted. “Would I be here if I was?”
The chuckle took her by surprise and spread an unexpected warmth through her. “Why are you here?”
No point in lying. “I hear voices, and sometimes I see things.”
“What do the voices say?”
“Actually, they shut up when you arrived. That’s never happened before and I’ve got to say, it’s kind of nice.”
“Glad to be of service.”
The low timbre of his voice did strange things to her tummy. It made her feel hot and tingly, pleasantly so. “Who are you and why are you here?”
“It’s best you don’t know.”
“Best for who? We’ve already ascertained I’m crazy and people won’t believe me.”
“There’s no need for introductions given we shall never see each other again.”
The sound of a key scraping in the lock of the door for the ward made him curse. “I must leave.”
“Will you come back? Please.” Ella heard the pleading tone in her voice and while it annoyed her, she knew she wanted to see him again. Had to. She couldn’t explain why, only knew she didn’t want to see him go.
“Probably not.” With a swirl of his cape, he melted into the shadows.
The door to the ward swung open and a bobbing flashlight shone in the room. Ella scurried back to her bed and pulled the covers over her head.
A moment later, the night nurse, who acted more like a guard, left. Ella knew the mysterious visitor had gone as well because the voices came back in a wild rush.
“He’s gone. Evil creature.”
“Oh hush,” she told them. “I found him rather pleasant.”
“Bloodsucker. Stealer of souls…” The voices went on a rant.
Sighing, Ella settled down amidst the wails and cries in her head. Used to the noise in her mind, she fell asleep, dreaming of a tall, dark stranger with an indistinct face, dreams that left her hot and strangely aching. A dream she’d almost given up on that saw her finally leaving the institution and living a normal life. A life in the real world. A world where someone gave a damn, and believed in hugs.