When someone is killed too suddenly or tragically, there’s a creature ready to bargain for their soul…
Fate’s cruel hand took Alana from Matt before he had a chance to tell her how he felt.
A year later, he’s still mourning her loss but Matt doesn’t realize that he hasn’t completely lost her. Yet, he’ll never know how close she really is if he continues to ignore his ability.
Alana has struck a deal that’ll save Matt before the end of All Hallows Eve, but time is running out. And if it does, both of their souls will be lost.
“You look really cute when you smile, you know that?” Matt said, holding the door of her small car open for her.
Alana couldn’t help but smile. Matt made her giddy with happiness, gave her days an extra shine she hadn’t known was possible. Not until he came along.
Matt pulled a small, plastic spider from her hair. “Are you sure you want to go out in public like this? You might scare someone.”
“This should be the one night when we’re all a little freaky, right?” It’s the night when I intend to let go of my inhibitions and stop playing it safe. Matt needed to know how she felt. She quickly glanced over his shoulder, to make sure they weren’t being watched.
“Are you expecting someone?”
Alana shook her head. How could she tell him that what she was expecting would shatter just about everything he believed in? “The only person I’m expecting is you. So head back inside and I’ll be back as soon as I can. I need to get some last-minute ingredients so I can prepare a feast for you. And then, we’re going to spend all Halloween night watching horror movies. I hope more of the neighborhood kids come out to trick-or-treat tonight.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to go with you?”
For just a moment she wished she could take him, but what would that achieve? She sighed. Why did the bastard have to go and call her now, tonight? Couldn’t he have waited another day? “No Matt, I need to take care of this by myself.”
“Alana, who called, where are you really going?”
Her heart sped up. The look in his blue eyes made her want to confess everything to him, but that would only hurt him. And the last thing she wanted to do was hurt this beautiful, caring man. “I’m just ducking out to the store. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
He nodded, although he looked a little defeated. Almost as if he knew she was lying but didn’t want to push her. “All right, but by then the kids might’ve gone home.”
“Trust me. They’ll keep going for several hours yet. During the last few years, I’ve had my fair share of ghosts and vampires come to my door even after nightfall.” Alana winked at him, aware even as she did so that she was trying, with her playfulness, to set them back on an even keel.
If only he hadn’t called! The night would have been so perfect! She’d been bubbling over with excitement, wondering what Matt would say when she confessed her feelings and now, now that excitement was tinged with worry.
“I’m keeping this,’ Matt said, pocketing the spider. “If you want it, you need to get back ASAP.”
She opened her mouth to reply when movement across the street caught her attention. Her heart dropped to her knees the moment she realized what it was. He lied. He’s here!
She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Matt, forcing him to swivel around so that her body covered his. The movement was instinctive, she didn’t even think about it.
Alana didn’t hear, but felt when the bullet struck her back. It didn’t hurt at first and for the smallest of seconds she wondered if she’d been mistaken. But that small second passed and the pain began, a slow burn spreading under her skin like a wildfire from the point of impact.
She opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out. It hurts, Matt!
“Oh my god. Alana!”
He held her close, slowly lowering her to the grass as he cradled her body gently against his. “No, no, no… Alana, stay with me!”
I want to, but I can’t. I’m so cold, Matt. I need to tell you so much…
The sky overhead was fading, followed by the street, and her car. Everything was gone but Matt’s grip on her.
She wanted to close her eyes, to rest, to stay in the circle of his arms forever.
“No, Alana, it’s not your time yet! It’s not your time!”
His voice was frantic and Alana wanted to reassure him, to take away the pain she could hear in his words.
She snapped her eyes open, trying to find his, but it wasn’t Matt she saw. A blonde woman was standing behind him, she looked so familiar. “I’ve seen you before.”
The nameless woman nodded. “You saved him, thank you.”
“He deserved to be saved.”
The woman nodded, with a sad smile on her face when she looked at Matt. “It’s not your time. So when the Dealer comes to you, accept the challenge.”
“But…” Before she could say anymore, the woman was gone too.
At least Matt’s still here. He held her close, pushing people away as they tried to take her from him, shouting at them to let her be, let them be. Alana sobbed inside as he begged her to stay, felt her heart crack into pieces as he screamed for help, but there was no help to be had.
When the paramedics eventually took her from him, Matt faded too... leaving her all alone in the cold darkness.