Happy Halloween! Thanks for being a member of my pack. I hope you enjoy this exclusive short story. Want more? Joey & Chris’s tale continues in Early Grave.
(A year before the events in Early Grave.)
Joey leaned against the wall outside the bathroom door and checked the time on her phone for the umpteenth time.
“Are you ready yet? We’re going to be late!”
“Keep your shirt on.” Chris’s voice was muffled through the bathroom door.
The hair dryer turned on and Joey groaned, letting her head thump back against the wall. “I swear, you’re more of a girl than I am!”
A masculine chuckle indicated he’d heard her shout. The hair dryer turned back off. “I’ll leave the toilet seat up, just for you.”
Joey folded her arms and resigned herself to wait. Her gloved fingers drummed impatiently against her biceps and she glanced down at the bodice of her pale blue gown. The sweetheart neckline showed off her cleavage to good effect, but the damn dress itched like hell. Her fault for going the rental route, but it’d seemed more practical at the time.
The bathroom door opened and she looked up as Chris emerged, dressed to the nines in a rather old-fashioned grey pinstripe suit. His dark hair was parted down the middle and slicked to the sides and back. A fake mustache rode his upper lip, while an even faker stuffed bird perched on his left shoulder.
“Does Dad know you’re wearing one of his suits?”
“This isn’t Dad’s,” he huffed, gesturing with his cane for emphasis. “It’s an authentic replica of a late nineteenth century gentleman’s suit.”
Joey snickered behind a hand. “Okay… so, who are you?”
He looked down at himself, then at her as if it should be obvious. “Tesla!”
“Like the car?”
“No, not that… well… sort of. Nicola Tesla!”
She gave him a blank look.
“The father of modern electricity?” he added, helpfully.
“I thought that was Thomas Edison.”
Chris sighed. “I should probably be glad you knew that much. But that’s a common misconception. Edison got all the fame, but it was Tesla’s alternating current that became the standard. He was robbed.”
Joey laughed and shook her head. “You are such a nerd.”
“Hey, not everyone was content to skate by with a C minus in History.”
“Sorry, Professor.” She pointed at the stuffed bird pinned to his shoulder. “What’s the deal with the parrot?”
“It’s a pigeon! You really don’t know anything about Tesla, do you?”
“I’m actually trying to forget what you’ve just told me,” she said. He jabbed a finger at her side and she danced away, laughter bubbling from her throat. “Just so you know, there’s no way you’re getting laid with a flying rat on your shoulder.”
He rolled his eyes. “I’m not even going to dignify that with a response. Who’re you supposed to be? Someone’s ugly step-sister?”
Smirking, Joey popped in her snap-on fangs. “Close, actually.” She bared her teeth and hissed, making a clawing motion with one hand. “I vant to suck your blood!”
“Bride of Dracula?”
His uncertainty was warranted. Joey frowned. “Vampirella!”
Chris stroked his fake mustache in consideration. “I… don’t think you know who Vampirella is.”
“Cinderella, with fangs! Right?”
“Um… okay, let’s go with that. But you know Cinderella’s dress was silver, right?”
Joey frowned at her dress. “No it wasn’t, it was blue!”
“It was silver. Trust me, you made me watch that movie like a million times when we were kids.”
Joey huffed. “Doesn’t matter anyway. I’m not Cinderella. I’m Vampirella, queen of the night!”
“Alright, Your Majesty…” Chris sketched a bow and offered an arm. “We’d better get going if you need to be home before sunrise.”