Booth has laid down the law. Celeste must return to the Mortal Realm with him.
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Holiday, Paranormal, Romantic Comedy, Vampires, Zombies
Being a witch with magic on the fritz does not bode well for Celeste, but Hollow Cove is all she knows and loves — even when she has to deal with finicky magic like a voyeuristic water elemental named Hokey trapped in the wall of her shower.
Being the runt of a litter of strong boys and lovely girls made family life hard for Booth. He left Hollow Cove as soon as he was old enough, and now he has a successful real estate business in the Mortal Realm. He has only one regret. He comes back to Hollow Cove every year on Halloween to spend twenty-four hours with the love of his life, Celeste. This year is different; Booth has laid down the law. If Celeste won’t return to the Mortal Realm with him, their relationship is over.
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2008 Tuesday Richards
“I’m late, I’m late!” Celeste’s foot hurt, and the sandals didn’t help any. If she hadn’t tried to bake a quiche, she wouldn’t have dropped the dish on her foot. Her German shepherd, Eostar, had gotten a great midnight snack.
Celeste continued out the door, purse and destination crystal in hand. She walked down the brick pathway leading to the teleport chamber, a big metal box able to hold several people, which sat in front of her house. She stopped an inch short of the chamber.
“Oh, come on!” Already late, and now she had to go to the neighbor’s. She limped across the lawn to the house next door, then pounded on oak with her fist. “Tobe! Open up!”
Tobe Humorous was a living, kind of, skeleton. A walking, talking, skinless being that somehow managed to marry a vampire named Betsy and have three rambunctious children — two boys, Nail and Coffin, and one girl, Inda.
Tobe yanked the door open before she could start the second round of pounding on it. “What is it, Celeste?”
She stared at him, hands on her hips, like he would actually grow skin right there in front of her. “Tobe, get your vampire skeletal children out there to clean my teleport. They drew on it with pumpkin chalk again.”
Tobe poked his head out the doorframe, sighed heavily and turned around. “Betsy, the boys colored on Ms. Celeste’s teleport again!” Tobe turned back to her and smiled. “It’ll be cleaned up by morning, Ms. Celeste.”
“Sorry to have bothered you so late, but I’m expecting company.” Celeste looked everywhere but at him, and hadn’t a clue why her nerves were on edge. Or at least that she would admit to.
If Tobe could smile, Celeste was sure he would right now.
“Ah, yes. All Hallows’ Eve. Booth returns, high school sweethearts together again.” He shook his skull from side to side. “When will he realize what he has and come home? Werewolves… I tell you what, Ms. Celeste, it’s all those pups in one womb does something to the brain.” He closed the door with a chuckle.
Booth had been Celeste’s high school sweetheart. When he told his family and friends he was moving to the Mortal Realm in search of bigger and better opportunities, everybody argued the change. What could that place really offer a supernatural creature, except the inability to be who you truly are? He had always been unhappy in Hollow Cove; his family treated him differently from the rest of his litter just because he was the runt — but only by an inch. One day he confided that he could no longer live in his brothers’ and sisters’ shadow. He had to go find his own place in the galaxy and he seemed to have found it, far away from her.
Yet every year he returned to Hollow Cove, and her. Even after five years, Celeste still felt like a giddy youngling preparing for his visit. However, each time, with no promises to stay, he left twenty-four hours later.
She limped back to the teleport, jammed the crystal in the destination slot for Hollow Cove Ritual Park, and stepped in. Teleportation was much simpler. You didn’t have to worry about driving a hover car, walking or mispronouncing a word in a spell. The destination crystal, when placed in the appropriate slot, would instantly teleport you anywhere in Hollow Cove.
Celeste descended from a long line of powerful witches, but for some reason she disappointingly lacked the powers prevalent in her family. Her sketchy spells, inability to shapeshift, and occasional complete power failure convinced her she was adopted. Her grandmother always asked if she were the milkman’s daughter. Mother always argued Celeste looked nothing like the were-bull who delivered milk every week. She was a true Deal witch — sometimes.
She stepped out of the teleport and ran across the park to the gateway, then plopped down on a bench to catch her breath. She glanced at her watch. “Right on time.”
The gateway between realms came to life, multi-colored lights spinning webs in the night sky. The open space grew brighter in strength and intensity. Figures began to filter through. From 12:01 AM to midnight on Halloween every year, the Mortal Realm and Hollow Cove were connected.
Celeste looked forward to Halloween, yet dreaded it all at the same time. Booth had hit it lucky, found himself a high roller job with some sort of upscale hydro real estate agency or something. All she knew, seeing how he didn’t like to talk about work when here, was that he had more money than she had ever seen and she was the only reason he came back.
Celeste was waiting for the year Booth decided not to return. She loved him and wanted to be with him for eternity, but the fear of having to hide held her back. Her family, her life was Hollow Cove…