Welcome to the official start of Short Story Sunday here on my blog. The first short story being featured is my first attempt at writing in the paranormal romance genre. This story will be posted in serial format every Sunday and will likely consist of 8 to 10 parts. Here is the first part. Hope you enjoy! As always, comments are greatly appreciated!
by Lauri Fern
Nights worried her.
Streetlights and headlights from cars glared off of her eyeglasses, making it hard to see. Shadows lurked around every corner. Sound echoed off of the tall buildings, leaving her unsure which direction it actually came from. She did not even want to think about the mysterious happenings that had been reported in the newspapers recently.
In the past two months, the police reported ten attacks on people in her neighborhood. Four of victims were still in the hospital. The others were not so lucky. The attacks were gruesome, the news reported. The victims appeared to have been attacked by a vicious animal, but there were no animals big enough to cause that kind of damage in Tampa, Florida. The officials ruled out alligators early on, since gators liked to rip apart limbs and eat their prey. The victims were savagely attacked, but all limbs remained intact. And the attacks occurred in areas where alligators were unlikely to frequent.
Angie Sparks was afraid to leave the house at night until the authorities figured out the source of the attacks. It was just her luck that her best friend would have an emergency in the middle of the night and no one else could be reached.
Scraping her thick brown curls into a ponytail, Angie slipped on her black plastic-framed glasses and a pair of pink sneakers to go with the pink tank top and black yoga pant she was wearing. With a sigh, she grabbed her keys and cracked the door open to peek her head through. The street was still with no people in sight. Gathering her wits, Angie sprinted down the stairs to her Honda Pilot, eternally grateful that she had an automatic starter installed back when she lived up north. She pressed the start button before reaching the bottom step and climbed into the already running car. Without pause, Angie backed out of her driveway.
“You owe me big time, Sara,” she whispered to the empty car as she stomped on the accelerator and took off down the quiet street.
The roads were empty as she drove across town with the gas pedal to the floor. Angie figured the risk of speeding was worth it compared to being attacked. She arrived in Ybor City without being caught by the police or the unknown attacker.
“What happened?” Angie asked, breathless, as she charged into Sara’s ground floor apartment. Sara was sprawled on the floor, a bloody towel clutched to her left side.
“I was attacked,” Sara muttered through gritted teeth, grimacing as the effort of breathing increased the pain to her side.
“I can see that.” Angie knelt down next to her best friend and gently pried the blood-soaked towel from her side. When Sara whined, Angie shushed her. “Let me have a look, hun. I need to see how bad it is.”
After a year of nursing school, Angie knew enough to assess the wound and dress it, but that was about it. With the towel out of the way, Angie examined the ragged, gaping wound. It was an inch deep and almost three inches in long. The boundaries of the wound were jagged, without any distinct markings. No debris was visible and blood was flowing fast. Angie wiped away the blood a few times as she made a mental note of what she saw. Not wanting to risk Sara bleeding out, Angie reached for one of the clean towels stacked on the coffee table and applied pressure to the wound.
“You need to go to the hospital, Sar.” Sitting back on her heels, Angie gazed down at her friend worriedly. “How did this even happen?”
Grimacing as Angie maintained pressure on her wound, Sara replied, her words consisting of grunts riddled with gasps of pain. “I know. You might as well call an ambulance, I don’t want to get any blood on your seats. I’ll tell you what happened after you make the call.”
Sara nearly fainted from the effort of saying so much and Angie had no recourse but to call 9-1-1. Pulling her cell phone from the waistband of her yoga pants, Angie maintained pressure on the wound while she told the dispatcher what she knew about Sara’s injury. Once the call ended, Angie glanced at Sara’s face, hoping to get the details of what happened.
“Ugh, this really hurts!” Sara grunted. “Give me a few moments to fight the pain, then I’ll tell you what happened.”
Tune in next Sunday for the next part of The Stranger.