M L Gammella’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Everyone Loves a Parade
Author's Note: This is more from the world of Guardians, a WIP
The townsfolk of Wardville gathered along the streets, waiting for the start of the Fall Festival Parade. Alana peered watched them from the safety of her living room window. She used to love parades, but not since moving to Wardville. The only place she felt safe now was within the walls of her home.
Even being out with David only brought a minimum of comfort. He couldn’t keep the feeling that she was being watched at bay or keep the voices silent.
Nervously, she fingered her pendant and closed the curtains. She was tired of being couped up in her house but hated how she felt when she left. Some days she would be in town for hours before it started, sometimes it was only a matter of minutes. Regardless, it always happened. If she ignored the paranoia, bad things usually occured.
The police still didn’t know who broke into her car. It was as if it was a ghost. There weren’t any fingerprints or any evidence at all. They were quite puzzled by it. Alana wasn’t puzzled, she was scared. It took David weeks to talk her into leaving her house afterward.
Even now, she knew he was on his way over to try to talk her into venturing outside again. A year ago she would’ve laughed at someone if they told her she would be agraphobic. It just wasn’t like her.
True to form, David knocked on her front door before slipping quietly inside. He smiled at her and joined her by the window.
“Everyone loves a parade,” he said as he brushed a few stray hairs from her face.
“Sure, everyone but people who hear voices,” she scoffed.
“Maybe today will be a good day.”
Alana shrugged. “All I know is that I need to get out of this house before I really do go crazy.”
David found the perfect spot to view the parade a block down from her house. Children were laughing, people were smiling. It was all rather idylic. Alana figdeted as they waited, her fingers never far from her pendant. Even though everything was fine at the moment, she was expecting the worst.
As the parade went by, Alana was lulled by the positive energy surrounding her. She didn’t hear the whispers until after the Wardville High School Marching Band passed by. As the din of the band faded, the voices got louder.
We will find you.
Nothing will protect you.
She covered her ears and whimpered, but it did nothing to quiet the words in her head.
“Alana, what is it?” David asked.
The voices continued, indistinguishable from one another, but all speaking of her death in detail.
With an anguished cry, Alana wrapped her hand around her pendant and pulled away from David’s grasp. She ran blindly, terrified, until she was out of breath. When she finally opened her eyes, she was standing near some stone stairs. Eager to get away from prying eyes, she crept down the steps to what appeared to be a breezeway under a building.
Gratefully, she leaned against the cold stone, closed her eyes, and tried to relax. Her hand kept the death grip on her pendant the entire time.
“Alana? Alana, where are you?”
She opened her eyes and peeked around the corner to see David standing on the sidewalk looking for her.
“David, I’m down here.”
He turned, and relief was written across his face. “Thank god!” he said as he joined her in the breezeway. “What happened, Al?”
Alana toed a loose brick. “The voices again.” She sighed, resigned and frustrated. “I wasn’t out of the house a half hour before they started. I can’t keep clutching at my neck all day.”
“Maybe just keep the pendant in your hand instead of around your neck?” David offered.
“Possibly,” Alana considered. “I’ve never taken it off. I suppose I have nothing to lose.”
Carefully, she pulled the pendant over her head, the chain catching on a few stray hairs on the way. Once it was completely free of her head, Alana felt even more anxious. Something felt very wrong.
“I think this was a mistake-“
Thunderous booms cut her off and the room filled with swirling blackness. The voices cackled and surrounded her.
You make it too easy, Creator
Nothing to protect you now…
David’s voice was the last thing she heard before the darkness overcame her.
M L Gammella lives in Ohio with her husband and their three pets. She is currently working on her first novel, a paranormal suspense based in Maine. Please follow her at @MLGammella and visit her website at Onward to the Written Word.