QSFer Lissa Kasey has a new Paranormal book out:
Gene Sage has only ever wanted to sing, but his band, Evolution, is pushing him toward the big time. He finds it hard to focus on making musical history when he’s dreaming of graveyards and seeing ghosts. And while all he can think of is hiding who he is from a world unforgiving of anyone different, he discovers he’s also the ultimate snack for vampires and demons. When Gene literally runs into—over—his idol, Kerstrande Petterson, rock god, vampire in hiding, and music cynic, his life falls over the edge into chaos.
Jaded by the world and nearly a decade in the music business, Kerstrande thinks Gene wants to use him to make Evolution immortal in more than one way, but he can’t seem to brush aside the young singer’s enthusiasm.
Getting involved with Kerstrande drags Gene into otherworldly power struggles. Between the ghosts stalking them, the media painting supernaturals as villains, and a vampire out of control in the city, the only way for Gene and Kerstrande to survive is for Gene to embrace his powers—and his destiny.
Sighing into the night, I hoped for a peaceful trip home to my cat, Mikka.
Somewhere between the entrance to the highway and the back streets to home, a flash of someone in a white shirt bolting in front of the car made me slam the brake to the floor. I jerked the steering wheel to the left, but overcorrected, nearly sending the car into a spin. M&M’s hit the dash with loud pings, tires screeched, and scalding brown water poured into my lap. I lost the brake and accidentally hit the accelerator while trying to countersteer out of the spin.
The headlights beamed on a man’s astonished face just seconds before I hit him. He rolled up onto the hood. My foot found the brake again, throwing me forward in the seat. The man slid off, lay stunned for a moment, and then sat up slowly. The lights glared into his face, his eyes hidden in the dark. Blood dripped from his scalp.
My whole world stood frozen for that moment. I could barely breathe. My body was stuck in limbo, eyes blinking, heart racing, mind paralyzed in fear.
Finally, the panic gave way to adrenaline. I slammed the gear into park, leapt out, and rounded the car to look at my victim. Crap, my victim. I’d hit someone with my car. If my heart could beat any harder, I was sure blood would come rushing out of my ears.
“I’m so sorry,” I told the guy. He couldn’t have been much older than me. “I’ll call 911.”
From this angle it didn’t appear to be all that bad. The blood trickling down his face already began to slow, and he just seemed dazed. His body didn’t look all twisted and broken like you’d think someone who got hit by a car would be. He was, however, wearing a dark coat and a long black duster. Not a white tee.
I glared back at the main road where I’d seen someone run in front of me before the accident. If that had been a ghost, then I’d just wrecked my car and almost killed someone for no reason. Sometimes I wished spirits just had flashing signs over their heads saying “already dead.”
“What the hell is your problem, kid?” The injured man struggled to get to his feet. The blood at his temple flowed a little faster with the added movement. The glass of the windshield hadn’t shattered, for which I was grateful, but he still looked a little worse for wear.
“You shouldn’t move.” I tried to get him to sit back down. He looked pretty unsteady and gripped my arm to keep upright. “You should sit before you fall over. Let me call for help.”
“You weren’t going fast enough to squash a bug. What kind of idiot drives on the sidewalk? Were you trying to kill someone? Would you like to get in your car and back over me a few times?”
At least he was talking. That meant no punctured lungs, right? What did those doctor TV shows always say was bad? Head trauma? He had that. He stumbled, but I caught him. “Did you see anyone else on the street?” I had to ask. “Like someone in a white shirt?”
“Just you. And I’m pretty sure yours is pink.” He grabbed a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and lit one. The smoke pooled in annoying rings around my head. He relaxed against me, forcing me to take the brunt of his weight. Since I was always the small guy in the room, that was harder said than done.
“It’s orange.” I flipped out my cell phone to dial the cops. “Just relax, mister. I’ll call for help.” The phone barely rang before he had his hand over the receiver, taking the phone away. What the hell? “Let me call for help. You could be seriously hurt.”
“Only my pride.” The heavy glare of headlights made his eyes dark with shadows. “I’m the one who got hit by a car, but you pissed your pants. Is that why you were on the sidewalk? Trying to make it to the bathroom in time? They make a pill for that.”
“It’s coffee! I thought I saw a man in the road, swerved to miss him, and the coffee spilled!”
He tilted my face up toward his. I could smell the smoke on his breath and the blood from his brow. “You don’t smell like alcohol. And your pupils are normal, so no drugs. You could do with a little less glitter and eyeliner. See invisible things often?”
I pulled away, letting him lean against the car, irritated by the tone of his voice. Even now, when the supernatural had become the norm, people still insisted on hiding their heads in the sand. Most of the world was made up of those kinds of people. Not my problem, at least most of the time. This guy was probably one of those.
“Get in the car. I’ll take you to the hospital.” I got in the driver’s side, waiting for him to move. The car still ran, even though it had body-sized dent in the hood.
The guy stared in my direction before nodding slightly and getting into the passenger seat. As soon as he closed the door, I was racing toward the hospital at top speed. He gripped his seat belt. Red highlights in his hair reflected color each time we passed a streetlight. I must have glanced his way two dozen times.
“Stop! Just stop the car! You’re going to kill us both.”
I stomped on the brake. Inertia threw me forward in the seat and made my passenger growl. I let the car crawl its way over to the curb until I could park it out of the way of other vehicles. Only when I cut the engine and took my hands off the wheel did he let go of his seat belt and sweep his fingers swept through his hair—long fingers, like those of an artist. I wondered briefly if he’d get mad if I turned on the inside light so I could look at him. But he was glaring at me. The heat of his gaze made my shoulders tense even in the darkness of the car.
“What?” I finally asked.
“You have pink hair.”
“You’re a guy, right? Or an ugly girl with no boobs.”
“Guys can’t have pink hair?”
“Not can’t. Shouldn’t.”
The dig stung, especially since I’d attempted to dye it red that morning, but the pink was what I’d ended up with. “I change it all the time. Last week it was yellow. I’m a musician, a singer. It’s a music thing.”
“It looks stupid.”
I should have been angrier. Sadly, I sort of agreed, but I didn’t have the cash to buy another box of dye to change it until next week. “That’s a crappy thing to say to someone who’s trying to help you.”
“You hit me with your car. A shitty car, at that. Did you buy it at the junkyard? I’m surprised it runs.” He flicked the butt of his cigarette out the window and ran his fingers through his hair again. “You never answered my question.”
“What question? My car came from a neighbor, not the junkyard.” Though, in truth, it was junkyard material.
An attempt to light another cancer stick failed when his lighter wouldn’t work. He searched the dash for the car’s lighter, but I had thrown it away years ago. “I so need a smoke.”
“You should let me take you to the hospital.”
“I’m not due for a lobotomy yet.” He sat in silence for a bit, staring out the window, then said, “I asked if you often saw stuff that isn’t there.”
The sigh escaped me before I realized we were back to that topic. “No. Everything I see is there. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
The silence came back and lasted probably five minutes, feeling more like an hour, before he moved, getting out of the car. “Get out.”
“Why?” I gripped the steering wheel. Being left out in the middle of nowhere without a way home was a very real possibility, and one I didn’t want. Not even in payback for hitting a man with my car. Getting set on fire or beaten to death ’cause I was different suited me even less. He didn’t look like the Preservation Group type, but did anyone really? Guys like me knew when to stay inside, and after dark was one of those times. I’d been shoved in enough lockers and toilets to know better. And those things were mild compared to what I read about in the papers every day.
“’Cause I don’t want to die tonight. Give me the keys.” He came around the car and stood at my door as I opened it. I left the keys in the ignition. The man motioned to the passenger side. “Get in or I’m leaving without you, kid.” He folded his tall frame into the driver’s seat and adjusted its position.
“Genesis,” I said as I slid into the car on the passenger side. “My name is Genesis. My friends call me Gene.” The man stared at me again. I wished I could see him better. “What?”
“I don’t care what your name is.” He leaned over, yanked the seat belt across my shoulder and over my chest, then buckled it.
My cheeks felt hot. “Thanks.”
“Whatever, punk. Who names their kid Genesis? Hippies?” The man started the car, obviously not wanting a response. Soon we’d left our makeshift parking lot and downtown behind. I didn’t tell him where I lived, and he didn’t ask.
“Are you hijacking my car?”
“This piece of crap? Good idea. I bet I can get $200 for it at the junkyard. But I’ll have to push you out. Wait, let me speed up.”
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Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.