SHARED NIGHTMARES Sneak Peek: “What Hellhounds Dream” by Steven Diamond


cover - ebook 2I don’t have dreams. I survive them.

It’s been nearly forty years since I made a deal with a crossroads demon and became her hellhound. You have to understand that I was in way over my head at the time, barely treading water. Dying. I still remember that day like a reflection in a still pond. You know, when the surface is like glass in the early morning. You have to understand this part, otherwise none of the rest will make sense.

 ***

I’d been shot twice, once in the leg, and the other in the stomach. Gut shot. I was leaking blood like a faucet, and those that had done the shooting were on my obvious trail. All of this for witnessing a drug deal. Looking back on it, I suppose it’s hard to blame them. Had I survived, I would have brought the whole mess down on them just by being able to identify them.

’Course, I survived.

They didn’t.

I couldn’t tell you how I made it as far as I did. When I finally collapsed, my body running on the fumes of what little blood was still in me, I was on my back in the middle of a road. A crossroads, it turns out.

There wasn’t anything I could do except lie there and wait for my pursuers to find me and kill me. I think at that point I’d just about given up. Next thing I know, standing above me is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Her hair was as white as snow, and cut real short. That normally wasn’t the type of thing I went for, but on her… well, let’s just say I felt every last drop of my remaining blood flowing hot through my veins.

Her eyes seemed all black, and at first I thought it was just that I was near-dead and it being dark and all. Nope. They were all black, no whites. Once I fully took in that tiny detail, that hot blood went ice-cold.

“Looks like you’re in a smidge of a mess, hon,” she said. Lord, but her voice sounded amazing. “You and I need to have ourselves a discussion, I think. You fancy you can stay conscious for a few minutes?”

“People… after me… catch up… soon.” At least that’s how I think I sounded. It could have been a slight more rough.

“Don’t worry about them, hon,” she patted me on the cheek. Gently. Her skin was smooth and cool. “Where we are at, nothing can get to us if I don’t want it to. No, don’t ask. You keep your breath. Right now it’s better suited inside you than out. Turns out, Mr. Jericho Falls, that you landed in my crossroads, and the blood you’re spilling summoned me. Lucky you. Probably.”

“My name…?” I managed.

She smiled at me, and all I wanted to do was lean up and kiss her. Her canines looked just a bit longer and sharper than they should. “Your blood tells quite a story, Jericho. It tells me all I need to know about you. Name. Family. Past. Present. It even tells me a bit of your futures. That was plural on purpose…”

………………..

Read the rest of this story and eleven more nightmare-inspired tales in Shared Nightmares,available now!

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