The second book of horror and supernatural shorts from British author, Graeme Winton.
Excerpt from Sleeping Partner:
I stood in the shadow of Ripon Cathedral’s south side wrapped in the dark and gazed down the natural slope of the graveyard. A swirling mist engulfed the lower part and made the headstones look as if they were moving. The orange glow of streetlamps fought against the dark in the distance.
Organ music drifted out of the Cathedral as I flowed out of the shadows and levitated upright down the hill and mingled with the mist. Ecstasy gripped me as the long departed souls from the ancient graves flowed back and caressed my core. If I were alive, it would have been an orgasmic experience.
I laughed as I gazed up at the dark mass of the Cathedral which seemed to hover above the fog. I then drifted onto the street at the back of the graveyard with menacing energy flowing through me. A man walking his dog passed me. I growled! He turned around, but seeing nothing he hurried away.
I drifted through a walkway and drew back into the shadows as two women walked toward the town centre. I laughed out. One woman screamed, the other turned and said: “Who’s there?”
“One who is neither here nor there!” I rasped.
“Show yourself!” shouted the woman who had spoken.
“Come on Izzie,” said the other woman, anxiously pulling her friend.
I crawled away along the walls of the walkway cackling as the women scurried away. In the town square nine PM rang, and a crowd gathered as I flew among the rooftops. A man in a long, grey coat blew a horn as the crowd cheered, so I landed next to him and blew in his ear. I then raised him up through the cold air before leaving him balancing on top of the tall obelisk which dominated the square.
The Hornblower screamed as he plunged through the air toward the ground. The crowd screamed in horror as they watched, with unbelieving eyes, the man thump into the cobbled ground.
As his soul left, I flowed in and raised the crumpled body and made it dance in front of the dazed crowd. Mothers grabbed their crying children and ran toward their cars.
“What devilry is this?” shouted a vicar.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet.” I said as I made the man’s head spin.
I then felt myself being tugged up into the air, and I watched as Ripon became smaller and smaller before disappearing.
Opening my eyes, I watched lights dance around my darkened living room as cars passed the windows. What a weird dream, I thought. I had fallen asleep on my settee. Looking at my watch I drifted back to sleep.
I stood in the shadow of a shop doorway in Stonegate York and gazed along the ancient street toward the illuminated mass of the Minster. A strong wind blew litter along the street as the last of the shoppers scurried past well-lit windows. I screamed as I flew up and over them. Suddenly, I was dragged into an old room above a shop advertising a haunted house.
I hovered over a group sitting around a large circular table with a crystal ball in the middle. They had their arms stretched out at either side with hands held.