Tara West

YA paranormal/fantasy and New Adult author

Ugh

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Well, after an awesome birthday celebration with my bud, Shea MacLeod, I’m home sick this week with something nasty that settled in my chest. Cough, hack, wheeze. No fun.

 The good news is that I’m not letting that stop me from working on my latest Whispers book with Heather Marie Adkins. I’ve also got a bonus short ghost story, The Smell of Death, releasing this Friday with my good friends at Curiosity Quills Press. Please stop by there this week and check it out. I’ll post a link when it’s up. If you like Krysta’s Curse, you’ll like The Smell of Death, about a young girl with powers much like Krysta’s.

And speaking of Krysta, here’s a scene from my next Whispers novel, Visions of the Witch. Without giving away too many spoilers, AJ was just in a car accident and Krysta is in the hospital waiting room.

“Do you want to play with me?”

She couldn’t have been older than five. She was adorable. Pudgy hands and cheeks, big brown eyes, dark, curly hair. She actually looked a lot like me when I was little. I tried to imagine her with olive skin like mine, but this child’s skin was deathly pale with a slight blue tint. Her tattered dress dripped with what looked like water. She had a large gash on her temple.

I stifled a sob before plastering on a smile. “I’d love to, but if I played with you, people would think I was crazy.”

I quickly scanned the few people in the hospital waiting room. A middle-aged couple was gawking at me. An elderly woman had moved to the far side of the room while she glared at me from beneath her lashes. They probably thought I’d escaped from the mental ward. The only person in the room who knew I wasn’t crazy was Sophie, but my BFF was snoring on the bench next to me.

I sighed while rolling my eyes. “They probably already think I’m crazy.” After all, to an outsider it must have looked like I was talking to myself.

“That’s okay.” The little girl shrugged. “There are other kids here.”

“I know.” I nodded, as again, I fought to hold back the tears. “I’ve seen them.”

Gawd, how I hated hospitals. Hated them. I’d never seen more dead people in all my life.

The little girl scrunched her brows. “How do you see us?”

“I’ve been curse—gifted with the power to see spirits.”  I tilted my chin and tried my best to sound upbeat. If it’s one thing I’ve learned about ghosts, they don’t respond well when the living cry, scream or faint when they see them.

Her eyes brightened with an unnatural glow. “My brother is here, too. Do you want to meet him?

“Sure,” I said, but then I spied AJ’s mom, Mrs. Dawson, out of the corner of my eye.

She was walking briskly toward me while waving me over. Her eyes were puffy and red, just like they’d been the past five days, but thankfully, this time she was actually smiling.

I leaned over and shook Sophie.

She sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “What is it?” Sophie mumbled. “Is AJ okay?”

Mrs. Dawson had turned and was walking back down the hallway.

A jolt of excitement shot through my spine. “I think so,” I said. Then I turned toward the little girl. “I’ve got to go and see another friend. I’ll catch you later, okay?”

She smiled and waved goodbye.

As I watched the child’s reflection disappear, I thought of AJ and how, for five long days I’d been expecting to see AJ’s ghost visiting me in the waiting room instead.

I looked over at Sophie who was still untangling herself from her blankets. She had turned the hospital waiting room into her own personal bedroom, preferring to sleep there rather than to stay awake and listen to all of the depressing thoughts of the hospital patients and their families.

This was such a horrible place. The last place people like Sophie and I needed to be camping out.

Hot tears slipped over the rims of my eyelids and down my face. My nose dripped, and I had nothing to wipe it but an old napkin I had to dig out of my purse. I flipped open my little cosmetic mirror and stole a quick glance at my reflection while Sophie put on her socks and shoes. My eyeliner was smeared. My skin was blotchy. My hair looked like an electrified mop. Before AJ’s accident, I’d never been caught dead in public without my makeup looking perfect.

But almost losing your best friend puts life into clearer perspective.

At the moment the only thing I cared about was if AJ was going to live.

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Author: tarawestauthor

A former Texas high school teacher, Tara enjoyed coaching her writing team and even the hectic deadlines that came with running the school publications. After taking a break to raise her baby girl, Tara now works from home as a cover artist. In her spare time, Tara loves to read, exercise and spend time with her family and friends. She contributes the cover art for her own novels and has designed covers for over 500 other books. She’d love for you to visit her at www.tarawest.com where you can check out her Whispers series and sample her artwork.

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