In the spirit of Halloween, here is the first chapter of my slightly scary novel:
Garlic for Breakfast
by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
I let him in.
How could I not when he was carrying my brother, either dead or unconscious, in his arms.
My brother and I were not exactly best friends at the moment. He was a pain, to put it nicely, and the way he had been behaving lately, I would not have been surprised to know he had OD. In fact that is what I thought when I opened the door and saw the man standing in the dark. The man as pale as dawn and so devilishly handsome I couldn’t stop my heart from beating faster, even though I knew he was too old for me. Way too old, for he looked even older than Nico who, at eighteen, was three years older than I was.
“Your brother needs my help,” the man said, his voice deep and commanding. “You must let me in.”
My first impulse was to obey, but something was odd in the way the man stood holding my six foot brother as if he were, like the scarecrows Mother had spread over the lawn, made out of straw.
“What happened?” I asked instead, reluctant to comply.
“He got hurt,” the man said. I shivered under his stare and took a step back. His eyes were not black as I had first thought, but red, or had they just changed color? Either way they were contact lenses, I reassured myself. How could it be otherwise even if it wasn’t Halloween?
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” the man insisted. He was dressed in black, black pants and a black jacket closed almost to his neck. No Halloween costume, my mind registered while he continued. “Your mother is coming, Madison. But it would be better if you let me in. Now.”
“You know my mother?” A stupid question for he had just said so and he knew my name. But my mind seemed to have gone trick or treating and left me alone with the strange man in a no costume and the red eyes.
He sounded annoyed, angry even, and the thought occurred to me that he could have pushed his way in already if he had meant me harm. He was obviously stronger than me–strong enough to carry my brother–yet he had not. He had stayed outside the door that, even open, he had respected as a barrier between us. A barrier he wouldn’t cross unless I’d invite him in. At the end, it was his politeness, his restrain to force his entrance that won me over.
“Thank you,” the man said as if he meant it.
I felt the rip in the air when he entered and moved aside to lead him into the living room. But the man brushed past me and climbed upstairs heading straight to Nico’s room. Maybe he could read minds and got the outlay of the house from mine. Or maybe it was the scent. It didn’t take a hound to smell my brother’s room. I followed them.
From the door, I saw the man had already set my brother over the rumpled comforter that half covered his bed.
“Leave,” the man said without turning.
But I didn’t move. Nico’s face was white, even whiter that the man’s had been. And his eyes were shut. Was he dead? Before I gathered the courage to ask, the man unzipped his jacket and, in a sudden movement, touched his own neck with his hand. As I watched a line of blood formed over his skin. He sat on the bed then, and, lifting my brother, held his face to his wound.
I screamed and ran to him. I didn’t see him moving but he must have because his left hand pushed me back. Nico’s eyes, opened wide, his dilated pupils staring blindly at me the last thing I remembered before the world went blank.