A Night In Salem

Blank Etsy Cover

 

UNEDITED

Copyright © 2018 by BLH All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written consent of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. Resemblance to actual persons, things, living or dead, locales or events is entirely coincidental.

A Night in Salem

Prologue

“Why are we here?” a man with a piercing in his nose asked.

“Stop asking questions. You’ll find out soon enough.” The tall guy with blondish hair said, pushing him forward.

“Let’s just get it over with.”  A mouthy redheaded woman said as she pushed open the door.

“Welcome.  If everyone would follow me, we can get started.” A woman in a long skirt pushed her way through a curtain at the back of the space. “You’re a little late, and I don’t have all night, we need to get started.”

One by one they followed the woman into a darkened room not knowing precisely would lie in wait.

Story-

It was a dark and stormy night…no not really it was actually a pleasant morning in Salem, Massachusetts. The hotel lobby was bustling with activity when the ladies of Book Lovers Hangout exited the elevator.  

“I am so excited that we’re here.  It is the perfect hotel in the perfect city!”  Beth was so happy that she was nearly skipping down the hall.

“Beth, I’m still annoyed that we didn’t pick that hotel in New Orleans, I mean come on! Zombies, voodoo, ghosts, and graveyards.  Salem is witches, just witches, so very expected for an all horror author book signing.” Betsy rolled her eyes following behind her.

“Don’t be a sore loser,” Lauren laughed.

“Hey, at least it wasn’t somewhere like Minnesota.”  Melissa was just hoping to get through the day and night without any serious problems.

When the foursome walked through the door into the ballroom that was going to be their home for the next twenty-four hours, they were amazed at how different it looked from the day before.  The tables that had been stacked at the edge of the room were now laid out in perfect rows. The authors had already set everything up the previous evening, and the smell of books filled the air.

“I’m so glad we decided to organize a signing for the authors of the Horror Author’s Carnival. They are such an amusing group, and I can’t wait to see how all the fans interact.”  Betsy was walking between the rows of tables, running the tip of her fingers over the neat stacks of books, making sure everything was in place.

“I think it was pretty awesome that the hotel had a cancellation, so we got in at all.” Beth was straightening up stacks of books on the table nearest to her.

The ladies walked around the room making sure everything was in order when they heard the doors open. A group of the authors and their personal assistants came into the room.

“Hey guys, hope your rooms were all okay.  I’m sorry we missed all of y’all last night.”  Betsy smiled at the group.

“The rooms were perfect.  I keep waiting for the ghosts to come to check me out.”  J.T. Lozano said with a little too much glee.

“Yeah you can keep all the ghosts there J.T., I don’t need any in my room thank you very much.” Betsy laughed as she walked over the check to see if any of the authors needed anything before the doors opened.

Over the next half hour, all the authors made their way into the room and settled into their spots. The BLH ladies flitted around making sure they were all settled before heading out to the hoard of fans waiting to get into the signing.  An hour of checking tickets, handing out swag bags and taking care of last-minute preparations for that evening, the ladies were finally able to head into the room and see the signing themselves.

The room was a flurry of activity, authors signing books, taking pictures with fans, fans chatting with authors and each other as they waited in line and the laughter of everyone in the background.  The hours seemed to pass relatively quickly, and once the last of the fans had left the room, there was a collective sigh of relief.

“Well hell, that wasn’t all that bad.  I didn’t even have to stab a bitch,” Misti giggled from her perch on BB’s table.

“It was close, that one chick was a little crazy, but she was just way too excited to meet Aaron Speer.”  Virginia Johnson added as she settled in next to Misti.

“Hey everyone loves Speerzie!  What can I say? I have a way with the ladies!”  

Everyone laughed at Aaron’s outburst as they packed up the few things that they had left on their tables. The BLH ladies grabbed their bags full of books and walked out behind the authors.

Melissa got stopped by the onsite party planner double checking a few things for the costume party that evening.  The rest of the group continued on to the elevators and up to their respective rooms.

After grabbing a late lunch, Beth, Betsy, Lauren, and Melissa went back to their respective rooms to get ready for the costume party.  The foursome was dressed like super villains for the evening. That’s what happens when you let your Facebook group vote on what your costumes for the event should be.  Betsy was dressed as Poison Ivy complete with long red wig and vines circling her arms and torso. Beth was dressed as Harley Quinn bat in hand ready for action. Melissa was dressed as Catwoman and complained about the catsuit they made her wear complete with thigh high boots.  Lauren rounded out the foursome as a female Captain Boomerang. Only Lauren would dress up like an Aussie male villain. However, she did look kick ass, and if anyone could pull it off, well it was Lauren.

The ladies went down to the ballroom and found all the authors already there.  They looked around the room and couldn’t believe how amazing it was. There were creepy trees that were covered in twinkle light, tall tables held vases full of bones and fog covered the floor.

When the readers filtered into the room, they mingled, drank a little and danced a little.  Lauren realized that she forgot her phone in her room, so she headed back upstairs to get it. She knew he was going to need to take pictures of whatever shenanigans the other admins got into.  When she stepped out of the elevator, she screamed at the sight that lay in front of her. Sitting in a chair across from the elevator was Kasey Hill, her head resting in her lap, disconnected entirely from her body.  Lauren backed into the elevator, pressing the buttons to get off the floor.

As the doors opened, Beth was standing outside the elevator.

“Beth, Beth, Beth, you need to come with me.  I just can’t fucking explain it.” Lauren pulled Beth into the elevator and pressed the button to her floor.

“Lauren, you look pale, what is wrong?”

“Fuck, I just can’t. You’ll see.”

The elevator doors opened, and Lauren shook her head.  The chair that held Kasey’s body was empty.

“Fucking hell!!! There was a body in that damn chair. Kasey was dead.  She was holding her fucking head in her lap.” Lauren was looking around frantic.

“Lauren are you sure you didn’t think you saw something or maybe you got off on a different floor?”  

“No, I was on this floor!  I know what I fucking saw. I’m not fucking crazy.  She was here just minutes ago. Where in the hell could she have gone?  Oh, just forget it, I need to get my phone and now you need to come with me.  I’m not going anywhere alone!”

“Fine, then we have to go to my room.  I need to grab something for my head. All the fog is making me sneeze.”

They got back on the elevator and headed up to Beth’s floor.  Walking down the hall to her room there was a room with a partially open door. As they walked by they thought they heard someone singing a nursery rhyme.  The sound so creepy that they walked faster and disappeared into Beth’s room.

This little piggy went to a book signing…this little piggy visited a graveyard…this little piggy drank martinis…this little piggy drank none…and this little piggy cried no, no, no all night long.  

B.B. Blaque was giggling as she ran the razor’s edge across the toes of the man tied to his bed.  She ran the razor crisscrossing over his legs, chest, and arms.

“This is even better in person than in my book.”

B.B. continued to with the razor making deeper cuts as she moved up his body.  

“Too bad I really need to kill you, we could have played for a bit longer, but I need to get back to the party.”  With that, she ran the razor up the length of his arms opening the veins there.

With a kiss to the lips drawn on the duct tape covering his mouth, she patted his cheek.  “It won’t be too long. At least you’re already in your bed. Not be a good Johnny and stay quiet.  We don’t need anyone finding you.”

B.B. skipped out of the room and down the hall, too impatient to wait for the elevator, she opened the stairwell door and started down.  Killing Aaron had been so much simpler than she thought it would be. Who would be her next victim? She could use another part of Cherry’s story to test out.  She ran into Steven Evans coming up the stairs.

“Hey there Steven. Too much partying for you?”

“No, Kasey was looking for you.  She was hoping to talk to you about something.  I thought I’d see if I could track you down for her.”

Steven walked up to the landing that B.B. was standing on.  She smiled up at him just as he shoved her over the railing.  Her body was flying down the open space landing in a heap at the bottom.  With a smile, he continued up the stairs.

“Hmm…that was easier than I thought.  Two down, I just wonder how many more I can get.”  Steven whistled as he continued up the steps.

Betsy stepped into the stairwell she needed to go up to her room and fix her wig.  Freaking drunk people and getting handsy. Sure, pull my hair I don’t mind. Ugh…peopling sucked sometimes.  As she turned the corner to climb the stairs, she saw B.B. laying there. In her voodoo doll costume, she looked like a marionette whose strings had been cut.  Her arms and legs were bent at unnatural angles, her neck was twisted, and her eyes held a vacant stare. Betsy backed away and ran toward the costume party trying to find someone to tell.  In the hall, she ran into Carver Pike.

“Oh my God Carver, you have to come, it’s B.B.”  Betsy grabbed Carver and pulled him toward the door leading to the stairwell.  As the door shut behind them, she heard another door opening and closing.

She pushed it open and gasped.  “She’s gone. I swear, B.B. was just here.”

Carver looked around. “I don’t see anything here, what’s wrong with B.B.?”

“She was just here. Laying right there.”  Betsy was pointing at the spot where she’d seen the body just minutes before.  “She was dead. Her arms and legs were bent in different directions. She was here, seriously, she was right there.”

“Are you sure you saw her?  She isn’t here now.”

“I know what I saw, she was here!”  Betsy stomped up a few stairs and looked around, seeing nothing else.  “She was here, she really was here.”

“Betsy I’m not sure what you saw, but there isn’t anything here,” Carver shrugged his shoulders.  “I better get back to the party.”

Betsy climbed the stairs wondering what she could have possibly seen.  B.B. was there, it wasn’t her imagination or was it? When she got to her floor, she went to her room, fixed her wig and moved back into the hall.  Shaking her head, maybe she was seeing things. Perhaps it was the creepy hotel, or it was the lack of sleep or even the three lemon drops she’d had already that evening.  She needed to get her head back on straight.

She walked down the hall to the elevator and swore she heard a scream.  Now she had to be hearing things. It’s the hotel, it’s got to be the ghosts that are supposed to be haunting this place.  Yes, that’s what it is she thought as she stepped into the elevator and headed back to the party.

Little did Betsy know that she did hear a scream from the room she passed.  Inside Tina Piney had been tied to a chair by Virginia Johnson. Virginia stepped behind Tina and whispered, “No one is here to help you.  Too bad you’ll miss the big party.” Virginia drew the blade across her throat. The blood poured out the wound like a waterfall, covering her torso with the dark red liquid.  

Virginia wiped the blade of the knife off on the arm of Tina’s costume, took the knife into the bathroom and cleaned it off, laying it on a towel when she was done.  She looked back and smiled at her work. At least clean-up would be easy. It was smart to pack the tarp she thought. Virginia let herself out of the room and rejoined the party downstairs.

The authors and fans were mingling around the room.  Chatting, laughing, drinking and dancing. Betsy found Beth and Lauren talking in the corner.  Lauren looked visibly shaken and was chugging down a beer.

“I swear this hotel is seriously creepy.  I swore I saw B.B. Blaque dead in the stairwell.  When I got Carver to come to check it out with me, she was gone.  I think this place is getting to me.” Betsy looked at Lauren, and her eyes were wide.

“I swore I saw Kasey decapitated in the hall.”  Lauren downed more of her beer.

“There was nothing there when I came back up with her.  Maybe we’re just hypersensitive because of our surroundings, and our minds are playing tricks on us.”  Beth was trying to be the rational one.

“I’m not sure, but I think I need another drink or ten.”  Betsy walked off toward the bar.

While the readers and authors were mingling in the ballroom, a few of the authors has snuck off to scope out the hotel, trying to find the perfect places to strike.

Steven was looking over the massive HVAC fan trying to decide if it would make an acceptable instrument of death.

“I didn’t think I’d see anyone else up here.”  Sean Kerr said as he stepped out of the shadows.

“It looks like we both had the same idea.”  Steven laughed. “I was just checking out the fan.”

“Me too.  I was thinking of trying to get one of the ladies up here.  It would be quick.” Sean laughed.

Steven was still looking over the area and didn’t see Sean walk up next to him.  “I really think this may work,” Steven said.

With one firm push, Sean shoved Steven into the fan.  “Didn’t see that coming, did you?” Sean laughed as he walked away.  “Never turn your back on someone when you’re playing a deadly game.”

With each death, the authors had started watching each other with a critical eye.  Not know who or what was going to take them out made them all a little uneasy. The only two that didn’t look phased were S.E. Rise and Carver Pike.  They would disappear for a few moments once the killer came back into the room but other than that the two sat back and watched the events unfolding around them.

RL Weeks smiled as she walked up to S.E. and Carver.  She dropped a keycard on the table, “J.T. may be in the laundry room” she said as she walked toward the bar to get a drink.

“It’s your turn,” S.E. said.  “I had to take care of Steven and B.B.”

“Yes, but you didn’t have to try and convince Betsy that she didn’t see B.B. dead.  She was sure she’d see her. Thankfully you were already out of there before she pulled me into the stairwell.  Those ladies are going to catch on sooner or later, and I’m afraid what they’ll do.”

Carver stood, grabbed the key card and headed out of the room.  When he got to the laundry room, he found JT half submerged in a tub of water and an extension cord stuck inside.  Carver looked inside and saw an iron sitting on the bottom of the container. He pulled the wire from the wall and began his clean-up.  Tossing J.T. into a linen cart, he headed toward the service elevator.

Melissa needed some fresh air.  She was feeling a bit claustrophobic and maybe a little more worried than she was letting on.  The strange things that Lauren and Betsy had seen were a little unsettling. Melissa walked around the side of the building resting against the wall.  She heard what she thought was a scream and walked toward the noise. The closer Melissa got to the back of the building, a feeling of dread rolled over her.  She was almost to the back of the building when she ran into S.E. Rise.

“I thought I heard a scream,” Melissa said looking around his body.

“Not sure what it was. I was just taking a walk and heard it too.  It sounded like it came from the direction you came from.”

“No, I’m sure it came from behind the building.  Maybe we should go look.” Melissa tried to step around him.

“No, I just came from there. There isn’t anything back there. Maybe we should head back inside?” S.E. guided Melissa back toward the entrance of the hotel.

Lying in a heap behind the building was the body of Sian Claven.  Thankfully S.E. had successfully gotten the BLH admin away before she discovered the body.  Carver was right, this was getting more and more difficult to keep the ladies clueless. They were going to need to come up with a plan to contain them.  If not, the game could become even more dangerous.

On his way down to collect Sian’s body, Carver ran into Belle looking into the laundry shoot. She had a rope in her hand which she secured somewhere out of sight.  Hmm, she must be planning someone’s murder out. Well, maybe I’ll just have to destroy those plans thought Carver.

“Hey, Belle!”

Belle yelped and was startled to find him standing directly behind her.  “You scared me. I wasn’t expecting anyone…yet.”

“So, who were you waiting for then?”

“Rebecca is supposed to meet me up here in a bit.”

“Impressive knot skills, mind if I take a look?”  

Belle smiled at Carver and handed him over the noose she’d tied.  What she didn’t expect is that Carver would slip the noose around her neck and push her through the open laundry shoot.  He watched as she clawed at the rope around her neck until it stopped and pulled taut. Her body swinging slightly in the small space.  This was way more fun than he thought it would be. Between actually taking each other out and the fact he was also on clean-up duty, he was getting some excellent ideas for a future story or two.

Sean had pushed Tim Miller into the trash compactor.  That had been a fun one to clean up. His body had been broken, and the blood was unbelievable.  The bones that weren’t sticking out of his skin were crushed or broken. Carver couldn’t pull the body out of the compactor on his own, so he had to get S.E. to help get Tim free and back up to his room.   At least Yolanda lured Virginia up to her room and drowned her in the bathtub. At least he could just empty out the water and leave Virginia there.

Carver was stopped by Rebecca Weeks on his way back to the party.  She had apparently taken out William Joseph and wanted to take him to the body.  When Carver walked into the darkened workout room, he didn’t see a body. He turned toward Rebecca just as she brought the weight down against his head.  The last thing he saw as the blackness took over was the smile on her face.

“Everyone believes an innocent face,” Rebecca laughed as she pulled the door closed.

S.E. was getting a little tired.  Why was it that Carver conveniently disappeared just when it was time to clean things up?  This shit is getting old. Rebecca had just told him that she’d left a body in the workout room.  After he got that cleaned up, he was going to have to look for Carver and kick his ass. If he didn’t need help, he’d knock the bastard off himself.  

“Oh, fuck me!  I told the son of a bitch that he needed to pay attention because we needed to make sure to get things cleaned up.  Fucker doesn’t listen. I should see if I can bring him back right now so I can kill the fucker again!” SE said into the dark room.  Face to face with Carver’s dead body, he almost wanted to kill the son of a bitch again. “This is going to be a long fucking night.”

At least SE worked out a little aggravation by strangling Yolanda with the strand of pearls she wore with her pin-up girl costume, then there was Rebecca.  After seeing what she did to Carver and knowing that meant all the clean-up was on his for the rest of the night she had to suffer a little. He had knocked her out and took her into the kitchen. SE then wrapped her in plastic from head to foot like a mummy. Watching her wiggle and squirm as the life drained from her was oddly exhilarating.  It was also convenient that TJ had stumbled into the kitchen just then, it made killing him effortless. One industrial oven and TJ was roasted just like the meat he barbecued back home in Texas. The only thing that sucked was getting the two of them up to their rooms without being caught.

Beth, Betsy, Lauren, and Melissa were equal parts exhausted and unnerved as the party wound down. After the madness, they had all seen they decided to all bunk together figuring they were safer together than apart. They broke up into pairs, hit up their rooms to change into their pajamas and headed back to Betsy’s room. The foursome sat up discussing what they had seen, hoping talking about it would purge the images from their heads.

“I’m not kidding I swear I saw William Joseph in the elevator with a stake through his heart. I’m almost positive it was Michael Noe who did it because I saw him exit the elevator right before it came back around.” Beth was shaking her head.  “I know I saw him in there, and then he was gone.”

“Just like Kasey!” Lauren yelled.

“Well, Michael got his because I know I saw him slumped in the hallway foaming at the mouth.  TJ Weeks was bent over him, and he had this weird blueish tinge to his eyes. It was freaking creepy.”  Melissa said shaking her head.

“What about Emery LeeAnn, Lauren and I both saw her hanging in the stairwell with a scarf wrapped around her neck.  When we got S.E. Rise and went back, she was gone.” Beth was trembling with fear.

“I’m not sure what in the hell is going on, but honestly I cannot wait to head home.  This has been the creepiest night ever! I mean I thought that having a signing with all those horror authors would be a blast, but this is craziness.  We should have gone to New Orleans. That would have been better.” Betsy grumbled.

“New fucking Orleans again! I swear if I hear fucking New fucking Orleans again I’m going to fucking scream.”  Lauren was shaking her head.

“New Orleans, New Orleans, New Orleans!”  Betsy, Beth, and Melissa all yelled and dissolved into a fit of giggles.

“You need to all lose my number!  I swear the only way I’m back in with you bitches is if you find a way for Jason Momoa to show up at my door when I get home!”  Lauren growled, rolling her eyes until she heard Betsy snort then she couldn’t help but laugh with the others.

Eventually, the four crawling into their beds and fell into a fitful sleep.

After the evening he’d had S.E. was starving.  He checked his phone and found that there was a Five Guys Burgers not far from the hotel. He was happy when he got back to the hotel and went to eat his burger and cajun fries in peace.  He was sitting at the desk in his room making some notes on the evening’s events knowing that they would come in handy for a story someday. He was eating a few fries when one got lodged in his throat.  Pushing against the desk, he tried to dislodge it. You have got to be fucking kidding me. After everything, he’d seen that night his death came at the hands of a mother fucking Five Guy’s cajun fry. His head hit the desk with a thud.

The next morning Betsy stepped off the elevator in front of Beth, Melissa, and Lauren.  Her mind was spiraling with all the madness from the previous evening. She wasn’t sure how she was going to even eat anything given what she’d seen the night before and the questions that left behind.  Hell, even her dreams were filled with not only what she’d seen but other scenarios based on what the other ladies had seen. She stopped short, the other ladies running into her.

“What the ever-loving fuck?”  Lauren exclaimed.

“I…I…they…how…I…”  Betsy was staring ahead with her mouth open stunned stupid.

Beth looked over and saw what had Betsy so flummoxed.  “Wait, how is that possible?”

“I know I saw them dead, how in the hell are they standing there.”  Melissa was shaking her head.

Lauren pushed her way through the others and marched over to the group waiting around in the lobby.

“Well good fucking morning to you.  I’m kind of surprised to see all of you so bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning.”  Lauren stood in front of them with her hands on her hip. She was quickly flanked by Betsy, Beth, and Melissa.

“You look pretty spry for a group of people we fucking saw dead last night.”  Betsy huffed.

The group broke out in laughs, and this just seemed to infuriate the ladies even more.

“Look I may be from a small town in West Virginia, but I know a dead body when I see one. Especially one covered in blood and with no pulse.”  Beth was seething pointing at William.

“We’re not stupid, we know what we all saw.  Your dead bodies littered this fucking hotel.”  Melissa was shaking her head and failing her arms around.

Carver stepped forward, “I’m not sure what you thought you saw last night, but we’re all standing here just fine.  Maybe you all had a little too much to drink last night.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, you did not just say that.  To a group of pissed off women. You’ll be lucky if they don’t take turns punching you in the nuts you idiot.” Misti rolled her eyes.  “I’m not saving your ass, you’re on your own with that one.”

Betsy was shaking, being dismissed was something that pushed all the crazy bitch buttons she had.  She stepped toward Carver and smiled a sweet southern smile that her Texas mamas taught her, “We may look like a group of sweet book bloggers but let me assure you that none of us are idiots. We all saw y’all dead in various parts of this hotel last night.  Funny enough when we grabbed someone else to see what happened the body was mysteriously gone. I don’t know what kind of fucked up games you were playing but don’t insult our intelligence by trying to write it off as us being drunk. Let me tell you this much.  Seeing BB’s body at the bottom of the stairwell, her arms and legs bent in unnatural positions and her neck obviously broken surely sobers a girl up. Now why don’t you tell us exactly what in the fuck was going on and we won’t find a way to litter this hotel with your bodies once again?”

“Yeah what she said,” the ladies chimed in behind her.

S.E. stepped forward, “I’m sure you saw some things last night that you can’t explain.  Let’s just chalk it up to a group of authors playing tricks on each other.” The ladies were still staring daggers at the group of authors.  “We were just trying to decide where to head for breakfast, why don’t’ you join us? What do you say?”

Beth, Betsy, Lauren and Melissa look at each other and grumble their acceptance.  “You’re buying breakfast. We had to sleep together after all the shit we saw last night.” Beth huffed.

“We wouldn’t have it any other way.”  Aaron said as he sidled up to the ladies.

S.E. leads the group out into the streets of Salem smiling thinking about their first night in Salem.

“Why are we here?” William asked.

“Stop asking questions. You’ll find out soon enough.” Carver said, pushing him forward.

“Let’s just get it over with,” Virginia said as she pushed open the door.

“Welcome.  If everyone would follow me, we can get started.” A woman in a long skirt pushed her way through a curtain at the back of the space. “You’re a little late, and I don’t have all night, we need to get started.”

One by one they followed the woman into a darkened room not knowing precisely would lie in wait.

“Who was it that I spoke with?”  the woman asked.

S.E. stepped forward, “I was the one who spoke with you.”

“I need to confirm with the rest of you.  You want a potion and spell that will allow you to die and come back to life.  This will last a total of twelve hours. If you die before the potion and incantation are complete, you will stay dead.  If you die after the twelve hours period, you will stay dead. When you die, you will awaken once the twelve-hour period is up and you will have every memory of how you died and how it felt.”

“We understand,” each of the authors said at the same time.

“I typically don’t want to know why those who come to me want my help but I have to say that I am a bit curious about all of you.  As I told you on the phone, with this many people, you are a bit of an oddity for me.”

“We’re a group of horror authors here in Salem for a book signing tomorrow.  We all write about death, and we may be curious as to how we’d carry out our stories in real life.  So, this seemed to be a perfect way. We can play a real-life game of Clue,” Emery said as she rubbed her hands together.  

“Alright, I can understand that.  Please form a circle and join hands.”  The woman stepped inside the circle, putting nineteen vials on the small stone table in the center of the room.

She began chanting, and the group stood transfixed watching as she swayed to a rhythm that she felt to her soul.  As her chants sped up, the room started to feel charged with a current that they couldn’t explain. Their hair stood on end, arcs of electricity began flowing between them.  Blue sparks jumped from person to person, causing them to gasp at the sensations.

“Do not break the circle.”  The woman yelled. Her chanting increased, candles around the room lit by themselves, the vials on the stone alter started glowing an unnatural blue, the electrical currents bouncing around the room, then in a moment the room plunged into complete darkness.

Slowly the light came back into the room as the flames of the candles lit one by one.  The authors looked from one to another with a smile on their face. The woman walked around the circle, giving each a vial of the potion and said a separate incantation to each as they took them.

“Don’t forget the potion lasts only twelve hours.  When you awaken, you may find yourself disoriented so you will want to make sure that you are somewhere safe when that happens.”

She led them back through her shop and out the door.  As they left her last words, “blessed be,” fell in the darkness.

“This is going to be perfect research,” Steven said as he slipped the vial into his pocket.

“We’ll meet at six, before dinner and take these all at the same time,” Carver said.

“Yes dad,” B.B. giggled.  “I can’t wait to let my inner Cherry out to play.”

“No melon ballers.”  The guys said at the same time.

“What a way to ruin a girl’s fun!”  BB was pouting as they walked back towards the hotel.

S.E. chuckled thinking about that evening and how they all eyed the glowing vials as they drank them down before dinner the night before.  Cleaning up after everyone had been a pain in the ass though. Making sure everyone was back in their rooms after their deaths had fallen on his shoulders after Carver was taken out so early.

“You look like you’re thinking quite hard there,” Sian said as she bumped S.E.’s arm with her own.

“Just thinking about a few things from this weekend.”  S.E. smiled over at her.

“You never did say how you died.  You were the last man standing right?”

“Sian let’s just say it was in a way that I had never expected and leave it at that.”  

“How are we going to top this signing?”  Aaron said falling into step with Sian and S.E..

“Next time we’ll have to try New Orleans, I’m sure that there is debauchery to be had there.” S.E. was already thinking of the little voodoo shop he’d seen on his last trip there and the priestess that had given him the gris-gris bag he still carried.  “I’m sure we can step it up the next time.”

“Let’s just make sure we’re a little more careful next time. Those BLH admins seem pretty pissed, and I don’t want to wake up in a morgue because someone found my body somewhere.”  JT murmured.

“Don’t worry, what’s the worst that can happen?”  Misti shrugged her shoulders as she walked into the restaurant.

S.E. looked between the authors and bloggers.  A smile crossing his face, his eyes shining an unnatural blue as he slid his sunglasses off.  “Exactly, what’s the worst that could happen?”

 

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