By Erin Fanning
Genre: Sci-Fi Rom, Paranormal Romance
May 12, 2015 from Lyrical Press
Love and danger intertwine…
It’s called El Toque de la Luna—The Touch of the Moon. At least that’s how nineteen-year-old Gabby’s older sister, Esperanza, refers to the magical powers she inherited from their Mayan ancestors. Esperanza says women with El Toque weave magic into their knitting, creating tapestries capable of saving—or devastating—the world. Gabby thinks Esperanza is more like touched in the head—until a man dressed like a candy corn arrives at their Seattle home on Halloween. But “Mr. C” is far from sweet…
Soon, Gabby and her almost-more-than-friend, Frank, find themselves spirited away to a demon ball, complete with shape shifters—and on a mission to destroy Esperanza’s tapestries before they cause an apocalyptic disaster… And before it’s too late to confess their true feelings for each other.
The Demon Inches
By Erin Fanning
As in my novella Blood Stitches, this story touches on the evil that sometimes lurks within the people we love.
Grandma sits beneath a willow, her skirt blending with the branches. Ferns tremble at her feet. Leaves flutter onto her lap, and she arranges them in her braid, white as the swan floating near our dock.
“Hiding,” she says. “From the Demon.”
Dry grasses rustle as I scoot closer. Grandma raises a finger to her lips, shushing me into silence, and arranges twigs along her shoulders like armor. Her mouth opens but nothing comes out. She stares at me, the Demon riding across her eyes, and rubs a leaf against her cheek.
Mom won’t like the camouflage. She’ll tell me later, after we’ve weeded Grandma of the vegetation, that I must be more attentive, not humor Grandma.
Dementia, the doctor calls it.
But Grandma translates his diagnosis into, “the Demon inches.” Her brain, she claims, is the Demon’s pathway, an endless feast. I’m too old to believe in spooky mumbo-jumbo, but Grandma has never lied to me. This doctor, however, I’m not so sure about.
“Hello, Miss, root beer float, please,” Grandma now says.
I nod, but I’m already fading into the background, becoming invisible to her.
“Where is that boy anyway?” she adds, the Demon twisting through her brain, knotting it as tight as the Queen Anne’s lace balled into fists around us.
“Where is he?” Grandma wraps her arms around herself and rocks back and forth.
“Shhhh.” I take her hand. Grandma sighs and pats my head as I rest it in her lap, disturbing the leaves and ferns. The Demon seems to fear my touch, and I sense it tiptoeing away, to where it hides inside Grandma. We share this, the Demon and I, an endless watching and waiting.
“The Demon preys on the old, taking over our brains inch by inch,” Grandma said back when her thoughts walked a trail I could follow. “We’re weak, easy to control. It practices on old Grandmas like me but someday it might come for you.” She pointed a shaky finger at me, spittle gathering in the corners of her mouth, and cackled like some fairy-tale hag.
Mom didn’t buy the Demon explanation. She went on and on about doctors and prescriptions, hoping Grandma could live with us for a long time and that she wouldn’t start wandering off and have to move into a nursing home and blah, blah, blah. I quit listening. I’d never allow Grandma to be taken from me.
“Dinner’s ready,” Mom yells from the house. I help Grandma to her feet, ferns and leaves cascading around us.
“Is my float ready yet?” she asks in a baby voice, swinging my hand.
“It’s in the kitchen.” I steer her to the steps. Despite her talk about root beer, Grandma no longer cares about food, and I have to make sure she eats, keeping her strong to fight the Demon.
Mom’s dressed for work, so rushed she doesn’t notice the weeds poking out of Grandma’s hair. Her heels clickety-clack across the tiles, and she smears lipstick over her mouth, patting hair into place.
Tomato soup simmers on the stove; chunks of cheddar cheese sit on a cutting board. Apple sauce waits in bowls. Mom waves at the food. She’s late and out the door. No need tell me to watch Grandma—it goes without saying.
And no time to pester me with her worries:
“Don’t you want to play soccer?”
“Go out with friends?”
“You really need a haircut.”
“Honey, you don’t have to spend all your time with Grandma.”
I always shrug away her concerns. Mon doesn’t understand I’m now a warrior.
Grandma and I sit side-by-side at the table, our arms touching. She doodles with the soup and writes spidery messages on her placemat with the apple sauce. I spoon the food into her mouth, murmuring about how yummy it tastes.
Sunlight, screaming through the windows, glints off a knife blade lying on the cutting board. Grandma, breathing heavy, scoots back from the table. She leans against the chair. I jump to my feet. The Demon’s on the move, inching forward.
“Cut it out,” she says.
“What do you mean?”
Grandma, moving faster than she has in years, scrambles to the cutting board. I’m quicker and grab the knife as Grandma reaches for it. Her fingernails dig into my wrist.
“Cut it out,” Grandma hisses, again the crone from a fairy-tale nightmare.
To finish reading it: https://wordcrushes.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/demonincheserinfanning.pdf
About the author:
Erin Fanning spends her summers on a northern Michigan lake, where her imagination explores the water and dense forest for undiscovered creatures. In the winter, she migrates to central Idaho, exchanging mountain bikes and kayaks for skis and snowshoes. She’s the author of Mountain Biking Michigan, as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories.