NOTE: This is part of the new novel I am writing. I am posting it here as a diversion for readers who may be living under shelter-in-place policies while the world waits for the coronavirus pandemic to pass. For an explanation of this project, please click here. To read the chapters I’ve posted in order, click here.

Colleen’s House ~ Santa Rosa, N.M.

“You couldn’t have known,” Sierra said as Colleen set a basket of garlic bread on the table. “What were you supposed to do? Stand there calmly while that thing made you relive the worst experience of your life? Come on. You reacted the same way anybody would. And who knows what it would have done if you’d stayed? Maybe by giving it what it wanted, you kept it from doing something worse.”

Holly shook her head. “That’s not the point,” she said. “The point is that Morgan is now in more danger than ever because I couldn’t keep my shit together in the face of an obvious trick. Uncle Don has been dead for 30 years. I knew it wasn’t him. I just panicked. I’m supposed to be protecting Morgan, not making her enemy stronger.”

“But none of us knew its M.O.,” Morgan argued. “The important thing isn’t that you didn’t know then. It’s that we do know now.”

Colleen brought in a bottle each of sparkling wine and sparkling grape juice. “I agree,” she said, pouring juice into a champagne flute and setting it in front of Morgan before filling everyone else’s glasses with the wine. “We have more information than we had two weeks ago. You were working blind, with no idea how this thing operates or where it gets its strength, and now at least you know that much.” She picked up her glass. “To having our Holly back,” she said. 

“Amen,” Sierra said. The six of them clinked their glasses together. 

They drank, and the conversation shifted to the practicalities of dishing up the pan of lasagna in front of them and a flurry of compliments on Colleen’s cooking.  Continue reading Possibilities