|Marked by a Ghost by Mia Petrova|
Blood dripped from her injured hand as she ran. She looked over her shoulder and saw nothing. Her heart thudded; the beats fast and loud. It was summer but the room felt like the coldest of winter days.
The last thing the girl remembered was studying in a library just before everything began.
Now she fought for her life.
The problem was she didn’t know what she was fighting against. The lights turned off and the books started to have a life of their own. It seemed harmless at first, but then the books turned on her, flying from the shelves and hurting her badly, until…
“Enjoying the movie?”
My hands went to my chest. “Jesus, Nathan! You scared me half to death,” I said to my best friend.
“And that’s why you can’t watch horror movies in the first place, Ella. You’re so easy to scare.” He kissed my cheek and grinned.
Nathan and I had been best friends for five years. We met in college and since then we’d been inseparable until a few months ago, when something changed.
He started dating and the jealousy I felt deep in my soul didn’t feel normal. I had tried to deny my feelings for Nathan for the whole of the five years we’d known each other. I couldn’t do it any more. I was in love with my best friend.
I sighed, gave him a little smile and watched him turn the movie off. “Hey, I was watching that.” I tried to wrestle the remote control from him, but it was useless, especially because I didn’t try too hard. I didn’t want to get that close to him.
“Chill out, baby girl. We’re going to do something more fun,” he reassured me with a smirk.
“Oh, yeah? And what are we gonna do?”
“It’s a surprise,” Nathan answered. He got close enough for me to smell his cologne, his strawberry-flavored breath, and, oh damn, those scents were going to kill me.
I jumped up off the couch before I gave into my impulses. “Great. Let’s go then.”
“Go change into some comfortable clothes, please.”
I frowned and looked at his not-telling-you-why face and did what he asked.
“I’ll wait here.” He turned the TV back on and continued to watch the movie.
Why did I need to wear comfortable clothes? Maybe he wanted to go running or something? I tried not to think too much and just threw on some jeans and a pink blouse. I left my long, straight black hair loose. No make-up, so I was ready in five minutes.
I was a simple girl, the type that what you see is what you get.
When I stepped into the living room, Nathan got up and came to me. He turned everything off, put his hand on my waist and led me out the door. My breathing roughened.
Every time he touched me I heated up. I didn’t want to feel that way, but my body had another agenda.
“Are you okay, baby girl?” he asked as we got in the car.
“It’s nothing. I’m fine.” I answered, but he wanted more, I could sense it by the way he stared at me. “Seriously, Nathan, I’m fine. Let it go.”
We were quiet in the car, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. We were friends and this comfortable silence was just the way it was sometimes. So he let it go, at least for now. He might ask me why I was so quiet later on. And then again, he might not.
About half an hour later we stepped out of the car as the sun set and the darkness began to take over.
The first thing I saw as Nathan led me along the street was a big, ancient building and I knew right away what he had planned for us. We were going to be a part of a tour in a haunted house. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium to be exact, one of the most haunted places in the world. And Nathan had brought me here. Why?
“You’re always saying that you want to get over your fear of ghosts. So here we are,” my best friend told me when we joined the others waiting for the tour to begin. My heart began to race.
“Yes, I said that, but…” I hesitated. “I’m not ready right now.”
“Hey.” Nathan took my trembling hands and rubbed them between his own to try and calm me down. “You will never be alone. I’ll be here, along with all these people.” He pointed to the others nearby. “Nothing is going to happen. You’ll see that everything about this place is a lie.”
“Okay, but what if something does happen?” I wanted to cover all my bases.
“I’ll hold your hand the entire time. You know I’ll protect you, baby girl.” He touched my cheek softly and that was more than enough for me to agree. And the baby girl thing didn’t help either. Nathan and his sweet nicknames would be the end of me.
“Okay?” Nathan echoed.
“Yes, but I’ll be holding onto you the whole time,” I warned him.
“That’s fine with me, baby.” He gave me a wink and a smile.
It was obvious Nathan didn’t believe in the paranormal and I had learned to live with that. What he didn’t know was that I did believe. I had to because I had played with an imaginary friend when I was little. And when I say imaginary, I mean ghost.