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Artwork by Moira Nelligar
Copyright 2017 Pornelope
~~ All characters in this book are 18 or over. ~~
When I was little, I used to have nightmares all the time. I was scared of the dark, scared of the monsters in my closet and under my bed. Scared of bad storms, creepy movies, and the way our old house would creak when the wind blew hard.
I always found comfort by climbing into my parents’ bed, and snuggling between them. It made me feel safe. Nothing could get me while my stepfather’s strong arms were wrapped around me, and my mother was peacefully sleeping on my other side.
Then Mom died, and Dad and I only had each other. And he told me I was getting too old for nightmares, too old for climbing into his bed every night. It was time to grow up, and face my fears like an adult.
I wondered sometimes if he didn’t want me close anymore because I looked just like Mom; my almond skin and ebony hair were pure Polynesian. That just about broke my heart, and made me miss her even more.
I tried to be grown-up, I really did. But I missed climbing into that big old bed, watching the fire flicker across the room, and feel Dad’s heart beating slow and steady against my back. Staying in my own room every night was an endless torture.
Then everything changed one night. I’ll never forget it…not even one single moment. It was the most awesome night of my entire life. And I’ve never had a single nightmare again since then.
Here’s what happened:
It was Valentine’s Day. Mom had been gone for six years. Dad always got really depressed on Valentine’s Day, because that’s when he’d proposed to her one year, and married her the next year. We’d always held huge celebrations on Valentine’s Day until she died. After that…well, neither of us had felt like celebrating much.
It had been a really cold winter, and we were supposed to get another foot of snow overnight. That was in addition to the nearly two feet already piled up outside from the last snowfall, and the nine inches that still hadn’t melted from New Year’s. I like snow as much as the next person, but for heaven’s sake, enough is enough!
Anyway, the wind started howling right after dinner. Dad piled extra wood in the living room fireplace to keep the house really warm, and I went to bed early. I hoped to fall asleep fast, so I wouldn’t hear the wind screaming outside my window.