“Okay, Mary. Are you comfortable?” Dr. Ruebal asks, a ring of cigarette smoke circling his head, reminding her of one of those ciggy ads in the McClure’s magazine. The doctor’s unkempt appearance is nothing like those dapper gentlemen. His hair is greasy and disheveled from his tar-stained fingers combing through it every few minutes.
She masks her doubt with a meek smile and settles into the leather chair.
His scruff-covered cheeks rise up into a grin.
“Swell. Let us begin, shall we?” he says through the cigarette wedged between his yellowed teeth. After scribbling some notes onto a pad, he hands it off to his pretty assistant.
Dr. Reubel gives a brief explanation of the procedure and a few instructions. Mary inhales through her nose, filling her lungs to capacity. The assistant faces her, her kind eyes and that gentle smile giving some amount of comfort. As the air slips through her parted lips, Mary closes her eyes.
“Night, night, Mary.”
Drifting into a shadowed oblivion, every muscle gives in to the alluring emptiness. A calm cold engulfs her. Her mind hushes. A frosty breeze drifts across her face, carrying a peculiar smell that burns the inside of her nostrils. She turns her head away, but the odor is resilient and is uncomfortable. Fear embraces her in chills, crowning her head in tingles.
Someone is walking over my grave.
She jerks her head toward the whisper, searching the darkness. “Who said that?”
“Who said that?”
“Mary? It’s me.”
In this black world, she spins around and around, searching for the other speaker. “Who else is out there?”
Melissa A. Winton is a serial entrepreneur, having owned and operated two charity home-based haunted attractions, a scenic design production company for the haunted attractions and escape rooms, co-owning a merchandise and apparel printing service for the Haunted Attractions Industry, and published author within the psychological horror short story genre under the pseudonym, Ann K. Boyer.
With a substantial art background in scenic design for the Halloween and Haunted Attractions Industries, combined with extended education in psychology, specifically the causes of fear, Melissa has earned the moniker, Hauntzilla, for “creating the worlds that the monsters live in.” It is this experience that has contributed to Melissa’s publications in such anthologies as CHIRAL MAD 2, alongside Jack Ketchum, David Morrell, and Gary McMahon, and the only eZine, HORROR D’OEUVRES, by DarkFuse Magazine.