An IN THE AIR Excerpt: “Spore” by Lorraine Sharma Nelson

When Reva pulled into her driveway, her neighbor’s odd stance at the edge of her rose garden drew her attention. She hopped out of her car.

“Hey, Mrs. Bonifassi.”

The woman gave no indication of having heard her.

Reva took a couple of steps toward her.

“Mrs. B.? Are you all right?”

The woman whirled, a low guttural snarl issuing forth.

Reva stumbled back. The old, heavy-set woman, normally slow, flew across the lawn, arms outstretched, fingers hooked, claw-like.

Reva ran for the house.

Pop!

Behind her, the woman’s heavy footsteps gained ground. Reva reached the door as it opened and tripped over the threshold, slamming into her father.

“Reva, what—?”

Shut the door.”

He slammed it a second before the old woman crashed against it. Clawing at the door, her fingernails scraped against the wood, the sound raising goosebumps on Reva’s skin.

Pop pulled Reva back from the door. “What’s wrong with Mrs. Bonifassi?”

“You’re the doctor, Pop. You tell me.”

He whipped out his phone. “I have some calls to make. Your ma’s in the shower. Tell her what happened and stay put, okay?”

No, it wasn’t okay. This had to be a dream, right? Things like this don’t happen in real life.

***

Reva made tea, keeping her gaze averted from the kitchen window. The idea of her snarling, shrieking neighbor watching her through it made her skin crawl.

She shuddered, spilling milk on the counter, and grabbed a paper towel.

Sirens.

An ambulance and two patrol cars barreled toward her house.

Pop must have called for reinforcements.

Reva’s horror mounted as the paramedics approached the old woman. One moment, Mrs. Bonifassi was motionless, the next she was leaping through the air at them with high-pitched wails.

They barely hopped out of the way in time.

A gasp revealed her mother behind her, fingers pressed against her mouth. Together, they watched as her father joined the police officers and medical personnel in restraining the older woman.

 

 

48416177_2008938705839504_8094266344947580928_nLorraine grew up globally, constantly having to adapt to different cultures. Writing was her escape from the reality of always being the new girl in school. These days she writes for the pure joy of creating new stories instead of escapism. Her short stories have been published in sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and mystery/crime anthologies, and usually feature an Indian protagonist. She has been lucky enough to have her work featured in Transmundane Press’ After the Happily Ever After, On Fire, Transcendent, and the upcoming In The Air anthologies.  Find her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/loneriter; on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/loneriter/; on Goodreads at: www.goodreads.com/lorrainesharmanelson; and at her website: www.lorrainesharmanelson.com

 

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