She’s in Ocala

The hoarse breath came from behind my left ear. I could feel the moist heat from the exhale.

Petrified, I couldn’t move. I waited, hoping it was my imagination. But the breath came again, closer this time, nearly in my ear.

I looked past my feet, hanging off the end of the bed. The door was still locked, four locks in total.

I’d checked the room before bed. No one was in the house, anywhere. My family wasn’t even in the state.

But the next breath came and with it, a whisper, “Karen.”

“Karen’s my mom,” I whispered back.

“Oh, sorry, my apologies, madame,” the high-pitched British voice moved from behind to beside my elbow.

There, beside me, was an imp. Hairy-faced and pointed eared, with a widely smiling face full of teeth.

“She’s in Ocala,” I said, helpfully.

“Thanks, love,” the beast said, “I’ll just visit her there.”

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