In the spirit of The Twilight Zone, Unsolved Mysteries, and the X Files, BEFORE I WAKE contains two haunting love stories with a mind blowing endings that will leave you with one simple question: Was It Real?
Ashling’s quiet farm life suddenly becomes a lot more interesting when a handsome stranger, bloodied and unconscious, appears next to a haystack. When he awakens, her world will never be the same again.
People are disappearing by the second, including Samantha Patterson’s husband. As her world shifts around her, Samantha questions everything that she knows is real. Her husband, her child, her life… was it all just a dream?
Targeted Age Group:: YA\New Adult, Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired to write, Playthings (one of the short stories in this book) when I went to the grocery store with my husband. He turned down the cereal aisle, an it occurred to me, what if he was never real? What if this was all just an elaborate dream. Playthings takes this a step further. What if everything that we experience today is just one, big, elaborate hoax? Its an interesting read. Definitely something that you would see on the Twilight Zone or Unsolved Mysteries.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters in Playthings are inspired by myself and my husband.
The lights overhead flickered as Samantha walked down the aisle. She barely noticed, her attention focused on the missing animal crackers.
Where could they be? Samantha wondered. I could have sworn they were right here last week.
She looked up and down the aisle for someone with a yellow shirt and blue apron who could help her.
The aisle was empty.
Odd for this time of day, she thought. Usually at four in the afternoon the supermarket was packed with mothers trying to get last minute groceries for dinner.
Where is everyone?
The icy fingers of fear slid up her back, and she forced breath in through her nose.
Stop being silly, she chided herself. Just grab something and get out of here. This place is giving me the creeps today.
Picking up the Teddy Grahams, and steeling herself for Emily’s wrath, she marched toward the cereal aisle.
The thought of seeing Guy again buoyed her, and she picked up her pace. Guy was her rock, and the one person she knew who would comfort her against the strange feelings that suddenly terrorized her. His presence would be all the calm she needed.
Sweat beads formed on the back of her neck. Without stopping, she pulled her dark, kinky hair up into a ponytail using the pink hair tie she usually wore around her wrist.
She swore she could almost smell the heat seeping in from the outside. Is the store getting warmer? Why would they turn off the air conditioner in the middle of July?
After fluffing her ponytail a bit, she continued on towards the cereal aisle to meet back up with Guy.
The store was quiet. Too quiet. No crying babies, no ding of the cash register, no one talking loudly on their cell phone, no carts banging their way up the aisles. The only sound seemed to come from her flip flops smacking against the tiled floor.
Where is everyone? she wondered.
She turned down the cereal aisle. It was empty.
Where is Guy?
Something pricked at the back of her mind, a brief feeling of terror tightening her belly. She tried to hold onto it, to understand why she was suddenly so afraid. But the thought passed as quickly as it arrived, leaving only feelings of confusion and dread.
He’s probably picking up another wire for something or other, she told herself. Guy was always wandering off. She usually found him buzzing around the electronics aisle. Her fear turned into playful annoyance as she quickly made her way to electronics. She glanced up and down each aisle as she passed.
They were all empty.
She turned up the aisle marked electronics.
There was no one there.
Swearing under her breath, she walked towards the pink haired girl behind the customer service desk, her annoyance and fear growing with every step.
The girl greeted her by looking up from her cell phone. She chewed her gum with a certain severity, her tongue moving the green glob from one side of her mouth to the other. She reminded Samantha of a cow chewing cud.
“I need to page my husband,” Samantha said.
The girl popped her gum. “What’s his name?”
Pressed a long blue fingernail to the intercom, the girl spoke into the small microphone. “Guy Patterson please come to the customer service desk. Guy Patterson, your party is waiting for you.”
Samantha sighed, pulled out her phone, and waited.
He’ll be here, she assured herself. He’ll be here.
She got to the bottom of her Facebook feed and looked at the clock on the wall. Two minutes had passed. He still hadn’t shown up. The dread grew stronger in her belly.
Where is he?
The clerk’s attention was fully on her now, one brows pushing upward in question. “Do you want me to page him again?”
“No, thanks.” With a tight smile, Samantha left the cookies at the desk and headed out the door.
Maybe he’s waiting for me at the car.
Stepping outside, she froze.
The parking lot was empty, all except for her black Honda Civic. There was no one around, most notably not her husband.
Her lungs constricted slightly as panic started to set in.
Where is everyone? Where is Guy?
“Guy!” She called out, looking around the perimeter of the parking lot. “Hello?”
Something was wrong. She needed to see somebody, anybody. There had to be someone left in the world besides her and the clerk.
She breathed deep.
It’s fine. Just relax. It’s fine.
Pulling out her cell phone, she pressed the number two key on the keypad, speed dialing Guy’s number. It rang twice. Then, a voice:
“Where are you?” she demanded.
“Hello? Who is this?”
“It’s me. Where are you? I’m at the car.”
“I’m sorry, you must have the wrong number.” Click.
Samantha’s looked at the phone in disbelief. That was not her husband’s voice.
What is going on?
She dialed Guy’s number slowly, carefully, and waited while it rang. It went straight to voicemail.
“Hi, you’ve reached the number of Donald Sanitario. I’m not able to get to the phone right now but please leave…”
Aghast, she lowered the phone from her ear. Confusion, and worry fought for dominance.
Wrong number? Guy has had the same number for eleven years. It couldn’t be the wrong number. Someone’s playing a prank on me, she thought. They have to be.
When she didn’t see any cameras, cars, or people for that matter, she looked at her phone again. She scrolled down to contacts and looked for her husband’s name.
It wasn’t there.
Impossible, she thought. I just called it.
She turned her phone off, then on again. She looked in her contacts list as sweat pooled on her brow.
All of her contacts had disappeared.
What’s wrong with my phone? Where are all of my numbers? Where is Guy?
Fighting to keep calm, she jogged back into the store and up to the customer service desk.
She ignored the clerk rolling her eyes at her.
“Miss, I’m sorry,” Samantha said, fighting to stay calm. “I’m not trying to be weird or anything, but I came in with my husband and now he’s gone.”
The clerk blinked.“I didn’t see you come in with anybody.”
Samantha paused. She cocked her head and stared at the clerk. “What?”
“I didn’t see you come in with anybody.”
“Well, you were looking at your phone-”
“No. I saw you come in. You weren’t with anyone.”
It felt as if the wind was knocked out of her, and she placed a hand on the counter to keep from toppling over. For a fleeting second, she wondered if she was crazy. Then she laughed a bit louder then she should have, attempting to reconcile the disaster that this day had turned into.
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