Cartwheels! The Gardener is live on Amazon.
Here is an excerpt:
Something changed in the air around them. Gooseflesh raised the silvery hair on her forearms and the back of her neck. A tingling sensation started at the top of her head and tickled down to her toes. It reminded her of the time that lightning had struck one of the trees near her house.
She ignored the strange sensations as she continued to call Henry’s name. She implored him sweetly and firmly, trying to coax him to pay attention to her summons. She repeated the ancient chant again.
But, she paused when the shadow returned, and she felt it punching and ripping, trying to tear through the cloth that separated this world from the other. Though, she couldn’t see who or what it was, it radiated a dark aura of greed and violence as it kept up its offensive push.
Terror altered the timber of her voice as she decided to abort the communication. “I end this--“
She opened her eyes, but saw nothing. It was as if the shadow had covered them with dark fingers, preventing her from seeing anything more in this life or the other.
“Virginia,” she whispered, hoping the dear lady was all right.
Their hands slipped apart for a second. Opal grabbed them back, holding her fingers tightly as she heard a whimper. There was an uncomfortable silence. She could only hear the hum of the refrigerator, Virginia’s labored breaths, and her own pounding heart.
As the seconds passed, her eyes began to adjust to the dim light from the kitchen window. Enough sanguine moonlight leaked through the patterned holes in the curtains to allow her to see Virginia’s motionless form. The electrified air in the room was now bitterly cold, making her shiver.
“Madame--” Virginia whispered.
“Shhh!” Opal said, as she flicked her lighter again and again, trying to spark some life into it.
“Madame Opal...please. What’s happened?” Virginia asked, her voice as thin and tight as a piano string.
Suddenly, the lighter’s blue and orange flame sprang to life. With her rings clattering, she re-lit the candle. Then, she glanced across the table and saw Virginia’s mouth gaping open in a perfect circle. She followed her gaze into the parlor behind them. No...no...it’s not possible.
She stared at the outline of a tall figure, barely discernable in the darkness. She could make out the form of a man wearing strange clothing and a lofty hat. Then, a cloud moved across the sky allowing a moonbeam to splay across his face. He had a chocolate brown goatee gracing the chiseled features of his pale olive skin, and there was a wide smile across his face as he looked back at them.
“Henry?” Virginia whispered as if she hoped that somehow he had come back to her in the guise of this handsome young man with radiant green eyes.
“No...” Opal said as she put a finger to her lips. “That’s not your Henry--”