Amber eyes glowed in the predawn dark. My heart rose in my throat. “Who’s there?” I croaked and fumbled for the light switch.
Brightness flooded the room and caused Uncle’s silver-clawed ocelot, stretched out on the bed, to blink.
“Oz.” With a sigh of relief I fell on the pink duvet and stroked his sleek head. The coverlet rustled as he rolled on his back, stuck his feet in the air and made loud rumbling noises in his throat. His silver claws gleamed in the light.
The average ocelot doesn’t have silver claws. But Oz was born on Vampire Island where silver claws had evolved in ocelots as a defense mechanism against vampires.
Feeling absurdly better with Oz in the room, I stripped down to my pink chemise and thong then raced across the cold wooden floor, flipped off the light, ran back and hopped in bed. I burrowed in between white flannel sheets that emitted the clean, comforting scent of detergent. Oz nestled beside me. Warm and toasty, I fell asleep to his rumbling purr and dreamed…
The bat swooped down. Its wing slid over my throat in an icy caress. I shrank back against the dank black wall. The bat fluttered in front of me. “Zoe.” The voice brought my stomach to my throat. Clammy beads of sweat broke out on my forehead. Dere!
“You thought you’d killed me, didn’t you?” His laugh echoed and reechoed in my head. I clasp it to stop the mad laughter.
“You can’t kill me, Zoe, but I can kill you.”
I screamed then but as in most dreams no sound came out, except a horrible moan that stuck in my throat.
The bat hovered in front of my face. He squealed and revealed fangs that dripped with saliva. I threw up my hands to protect my face. The rodent swooped in and bit my hand. The pain woke me.Available at: