I’m doing a quick drop in to give you teaser #2 from A Strange Machine, now on sale for $0.99 on Amazon. Click here to check it out!
Mid-morning sunlight streamed into Cory’s bedroom and tugged him out of sleep. He rolled over and blocked the heat with his pillow, wishing the sun came with a snooze button.
What time had he gone to sleep last night?
He still wore his jeans and a T-shirt. He must have passed out before he could undress—
He sat bolt upright and peered around his room, now ablaze in sunlight, a hollow forming in the pit of his stomach. Last night . . . she never showed up.
He checked his phone. Out of batteries. Cursing, he dragged himself off his bed and plugged it in. Idiot. She’d probably waited outside and called him after he fell asleep. A dull ache spread through his chest. What if he’d lost his chance with her?
He had to call her.
His phone powered up, and a flood of text messages and voicemails registered on the screen.
Anneliese: Did you get my message? Call me back.
Noah: Heard about Sam. Nothing you could have done, man. I’m here if you need to talk.
Anneliese: Cory, call me back as soon as can.
Iris: I heard what happened. I am so sorry, Cory.
Cory stared at the messages, a growing sense of dread knotting his insides. The clang of his heart sounded hollow and echoey.
He moved on to the voicemails.
The first from Anneliese.
He raised the phone to his ear, hand trembling.
“Cory, it’s Anneliese, it’s Samantha, she’s—” her voice choked off in a sob, “she tried to drive Dante’s car over to your house last night . . . she was in an accident . . .” She sobbed again, sniffled. “She was on something he gave her, I don’t know what, she skidded out at the cemetery—at Aurora and 115th. Samantha, she’s . . . she’s dead. Cory, he thinks it’s your fault—Dante—he’s coming after you. I don’t know what he’s going to do. But you need to get out of your house. I’m sorry, Cory.”
The phone dropped from Cory’s hand. His insides had twisted up into a quivering ball.
No, it couldn’t be.
His heart hammered against his sternum.
It wasn’t possible. Anneliese was wrong. She had to be wrong. Sam was okay. She was in a hospital now, hurt, but okay. She was okay. Please be okay . . .
He couldn’t fathom the loss.
Samantha . . . gone.