DRIP DROP DEAD (Emma Frost Book 12)Willow Rose
DRIP DROP DEAD
An Emma Frost Mystery Novel
BUOY MEDIA LLC
Important message from the Author to Kindle Unlimited readers
About the Author
Books by the Author
In Cold Blood, excerpt
I. Next Morning
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Copyright Willow Rose 2018
Published by BUOY MEDIA LLC
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
Cover design by Juan Villar Padron,
Special thanks to my editor Janell Parque
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Important message from the Author to Kindle Unlimited readers
Before you begin…Are you reading this book in Page Flip mode? If you do, I won't be paid. The way things are right now in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon pays the author per pages read, so every time you flip a page, I will get a small amount of money. But not if the Page Flip mode is turned on.
So could I ask you to please turn it off, or just don’t use it while reading my books? Then I can continue to write the books that you love so much.
Thank you for your support.
To my creative daughter Caroline, who came up with the title for this book.
The only truly dead are those who have been forgotten.
- Jewish Proverb
It was a day like most others to Ann Mortensen. She woke up after an uneasy night's sleep, dreaming about the girl—if you could call her that—once again. She had her coffee in the kitchen and her breakfast, toasted bread and soft-boiled egg, as usual, while reading the paper, the Fanoe Gazette.
After her coffee, she liked to take a stroll around the lake, feeding the ducks and watching the kids skate. The bigger boys were playing hockey with old taped sticks while the younger kids were goofing around. The ice was safe to walk on, the sign on the side said, but every now and then, it creaked and complained mysteriously underneath them.
She watched the kids on the ice, then felt the need to use a restroom. She walked to a public restroom by the lake and went inside. And that was when she felt it. The sensation that someone was watching her. She had felt it before but never as strong as it was at this instant. It left her feeling nervous and, instead of using the restroom, she left to go home and grab one of her pills.
Her husband, Brian, didn't know about her anxiety attacks and bouts of paranoia, and she hid the pills from him. She could hardly tell him she was sensing and hearing things that weren't really there. He would only worry, and she didn't want that.
The attacks had begun after she was fired five months back…or forced into early retirement as they had so diplomatically put it. Her doctor believed the attacks might have to do with the fact that Ann didn't work anymore and had told her to find a hobby. Something to keep her busy and keep her mind off those thoughts that constantly lingered in the back of her mind.
What you did was wrong.
Ann sighed and put the pills back in the cabinet, hiding them behind an old box of tampons that she kept in the house for her daughter when she visited from Copenhagen. At the age of fifty-nine, Ann no longer had any use for them, but they served well as a way to cover the pills since Brian would never touch them or think to look behind them.
Ann looked at her own reflection. She had gotten old, and she even felt old. It was tough seeing Brian go off to work every day while all she did was hang around and wait for…for what? To grow old? To die?
She had loved her work, at least she used to. She loved feeling important, feeling like she made a difference in the world. But now…now, all she was left with was this old wrinkled face looking back at her.
It will haunt you until the end of your days.
Ann thought she heard something, like the sound of something slithering. Not a snake, but similar. Bigger than a snake. And wet. Something wet. A dripping sound followed. She was certain it was coming from the shower behind her and turned to look. There was nothing there, as usual. Still, she felt like she was being observed, like someone was looking at her, watching her every move.
"You've got to stop doing this to yourself."
She turned and looked at her reflection once again, saying the words. The dripping returned, but now she refused to turn her head and look. She had heard that slithering sound when walking past the storm drain in the street outside. It sounded like when Brian was slurping his coffee, which Ann loathed.
She closed her eyes and thought of something else, of the beach, of summer and her grandkids playing in the waves. Ann was so much looking forward to them coming this July.
Ann opened her eyes again and was met by her own refl
ection, then she shivered. She grabbed her hair and felt it. She really should see a hairdresser soon. She was letting herself go.
How about today?
"Why not?" she asked herself. "I can do anything I want to today. And tomorrow and the day after that. Anything I'd like to. Anything."
Because nobody needs me anymore.
"Maybe we should give you some highlights? To lift it a little? Or maybe a full color?"
It was a new girl who took care of her at the salon. Her name was Hannah, she told her. Her hair was purple on one side and steel gray on the other. It was boyishly short and seemed unruly, but that was probably the intention, Ann concluded. The messy look was in right now, they said in all the magazines.
"Sure. I’m ready to try something new. Why not?"
"Okay, let's do it. You're gonna absolutely love it," Hannah said and, as she said it, Ann immediately regretted her decision. This girl was fresh out of school and wanted to try everything she had learned.
I’m going to end up looking like her, aren't I?
"So…gray is the new color, like steely gray," she said and showed Ann a magazine with these gorgeous gray-haired women who couldn't be more than twenty. It didn't look anything like Ann's gray hair. Hers was stiff and impossible to control. Theirs was wavy and smooth and looked gorgeous.
"Do you want that?"
"I already have gray hair," Ann said. "Why would I want to color it gray? I want you to cover the gray."
Hannah looked surprised and slightly disappointed. "Oh."
She turned a few pages in the magazine, then said: "It's just that e-e-everyone is doing the gray now."
"That might be, but I am not," Ann said. "Just give me a nice brown color. Maybe some highlights."
Hannah forced a smile and closed the magazine. "Okay."
Ann submerged herself in the stack of tabloid magazines and caught up on all the gossip there was to know about the royal family and all the TV stars in the country, you know, the stuff that you simply had to know if you were going to be able to join in on the conversation at dinner parties. And Ann really wanted to. She had started seeing some of her old friends for brunch once a week at Café Mimosa downtown, but she never knew what to talk to them about since their worlds were so different.
As Hannah washed out the color from Ann's hair, she heard it again. At first, she thought it was the hose or the faucet that made those slithering, slurping sounds. It was like a wet crackle like something slimy was moving slowly inside the drain.
Ann gasped and lifted her head from the sink.
"Whoa," Hannah said. "I’m not quite done."
Ann looked at the sink, at the drain beneath her head, but there was nothing there. She closed her eyes and tried to think of something else, something that made her happy.
Your grandchildren running in the sand. Alberte with a bucket in her hand, giggling.
"Is everything all right, ma'am?" Hannah asked.
Ann opened her eyes again, then nodded. "I’m sorry. I just get a little…sometimes."
"You're not feeling okay?"
Ann breathed in a few times, deep breaths like that article had told her, the one called Panic-Attacks and how to avoid them ruining your day. She shook her head.
"I’m fine. I’m just fine. It's just that…noise." She wrinkled her nose, then looked at the drain once again.
Hannah stared at her.
"It's just the water," she said.
"I know. I know. I just can't stand it."
Ann put her head back in the sink and closed her eyes while Hannah gently washed out the last remnants of the color. Ann worked hard on her breathing exercises, trying to keep out the overwhelming noise coming from the drain below.
She rushed out of the salon and into the street where she had parked her car, barely hearing the slushing sound as it moved in the storm drain beneath the pavement.
She started the car, then turned the music up loud and drove off. Finally, she couldn't hear it anymore. If the sound was still in her head, the music managed to drown it out.
She had heard the sound for quite some time now…for at least a week. It was everywhere she went. Except in places with loud noises or music. But it was surprisingly quiet on Fanoe Island in most places. It was especially bad at night. She would lie awake and listen to it for hours without being able to figure out where it came from. Some nights, she had even gotten out of bed to search for its origin, and she always ended up by the sink in the bathroom or the toilet, and sometimes she wondered what on earth could be in there, in her drain, but then she would hear the sound in other places in town as well and, little by little, she realized it had to be all in her head.
Ann parked the car outside the house, then turned the music off, cautiously. She sat for a few seconds and listened, but there was nothing. Ann breathed a sigh of relief. She looked at herself in the mirror and felt pretty good about her hair. Now, all she needed was to put on a little makeup, and she wouldn't look half bad. Brian was going to get himself a little surprise when he returned from work.
Ann rushed inside and pulled out the roast she had decided to make for tonight. She wasn't much of a housewife, but since she now had more time available in her day, she had decided to try a little harder to be the wife Brian had always wanted her to be.
"You are so much more than your career," he had said when she had told him about her early retirement, crying. "I always believed you were. You’ve given them everything. Now, it’s time for you to do something for yourself for a change."
Ann wasn't so sure she was very good at all this doing-something-for-yourself-stuff. So far, it had only plunged her into mental instability that she had no idea how to place or what to do with. The pills didn't always work, and she was beginning to wonder if she should start seeing a therapist. She just felt like such a failure.
Ann walked to the bathroom to pee and sat down. Lately, she hadn't been very fond of going since, in bathrooms, the sound was worse than anywhere else. Maybe it was the quietness because she was all alone with her thoughts. Maybe it was something else.
Ann held her breath as she went, then hurried to wash her hands and rushed out of the bathroom once again, closing the door firmly behind her.
She went to the kitchen and finished prepping the roast and prepared the potatoes. A few hours later, she had dressed in a nice red dress and was sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for Brian to come home so she could surprise him with her new hair and a nice home-cooked meal.
But as the hours passed and he didn't come, Ann ended up eating alone like so many times before. Brian had probably been hung up at work, she thought and looked at her phone every five minutes to check if it was still working.
When the clock in the hallway struck eleven, Ann decided to go to bed. It wasn't unusual for Brian to work overtime, and usually, she would just turn in, but tonight she was sad in doing so.
"He didn't even get to see my new hair," she said to her reflection. "Tomorrow, when I wake up, it's going to be all messed up."
She brushed her teeth and removed her make-up and washed her face till the same old woman from this morning was back. Ann sighed and pulled her cheeks backward to smooth out the wrinkles and see what she would look like if she had a facelift. When she let go of it, it seemed even worse than before.
It was no use.
Ann turned off the lights in the bathroom, then closed the door to block out the slithering sound and hopefully get a good night's sleep. She crept under the covers and closed her eyes. In the distance, she could hear something, a mass of some sort slithering and sizzling up through the drain, then landing on the tile in the bathroom, but Ann was certain it was all in her mind.
It wasn't until it slid underneath the door and toward her bed, then stood above her, dripping onto the carpet, forcing water inside her mouth and down her throat, shoving the liquid into her lungs, that she finally realized that she had been right all this time.
"We can't publish this."
The words fell, and I heard them, but I didn't believe them. They came from my publisher, Inger. We were sitting in her office at my publishing house in Copenhagen. It had taken me three hours to get there and for what? To hear her tell me she wasn't going to publish my book? I was stunned. I thought I was going there to sign the contract as I usually did at this point in the process.
"What?" I asked. "Why?"
Inger sighed. "It's too weird."
"It's too weird?"
"Emma, for God's sake. It's a book about a vampire from another world, maybe from outer space, who kidnaps and drains young people of their blood because it is special and can keep him alive for decades?"