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IBPA Member

The Voice

Hue, Tint and Shade cover

The Voice by Jordan Castillo Price

Series: standalone
Length: Short Story- 3,525 words - 10 page PDF
Cover artist: Jordan Castillo Price - see larger cover

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Summary

Most people find it tragic if they've got no one to kiss on New Year's Eve, but Martin's calendar revolves around Halloween.

Martin and Dave have been best friends since high school, and still Dave doesn't seem to understand that Martin has very particular taste in men...though that doesn't stop Dave from trying. He announces that not only has he scored tickets to the city's hottest haunted house, Night Terrors, but he's also dug up the perfect blind date.

Martin tells himself not to get too excited, because the Night Terrors excursion is bound to be anticlimactic. Little does he know what's lurking in the shadows.

 

Excerpt

Martin stared at his phone as it rang. It seemed ridiculous to be scared of something as benign as a phone. After all, what was a phone? Just a piece of plastic. Some circuitry, some wires.

Another ring echoed through the apartment. He regretted giving his number to that guy in the book store. He should have just made one up. That guy was all wrong for him: too jockish, too...Martin didn’t know. He looked for a certain “something” in the men he dated. The bookstore guy didn’t have it.

The phone stopped ringing. Martin sighed and turned back to his magazine: an issue of Eerie from 1975 that he’d emancipated from its plastic sheath for the afternoon. The phone rang again.

“What?” Martin said into the handset. Because the only person who did that annoying hang-up-and-call-back thing was Dave. A phone call from Dave didn’t count as a phone call from a guy, because Dave was Martin’s best friend. And besides, Dave looked like Peter Pan. Martin’s idea of fantasy material was more like Captain Hook. Or Vincent Price. Or Dracula.

“Pretending you’re not home?” Dave said. Martin had known Dave since high school and didn’t need to be looking at him to know he was grinning ear to ear. “Where else would you be? Unless you’ve met someone and you didn’t bother to tell me about it.”

“No.”

“No, you haven’t been swept off your feet by mister tall, dark and studly? Or no, you just haven’t told me about it?”

Martin smiled a little, despite himself. “When I meet someone, you’ll be the first to know.”

“That’s right, Dahling. I will. Because you’re meeting him tonight, thanks to me.”

“Dave--”

“It’ll be perfect. I know how much you love all that cheesy, spooky, bump in the night stuff. So we’re meeting at that haunted house downtown. You know, the one it’s, like, impossible to score tickets to?”

Night Terrors. Martin had been scouring the want ads for weeks in hopes of finding someone selling off a ticket to the sold-out event. “But I--”

“He’s totally your type. Dark-haired and pale, intense eyes, handsome. Kind of like you.”

Martin closed his eyes and wished he’d never told Dave about his crush on Edward Scissorhands, since Dave obviously thought it was really Johnny Depp underneath all the makeup that Martin had been ogling. It wasn’t.

Dave’s heart was in the right place, but Martin suspected he never really understood why certain men were attractive to Martin while others simply weren’t. Dave’s idea of “hot” was pretty conventional; he was currently dating a model named Sergio.

But still, Dave’s description of the blind date did hold just the tiniest bit of promise. And Martin hated being single on Halloween the way most people hated not having someone to kiss on New Year’s Eve.

“Look,” said Dave, “I know you’ve been totally heartbroken since Brian took a hike. But that was almost a year ago. You do tragedy so well--so you might as well do it where the rest of us can appreciate it. Come to this haunted house thingy. Who knows, you might even enjoy yourself.”

Martin glanced down at the cover of Eerie. “Coffin, the Man Who Hunted Death” stared back at him with intense, dark eyes and full lips. On the part of his face that wasn’t a skull, anyway. Had it really been a whole year? It didn’t seem quite that long, but then Martin remembered that his date for the previous Halloween had been a bottle of Stoli and his toilet bowl.

Martin ran his finger along Coffin’s lush mouth. He wasn’t sure what was worse: feeling so lonely that he fantasized about fictional characters, or being so pathetic that his best friend had to meet people for him. “I really hate blind dates.”

“It’s not even a date! Cross my heart and hope to die, it’s a group thing. And if you don’t like Randall, we’ll ditch him. ‘Kay?”

Martin had been so disappointed when Night Terrors sold out, and now he had a chance to go. He’d be stupid to pass it up. That’s what he told himself. And the flutter he felt in his belly? Just anticipation--about the haunted house. That’s all.

“Okay.”

 

Reviews

Joyfully Reviewed - "The Voice is mysterious, dangerous, and totally hot. Martin gets on with a stranger in the dark of a haunted house surrounded by the sounds of other people’s screams and his own breathing."

Reviews by Jessewave - "I started reading this book late last night and had to put it aside because although I love paranormals I’m easily scared so I didn’t finish it until today."

 

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