by Cassandra Page
Publication date: November 3rd 2015
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Who would have thought your dreams could kill you?
Melaina makes the best of her peculiar heritage: half human and half Oneiroi, or dream spirit, she can manipulate others’ dreams. At least working out the back of a new age store as a ‘dream therapist’ pays the bills. Barely.
But when Melaina treats a client for possession by a nightmare creature, she unleashes the murderous wrath of the creature’s master. He could be anywhere, inside anyone: a complete stranger or her dearest friend. Melaina must figure out who this hidden adversary is and what he’s planning – before the nightmares come for her.
My mother sat by the window in a long, white nightgown, gazing out at the lawn.
She stood out like a daisy in a field of grass: her hair was long, unbound, and the same jet-black as mine. It hadn’t yet gone grey like that of most other residents. Her pale skin bore only the fine wrinkles of middle age—the middle age of someone who didn’t spend a lot of time in the sun. She’d been in a home for almost as long as I’d been alive. Longer than most of the elderly residents.
Thinking about it made me sad. And that made me cranky. “It’s mid-afternoon, Mum,” I said. “You should be dressed.”
“Hello, dear.” She smiled, lifting her cheek to be kissed.
“Hi.” My voice sounded flat and, hearing it, I told myself to get a grip as I sat in the window seat opposite her. There were one or two others still wearing pyjamas, like the guy in the garden. Besides, it wasn’t Mum’s fault she was so detached from the world.
It was Dad’s.
“I brought you some chocolate.”
She clapped her thin hands with delight, as though my offering was the finest Swiss confectionary rather than a cheap assortment from the supermarket. Pulling the cellophane off, she put the box on the sill between us, inspecting the range with pursed lips.
“How have you been?” I asked.
She shrugged, choosing an anonymous blue-wrapped chocolate. “Nothing changes here. You?”
“More or less the same. I had an … unusual client yesterday.” I glanced around and lowered my voice. Given the volume of the television and the fact that most of the residents were wearing hearing aids, I was pretty sure no one would be able to overhear. “He had a blight infestation.”
“I haven’t seen one in almost a year. Has Ollie ever mentioned them to you?”
She shook her head. “I can ask him if you like?”
“If you happen to see him,” I said, glancing at the reflective surface of the windowpane. There was no sign of Leander. But I’d never been sure that was a guarantee of privacy. Maybe it worked like a webcam, where he could be “off camera” but still hear the conversation.
He’d never confirmed either way. For obvious reasons.
“Leander’s back too.” I scowled at my reflection.
Her faraway gaze sharpened. She’d used to like my imaginary friend, till I discovered his real agenda. Now she hated him, rightly viewing him as a threat to her husband. Or partner. I don’t think Mum and Dad ever did marry. I mean, how could they?
“What did he want?” she asked.
“And will you give it to him?”
I shook my head, looking down at my hands. I’d never met my father and he wasn’t exactly my favourite person, but Mum loved him. I couldn’t deprive her of that.
I wasn’t sure she’d survive it.