His mother leaned across the table, blood dribbling down her chin. She hissed at me, frothing and foaming, a mad look in her eye.
I swallowed down a hunk of pork. She’d been doing that all the way through dinner. It was best just to ignore her. It was best just to ignore them all.
I slipped a glance at him with his sad eyes and drooping mouth. He said nothing, stirring the food around his plate.
His father smiled at me. He tried to make small talk, but the sounds died out leaving only her gagging breath. She hacked and coughed, choking on the blood. I looked down, shifting a veil of blonde hair in front of my face. Why couldn’t she just leave?
“You can’t have my son.”
Blood sprayed across the table, spattering my plate. The flinch was instinctive. My glass toppled, spilling towards her. I hurried to pick it up while he and his dad stared at me.
“Are you okay?” he whispered, moments later.
I nodded. His mother cackled from across the table. More blood and saliva splatted the plates and food, ignored by his father as the man shovelled in a crimson fleck potato. My gag reflex tried to kick in, but I couldn’t let them see that.
His mother leaned closer, drooling all over my food. Red essence slithered downwards, coating food and utensils with syrupy thickness. She cackled and frothed more.
I pushed my plate away, complaining that I wasn’t very hungry. My stomach rumbled, though, and Eric looked at me. He touched my hand and told me he’d be finished soon.
I left him at the table, passing through to the living room, dogged by his mother. The woman was undeterred. She stroked my hair, running her hands over my shoulders and breathing with rotten breath into my ear.
The television crackled on, fizzing in and out of channels.
Her shadow slanted across the wall, skewing and twisting as she distorted herself to scare me. Ignoring her was hard. She’d never liked me. She didn’t want me anywhere near Eric. Instead, she wanted to scare me and make me leave.
People like her never seemed to understand that it didn’t work on me. I wasn’t one of those occasionally gifted; I could see her all the time. I could see all of them all of the time. Some gift.
Eric sat down on the sofa next to me and squeezed my hand. It had really hurt him when she’d done it, but he was getting over it slowly. His dad too. I was the only one who couldn’t get over that night and the way we’d found her slumped in the kitchen, crimson lipped.
We didn’t know what she’d taken. We couldn’t help her.
She’d left a note and a list of all her wishes. Number one was Eric leaving me, but even in death she hadn’t got that. Now the only thing she could do was haunt me, pleased to find her daughter-in-law a necromancer with constant sight.
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