The With Love series orchestrators are proud to announce the release of our newest volume: After Dark. This incredible addition to the series enables us to continue to expand the reach of authors and artists around the world, by reaching a new fans. This anthology has a paranormal theme. This is not a horror collection, and it’s most certainly not full of goblins and all things you expect. Now, that’s not to say they aren’t in the anthology somewhere. It’s just to show you how unique this anthology is from the expected releases this time of year. 

Within the pages of After Dark you’ll find incredible stories that will linger in your mind. All of them touch on a paranormal mind frame, creating some vivid images and unique emotions to get through. Most of these stories are simple people, like you or I, encountering unusual things in the most unexpected ways. There is one that will make you laugh, and another story that will churn your stomach for a time, but you won’t be able to put any of them down. 

Because this series is about giving, The Writing Network and Ethics Trading are thrilled to share a portion of Water Stain by Gordon Bonnet: 

“Dr. Halliday will…”  Sherry’s voice was obscured by a rumble of thunder, but he saw her gesture with her hand toward his open office door, and then she stepped back, out of sight, toward her own desk.
Neurosis, Halliday thought, observing his new patient as he walked into the office.  Probably still lives at home.  Domineering mother, milquetoast father, picked on in school.  Needs to get laid, but little hope of that.  He smiled, in what he hoped was an encouraging fashion, and gestured to the tastefully upholstered couch next to his desk, and said, “Hi, I’m Kyle Halliday.  Make yourself comfortable.  Would you like a cup of coffee?”
The young man smoothed down his thin blond hair tentatively, as if he were afraid it would hit back, and shook his head in a nervous little gesture.  He swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat, and sat down on the edge of the couch, placing both of his hands on his knees.
“Your name is…” Halliday paused, looking at a sheet of paper on the desk, “Edward?  Edward Sheldrake?”
The young man nodded, but still didn’t say anything.
“Is it Edward?  Ed?”
“Eddie,” he said, his voice sounding rough, like it didn’t often get used.
Eddie, thought Halliday.  Should have known it’d be “Eddie.”  He smiled again.  “Eddie it is, then,” he said.  “What brings you to me today, Eddie?”
Eddie cleared his throat.  “I’m afraid to go home,” he said.  He glanced out of the window, which was obscured by sheets of rain, and swallowed again.
Halliday leaned back in his chair.  “And why would that be, Eddie?  What are you afraid of?”
“Her,” he said.  “She terrifies me.  But no one believes me.  Even Mrs. Woodward, and she’s seen her, and she still doesn’t believe me.”
Halliday tented his fingers together.  In his experience, some people were put off by the Intellectual Academic Psychiatrist Persona, the type who raises one eyebrow and tents his fingers together, and others found the automatic air of authority to be reassuring.  Halliday suspected that Eddie Sheldrake was one of the latter.  He raised one eyebrow.
“Why don’t you start at the beginning, and tell me exactly what happened?” he said.
Eddie glanced at the window again, as a crackle of lightning flashed in the distance, and then turned back toward Halliday.
“I noticed her about two weeks ago,” he said.  “It was because of the rain.  I didn’t think anything at first, just that some water had gotten in and was staining the plasterboard.  I told Mrs. Woodward about it, because I figured that if the plasterboard was getting wet then there could be water getting in other places, and stuff would get ruined.”
“Mrs. Woodward is your landlady?”
Eddie nodded.  “I rent an upstairs apartment in her house.  It’s just one room but I get to use the kitchen.”
Okay, missed the part about still living at home, Halliday thought.  But I bet that Mrs. Woodward is a mother surrogate, and I bet I’m right about her personality.
“So, what did Mrs. Woodward do?”
“She came up to see.  She didn’t seem too concerned, she said it was just a little damp, and since I’m in an attic room that’s not too surprising.  But that’s when I noticed.”
“Noticed what?”
“The water stain looked like a face.  Like a girl’s face.”
“Did you point that out to Mrs. Woodward?”
“Yes.  She laughed, and said I was wishful thinking because I never had a real girl in my room.”  A blush appeared on his pale skin.
Well, I was right on that count, Halliday thought, trying not to smile.  “What happened then?”
“Nothing.  But the next day it was a little darker.  A little clearer.  It looked just like a girl’s face.”
Halliday nodded, and tapped his index fingers together.  “And what did you feel about seeing the face?”
“Feel?” Eddie said.  “I didn’t feel anything.  Not at first.  Mrs. Woodward said it was just a water stain.”
“But now you think it’s not just a water stain?”
“No,” Eddie said.  “Not since she started talking to me.”
Halliday raised both eyebrows, out of actual surprise this time.  “Talking to you?”
Eddie nodded.  “Not really talking,” Eddie said. “But I can hear her, just the same.  In my head, like.”
Not neurotic, psychotic, thought Halliday.  I’m not guessing so well today.  “Eddie…” he began, a little tentatively.  “It’s just a stain on the wall.”
“I know,” Eddie said, his face showing the first signs of animation that Halliday had seen.  “That’s what Mrs. Woodward said.  But I can hear her.”
“What does it… what does she say to you, Eddie?”
“Just whispering,” he said, and shuddered.  “Whispering about the rain falling, and whispering about seeing me, and watching, watching all the time.”  He shivered again, the vibration making his voice waver.  “And she says she wants me.  You know.”  Eddie blushed again.  “Dr. Halliday, I think she’s crazy.”
Okay, thought Halliday.  Let’s take this one piece at a time.  “Eddie, I think there are a couple of things going on here,” he said, his voice level.  “First, it’s not uncommon for people to see faces in inanimate objects – clouds, swirls in mud puddles, even things like tortillas and grilled cheese sandwiches.  It occurs so often that the scientists have a name for it – they call it pareidolia.  It doesn’t mean that the faces are real; it just has to do with the way our brains are put together.  We’re wired to recognize faces, so sometimes we see faces where there are none.”
“But what about the whispering?”

You can find the With Love Charity Anthology Series at all major ebook retailers.

Amazon:

Paranormal Anthology - After Dark, With Love 

Not your typical Romance Anthology - Dawn of Indie Romance, With Love

Chocolate Box Variety Anthology - With Love, by Indie Writers United

 

Smashwords:

Paranormal Anthology – After Dark, With Love

Not your typical Romance Anthology – Dawn of Indie Romance, With Love

Chocolate Box Variety Anthology – With Love, by Indie Writers United



I was proud to be part of the Chocolate Box Anthology, and I wish the With Love Project every success with their latest venture! 

Happy Reading!

Sibel XX