Midnight (A Cinderella Inspired Paranormal Short Story)

Hi friends,

I decided to share my short story Midnight because when I saw the trailer for the movie The Invitation, I was like, “That’s almost the same as my short story, Midnight.” There are some differences (like I have a warlock and they have vampires, and my story was inspired by a fairy tale) – and there is probably a lot more, but I don’t know because I haven’t watched the movie yet. But I sure plan to. It looks so scary good, which I love. So, watch the trailer and then read my story – or vici versa – and let me know if you get the same vibe.

Love, Laughter, and fairy tales,

Dorlana

Midnight

by Dorlana Vann

“All black doesn’t suit you,” Dominick said. “I think you should choose softer, more delicate colors.”

“Delicate?” I said. “Seriously, do I look delicate?”

He grinned like he had me all figured out.

“Tuh … You are such an idiot.” When I spun to leave his presence, he grabbed hold of my arm. I didn’t turn around, but I didn’t pull away either.

“I want you to come to my Halloween party.” He placed a piece of paper in my hand. Finally, after I didn’t answer, he let me go.

I walked down the hall, not looking back until I was about to turn the corner. The bastard was still there, stationary, as the student body seemed to move around him at an accelerated speed. Our eyes remained locked, until a wall replaced my view.

“You should stay away from him,” Amanda, my stepsister/cousin/shadow from hell said. My mom died a year ago, and my aunt—her only sister— moved right in. Two months later, she became my stepmom. My dad died three months after the wedding. I guess he realized that just because Aunt Miranda looked exactly like my mom, she couldn’t replace her. I still hate him for it.

“Who?” I asked after I realized I hadn’t out-walked her yet.

“You know who. I saw you talking to him, again.” She cleared her throat and lowered her voice. “I’ve been hearing a lot of stuff about him. Mom would freak.”

“Like what?”

“Everything from he’s creepy to he’s fresh out of juvie for murder.”

“Oh, please, this school is so stupid. It’s like no one has ever seen an emo kid before. Besides, he just invited me to some lame Halloween party tonight. He’s not that bad.”

“Mom will never let you go.”

“Grow up,” I said as I turned and went inside my classroom. But at that moment I knew I had no choice but to go, or more like, it gave me an excuse to. I didn’t want to socialize with anyone, but Dominick made it difficult for me to stay mad at the world.

***

Amanda stood next to Miranda, my aunt/stepmom/guardian from hell, with a look of, “You’re in trouble now“—combined with a dash of—”Maybe I shouldn’t have told on you.” I had to remember that Amanda was used to being a finger-pointer; she had been since I could remember. I also knew that she wasn’t like the other girls her age. For some reason, she seemed to be maturing at the rate of 2:1. When we had lived apart, I could handle her. But now that her tattling neared constant, she really got on my nerves.

“Stella … Pumpkin,” Miranda said. “Can we talk?”

My skin crawled at the word pumpkin—my dad used to call me that. I exhaled and dropped my book bag where I stood and then walked over to the couch and plopped. At least it had become a little easier to look at Miranda. Her and my mom could have been twins. She even stood the same way my mom did when she became upset: one hand on her hip and the other one fidgeting with her face. I guess I could see how my dad, who loved my mom to no end, could get pulled in so easily.

“I heard about the party,” she said.

“Big surprise there.” I glared at Amanda.

Amanda examined her pink fingernails.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. Amanda tells me that this guy, Dominick, is bad news. After everything that has happened this year, I think maybe it would be best not to associate yourself with the type of people that might lead you into adolescent …”

I tuned her out at that point. Six months, and I would be out of there. She could have the house. She could have everything. Everything that had been important to me had already been taken away.

“Go to hell,” I said after she had finished her spiel, and then I went to my room.

***

I didn’t answer the knock at my door because I figured it was just Miranda checking to see if I had climbed out my window yet. The door handle moved. Crap. I had forgotten to lock it.

She poked her head in. “Can I talk to you for a moment?”

“Go away,” I said through the muffle of my pillow.

I felt the bed move when she sat down. Didn’t she get it? Didn’t she get that the very sight of her made me want to throw up – made me want to die.

Miranda sighed and then said, “I used to be so jealous of her. I had straggly hair and this enormous mole on the tip of my nose.”

I really didn’t want to look at her, but she left me no choice. I didn’t remember any mole.

“I had it removed. That’s why I removed Amanda’s, so she wouldn’t have to go through what I went through. But still, she seems to be going through a lot of the same awkwardness. You remind me so much of your mom. She was a beautiful teenager, a cheerleader … and the school’s vice president, and the captain of the debate team. Me? Just her strange older sister, secretly in love with the star football player. Your father.”

“Look, this isn’t helping,” I said and got off the bed she had contaminated.

She exhaled. “They didn’t even know each other at the time. Me and your dad were seniors and in a lot of the same classes. He was nice to me, and I fell hard. I was so confused because it wasn’t anything like the fairy tales I had read. I physically hurt for him. I wanted to tell him how I felt, but I couldn’t. I know he wouldn’t have laughed at me, but I was afraid I would look in his eyes and see pity. I couldn’t bear the thought of him not talking to me, either. Complete agony.”

I heard the sorrow in her voice and the tears at the edge of each word. But I felt nothing but disgust. Still, something kept me listening …

“When I graduated, I was finally able to put him out of my mind. Out of sight out of mind, until that next year. Your mom brought home her new boyfriend that she had met in college.”

“Oh, wait,” I mumbled. “Let me guess. My dad?”

“Yes. I never told either one of them. Never told a soul … until just now. “

“Well, you didn’t waste any time going after him.”

“It wasn’t ugly. That’s what I want you to know. That’s why I’m telling you this. I don’t want you to hate me, or your father. I wanted you to know that I had loved him for a very long time.”

***

Miranda’s undying love confession didn’t keep me in the house. Surprisingly, she didn’t take my keys but just assumed that I would be a good little girl and stay put like I was told.

Ha.

I stood at the end of the sidewalk looking up at the house that sat on a hill. The moon shone down giving it an old school horror-movie-castle appearance. I laughed but reread the invite Dominick had given me to confirm the address.

As I walked up the steps, a couple of girls dressed in skimpy fairy costumes passed by me. “Invitation only? How lame,” the one girl said.

I nervously approached, a little worried because I wore regular clothes. The invitation did say Costume Ball. Costume Ball. I thought maybe I should have picked a different party to go to; one of those where the kids had given out flyers saying B.Y.O.B.

The vampire at the door didn’t check my invitation; he just nodded as I walked by. When I stepped into the foyer, the faint sound of orchestra music teased my senses, but I should have known better than to expect silly Halloween songs and sounds.

A grand carpeted staircase rose a few feet in front of me, and the gaudy antique-looking chandelier that hung from the lofty ceiling probably cost more than my car. I stood for a second wondering in which direction to go, finally deciding to follow the newly arriving guests.

We walked through a room with table after table of food and drinks and then down a dimly lit corridor with old paintings in golden tarnished frames. The classical music grew louder as we approached a doubled-doored entry.

As the doors swung open, the music whisked my hair back as it flowed out of the room on a breeze. Then the music abruptly stopped with a screech. Everything stopped, except for my heart that I hadn’t noticed, until then, had gained beats per minute.

There must have been two hundred people in that room, all looking at me through their masks. The men wore long black masks that seemed to be glued to their faces, while the women held their colorful, feather adorned ones on long sticks against their eyes.

The women wore elegant floor-length gowns, and the men were in black tuxedos; just like the guy at the door who I had assumed had dressed as a vampire.

I had obviously walked into the wrong party. I wanted to apologize for interrupting, however, my embarrassment made me speechless. I turned to make a quick exit but stumbled over my gown.

My what?

The long white dress sat low on my shoulders, tightened unmercifully around my waist and then ballroomed out to the floor. I squeezed my eyes together, hoping that when I opened them again, my delusions wouldn’t soon include the ghosts of my parents.

My eyes opened when a sudden gust of wind just about lifted me off the floor. I became completely nauseated by the change of scenery. Straight back chairs filled the room and were divided by a center aisle. The guests were now all sitting down, but still faced me, silent, and with their masks still pressed against their faces.

When I felt something tug at my dress, I turned around, and there were three little girls holding the train of my dress like it was a wedding dress.

Obviously, I was having a nightmare.

“Stella.” The echo seemed to travel from the back of the room and then reverberate loudly when it reached my ears. This sent a new sensation up my spine and around my neck that made me quiver. Ready to scream, I held my breath as I turned to face whatever came next.

Dominick stood right in front of me, but he didn’t look the same as he did in school. He wore formal attire like the rest of the crowd. And instead of his normal long straight hair that almost completely covered his eyes, he had it slicked back, which made him look a lot older. Oh yeah, and a lot hotter. So gorgeous I almost relaxed at his smile.

He said, “I knew you would come.”

“What’s going on?” I said through my teeth.

“Don’t be afraid.” He held out his hand.

I stared at him for a few seconds until finally forcing my eyes away so I could look around and remember. “If this is your idea of a joke …” Some joke though—the dress, all the people. “… it’s not funny.”

“I know this is strange but let me explain and then you will see how this is meant to be. Since your birth, your mother’s birth, her mother’s birth on up five generations, this has been your destiny. We are betrothed. We must wed and then consummate our marriage before midnight so that my son will carry on my name. My time has come to an end. After midnight, I will be dead. But before I leave, I must pass on my powers. You are the only one in the world who has the right combination of genes for this to succeed.”

“Right …” Well, my brooding finally attracted someone completely insane. And then thankfully, I noticed Mike Cole from 6th period. “Oh, you guys can’t trick me so easily.” I walked over to him and snatched the mask off his face. I gasped and took a step back. Not him. This guy’s face was cruelly cratered and monstrous. “I’m sorry.” I backed away and bumped into Dominick with a gasp. 

“Don’t be afraid. Soon, you will be mistress of all of this. And all of them, your loyal servants.”

“That’s a generous offer, really, but I’ve got to go. People know I’m here. Wait, was that a knock at the door?”

The band started up again. I recognized the song: The freaking Wedding March. I don’t think so. I turned so abruptly that I knocked down one of the train-holding little girls, and I was so upset, I didn’t care. I tried to run. But even though I held up the dress the best I could, I stumbled and lost a shoe—high-freaking-heels that I didn’t put on when I left my house.

I was almost to the doors when I heard death curdling screams. I spun around. Like an old cowboy movie, Miranda and Amanda were at the back of the room with nooses tied around their necks. The tips of their toes were on stools, their mouths gagged, and their hands bound behind their backs.

I charged back down the aisle, but before I reached them, several men jumped up from their seats to hold me back.

My situation had become a little clearer, even though it made no sense at all.

“Do I have your attention now?” Dominick said.

I took one of those double-takes when I looked at him. His hair, which had been dark brown, had turned completely white. I couldn’t take my eyes off him because it seemed like I was watching really good movie special effects as his hair began to move up his head, slowly revealing skin. His ears and nose were bigger than I remembered, and wrinkles formed around his mouth and eyes. “What are you?”

“My name is Dominick Hamsphere. I am a 200-year-old warlock. My time in this realm ends at midnight, but I must plant an heir to carry on my name and to inherit the family wealth and power.”

Did he say 200 years old? Gross. I had been seriously attracted to him. “You have the wrong girl. I don’t know anything about any of this.”

He smiled, showing black rotting teeth.

My stomach churned.

“I have been following your line for five generations. I would have preferred to have met you last year, so I could have spent more time getting to know you. Unfortunately, I lost track of your grandmother when she moved to the states. I found you just in time.” He held out his hand, his fingernails beginning to curl with length. “I’m offering you marriage before the honeymoon because I am a gentleman. However, I do have a deadline.”

“You’re crazy! I’m not marrying you.”

He turned his head toward Miranda and Amanda. “Which one has to die before we get started?”

Hot tears streamed down my face as I looked up at them.

Amanda sobbed, and Miranda’s eyes were wide with horror. At that moment, I knew Miranda feared for me too, not just for Amanda. My mind became clearer than it had been in months. I knew what I wanted. I knew what was important. Annoying, yes, and everything that had happened over the past year didn’t automatically erase. But they were family. The only family I had left.

“Just let them go first,” I whispered. “Then I’ll do what you want.”

With a wave of his hand and a warm wind, they were gone. Now all I had to do was figure out how to get out of there way before midnight.

***

“I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

I didn’t want to move my attention away from the masked guy who had married us. But I knew I had to. Slowly, I turned my head.

Dominick’s appearance scared the tears right out of my eyes. I couldn’t hold back the whimper. I could see his cheek bones through his thinning skin. He was completely bald, except for one tiny section on the right side of his head. Only huge ugly daggered teeth where his lips had been before. I squeezed my eyes together as tight as I could so not even light would influence my vision. With a grimace, I puckered.

I felt something graze my mouth and then the atmosphere sounds distorted. I knew my surroundings were different, even before I opened my eyes.

I stood in a cold bedroom wearing the clothes I had arrived in, blue-jeans and a black t-shirt. I didn’t see Dominick, so I ran to the door. Of course, it had been locked from the outside.

Then I heard him say, “Stella,” with his teenaged voice. I turned my head slowly, and there he stood, dressed as he did at school, looking at me through his intensely dark eyes.

“I don’t want you to be frightened,” he said. “I’ve saved my last bit of energy, so I would be beautiful in your eyes. This is what you like, right?” He glided over to me. His skin looked silky white smooth. “I couldn’t ask for a more perfect bride. You look just like your mother, and her mother before that. It is amazing to see how your beauty has progressed through the years. I was a little taken back the first time I saw you, and a little concerned that you had removed the mark that represents your heritage. I can understand the temptation, but you would have looked beautiful with a hundred moles on your face.”

“Moles?” And when did he meet my mom? I began to laugh. I felt drunk with terror and the ridiculousness of the night “Do you think Miranda’s my mom?”

Dominick looked at me with a curious smile that slowly became a curious frown.

“Hmmm …” I mocked. “Boy, did you screw up. Miranda’s my aunt, not my mom. They had the moles. You thought I was Amanda!” I threw my hand over my mouth, wishing I could take my words back.

Suddenly, the window crashed inward, and a furious wind swept through the room. Dominick’s appearance changed in an instant, and he stood before me more hideous and post-grave like than he did before. The realization that he had redirected his powers to summon Amanda seared from the top of my head down into my stomach. I couldn’t let that happen.

I charged the old witch before he knew what hit him. His fragileness lent no resistance as we rushed the window and fell two stories. I felt him crush beneath me.

So much for Midnight.

The End

Midnight was inspired by Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper by Charles Perrault containing Stories or Tales from Times Past, with Morals, with the added title in the frontispiece, Tales of Mother Goose. France: 1697

Midnight is one of the short stories in my collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales: fairy tale inspired paranormal short stories. eBook is Only $1.99 and Free for Kindle Unlimited customers.

Book Launch Day: Potion: A Witchy Fairy Tale

Hi friends,

Today, Aug 1, 2022, is Potion: A Witchy Fairy Tale’s launch day. It is available on Amazon (Free for Kindle Unlimited customers!) I’m thrilled with some of the early reviews the YA, retelling has received. It also has some great reviews on Goodreads.

Mean Girls meet The Craft in this Contemporary Witchy Retelling

#WitchesBeBitches  

Lucas and Melrose survived their not-so-fairy-tale childhood and are now trying to live a normal life. But the teens’ dark past is summoned after three new girls arrive at their high school with a wicked agenda. Soon the siblings are lured back into the world of magic where evil witches can distort reality. They must uncover the deception before all the ingredients for a deadly potion are gathered. Or this time, there may be no escape.

Win an Ebook of Potion: A Witchy Fairy Tale on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Potion by Dorlana Vann

Potion

by Dorlana Vann

Giveaway ends August 01, 2022.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Hi friends,

Potion: A Witchy Fairy Tale launches on Aug 1, 2022. That is also the day GoodReads will send out 100 Kindle eBooks to winners! Click on the “Enter Giveaway” link above and follow the instructions. If you are already a Goodreads member, the process is easy – if you are not, you’ll have to become a member of GoodReads in order to enter. But the site is really useful to organize all of your books. (And you can enter all the book giveaways – yay!)

If you’d rather be guaranteed a copy come August 1, 2022, you can always preorder here: Potion by Dorlana Vann

Here is what Potion is all about:

Mean Girls meet Hocus Pocus (#WitchesBeBitches) in this contemporary Hansel and Gretel retelling.

Eight years ago, the wicked witch held Hansel Lucas Jaeger and his sister, Melrose, captive. They barely escaped with their lives. Now, with high school, a garage band, and a part time job, Lucas finally feels normal.

But everything changes when Lucas sees his awkward, loner sister, hanging out with Star, one of the hot and hated popular girls known as The Bitches. At first, he’s just confused, but when he sees the tarot cards between them, he’s reminded of the curse the witch cast on Melrose.

His fears escalate when Star warns him about two witches from school who plan on using his sister for a ritual. Lucas wants to trust Star; he needs someone to confide in since Melrose thinks his fear of witchcraft is irrational. But Star is unpredictable and has toyed with his emotions before.

As Lucas searches for answers, more mysteries begin to unravel about Melrose’s childhood, Star’s motives, and his own family legacy. Lucas will have to make life and death decisions; but whom can he trust, and how do you rescue someone who doesn’t want to be saved?

Potion News: New Cover, ARCs, and eBook Release!

Hi Friends,

I’m so excited to be sharing my new cover for Potion: A Witchy Fairy Tale. Especially since my son is the cover artist. It was awesome to see my character, Star, come to life, while also being amazed by his vision and style.

The Kindle edition of Potion is now available for Pre-order on Amazon. The eBook will be released on Aug. 1, 2022.

In the meantime, I have partnered with BookSprout.com and am offering advanced reader copies for honest reviews (#bitingnails) until Aug 10, 2022. You can find all the details about that here.

There will be more fun stuff around the release date so stayed tuned!

Love, Laughter, and fairy tales,

Dorlana

#witchesbebitches

Potion: A Witchy Fairy Tale Season 1 is complete!

All 50 episodes of Potion: A Witchy Fairy Tale (Season 1) are now live. You can read the first 3 episodes of my Amazon Kindle Vella Series for free. All you need is an Amazon account. Amazon also gives new vella readers 200 tokens – So that will get you more than halfway through my story, or you can explore other stories. You can find it here: http://www.witchesbebitches.com

Season 2 Spell: A Witchy Fairy Tale has already begun. I’m uploading episodes as I write them. Feel free to come here and let me know any comments, edits, or suggestions since Spell is a work-in-progress type of project. I am super excited to share my cover below. It is really special to me because my son, Dean Vann, is the artist. You can also read the first 3 episodes of this season for free. You can find it here: http://www.elementalwitches.com

I hope you will stop by and take a peek at the Witchy Fairy Tale series.

Love, Laughter, and fairy tales.

#witchesbebitches

#fairytaleretelling

The Secret Ingredient has been added to the Potion.

Hi friends,

Episode 48 of Potion: A Witchy Fairy Tale, is now available to read on Amazon. My kindle Vella series is a young adult, contemporary retelling with lots of witchy bitchy fun! The first 3 episodes are free so there is no obligation if it is not your vial of elixir.

You can check out the story here: http://www.witchesbebitches.com

There are only 2 more episodes of this season left, and then season 2, SPELL, will begin. So why not binge season 1 and be ready. SPELL will have the some of the same fun characters, but they will start a new adventure, have new roles, and continue their personal journeys.

Love, Laughter, and fairy tales,

Dorlana

#witchesbebitches

#kindlevella

Ten Panicles of Whisk Dwarf Broomcorn have been Added to the Potion.

Hi Friends,

Episode 42 is live, and oh boy is Lucas going to get an earful.

Potion: A Witchy Fairy Tale Reimagined is my series available on Amazon Kindle Vella right now. I plan on having 8 more episodes of this origin story, but then characters will continue on to a new adventure. Think of this series as kind of Scooby Gang meets Mean Girls meets Hocus Pocus lol.

Go here if you haven’t had the chance to start the series: http://www.witchesbebitches.com (BTW – the first 3 episodes are free so there is no commitment if it is not for you.

And go here if you are all caught up and are ready to read Episode 42: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/episode/B09PMVSCJ2

Here is what Potion is all about:

Eight years ago, the wicked witch held Hansel Lucas Jaeger and his sister, Melrose, captive. They barely escaped with their lives. Now, with high school, a garage band, and a part time job, Lucas finally feels normal.

But everything changes when Lucas sees his awkward, loner sister, hanging out with Star, one of the hot and hated popular girls known as The Bitches. At first, he’s just confused, but when he sees the tarot cards between them, he’s reminded of the curse the witch cast on Melrose.

His fears escalate when Star warns him about two witches from school who plan on using his sister for a ritual. Lucas wants to trust Star; he needs someone to confide in since Melrose thinks his fear of witchcraft is irrational. But Star is unpredictable and has toyed with his emotions before.

As Lucas searches for answers, more mysteries begin to unravel about Melrose’s childhood, Star’s motives, and his own family legacy. Lucas will have to make life and death decisions; but whom can he trust, and how do you rescue someone who doesn’t want to be saved?

Thanks for stopping by!

Love, Laughter, and Fairy Tales

Dorlana 🙂

#witchesbebitches

#potion

#kindlevella

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