Exclusive Excerpt from Closer
by F.E. Feeley Jr.
With the power of a sledgehammer, Hayden felt the caffeine kick his brain into gear.
“So, about the rough night?” Tommy inquired again.
Hayden stared at him for a second and rolled his eyes. “I thought I saw something. A…ghost,” he said, cautiously.
Instead of laughing at him, Tommy arched an eyebrow. “Really?”
“Yeah. I know it sounds dumb, but…I was walking up the stairs last night and almost got to my bedroom when I looked over at the corner…and…this man was standing there.”
Tommy sat forward, listening to Hayden tell his story. He seemed pretty sincere. “Go on.”
“He was awful looking. Pale. Scraggly. His hair was matted down to his head. He was tall, like you, but thin. It took a second or two, but I swear, the sight of him is burnt into my memory.” Hayden sat back. The hairs on his arm stood up as he recalled what he’d seen, and a chill cascaded down his back. He rubbed his arms absentmindedly.
“What happened then?” Tommy asked.
Hayden smirked. “I grabbed my blanket and crashed on the couch. I wasn’t staying up there by myself.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t an intruder? You know, criminals prey on people who live alone or…”He stopped when Hayden emphatically shook his head.
“No. He would have had to run past me. When I spotted him, I fell backward, almost down the stairs. I blinked, and the next second, he was gone. He had nowhere to go. No, I’ve dealt with criminals, trust me.” He took another drink of his coffee, which had begun to cool enough to gulp.
“Fair enough. That’s some pretty scary stuff, man. Maybe we can chase them away with some rock ’n’roll and some painting, what do you say?” Tommy smiled.
“You’re on. Let me get changed into some work clothes. Come on, I’ll take you to the room,”Hayden said as they got up. They left their coffee cups where they were, walked out of the kitchen and up the stairs. Tommy broke away from him and went into the second bedroom as Hayden went into his room to change.
Tommy saw the cans of paint ready to be shaken and poured into the pan. The room was a sandalwood color, but it was his guess that it used to be considered off-white. He kneeled down, picked up one of the paint cans and started shaking it.
“What did that paint ever do to you?”
Tommy spun around, startled a little, and saw Hayden standing there in a pair of cutoff shorts and a tank top. His muscles were well maintained on his thin frame. His legs were strong and muscular as well. Tommy swallowed hard. Hayden was holding an iPod player and base, which he plugged into the wall. He placed the device on the floor and pressed play. Van Halen’s greatest hits started to play, and Tommy grinned.