Halloween night can't get any worse when her boss, Joseph Clanton, is a no-show and Kelly is stuck closing up the Dairy King alone . . . or so she thought. A cryptic order from an empty room and late-season twister combine to make Kelly's Halloween night a truly unforgettable one by sending her spiraling back through the folds of time and depositing her smack in the middle of an ancient grudge match between none other than Wyatt Earp and Ike Clanton. Can Kelly survive the shootout in the streets of Old Amarillo while dodging Virgil's knife and denying Doc Holliday's romantic advances all while trying to find her way back home?
I sighed as the icy Amarillo breeze skittered a handful of dead leaves across the blacktop. Leaning farther out of Dairy King’s drive-through window, I inhaled deeply and willed the heat that burned in my cheeks to cool. Still no sign of Joseph’s car.
The luminous moon, high in the inky sky, had long since risen overhead and beckoned all the little hobgoblins home to sort their candy and deal with the obligatory bellyaches that came with Halloween night. “So much for Dorie Smith’s Halloween party.” I leaned out farther and peered down the deserted highway. Sure enough, candlelight flickered in the old forgotten graveyard across the street. I should be there right now, having a séance with my friends, calling back the ghosts of the Old West.
The heat flared in my cheeks again as I pulled head back in the window and glanced at my watch for the thirtieth time. “Not the best first day of work ever, but I had never figured my boss not to show up and help me close, like he’d promised. He’s not even answering his phone.” I glanced over at the large strawberry milkshake that the last drive-thru customer had ordered then forgot to pick up. Picking it up, I slurped a long gulp and walked back out to the front. Not bad, once I’d figured out how to use the agitator without crushing the Styrofoam cups.
Flicking off the lights, one by one, I swallowed back the anger that tightened my throat behind the thick ice cream. “If I could lock up and just leave, I would.” I hit the last light switch hard. “But no. Joseph said he’d be here with the keys to help me through the last part of my shift then lock up. In plenty of time to get to my Halloween party.” My palm throbbed as I sucked up another soothing drink of milkshake. “Worst. Boss. Ever.”
With a trembling hand, I pulled my phone from the back pocket of my newly-bought-and-freshly-stained khakis. “Since he can’t bother to call or text to check on his new employee, I’m going to send Joseph Clanton a message to end all messages. Then, I’m leaving.” Suddenly aware of the heavy darkness that surrounded me in the empty dining room, I ignored a shudder and moved through the thick plastic doors to the back, where I’d left one light on. “If the place gets looted, it’s his own fault.”
I’d just managed to get my phone unlocked when a familiar buzz met my ears. Before my thumb could hit the text message icon on the touch screen, I froze. Utter terror gripped my bones as I registered the noise I’d heard all too often that day. An order ticket being printed.
The cooks had left much earlier, all having Halloween parties of their own to get to. I was the only one left in the building…wasn’t I?
Slowly, I turned around. Sure enough, a freshly printed ticket stood straight and crisp from the machine nearest me. The strawberry milkshake bubbled in my stomach with a nauseating roil as I reached and tore the ticket free. “Sent from Station One, the cooks’ station, to Station Three, the drive-thru window.” I gulped. Casting a glance over my shoulder at the darkness that loomed behind the metallic freezers, I could have sworn I heard the creak of a door.
Panic began to build in my feet, making my toes twitch in my black Nikes. With adrenaline charging through me, I took one last look at the ticket. The cryptic words sent a final shudder down my spine. “Why r u wet?”I gripped my phone so tightly that I feared I would crack the screen as I gave the ticket a fling and pushed through the heavy curtains, back into the dining room. Without looking back, I shoved open the double glass doors and raced into the parking lot. Every horrific scene from every horror movie I’d ever watched flashed through my mind. Bad things always happen in dark parking lots. Tears filled my eyes as I struggled to open the keypad so I could dial 9-1-1 on the touch screen.