Here’s a quick taste of Spike, included in our Virals short story collection Trace Evidence, available now. This story is set after the events of Terminal, people. Answers await!
They were all clearly dead.
Every flower, every centerpiece.
Wilted petals. Broken, flaccid stems. Murky brown water filled the bottom of each crystal vase, soiling the white rocks artfully placed within. The same horror repeated throughout the ballroom.
I gasped, a hand shooting to my forehead. “What happened to the lilies?”
We stood at the entrance to the ballroom, surveying the carnage. The reception was scheduled to begin immediately after the outdoor church service, but now the decorations were only appropriate for a gothic rave. All the dying plants gave me the chills.
“I came in here to stash my mother’s purse, and found this.” Hiram’s nose crinkled in a grimace. “It even smells bad. Like the Walking Dead crashed your dad’s wedding.”
“This makes no sense!” Shelton was tugging an earlobe. “I saw this room like forty-five minutes ago, and everything looked great. They even had those Mag League snobs in here taking pictures. The place was perfect.”
“Where are the stupid florists?” I spat. We were the only ones present at the moment.
“They left a while back,” Ben said disgustedly. “I saw them go. The head guy told your aunt Tempe that everything was all set up.”
“Oh boy.” I covered my eyes. “What do we do?”
Whitney had designed and planned everything, forgoing a full-time wedding coordinator. Despite the hundreds of tiny details involved, she hadn’t wanted anyone else “in the way” at her nuptials. While no one doubted her ability to handle the task—Whitney was born to dream up and execute extravagant events—her dictatorial micromanagement had left a leadership vacuum here on the big day. Kit’s mother, Harry, was supposed to be coordinating the vendors, but she’d proven hopeless at it, so Aunt Tempe and some of the other ladies were helping out.
Hi blew out a breath. “I’m no flower scientist, but I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to last longer than a half hour. Methinks you’re entitled to a refund.”
“Like that’ll do us any good.” I thought of Whitney, still nervously prepping upstairs, and my stomach dropped through my shoes. “You guys, Whitney will not be able to handle this. She’s a mess already. When she sees Stephen King’s floral arrangements . . .”
Hi snorted. “That actually might be funny. We could YouTube it.”
He yelped as Ben smacked the back of his head.
“We have to fix this.” I pressed my fists to my forehead, thinking. “Should we call the florists back? I don’t have their number, plus their shop is all the way in Mount Pleasant. And they won’t have a truckload of backup centerpieces just lying around, anyway. Or even the same flowers.”
“A different place?” Ben suggested doubtfully. “Somewhere close? Or maybe we could snag the flowers for the outdoor service, and swap them in here?”
Shelton shook his head. “In front of all those people? Everyone would freak. And then the actual wedding would look like trash.”
“Shoot!” I stomped a foot. “No one can fix this in time. Two hundred white lilies don’t fall from the sky!”
“No,” Hi said seriously. “They grow in the ground.”
I gave him a nasty look, but Shelton’s clap grabbed my attention.
“That’s it!” He smiled wide, then pointed to a door on the opposite side of the room.