hear the laugh once again, calm and satisfied. A solid wave of rage starts
between my forehead and the back of my head, overtaking my entire body. Teeth
clenched so hard, I hear them grind. I scream, “What’s so funny, you sick
Then a new sound, so clear there’s no
mistaking it. A horse’s neigh, followed by the woody, hollow sound of hooves
galloping right toward me.
Thirsty leaves rustle on the ground like
littered newspaper in the wind. I stand paralyzed over my mother’s grave, eyes
roving, searching for the source of the sound. A horse in the cemetery?
Seriously? But there’s no one here! Yet the galloping feels a blink away.
I break free of the invisible straitjacket immobilizing my
upper body. I plunge through the woods, boots pounding the earth in time with
my breath, eyes focused ahead, dodging grave markers, logs, rocks, and fallen
limbs in my way. Who’s charging me on a horse? The Headless Horseman is only a
character in a story. A legend.
I run straight for the bridge, my breath short
and choppy. Isn’t the horseman supposed to stop chasing his victims once they
cross the bridge? How ridiculous that I’m considering the logistics behind a
work of fiction. Maybe it’s not a real spirit at all, but someone playing a
trick on me.
It’s unnervingly dark inside the covered
bridge, but I have no other choice. The galloping is right behind me. I’ll have
to go through it if I don’t want to sense a horse’s hot breath prickling my
neck. I avoid eye contact with whoever is chasing me, in case paralysis freezes
my body again.
I charge through the bridge, my breath loud in
my ears, panicked footsteps echoing against the siding, plowing along the musty
planks until I blast out the other end, nearly tumbling onto the ground. I check
over my shoulder. Nothing followed me through. But next to the bridge, a hazy
mist hovers above the ground in the shape of what could be interpreted as a
massive horse with a rider on top. It stands at the edge of the river, watching
That’s no trick.
About the Author
GABY TRIANA is the award-winning author of six YA novels—Wake the Hollow (Coming 2016), Summer of Yesterday, Riding the Universe, The Temptress Four, Cubanita, and Backstage Pass, as well as thirteen ghostwritten novels for best-selling authors. Originally a 4th grade teacher with a Master of Science in Elementary Education and ten years teaching experience, Gaby earned Teacher of the Year in 2000, wrote her first novel, Freddie and the Biltmore Ghost, then left teaching to launch a full-time writing career. She went on to publish young adult novels with HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, win an IRA Teen Choice Award, ALA Best Paperback Award, and Hispanic Magazine’s Good Reads of 2008. She spends her time obsessing about Halloween, Christmas, and Disney World, as well as hosting parties, designing mugs, making whimsical cakes, and winning costume contests. When she’s not writing, she might also be watching Jurassic Park movies with her boys, posting excessive food pics on social media, or helping run the Florida region of the SCBWI. Gaby lives in Miami with her three sons, Michael, Noah, and Murphy. She has one dog, Chloe, and two cats—Miss Daisy, and the reformed thug, shooting survivor, Bowie.