Mathis texted me to meet him here, but the bar appeared deserted.

From the moment I left the parking lot and started walking the shoreline, the eerie feeling had set in and clung, a dizziness in my chest that was making it hard to draw a deep breath.

Where were all the people?

This beach was normally teaming with people, mostly families with young children at this time of day. There were no boats on the water, no fishermen with pails of bait sitting at the water’s edge or tossing out their lines.

Near the boardwalk leading to the bar and grill, a few boats were beached, looking for all the world as if they’d been there for years, even though I knew Mathis had been out in the blue one just yesterday.

The closer I got to the bar, the slower I walked. Gooseflesh broke out on my arms and I could feel the hair rising on the nape of my neck. I was alone–but I felt…watched.

I was ready to bolt and make a run for my car, when suddenly the bar door burst open. Mathis stood in the doorway, waving frantically. “Hurry, Windy,” he cried. “Get in here! Quick!”

I was still in bolt and run mode, and nearly turned around, but when the howling started up just behind me, I raced for the door, Mathis urging me on.

A dozen yards never seemed so far away…

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